Without another choice, I paid $700 for them to swap my tank for theirs on a Sunday afternoon, somewhat above market value. The generator finally exhausted all the fuel in my original tank while we were wrestling the new one into position. I figure that I can run for another few days at this burn rate, and luckily I have four quarts of 15W-40 left to keep feeding the generator.
My e-mail and locally-hosted domains are down, and we're fast approaching the time where queued mail begins to be discarded. I'm going to be pushing as much as I can through other boxes and work to reroute as many services as possible, but I have to travel into town to do so since all my Internet circuits are down and will likely remain so for quite some time. Without even reliable cell service, we have no real access to news or other information. I understand that Bush was dodging shoes the other day or something.
With any luck, we'll have power back today, or tomorrow, or maybe this week. Hopefully. The power companies really don't appear to know when. The power is on just a few miles down the road, and in places as close as 5 miles away the power never went off. Fickle.
Every passing hour this feels more like something you'd see on TV and less like reality. Schools are being used as emergency shelters and classes cancelled. Nobody can remember it ever being this bad, no matter how far back they can recall. Thousands of homes may be uninhabitable through Christmas.
But in the end, we're New Englanders. We'll make it, if only so we can tell the stories after it's all over and compare new storms to the one that dumped over five inches of freezing rain on us in a day. After all, it's not even winter yet, technically speaking.
Until then, I'll be subconsciously listening for the generator whine to cease, checking the oil, and waiting.
UPDATE 1:10PM EST:
FairPoint Communications (née Verizon) parked a generator truck next to the SLIC that serves my road. The phones are up, as well as my backup DSL circuit. Also, Unicel has apparently managed to get another tower back online, and the cellphones now work.
Still no power and my main circuits are down. Also, my generator has been running for somewhere around 85 straight hours and needs adjustment -- it's putting out 130v, which is causing my battery backups all kinds of grief, even on the lowest sensitivity settings.
Still, things are looking up, at least a little.
UPDATE, 5:40PM EST:
Just had my brand-new gas company fill up my LP tanks. I figure at the current generator load rate I'm good for 84 to 96 hours, maybe a little more. That's assuming the generator continues to run. It's a previous-generation Guardian 15kW unit with a 1-liter, air-cooled engine and it's been a lifesaver so far.
Aside from one neighbor, we're the only ones left out here. At least the FairPoint genny truck hasn't run out of fuel yet. When that happens, the phones and Internet go kaput. Hmmm. Even then, now that the cell tower is up, I can drop my SIM card into my Nokia N95 (yes, I still have it) and tether through EDGE for some 20Kbps latency-laden Internet access.
The geek shall prevail.