Re: Weird power outage!!
Could have been a loose connection anywhere between the power company's transformer and your electrical panel. You should have an electrician check all of the connections between the meter base and the panel to make sure they are OK. The power company is responsible for everything up to the meter base; if the electrician finds nothing wrong you should call the power company.
To expand on BRP's post, there are two "hot" lines coming into the home which have 240V between them. Between each one and neutral/ground is 120V. From an electrical engineering viewpoint, this represents a single "phase" with a "center-tapped secondary." This center tap on the secondary side of the transformer is grounded and connected to the neutral to provide 120V/240V split single-phase power.
You may hear people refer to each of the "hot" lines as different phases. This is not correct semantics; they are different POLES of the same PHASE. (BRP said "half a phase" which is better terminology than what most people would use -- many would say that you "lost a phase," which is incorrect.)
As an oversimplified graphical example, imagine that you are riding a bicycle equipped with clips (the clips allow you to provide power pushing and pulling). While you push down with one foot, you lift the other foot, and vice versa. Your legs are like the two poles of the phase providing 240V. If you remove your left foot from the pedal, you are still able to provide power to the bicycle but only at half the force, or 120V. (Imagine the seat post as "neutral." If you weren't attached to the seat post, you could provide 240V to both pedals, but you couldn't provide 120V to a single pedal.)
The "Senior Member" designation under my name doesn't mean I know a lot, it just means I talk a lot.I've been a DIYer since I was 12 (thanks, Dad!). I have read several books on various home improvement topics. I do not have any current code books I can refer to. I was an apprentice plumber for two years.