Saturday, May 2, 2009


Ok, so we lied (or more so, Mike lied a little) when we said that we would have a new blog up on the 30th. However, it is only the 2nd and there is a new one up, so we aren’t that far behind!!!

Now, when we last talked, we mentioned that there were promotions and upcoming vacations and such. However, today we are going to talk about our version of the Blackout that we had in Ontario a few years ago.

From April 21st in the AM until the 23rd in the AM, we had limited power in town.

Our power plant broke down is basically what happened. From what we understand, there are three generators in town that power everything in town. There is one generator big enough that it can power the entire town by itself, and then there are two generators that, combined, can power the entire town.

Apparently what had happened is that the big generator kicked out, so they went to the two little generators.
Then one of them kicked out.

Meanwhile, while all this was happening, down at the Northern, we were running things as usual until the power went out. Then it came back on, then it went of again. This happened until the afternoon when Allan (our store manager) finally called the power corporation and found out what was happening.

So, for the next two days we operated under a “last minute of play in this period” type mentality. We would announce over the speaker system that the power was going out in 15 minutes (because by this point the power corp was nice enough to let us know when our power at the store was going out) and it seemed like all hell would break loose in the store. The lines would get really long, people would start rushing around the store, and we would have to have a staff member at the door to make sure nobody else would come in.

And for the next two days, any time the phone would ring, the question would be “is it open?”

Yes, “is it open?” The store is not referred to by most locals as the store when they ask you if the store is open. Nope. The Northern, for the most part, is referred to as “it” like the store is some sort of all knowing entity or something.

Occasionally, the store will be referred to as The Bay, which it was back in the mid 80’s before HBC sold off the northern Canadian stores they owned. Mostly the elders call it the Bay. I guess you could compare it to how most of us in Ontario still refer to Rogers Centre as the SkyDome.

So the power outage, getting back to the topic, would work on one hour cycles. For example, if you had power from 7 to 8 PM, you would be without from 8 to 9 PM, and so on. This made for interesting eating choices. The first day of the power outage, we helped clean up the Quickstop with the power out, and as a thank you, we were given left over KFC food for lunch. Not the healthiest of choices, but considering we couldn’t cook anything, it did the job. That night for dinner was sandwiches.

The second day of the power outages was once again sandwiches for lunch, and for dinner that night we made a deal that we would eat something hot. So, when the power kicked on, Mike made sure that he turned the oven on and within minutes there was a frozen pizza in the oven.

The power outage lasted until the Thursday morning and since then everything has been back to normal. Well, as normal as things can be anyway.

With the power outage though, we realized that we rely heavily on technology up here for entertainment and for work. We couldn’t do much in the way of television or movies or video games because we had no power, and at work we couldn’t even do the simplest of paper work by daylight because everything is kept on the computer. We couldn’t stock shelves because our warehouse has no windows whatsoever, and we couldn’t even have the store open because all of our cash registers are done through a computer point of sale system. At least in the south we would be able to sit outside and have a camp fire or something because up here we don’t have any trees!

Now, with that said, here are a couple of pictures that we promised.

Yes, it is May 2nd and look at all this damn snow! GAHH!

So, don’t be looking to us for sympathy if you have a day where it is a “chilly” 5 degrees! :P
Another update will follow in a few days, and this time there will be pictures of the store. We have promised this before, but this time we mean it. Hey, we’ve done pretty good as of late with our promises, have we not? :P

-Mike and Grace