02 July 2012

Monday Musings...
(Post Mini Apocalypse Edition)
Okay, so ,maybe the FOUR HORSEMEN didn't really show up and ride through Ft. Wayne...but in some cases, it seemed they were saddling up.
The GOOD news is...we're still alive and well at the "Fortress".
The BAD news (for the locals) is...we 're still alive and well (at the "Fortress" )...LOL.
It all began at 1457 Hrs on Friday...that's when we "went dark" (and ran silent, but not by choice or design)...the clock stopped, the computers crashed, the A/C and fridge ran no longer, and we were pretty much transported IMMEDIATELY back into the 18th century (where's George Washington when you NEED him?).
Doc Brown and his DeLorean couldn't have done a better job!
-- Getting SOME type of communication (for us) was a chore, as Wifey needed to charge her cell phone up, and the land-line was on Verizon FioS, which had resorted to battery backup that eventually failed, leaving us without ANY phone service, until Mrs. Bobby G. recharged her phone from her car.
Well, she was with a "professional" when it comes to someone who can deal with spontaneously WEIRD situations...LOL!
-- We did have the foresight to grab us a hand-crank radio a few years back, and we still have a couple other portables that run on batteries, so that was fine.
We had "ears" at that point.
After the power was off for an hour, we both figured it was time to take inventory of what we NEED to do in the order we need to do it.
(...training kicked into overdrive...)
We had already gone grocery shopping THAT morning, so running out of anything (except patience) wasn't an issue, plus our pantry is always stocked up for at least 2 weeks worth of grub and liquids like juices, soda and bottled water.
Our main concern was loosing any perishables, as the fridge was gonna be MIA from this point until power came back.
 (Ditto the A/C naturally and anything that required electricity on a regular basis.)
We turned on WOWO (which did a exemplary job of staying up-to-date with ALL the local news, after they got a backup generator for their station when THEY lost power...we were listening to Pat White on another AM station up to that point.
MY hat's off to Greg Henson, Zack Bonahoom, Dave Wheaton (and all the gang there) for staying the course with this storm and it's aftermath, keeping us up-to-date..
-- As the sun dove towards the setting horizon, it was obvious that power would not be restored in the short-term interim, and since all the street and utility pole lights were affected, our neighborhood would wind up "darker than usual", if you get my drift.
No worries there...that's what a 12 gauge pump is for, and I slept with that baby within reach, as well as the 2 pistols.
The house fared well overnight...didn't heat up as bad as I thought, as cloud cover the day before kept the sun away, but with no A/C, wifey and I knew it would get worse the following day.
We had both refrained from going into the fridge for fear of loosing what cooling was available to keep the foods fresh, and our main concern was the MILK (1 1/2 gallons to be exact). The freezer was packed, so the foods would keep one another frozen for at least a day...perhaps two (word to the wise there, better a packed freezer than an empty one...always).
-- The Lovely Mrs. Bobby G. decided she'd venture out and see what was open for breakfast because we had CEREAL for dinner the previous night (Southgate Plaza was WITH power...go figure with no B/U generator).
The manner of the locations of the outage were beyond odd.
So, I held down the fort alone...for about 2 hours...?!?
When she finally got back, she told me she had to drive down to DECATUR to find any place that had breakfast - the BK nearest us was a madhouse, as was the Renaissance restaurant (missing staff) near Southtown, and Wifey made the call to head OUT of town.
She couldn't call me on her cell to update me because:
a) "I" don't have a cell phone.
b) The battery on the Fios phone line crapped out.
(Note to self 1- see about bypassing Fios with a dedicated hard line with a standard phone soon -
That shouldn't be hard to do - I've done T-COMMS hookups in the past...another one of my many lifetines)
As for ambient lighting around the house (which gets pretty damn DARK , especially after the sun goes down, and there's nothing OUTSIDE that shines in, except the solar PATIO LIGHTING..seriously), we had a small LED lantern I got a few years back for the hell of it...gave off a good amount of light, too (takes 4 AA batteries), and you can read by it.
Both of us carried small LED torches I got on eBay for a buck a while back, and we had PLENTY of batteries of all types, so we could SEE where the hell we had to go (bathroom excursions via flashlight...whatta trip!).
Anyway, Wifey and I enjoyed a rather cool breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausage and homefries, courtesy of some small place in Decatur, Indiana, for which we THANK you.
Listening to the radio, the prospect of getting power restored (soon for us on the SE side) wasn't looking all that good.
And neither was one of our tree limbs that apparently had snapped and came to rest on the crest of our garage roof. It straddled the roof line nicely, so there was no chance of it sliding down and blocking the driveway.
-- The sun was up by now for a while, and the house was starting to heat up a bit, so we opened as many doors and windows NOT facing the streets, so as to at least have SOME air move about the first floor, and with a slight breeze, it wasn't that bad...reminded me of my childhood when we didn't have A/C.
Wifey did chat with a few folks in her breakfast-seeking travels,and heard that a neighborhood called CROWN COLONY already had power back up...
Now, that's odd, because that is located on the...(...all together, gang...)...SOUTHEAST SIDE of Ft. Wayne (as are we), and coincidently, that's the area ( I believe) where our 6th district councilman GLYNN HINES LIVES...imagine that.
After hearing that and getting pissed off (which doesn't aid in keeping one's cool in ANY way, shape, or form) I wondered how OTHER such city council members were doing, as well as the mayor (King Henry) and his loyal court?
I do know that damn near most of the city was "S.O.L." on the power thing, as was much of the immediate surrounding area and small towns.
By this time, it was late morning, better than 16 hours into the blackout, and still no sign of relief, save for AEP bringing in some additional "troops" from neighboring states to assist in power restoration...(good call and props to them for hitting the ground running on this one).
So...what does a married couple do when there's nothing TO DO?
