Sunday, November 6, 2011


A week before our Halloween nor'easter, I was on the roof pruning away potentially harmful limbs that were near a power line (not to mention the roof itself). Of course, I had no idea, at the time, that a big snowstorm was on the way--I was only up there because Yuriko's dad had suggested that we do a little pruning before winter arrived. Good thing I didn't put it off too long--who knew winter would orchestrate an October overture?

When the storm came, I knew that despite my efforts of the previous week, we were going to lose power. I kept thinking about the only other big October storm I could remember, which I think was in 1988. At the time, I was quite a young lad, living in upstate New York--near Albany--excited by Tommy Lasorda's Dodgers and their march through the postseason. (I remember my neighbor was a huge Orel Hershiser fan.) When the storm hit, all the trees still had their leaves, and as a result, there were branches down everywhere. We lost power for an entire week, and had to move in with my grandmother, who lived across the Massachusetts border.

I had a feeling the same sort of thing was bound to happen with this storm. There are a lot of big, old trees on our block, and most of them still had a lot of their leaves. There was no way they would hold all that snow. As the branches started snapping Saturday afternoon, we felt like we were under siege, and I figured it was just a matter of time. Around 3pm, while I was washing the dishes, the lights went out. No electricity also meant, of course, no heat--but it also meant no stove, no water (well pump), and no toilet flushing (sewer pump). Yikes. 

Our neighbors went out in their SUV to pick up some Chinese food for dinner, and they brought us some won-ton soup, fried rice, and sesame chicken. We ate by candlelight, played chess, and went to bed early. The house was pretty cold when we woke up Sunday morning (a little over 50). We then went out for breakfast at a diner, and spent the afternoon at a friend's apartment, who was nice enough to let us warm up and shower. We ended up going back to the same friend's apartment Monday night, as our power was still not restored, and we really didn't want to deal with another 30 degree night in an unheated house. 

When we returned home Tuesday morning, the power was finally back, and it was quite a relief. 

So this was our third "extreme weather event" in the past couple months. Are the gods upset? Are they trying to tell us to stop burning fossil fuels? Take away my fossil fuels for a few days, and I feel pretty damned powerless. I guess until there are some affordable alternatives out there, we're going to be stuck in a pretty vicious circle.

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