Saturday, February 2, 2013

The "Man Flu"

It started with a slight tickle in the throat Tuesday night, which I put down to having eaten a large and very hot piece of Indian fry bread too quickly, but I was wrong. By the next day I had a full-on sore throat. That night I went to bed even earlier than usual, having imbibed the regulation shot of generic Hannaford's "Nyquil" substitute. The next day, my attempt to get out of bed and go to work simply failed. I was shaky and feverish and a little weak. I made it rather gingerly downstairs to get my laptop, brought it back up to bed, and therein tapped out a message to the faculty secretary and all my colleagues that were expecting me at meetings.

And then I slept. And slept. And slept some more.

The wind was up that day as a result of the massive arctic front bearing down on us after a day of warm rain, a proper "January Thaw." It took down trees all around our state and knocked out a lot of power lines.  The power went out at the Great Farm neighborhood around 9am. Actually, I have no clue when it went out. I was sleeping, and only realized the power was out when I woke momentarily, looked at the radio alarm, registered barely that the power was out, and went back to sleep.

After all, I didn't really need any power, did I? All I planned to do was sleep until I felt better.

At some point during the morning, perhaps during one of my excursions to the bathroom or the kitchen tap for a glass of water, I took my temperature: 101.5 degrees F.

Flu, then. You don't get a fever like that with a cold.

Later that afternoon, still sleeping, the dogs barked the bark they use when someone is actually coming to the door. It was the scouts for the linesmen, two older Central Maine Power supervisors in a van with iPhones and radios, coordinating the efforts to get the power back on. They said there was a tree down on our spur line, but that power was reestablished on the main line that runs up Maine Route 7, the "Moosehead Trail." They were running out of daylight, and told me that I had best get my generator working before the light failed, since they weren't sure they would get to our spur line.

The thoughts of a tired wife coming home after a day of hard labor to no shower and a dark house and the slowly melting freezers full of nice Womerlippi 2012 produce were enough to spur me to shake off some of my illness, and so I found the energy somewhere, manhandled the heavy genny out of the shop and wired it to the power distribution board, being careful to throw the main breaker (so as not to accidentally feed power back to the line and perhaps electrocute the linesman). It took a little trial and error to establish which circuit breakers to use, since the genny can only produce 3,500 watts, not enough to run the entire house. I needed the water pump, the two fridges and two freezers, and a few lights. It would be nice, too, to watch the TV news and get the weather report and see how the rest of the state was faring.

It turned out that if the genny was hooked up to the water pump's breaker #26, then I serendipitously got the half of the distribution panel that included everything else I needed. File that knowledge away for another rainy, windy day.

After these exertions, I'd begun to recover my appetite, so I went in for some supper. The genny didn't cooperate, however, and before I was half-way through supper it died, and the house went dark. I finished my supper in the dark.

I figured I could probably get the genny running again when Aimee came home.

That was when I looked down the road and saw neighbor Kelly's yard light on. Kelly doesn't have a generator. The power must be back on.

It took only a few seconds to disconnect the genny wires, throw the main breaker and all the subsidiary breakers, and lo!, the miracle of electricity returned to Womerlippi-ville.

The next day, Friday, I struggled in to work and managed to get through a whole day, but I'm still not 100%. I don't have that nasty fever though, so I can function, more or less.

Aimee says it's not the flu, can't be, or I'd be worse than I am.

It must be the "man flu."


I'd like to see her sort that genny with the girl flu!


  1. aww hope you are feeling 100% soon

    Aimee is right tho.. not real flu.. just man flu :D

  2. Well, she's sick now, and none too happy about it, either. But she has a sterling opportunity to evaluate how mild or fierce this particular bug is for herself. Not that I lack sympathy. I made her favorite leek-and-barley soup.


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