Thursday, January 15, 2009

Sending warm thoughts your way

Since it is predicted to be one of the coldest days in several years in Chicago— I thought I would tell the story of how I fared during the heat wave of 1995.

By the time Friday, July 14th rolled around I was used to the routine of having to deal with the heat. I always tried to be resourceful and stay in any air conditioned places as much as I could. That Friday, I decided to go to Jewel and do some grocery shopping, then perhaps catch a movie at the nearby Davis theater. By the time I got home I noticed that the power was out. Thinking quickly, I put the meat I just bought into the freezer in hopes that it will remain cold— then proceeded to go see a movie.

On my way over to the movie theater I noticed the Daily Bar & Grill and decided that I would go there for dinner after I saw the movie. I do not remember what I saw… I guess it doesn't matter what you watch— if only for that few hours of cool. After the movie I went to the Daily to get a bite to eat. I was worried that the power wouldn't be on there as well, but I did not have to worry. I bellied up to the bar and ordered my usual drink combination of a glass of beer and a shot of Amaretto— I do this as a gauge to myself to determine how much drinks cost… besides, if you pour the shot into the beer it tastes like Dr. Pepper. I also ordered a burger— then proceeded to finish all of it and went home.

You have to realize that I lived on the third floor of a three story walk up and I did not have air conditioning in my apartment. Because of this, there was never a day that my apartment was cooler inside than out— EVER. Luckily the power was back on and I could take a quick bath, lay out some bedding on the floor in the living room, adjust the clip-on fan to point towards my feet, and call it a night.

Sometime around 3 am I woke in a sweat and realized that the power went out again. Without my cooling system I was dying and couldn't sleep. The only place that was cooler was out on the back porch— so I grabbed a pillow and proceeded to sleep on the porch.

I was gently awakened around 5 am by the rattling of the El train as it curved by where I lived. Suddenly a light bulb went on and I realized I could sleep on the train. The train line that is by my apartment goes all the way downtown and around the loop and comes back. I then proceeded to catch the train and sleep for the entire round trip.

I stopped by Jewel before I got home to just walk the aisles and delay the inevitable. By the time I got back to my apartment I noticed that the power was still not on. Being concerned I called a friend to see if I could store my newly bought meat in their freezer until my power got back. They were shocked that I was without power and offered for me to stay the day at their place so that both me and my groceries could get cool.

By the time I got back to the apartment in the evening the power was restored. I called my friend to let them know the power was back and to bring the meat by on Sunday— (I didn't want them to eat my meat). I then proceeded with my typical evening routine and went to bed.

Sunday afternoon I went back to the Daily to see what it is like when it is not so crowded. The same bartender was working that day and he immediately asked if I wanted a glass of beer and a shot of Amaretto. I must admit that this is the sign of a great bartender— to be able to remember a drink that a customer ordered two days afterwords is pretty amazing.

From what I understand the power was out for 18 hours strait— thank goodness I had my backup plans. All in all I think I was pretty resourceful and managed to make it through one of the deadliest weekends in Chicago History.

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