Well, I brought out the patio table umbrella, and dug out something we call DOMINOES!
(with a breeze blowing, playing cards wasn't gonna cut it...and dice bounce on the glass table top too much)
Wifey dug out another board game, and we really had a nice time, in spite of the near apocalypse unfolding around us.
Others had some MAJOR branches come down, and one Hispanic house was out there, chain-sawing the tree trunk down to manageable sizes, stacking them ALONG THE CURB...kudos to them for doing a decent job ofimmediate cleanup!
Perhaps there may be hope for this part of the city...maybe,
On the other hand, the black woman across the street took the EASY (read lazy) way out...she tossed ALL her branches INTO THE GUTTER (street)...nice job, buttwipe!
(that's NOT what the city said to do, anyway)
As I said, we pretty much had OUR damage during that ice storm several years ago, so I guess mother nature decided to "share our wealth".
But, we still were ALL without power...that was the issue.
-- Mrs. Bobby G . later called the local Pizza Hut (which was open and operating at Southgate) and grabbed us lunch (was more like an early dinner - amazing how you lose track of time when nothing works...LOL)
Well, we did have battery wall clocks that told us the time, and we powered up my Mom's ancient "SPLASH DANCE" radio (play that IN the shower - remember those?) and were following the reports of progress on WOWO.
(note to self 2 - get a battery powered CD player...or better yet, a DVD player!!!)
What gets me, is how we take for granted ALL the technology we are so damn DEPENDENT UPON.
(yeah, that's includes even me...dammit!)
I had to step back several times and remember my youth, when we barely had a TV...it was ALL radio...and word-of-mouth.
Think of it as kinda like camping out...without all the "fun".
(that would be a bivouac in a combat zone, wouldn't it, Bob?)
-- Shelters were open for those with breathing and other health conditions, other locations were handing out bags of ice...much of it provided by AEP themselves - nice job. Gas generators were being snatched up as fast as they could put them out, and with gas prices dipping to around $3.25 a gallon (or even lower) it makes sense for some to go for it...we're even thinking about it now.
You have to remember that with an event of this scope, your Internet AND your cable/satellite will go OUT (and not to a movie)...so maybe that dusty copy of MONOPOLY or CHUTES AND LADDERS might come in handy some day...you never can tell.
-- By now, the afternoon was waining, Wifey and I were yahtzee'd out and we polished off the melted ice cream in the freezer (was like a FROSTY from Wendy's actually), and we retired back to the patio to grab some kind of cool (BTW, shaving by lantern light IS a lot like camping...in one's own house).
While outside, we were hearing reports of some parts of town coming back online, so I was hopeful that we'd be up soon...exactly HOW soon was what I couldn't figure out.
It was then Wifey noticed the porch lights across the street were on (street lights weres still out), and we both got real hopeful.
We also saw an AEP cherry-picker truck canvass the alley, so THEY were in our area.
It wasn't long after that, Wifey noticed the family room light was on, and I was shouting my pleasure in a job well done by AEP.
And then...we ALL rested...for a bit...!
The next thing was going around the house, resetting things, setting clocks, VCRs, and then assessing what ALL we lost from the fridge.
I can truthfully say that (today) I am enjoying my morning coffee with the milk that we feared would go bad...it has not.
The OTHER gallon hadn't been opened, and was still fresh, as were all the lunch meats we purchased back on Friday.
The ice cream was ALL we seemed to have lost (most of it was lost down our tummies...LOL).
Overall, Not...too...bad.
Now, all we have to do is call for the tree guys to come out and get that branch (about a thick as two of me) that's on the garage removed...and we already know the sooner we call, the sooner we get put "on the list", because ALL those people will be busy for quite some time.
-- As of today, there are STILL over 50K+ citizens without power...but the DOWNTOWN area (usually not that busy on a weekend) was up back with power less than 12 hours after the blackout...the areas HARDEST HIT, like the quadrants with the GREATEST DENSITY of population, the highest number of SENIORS, and the highest number of "poor" people (actual or perceived) is DOWN here on the...(...all together, gang...)...SOUTHEAST SIDE...and we were without power for damn near TWO days!
Wifey mentioned that it was nice of the city to toss the SE side of town under the bus...at least that showed that CITILINK was running, but I knew EXACTLY where she was coming from.
In that, the city had it's priorities skewed (imho)...
We heard on the radio that getting ANYTHING down here was a madhouse at what FEW majors stores we have...and traffic UPTOWN was horrendous - no traffic lights for over a day, so snarls and hot tempers were to be found anywhere at any time.
Accidents at intersections were frequent (because people don't know FOUR-WAY-STOP protocol...dumbasses).
I know most all the locals around us went elsewhere (to keep cool...and to create mayhem) because they sure weren't down here doing it.
-- I hear that this morning, the FWPD chief is even out DIRECTING TRAFFIC...(looking good, Rus...for a change).
Things down here are very slowly returning to as close to normal as they're even going to get...
Elsewhere, people are picking up, cleaning up, stocking up, and doing what they need to do, and that includes helping one another.
(didn't really see any of that down here, however...that's the way THESE people shake...pretty sad.)
I would be interested to see how any of you from other parts of Hoosierland made out, so feel free to comment or shoot me an email and I'll post your stories and comments if you want.
It might not have been the author's hackneyed fallback line - "It was a dark and stormy night"...but it was defintely an adventure, and an exercise regarding PREPAREDNESS...
We didn't worry all that much...we were prepped, and I'd rather have all I need to get by, even if I never use any of it at all, than to be needful in such a time as we experienced over the last 72 hours.
-- Maybe it all comes down to asking oneself:
"What would Jack Bauer do?"
He only had 24 HOURS...we had at least 72 (and still counting for many)...
Have yourselves a good week.
Do what needs to be done, and make the best decisions you can to work through this trial.
You have it in you to do so...all you have to do is KNOW it.
Be well, make a difference to someone, and...
Stay SAFE out there, America.


