Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The 2003 Blackout and the bathroom redo

The finished bathroom in our first house
You know that feeling you get when you’re thisclose to finishing something? The feeling when you’re ready to power down – in this case, power down the power tools – and step back and savor a job well done? Yeah, that was exactly what I was getting ready to do one day in August 2003. I had just broken out all of the tile in my 1940s-style bathroom. The room was covered in dust. I was covered in dust. There was wire mesh bulging from the walls. The last of the broken tiles strewn in boxes and ready to go into the Dumpster.

And then the power went out. 

August 14, 2003. Power was out across much of the Midwest in arguably the most memorable power outage in our lifetime. So there I stood in my bathroom, surrounded by mounds of broken tile and holding a circular saw that just stopped working as I was cutting some replacement wall studs. I thought I had pulled the plug out of the wall when I realized it was the power.
The bathroom project had to be put on hold. We spent time with the neighbors sitting around a campfire and listened to the radio, it was like a block party.
In the end the bathroom got finished. I became more passionate about home improvement. Several other projects followed in that house…until, of course, we moved. And then we started the DIY projects all over again.
And that's what I was doing when the Blackout hit in 2003.