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Patch Blog: Surviving Six Nights Without Power

After six nights without power I am happy to have at least temporary power. I just don't understand why SCE wakes us up at 2 a.m. with the harsh sounds of shouting, chain saws and pulsating pounding.

For those of you who do not believe that SCE has been working hard enough to fix the fallen power lines, let me tell you, in the Flintridge side of the city, they are working 24/7. Unfortunately, in my neighborhood, it’s between the hours of 2 a.m. to 4:30 a.m. The past two mornings we lie awake hearing the chaos of ear piercing chain saws, pulsating pounding and men screaming directions to one another above these loud sounds.

It took SCE six days to finally find the fallen power lines in a canyon behind our house. Three of our neighbor’s giant eucalyptus trees toppled the lines and snapped them in two. Since the trees weren’t blocking a street, the SCE scouts never found the source.

We patiently waited in darkness, while all of our friends slowly had power restored sooner than us. They offered generators, warm rooms to stay in and meals to share inside their cozy and lit homes.We never took them up on their offers, because we thought our area would be next in line to have power restored. Every time my neighbors and I called SCE to report our outage, we were told that power would be restored by 8 p.m. Every evening we eagerly waited to turn our heat on, only to find ourselves in bed cold and bundled under quilts and comforters for warmth.

Over the weekend we visited my father in Palm Springs. It was warmer, brighter and lifted our spirits. However, when a friend called to tell us that empty houses in our neighborhood were being broken into, we came back early to protect our frigid and lightless domain.

We placed battery operated LED candles in our windows and locked our front gate at night for protection.

After the fifth night without power to our refrigerator, heater, washer and dryer, I drove all over La Canada the following morning begging every SCE man I saw to follow me home. We were one of the last neighborhoods in La Canada Flintridge to be powerless.

I don’t mean to sound like a Scrooge, but when I drove past houses throughout our bucolic community, showing off their elaborate Christmas light displays, it put a damper on my Christmas spirit. I just wanted a tiny portion of their electricity.

I met two SCE men with their tree trimming team to show them the disaster site. I was told they would begin working on the trees, analyze the damage, and order parts before power would be restored. Excitedly, I thanked them and begged them to start work as soon as possible. To my dismay, eight hours later, when I drove by the area, not one branch had been cut.

I drove along Foothill Blvd. searching for a hero to restore my power. I flagged down two SCE trucks in the Ralph’s parking lot and talked to the men inside. One told me they would have temporary power pole installed that night. On my way home, I excitedly saw a crew at my neighbor’s home. While talking to them, they made no promises that I would have power. It was much worse then expected and they didn’t have the right equipment. Heartbroken, I drove my girls (Tuesday night) to Min’s Kitchen for warm coconut and chicken soup and then Starbuck’s to finish their homework.

For the past six nights, we have been grateful for the kindness of neighbors and friends. Dish, Taylor’s and Zeke’s have allowed us to plug in our phone chargers. Starbuck’s, McDonald’s and Goldstein’s Bagels have graciously let us use their wifi. The La Canada Library was warm and bright for my girls to work on reports and homework.

On our drive home we noticed lights back on at our neighbor’s homes. We cheered loudly when we recognized one lone light shining brightly inside our kitchen.

I’m thrilled we finally have power, I just wish the repairs didn’t have to take place in the early morning hours. I have not had a solid night sleep in over one week.

One neighbor told me, “We had fires in La Canada in 2009, flooding in 2010 and now hurricane winds in 2011, what’s in store for 2012?”

All I know is the residents of La Canada Flintridge are better prepared for another natural disaster if it happens. Our garages are stocked with generators. Our kitchen drawers are filled with batteries for candles and flashlights. We are a strong community and will prevail.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Karen Bristing December 12, 2011 at 07:36 PM
Very nicely put, Jill! They appear to have finished fixing that line at the end of the day yesterday (Sunday Dec 11th!). The roads to get to my house were closed the last 4 days but I was happy to finally have power after 6 days like you! I think we are due for a year off from disaster! Because I sure don't want to mention the "E" word. Merry Christmas my friend!
B December 14, 2011 at 04:27 AM
Loved your blog!! Sorry you and the fam had to go through that. Good karma in 2012?

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