Making Do!

Wednesday night a winter storm rolled through dumping ten inches of heavy, wet snow. Thursday morning found the roads impassable and I had no electricity. No electricity means no heat. So priority number one was to keep the house warm enough so that the water pipes, my family and myself did not freeze. I resorted to running the burners on the natural gas stove, risky at best, and started shoveling snow.

I have a generator but it is stored in an out-building one hundred yards away from the house. To get it to the house I had to mount it on an old sled and drag it to the house. Not fun!  With the drive way cleared of snow and the generator moved into position it was time to take my chances on the road and fetch some gasoline.

Winter wonderland my ass!

Winter wonderland my ass!

The trip to the store is only a mile. Downhill all the way. Which means it’s all uphill to get back. A little dicey but I made it down and back in one piece and no damage to the vehicle.
My furnace will not operate on generator power. The electricity the generator produces is too “dirty” from what I understand. So the oil-filled space heater from the shop was pressed into service.
So far so good. I’m able to maintain 60F in the house. But it is taking five gallons of gasoline per day to do it. The power company keeps changing their estimated date for restoring the electricity. Now they are up to late Sunday night.  Not good, but nothing I can do about it but wait. Ironically, the monthly power bill came today. The dirty SOB’s.

The wife and son are staying with family and I have been left to my own devices. I have a modicum of heat and enough power to get on the Internet. I might as well do some woodworking and post about it.
Here is my make-shift set up in the house.  I’ll beg forgiveness later.  At least the lighting is good during the day.

I would rather had brought my trestle horses in so that I wouldn’t be on the floor but carrying them uphill through shin deep snow was more than I wanted to do.  This has also taught me that I should at least build a small tool chest to carry the essentials for times like these. I’m thinking a Japanese style toolbox is now on the short list.

For now, I’m making do!

Greg Merritt

(Update:  Power was restored late Sunday afternoon and things are getting back to normal.)

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13 Responses to Making Do!

  1. Wesley Beal says:

    Good times! Seriously, I’m sure it’s a pain in the @$$, but at the same time improvising and figuring out how to get by, and succeeding at it…. always puts me in a good mood (and quite rightly pissed at the electric company!).

    • Greg Merritt says:

      I did mange to get some work done. I chopped several mortises today. Sorry no video. The gist is this. I sat on the work piece and chopped away per normal. Took a little getting used to but it worked.
      A few years ago our power company was purchased by a larger conglomerate. Before the purchase we never had an outage that lasted more than 24hrs. This is the third multi-day outage I. As many years. The large conglomerate does little to no equipment or rite away maintenance. So these multi-day outages are the result.


  2. Wesley Beal says:

    Oh, I almost forgot: think we could get some video?

  3. billlattpa says:

    We got hit hard here as well. Luckily the electric lines are fine. I don’t own a generator (odd since I’m an electrician) but I have in inlet on my panel ready to go. What type of furnace do you have? Some generators don’t cycle at true 60hz so that can be the problem. Sensitive equipment can be affected and you have to use a power conditioner, as I’m sure you are well aware. Good luck!! I hope all is restored soon.

    • Greg Merritt says:

      Not a true 60hrz…that is exactly the issue. The logic board on the furnace sees this and throws a “reversed polarity” fault. A line conditioner should fix it, but not a guarantee. My generator is only a 2500W. I only use it for a couple of lights and to charge phones and keep the Internet on. We have no land line. In the summer we run a fan or two to make things bearable. This is the first winter outage that I’ve used it. I installed a plug connection on the 12/2 feed line to the furnace in hopes that I could use that to disconnect from the main service and hook directly to the generator with a heavy duty extension cord. Never thought about the cycle issue. Oh well, the little space heater is at least keeping the pipes from freezing.


  4. Randy Allen says:

    I feel for you Greg. Thought about you as I rode my motorbike down for Chinese food. It’s still mid 70s here. 🙂 I’m anxious to see your ideas for a Japanese toolbox. Take care.



  5. says:

    This is just what you need. суббота, 07 марта 2015г., 23:03 +03:00 от GREG MERRITT – BY MY OWN HANDS : >Greg Merritt posted: “Wednesday night a winter storm rolled through dumping ten inches of heavy, wet snow. Thursday morning found the roads impassable and I had no electricity. No electricity means no heat. So priority number one was to keep the house warm enough so that the w” >

  6. davidos says:

    wow that seems unbearable what part off the world are you in

    • Greg Merritt says:

      You would think some third world country with a dodgy infrastructure. But no, I live in the state of West Virginia in the good old US of A. This is what you get when utility companies are not held accountable in any way. There is no competition nor choice. If you want electricity you get from the sole company in your area that provides it.


  7. dave says:

    Could you elaborate on the techniques you found useful in working on the low saw horses?
    It looks difficult to me.

If you don't comment this is just a fancy way for me to talk to myself.

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