It's been one of those weeks. Two of those weeks, actually. Last week, we had a power outage during one of the hottest days in the past month. It was 103 degrees, with a heat index of something like 110. Fortunately, the power went out in the evening, around 5:30--and our AC had just run for a long period. Our ceiling fans had been running as well. The windows and blinds were closed. We left them that way for the duration of the outage, unlike our neighbors, who all went outside as soon as the lights went out. Our apartment was cool, and as long as we kept everything closed, it would remain so for several hours. We had a portable battery powered TV, a pocket radio and power banks to charge our phones. We also had an abundance of snacks that weren't messy and could be eaten in the dark. And toward the end, when my face started to feel warm, I had this cute little fan.
We used our phones to check the electric company's website for updates. First, they posted that power was expected to be restored by 8:45pm. Then, it was 11:00pm. By 11:00, it had been changed to 5:00. It looked to be a long night. I recalled a power outage I'd been through fifty years ago. (Fifty? Did I really just say fifty? I really am old!) I was a kid back then. There were no battery powered TVs, no smartphones...but we did have flashlights. Mom, Dad and I sat in our living room with Dad's big flashlight on the coffee table, pointed up at the ceiling. A bug got on the flashlight and spent hours running around in the light. That was our entertainment for the duration of the outage--watching that bug run around, looking much bigger than it actually was.
It took so little to entertain us back then.
But getting back to the immediate past, the lights came back on just after midnight--whereupon we checked everything electric to make sure there had been no damage from power surges. reset clocks, and promptly went to bed.
I've had a nasty cold. My nose is sore from blowing it so often. My lips are so chapped they look plumper than usual and much redder. I've bought so many boxes of tissues we should own stock in the company that makes Kleenex. Thankfully, it's almost gone now.
Now, we're preparing for the Big Event of the Century here in the Midwest. On August 21st, we'll be in the path of totality for the solar eclipse. It will pass through twelve states, including Missouri. The last total solar eclipse to come our way was on June 8, 1918, almost one hundred years ago. It was sixty-one years before Collin was born, thirty-five years before I was born and eleven years before my mother was born. My father was only four years old.
It's a big deal, especially to amateur astronomers like myself.