22 December 2008

Monday Musings
(The THULE AFB Kinda Cold Edition)
We had a memorable weekend...and for ALL the wrong reasons.
I know all of you have been wondering WTF was I going to be referring to about this upcoming post? Well, READ ON, faithful followers and let me regale you with another one of my "Tales From The Southside"...
On 18 December, we here in Fort Wayne were warned of an impending ICE STORM.
No big deal, been through plenty back in Philly, and I even recalled an instance where I had to DRIVE in one (in a previous post).
So, come the morning of the 19th (which was basically cancelled due to weather, as I said to my wife it would be), what greeted me OUTSIDE was a bit on the "wow" side...
Tree branches literally COVERED the ground, blocking streets, and the access to our garage. And these were LARGE, honking branches, many were spurs from the main trunk, measuring OVER 20 FEET in length.
Traffic was non-existent (as it should have been), simply because everyone ELSE in MY neighborhood tends to get up just before NOON. I even saw someone who looked a LOT like our Homeland Security Director, Bernie Beier, get out of his police-tagged SUV, dragging some limbs from the street to make it passable.
Most all the houses around here had SOME branches down, and we were no exception.
I spent most of the morning lopping off dead and broken branches, sawing up the long pieces, and shovelling the smaller branches and piles of twigs away from the garage doors, in the event we had to make a run somewhere for something (shit tends to happen at times like that anyway). After all that was done, I hauled this old body back inside to warm the hell up. Funny thing, all day, you could see branches snapping and falling, due to the weight of the ice. I even got to see a few huge trunks split, but we were still doing OK.
Until about 1540 hours...
I was crapped out and just starting to nap, when I heard something LOUD...and CLOSE to the house. I immediately went from window to window, and near the rear of the house I noticed two LARGE trunks back in the driveway. And drooping down alongside was the main POWER LINE to the house. The line ripped the weatherhead from the house, and was draped over our wooden garden fence and along the side of the house.
But the REALLY weird thing to THAT, was the POWER, FiOS and the PHONE were (and still are) STILL FUNCTIONING!
This was one of "those" times you wish you had a casino down the damn street, because your luck took a sudden UPSWING.
We called the FWFD to notify them of a downed power line, and called AEP as well. There were no sparks, and no arcing from the line, but there was NO WAY IN HELL I was going near it. having been zapped in the past kinda makes one a bit more "shy" in situations like this.
We also got in touch with our tree service, and when they came out, they couldn't believe we STILL had power.
Neither could I, and I was sweating whether or not it would go out at ANY moment.
My wife and I started making up our "Plan B". We cranked up the heat in case we lost power, took stock of eats, made sure that candles, oil lamps and batteries were nearby (I like to stockpile that crap anyway). Had my 2-way radios close at hand, and the wife's cell phone fully-charged.
We didn't lose power...
But as it got dark, we noticed that our curb strip street lighting was out up and down the street. One of our branches pulled out a line that fed the utility pole the lights were hooked up to, so my best guess is that when the circuit's broke...everything goes out.
When the city guys came to gather up that wire, they also told us they couldn't believe we STILL had power. (is there an echo around her?)
On the morning of the 20th (after a very sleepless night), those magnificent suspender-clad, boot-wearing FWFD boys on Engine 12 came by to tape off our property where the power line had fallen. Even they couldn't believe we STILL had power. (OK, I am hearing an ECHO now)
I told them it's not doing me any good, as long as I can't get EITHER car out of EITHER garage. The power line had draped across the driveway, effectively blocking access and egress.
And those big branches didn't help one bit either.
Later in the day, the electrical contractor came by to assess the situation. We need a whole new weatherhead...figured that much. And Verizon came by to reattach THEIR line to their equipment (can't wait to see THAT bill).
OK, one down, several to go.
Tuesday is the day both the contractor AND the power company will be here to disconnect, repair and then reconnect all the stuff damaged by the storm. We're looking at several hours of "down" time, so no big whoop. At least we can free our cars and get somewhere OR anywhere else.
Wednesday, the tree guys come out and top off the tree and remove all the downed branches.
We're looking at close to spending a grand for the whole deal...
'Tis truly the season to GIVE...just not in THIS amount, and certainly NOT for these reasons.
But, thank God for a little something I like to call: HOMEOWNERS' INSURANCE!
We easily made the deductible, and we're just waiting for the insurance guy to come out. Fortunately, as you can see HERE, I've got pictures- to let the appraiser see. I mean if he gets here AFTER we have everything FIXED, he's not gonna see much "damage" and therefore not want to give us the money we need to be compensated, is he?
Sorry people, been down that street BEFORE, and I can say that PREPARATION beforehand is EVERYTHING!
He won't be able to argue the pics I have HERE, will he? With the BITTER COLD temps we have Sunday, I'm just holding my breath that more doesn't happen. I will confess that not much more CAN occur. All the branches that could have f$cked things up are pretty much down now, thanks to Mother Nature.
What is amusing in all of this (you mean there IS?) is to see how OTHERS handle this. Well, let's put it THIS way: they're NOT doing one damn thing at all. But they sure can stand out there and look at everything real well.
I haven't see anyone doing anything but make sure they can "slalom" up and down the damn street, and some of the houses DO have structural damage. Then again, they're Section 8 "HUDders", who haven't worked a day in all the time they've been on MY street, so what can you expect? Better to sit back on their asses and let someone ELSE do the work.
God forbid THEY lift a finger or offer to help someone else.
Eventually, the city will get tired of looking at the mess, and come to the rescue of these lazy-asses...AGAIN.
But one thing above all is certain...it's been one HELLUVA holiday season for US...SO FAR.
Didn't really plan to spend THIS MUCH MONEY for Christmas this year (trying to save for a house FAR from THIS madding crowd AND city), but like we say back in PHILLY:
"Ya gotta do what 'ya gotta do".
So,yeah, it COULD always be WORSE...just not by much.
In the meantime, stay where it's WARM, bundle up IF you have to go out, limit your exposure time outside (under TEN minutes is a good start, trust me), make sure the car has an emergency kit in it, and have some form of "COMMS" with you in case you get stranded!
Oh, and also...ALCOHOL will NOT keep you WARM...it just makes being COLD a little bit more ENJOYABLE!
(Believe me on THIS one...LOL)
((Editor's Note: As of 1100hrs today, we're undergoing some "rolling outages"...just what I want right now...gotta love it, right?))


