Mrs Cunningham Saves The Day

This story relates to an outage of the wiki during January 2004.

I think it's an interesting example of the dedication of our lovely hosts.

Good deducing everyone but I'll embellish to fill out the story: Ward was indeed in Seattle this week. Very late Monday night/early Tuesday morning snow started falling here in Portland. By midday, the snow was replaced by falling ice pellets. By the time I went to bed that night we had at least 8 inches of ice and snow everywhere and a huge frozen mound 4 feet tall (no exaggeration!) that built up right outside our front door from snow and ice blowing off the roof. That night, freezing rain started falling on top of all that.

Of course, freezing rain is notorious for causing power outages. So when the server went down early Wednesday afternoon I figured that was it. We live on a cul de sac (ie no traffic) on a hill. I drive an Escort (tiny). I have no chains. I had knee surgery 3 weeks ago. I wasn't going to be able to go to the office.

So, I started trying to figure it out what was going on from home. I called the office phone and no answering machine answered. I decided to call PGE (the electric company). The number on the TV was an automated outage reporting system. It didn't recognize me because the landlord pays the electric bill. The news said there was an outage in SW Portland. I decided I had enough evidence to assume the power was out.

I waited, calling the phone periodically and getting no answer. I called the phone company to make sure the phone was really working. Finally, I found another PGE number and figured out that if I didn't press any buttons a person might come on. She didn't want to take my report because I wasn't physically there to see that the electricity was out and they had fixed the SW Portland outage. She acted like I convinced her that I had good evidence but I figured she threw away my report. Fortunately, before a PGE guy called to see if the power was back on, I talked to Ward on the phone.

Unbeknownst to me, Ward's answering machine stops answering when it's full (what kind of stupid technology is that?). He explained that to me and was not impressed with the efforts I had put into this. Apparently the power had gone out and was back on but the server needed to be rebooted. He wanted me to knock on a neighbor's door and get him to drive me in his truck to the office. It was after 9 at night, the neighbor's lights were off, and we still had about 8 inches of ice outside that I wasn't sure I could get through. I told him I'd try in the morning (truly I'm sorry to have caused all your withdrawal symptoms!).

Thursday morning the temperature was approaching freezing. I called the neighbor and he was wanting to try to leave his house anyway. I shoveled a narrow path most of the way down our driveway. The next hurdle was climbing into his pick up (I thought Ward's Jeep was high - I'm barely 5 feet tall). The roads weren't bad once we got onto a more traveled street. I climbed the icy steps of the office building. The server was dead but the power was on. I ultimately had to totally unplug it to get it to come back to life. Then I wanted to make sure it was really back up so I started calling people who might have internet and phone access at the same time. I finally found someone who verified it was working.

After creeping back down the icy steps, climbing back into the truck, skidding over a few streets, thanking the neighbor profusely and walking carefully back up the driveway I went back into the house. I have still not gotten out as of Friday night. The mound outside the door is not any smaller. The driveway has been shoveled. The temperature got up to 40 degrees today. Ward is home. I may make it out tomorrow. And I'm really sick of ice and snow.

-- KarenCunningham? (Ward's wife)

Actually I was impressed with Karen's efforts. I just forgot to say so. -- WardCunningham

Karen and Ward - thanks for telling the story - I really appreciated the humor ("He ... was not impressed with the efforts I had put into this." :) - and thanks for your dedication to this grand experiment. --RandyStafford


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