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Kickin’ Back/Kelly Fosness

The perils of a power outage

May 12, 2012
The Daily Mining Gazette

Upper Peninsula Power Co. officials reported 258 customers were affected by Wednesday's early morning power outage in Houghton. Considering I took a Superman dive into an oversized floor plant on my way up the backstairs while trying to get to my desk at The Daily Mining Gazette, I consider myself to be among that pool.

A coworker was kind enough to give me a heads-up about the morning's situation, having sent a text message around 5:30 a.m. According to him, I didn't have to be "in too big of a rush" since they were "sitting in the dark" and the power had been flickering on and off since after midnight.

I don't know about you but I welcome such unexpected circumstances, even at that hour.

As for myself, I was in good shape - coffee brewed, lunch made and I was out the door in time for a leisurely ride to the office. It's my only downtime before deadline starts rolling so I take advantage of every stress-free second. Tuning my satellite radio to Prime Country I leaned back into the seat and reached for my insulated mug only to find a pair of sunglasses in its place.

Naturally my cellphone was in tow so I replied to my coworker's text, updating him on my status.

One U-turn later and I was headed back home. What a surprise. I'm always going back for something - keys, wallet, make-up bag. You name it.

"Forgot my coffee, gonna be a few minutes late," I messaged.

Of course the fact that the power was out at the DMG was far from my thoughts and it wasn't until I pulled off the bridge into Houghton that I noticed things were a bit out of whack.

Sneaking a glance down Shelden Avenue, I noticed there were no streetlights. Taking a right by the Powerhouse building I made my way to my parking spot under the parking deck.

Not one single light was on in the whole joint. Not a good situation for someone like me who likes to stick to the spaces with lights overhead just in case a few fuzzy webbed-winged creatures are lurking in the shadows.

Fortunately one of the press guys pulled in at the same time as me, not that that helped the situation inside.

"How the heck are we supposed to see anything," I said while plowing through the blackness with one arm outstretched to find the double doors.

Like something from a horror flick, the door let out a loud screech as I pulled the knob. Either my senses were in overdrive or that door needed an extra dose of WD-40.

With about a half dozen bags in hand, I took my first step up and crossed my fingers while shouting to the guys upstairs for a light. That's when it hit the fan.

Like a sack of potatoes, I flung forward, landing head first into a bush of leaves.

My soup went one way and my granola went the other.

I had to use the glow from my cellphone to locate my belongings and the steps to the top.

"If only my computer had a gas engine," Brandon said from the back of the office.

Our IT guy was in early, too, not that he could fix the situation we were in.

Unlike other power outages we've had to endure, where us reporters have actually had to relocate on deadline and type our stories elsewhere, the lights flipped on just 15 minutes later.

It was back to the old grind.

The only unfortunate thing for me, besides crashing headfirst into a plant that morning, was I lost an earring in the process.

Kelly Fosness can be reached at kfosness@



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