Sunday, December 17, 2006

It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Maxina World

You have just experienced the Great Windstorm of ‘06. OK, I have have. Those of you who live outside of the Prisstopolis area were only able to watch it on TV. It started with some rainy weather earlier in the week. Wednesday was quiet as were the daylight hours of Thursday. My son got home at his usual time, then my daughter came home from school early, they had canceled extracurricular activities.

At 4PM the sky went dark except for lightning, which is a rare phenomenon around here. Looking out of the windows, I could see the 200 foot Douglas Firs bending back and forth. Every few minutes the lights would dim and then come back to full. I made dinner early, then checked out my usual internet interests. At 9:30, the power went down completely. I heard groans from the rec room, the PrissKids were going to miss tonight’s episode of My Name is Earl, they were desolated. Since I just find that show annoying, all I could do was laugh.

While the PrissKids kept themselves amused by dancing LED flashlight patterns on the walls to the beat of their MP3 players, I found that I was able to stay on the internet. The laptop was fully charged, and my telephone landline connection was solid. I finally shut it off after midnight with 20% battery reserve remaining. On Friday morning, Zbiggy turned the machine on, clicked on and found that classes were canceled. The district site had crashed.

Midday I took the car out in search of coffee and wi-fi, and a working electrical outlet. The Tulleys’ coffee isn’t very good, but they have free wi-fi, and we could always order cocoa, it’s hard to mess that up. But the outage was widespread. Most stores were closed, and the traffic lights were off.

After driving around and getting stuck in traffic, I stopped at a grocery store. They had partial power from a generator, and everyone was shopping in the dark. My check card scanned and debited without a problem. Infrastructure for separating people from their money has suddenly leapt forward. At home, I used the last of my firewood to warm up and make mocha java. That’s when I made my last post. We lit Holiday and Shabbat candles, watched the fire, and eventually went to bed early.

By Saturday morning, the house was getting cold. Letting the PrissKids sleep late, I was on the road by 8:30. My first objective was more Chanukah candles, then maybe some lappy power, and oh yes, firewood. Unlike Prissville, Seattle had power, so candle-shopping was no problem. Then I went to StarWars, but their wi-fi required me to sign up online for tmoblie. A conversation with someone who was actually drinking their coffee, led to trying another coffee spot, one with really good bagels, but their wi-fi was suffering from messed up settings. Plus, I didn’t want to stand in line.

Taking a different route home, I espied that elusive animal, the roadside stack of free wood. There were jagged one and two-foot sections of two by fours and one by fours in the corner of a construction site. Wet and muddy, but not green, I knew that they would burn. My next stop was ye olde peace vigil.

It was the usual the hour of waving at drivers and holding antiwar signs. I caught up on whose power was still off, and discussed the latest Jimmy Carter book. Across the parking lot, one of the peaceniks was loading a hand truck of freshly sawn logs into his pickup. I went over to investigate. Just out of sight, around the corner, another activist was chainsawing and splitting a windfall tree. I asked if some of it was available. He said that there would be plenty, but that I shouldn’t burn it yet.

Seeing that I had every intention of trying to burn it right away, he directed me to the smaller branches, and then offered to bring me some dried wood from home. This was seriously cool.

Back home with wood both scrounged and shared, things were cheery. The PrissKids lit candles for day two. I toasted turkey sandwiches and made an awesome fruit compote. Power came back in the early evening, we were out for 45 hours. Some neighborhoods within a few miles still haven’t been restored.


PsychoToddler said...

Sounds like quite the adventure. I don't envy you your internet withdrawal.

Prisstopolis said...

I missed the internet. The kids missed TV. I said that if the power never came back, they'd spend the rest of their lives telling stories about the magic talky box.