tim zank said...

Holy Shit Bob! Talk about an eventful few days! You're lucky it never arc'd and set you ablaze!!

I sure hope your schedule works out as planned, you know how that goes (yeah I said we'll be there Tuesday, just not THIS tuesday!) sheesh, been there done that!

Keep us posted on progress!! (or lack thereof)

Bob G. said...

Thanks for the sentiments.

"Eventful" doesn't even BEGIN to describe the "fun"...

...never thought of myself THAT way...better change that up now, eh?
Wonder WHERE my "Guardian Angel" plans to take his/her vacation AFTER all this crap is over?

They certainly EARNED it...LOL.


indy said...

i've been praying for all my friends and family up in the fort. hopefully you have been part of my prayers even though i didnt know about the mess you got. wow, I cant beleive you got power. \
the weird thing is from looking at your picks our houses almost look alike. plus we both got those long driveways. i just dont have a sidewalk to shovel. stay warm. by the way do you have one of those silver type blankets and do they work if you ever had one or tried on out. kinda "space age" blanket.

merry christmas.

Bob G. said...

We got all we need right now, and then some.
(blame that on survival training...LOL)
But I WILL draw the line at eating any BUGS I find around!
(that's what canned SPAM is for...)

And if the cats start looking edible, we'll know we've got "cabin fever" BAD.

Thanks again for the concern.
Much appreciated.


Jana said...

Thank God for that digital camera, right?

I hate how insurance companies pull shit sometimes (or is it ALL the time?).

Glad that you and D are OK.


Bob G. said...

We'll see how things go today....and when he sees the pistol on my hip...LOL.

(or AM I?)