The winds picked up and a storm warning was given for North Vancouver
Island. Lorne, my boss, suggested that I go home early from my job
at Kask Graphics and catch the ferry to Quadra before the waters
got too rough.
"Turn up your heat," he shouted as I ran out the door
into the howling wind and rain. "The power will most probably
get knocked out so get your cabin warm before that happens."
This was my first real storm experience since moving to Quadra
Island. I had no idea what to expect as I sat quietly in my cabin
writing a story on a pad of paper. I listened to the howling wind;
the branches as they fell on the roof, and the creaks of the huge
maple tree that towered over my little home. I had cranked the heat
up really high and let the space get toastie warm. The lights flickered
a few times. The candles stood on the kitchen table ready in case
I had to light them.
"Go put the kettle on," I heard a little voice say to
me as I sat writing away.
I ignored the voice and replied, "No, I'll just finish working
on this one page, then I'll put the kettle on."
Just as I got to the bottom of the page there was a huge gust
of wind and a loud roaring crash, the house shifted and shook and
the power went out. Damn! If I'd listened to that little voice I
would have had a nice hot pot of tea to drink. Now I had nothing.
I couldn't run the water because the pump was on an electric motor
and I couldn't heat up the kettle because I couldn't turn the stove
on. Ah hah! I had a bottle of wine in the fridge!
I lit the candles and uncorked the bottle of wine then poured
myself a glass.
"Hydro?" I asked, when I dialled the local emergency
number on the phone. "I've just been cut off and have no power."
"You're the first caller from Quadra," the operator
replied. "We'll be sending out a crew when the ferries get
running again. Meanwhile, you stay put and don't go outside your
home. You never know where the live wires are lying, and you don't
need to go and get electrocuted."
I called my neighbour. "Come on over," she said. "I'm
"I am too," I replied. "But I understand that it's
safer if we stay indoors and don't go roaming around in the dark.
There's all kinds of branches and wires falling down out there."
I was well on my way to having drunk the whole bottle of wine
when I called Hydro back. "Hydro?" I asked with a bit
of a slur to my diction. "Don't take the risk of sending over
a crew tonight. I can handle the cold. I'll just wrap myself up
really warmly. I'd hate for your crew to get hurt out there."
"That's all right," the operator replied. "The
crew is already on its way."
I had no idea where the repair crew was but it certainly wasn’t
on Milton Road. That night I slept curled up in layers of blankets
then in the morning I made a fire in the outdoor pit and sat really
close to it. I was still wrapped up in blankets. Eighteen hours
after the initial blackout the crew finally came by and my power
was reinstated. I could once again put the kettle on and get a good
hot cup of tea. Now, if I had only listened to that little voice