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Powerless

February 11, 2010 - Phyllis Sigal
There are worse things than being stuck at Wilson Lodge with no power, a room with a fireplace and a bottle of wine.

Thank goodness for the fireplace. Because the power was out from Friday night until Saturday evening, there was no heat in any of the rooms. Our room, luckily, had a gas fireplace that threw off quite a bit of heat!

It was an interesting day, Saturday at the electric-less resort. Oglebay accommodated its guests with a "continental" breakfast — cereal, fruit, bread, pastries. And there was oatmeal. And coffee.

The oatmeal and the coffee were made over propane. "Cowboy style" is how one of the employees referred to the coffee.

Lunch was provided free of charge for guests on Saturday. Cold cuts, breads, salad, coffee, tea and soft drinks. And potato soup. (More propane fuel.) Dinner looked much like lunch.

Pockets of people huddled around the public fireplaces at the lodge — one in the dining room waiting area; one in the front lobby; and one in Hickman Lounge. There wasn't much to do; the pool was closed. The spa closed early. Our computer and cell phones were out of battery, so we were not very connected to the outside world. The hotel phones worked, however. (Of course, I hadn't noticed that every call I made on that phone cost me 50 cents.)

Just looking out the window at the beautiful view (did I really say that?) was entertainment enough.

Many employees spent the night Friday night when the snows came; those arrangements were made mainly to make sure that enough employees were on site Saturday morning. Some employees never left during the whole weekend! That's dedication!

Sure, we could've ventured down the hill to get home, where electricity did exist, but by the time I took care of business, it was around 3 p.m. and it just made sense to be there for another night, having to get there early the next morning, anyway.

It was the weekend for the Wheeling Symphony's fundraiser, the Viennese Winter Ball.

The ball is anticipated by many, and not the least by the 20 young men and women who are members of the Cotillion, and their parents. These kids have practiced and practiced and practiced to perform for the audience their well-rehearsed Viennese waltzes. They've bought beautiful gowns and rented tuxedos for the occasion. They've given up other activities in their lives to prepare and to participate in this event.

So when the power outage at Oglebay canceled the event for Saturday, everyone thought about the kids.

Luckily it all worked out that the event could go on Sunday. Only a few of the expected 374 guests had to cancel — some from out of town couldn't make it because of the snow; others who had made it, had to get back for work early Monday morning; others had Super Bowl parties to host.

But, mostly, people made it and filled Glessner and had a wonderful evening.

So looking back? Should I have just retreated down the hill to home; done my laundry and cleaned my house, and trudged back up the hill early Sunday to prepare the dessert room (my job) for the Viennese Winter Ball?

Or should I just have "retreated"?

How often in our busy lives do we have the opportunity to turn off our connections to the outside world? How often do we sit in front of a fireplace and read? How often do we have conversations uninterrupted by phone calls, televisions and texting.

Not often enough. I had to keep reminding myself all day that I shouldn't feel guilty for doing "nothing." Sometimes, it's nice just to tune out for a day or two.

 
 

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