ms nk rey said...

I was luckier than most down here in Podunk. I was with out power for about 3 hours. I have an unlisted number to call since I am on "life support" and they are always quick to fix the problem and always call to check on me. Way to go Duke Energy! I appreciate you. I lost one large limb and it will be taken care of tomorrow. Other than having the stuffing scared out of me everything is fine down this way. It does seem the storm worsened the further east it went. All in all we were very lucky down here.

CWMartin said...

So you were Sunday afternoon when you got juice back? We were Sunday AM (as you can see at my place). Glad that the jungle managed to keep its distance, and that the fortress wasn't breached. King Henry said he was still out Sunday afternoon, so I'm thinking Hines just got butt-lucky. We had lots of stuff open NEAR us, just not on our side of Washington Ctr.

Bob G. said...

It was weird, but your name came up a FEW times during the outage, and I had NO way to contact you and see if you were OK.
I was hoping that with your COPD, that you'd be on some priority list.
Glad to hear you fared well and didn't lose power for too long.

--The storm entered around WAYNEDALE here (they got it BAD), and carried itself ENE through the city exiting past New haven...so "we" got the brunt of the action...regardless of what the media sources (and KING HENRY) tell you.

The only thing that had me scared was the potential to shoot someone who wanted into our place in complete darkness...like having "Charlie in the wire" and no way to see him.
Better to KNOW where the "enemy" is located.
Could have been worse (and for some, it was)

Thanks so much for stopping by today and commenting.

Stay safe (and stay cool) down there.

Bob G. said...

It was more like Sunday (late) evening...around 9:30PM!

We're fairly SECURE at the fortress...we had the battlements "manned" (more like "bunnied and squirreled"...LOL)
And the ramparts were NEVER in any danger of breaching.
(that MOAT would help even more, though, if the city would permit it)

And speaking of "them"...
The city seemed more concerned with BUSKERFEST and the WING-DINGS (Memorial Coliseum NEVER lost power...probably got B/U generators anyway) than with the seniors or folks with kids or medical conditions down here...

I suppose we had things open NEAR us (Southgate being one fo them), but with ALL the locals around, some causing fights outside of the KROGERS, according to WOWO sources, the only thing "near" us would be whatever was close by SOMEWHERE ELSE other than down here.

Be nice to still find out how the city LEADERS made out with getting THEIR power back...could be some nice dirt to dig up there.
(Yes, I hope Dan Turkette reads this...HE would find out...lol)

Glad YOU GUYS got back up and running sooner, though...
Guess you can knock us down now and again...just NEVER knock us OUT, right?

Hey, thanks for stopping by for the update today.
Much appreciated.

Stay safe (and saty cool) up there.

Slamdunk said...

Glad you and the family survived with no discharges.

We somehow lucked out here to your east and were not hit at all by the power outages that plague the poor folks in about every state surrounding us.

Bob G. said...

Great to see you back again.

Yeah, we're getting fairly good at "dodging bullets" in THIS city...no matter WHO's tossing 'em...LOL.

We call it "training by rote".

Many are likening this to a LAND HURRICANE, and they're probably not that far from that description.

I DO know our NEW FENCE did REAL WELL. Didn't even budge in those high winds.
The noys at GLEAVE FENCING did one decent job.

Thanks for taking time to stop by and comment today.

Stay safe out there.