Friday, May 27, 2011

Storms and being powerless

From last night (not blogged--saved in MSWorks out of sheer boredom)

It’s a lonely place when the power goes off. Especially when you don’t dare light candles in case another tornado does actual whip up; and you have to take one cat of seven (Ivan, already crated, just in case) and your dog, into the basement, where a small river is flowing down the uphill wall, and out the drain in the floor on the downhill side. I realize I have no idea where the battery radio is…had Mark taken it, or had I kept it? Then I realized the radio headphones were in the house, so I just cranked those to listen for emergency tones.

Upstairs I can hear the battery backup for my arsenal of computers beeping every thirty seconds. I was powering down the computer when the lights went out, but the router and modem are still running off on battery power, mostly because I can’t recall how to turn them off. They haven’t been turned off in….oh….four years? I’m about to venture up now that the wind has died down to see if I can recall how to quiet their reassuringly blinking lights before the battery…a ten by twelve inch behemoth, finally limps toward powerlessness and dies.

How am I writing, still, with no power? Ah, the netbook with the eternal battery! The best $250 I ever spent.

The storm slowly fades off to the east. The trees are no longer whipping back and forth. They are surprisingly calm against the almost-black sky, like horses that spooked in a stall, kicking and rearing, then suddenly realizing there was nothing to fear, and go back to quietly munching hay.

Hmm. Then the thunder grows louder again and I remember being a kid in my bed in Earlville, praying and praying that each rumble of thunder would grow fainter and finally leave me in peace. Tornados didn’t even enter our conversation when I was kid, except when we visited friends in Indiana, or watched The Wizard of Oz. And now they seem to be everywhere.

I used to like thunderstorms, but these last few years, and especially this last month, calling people whose lives have been totally destroyed by tornados, and then having three drop down here in NY, two within 10 miles of me…well, it makes you appreciate blue skies and merely glum weather.

I also still have one tall pine that needs to come down before it serves as a lightening rod like it’s twin in the backyard that was splintered five years ago. Only my laptop survived that storm.

Then the traffic picks up. It’s locals climbing in their cars to see if anyone else has lights. “Is it just my house, or is everyone’s power out? There are two trucks idling in the road outside…two neighbors, driver’s side window to driver’s side window, swapping damage stories I imagine. Apparently questions were answered, because one is turning around in my driveway and heading home.

I supposed I should ring up NYSEG and listen to the little message that will tell me they know I have no power and they hope to have it on soon. And then I should climb in my own car and check my two roads, to see if any of “my” trees have fallen. Someone else will likely already be there with a chainsaw (good thing, because I don’t have one), but I at least should help pull branches out of the road.

Funny that I was just thinking of switching to digital phone service because I hadn’t experienced a power outage in years. Now here I sit in darkness, as my nice old fashioned phone still gives a reassuring dial tone.

The storm broke while I was in the cat facility, trying to get everyone tucked in, and to give a hug to the feralish gray cat named, oddly, Storm. “Oddly” named because she is terrified of thunder. It’s the only time I can actually hold her without being bitten. She was hiding in a cubby crying, so I pulled her out, cuddled and combed her, checked her teeth and ears…all the things I can only do when she finds me to be less terrifying than the weather. Sometimes she will even snuggle and purr. Not this time. The wind and rain began whirling loudly, thundering down on the metal roof, so I made sure only one window was open, grabbed a towel to cover my head, and sprinted for the house.


I discovered why so many people are idling outside my house.

They have to turn around at the cones just past my driveway. There are cones because of this:

I woke to still no power, and no ETA on the NYSEG power outage site. After encountering three blocked roads, I managed to wind my way to Ithaca, where I worked remotely for half a day at Panera Bread. I had the afternoon off anyway, so I'm going to get the studs off my tires, buy a lot of water, and head home to cook some dinner over an open fire.

If I have no power by tomorrow, I'll be giving away a freezer full of organic meat, or having one very large party. I just bought meat for the year from a friend who is a local farmer. That's what I get for not staying vegetarian.

Ah, la. Such is life. The home phone still works, and I'm in the phone book if anyone has a chest freezer with space! I'll be sure to leave some bacon and roasts behind for you when my power is back up again.

There may not be blogging here again for a bit, but I've been so bad about it lately anyway...yes, NOW I'll miss it. :)


2Vamp said...

I'm just happy to hear everyone's OK. Hope you get power back soon though; would be a pity about all that meat!

Connie, Orlando said...

I'll take hurricanes over tornadoes any day. Hate the Wizard of Oz simply because of the tornado. Very few basements in Florida. I lost power during a bad thunderstorm recently and had to run out afterwards and pick up new flashlights. Hope yours is back on soon.

bcats said...

glad everyone is ok stay safe and keep us updated.

meowmeowmans said...

Wow, we're glad you're safe. We are purring and praying for you, and hoping that power is restored soon.