Just before 7:30 this evening, as we were putting the twins down to sleep, the lights fluttered and went out. They whirred to life again, twice, but soon dropped again, and we've pretty much been in the dark for the better part of two hours. No TV. No WiFi. Not even the background noises of the refrigerator and heater. With temperatures in the low 40s outside, our home is cooling, and we've unpacked the flashlights and candles we could find.
Did you know you can combine a C battery and a D battery in a flashlight, and it will still work? By necessity, I found out tonight that it does.
Preferring to be constantly connected, my iPhone 3G is keeping me sane. The laptops are fairly useless, but not my ubergadget. It still lets me post updates to Twitter and FriendFeed, browse bookmarks, and read e-mail. Nobody told it to shut down, after all.
Losing power is really no big deal, for the short term. Everyone is safe, and if this goes longer, we could pluck our twins from the cooling crib, and warm them up ourselves. But it's got me thinking about being better prepared for something bigger. It's now clear we need more batteries. And the whole hubbub about Twitter being a good news hub during emergencies doesn't hold too well if you lack power. And it doesn't translate well to the small screen. If a neighbor has discovered the source or reach of this outage, I haven't seen it. My network is too diverse and too noisy to get data on local happenings.
So for now, we're a little disconnected. It's dark. It's getting colder. And we don't have answers. I'm lucky to have the iPhone 3G around, but that aside, the infrastructure holding our power and Web together looks pretty flaky - even in Sunnyvale, smack dab in Silicon Valley proper.
Update: Power was restored shortly after 10 p.m., having been out for just under three hours. No cause has yet been determined.