Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Dern Such Weather!

My dad used to tell about what he called “a little character” at the top of our hometown paper every day that always said the words comprising the title of this post. Rain or shine, hot or cold, his message was always the same. I was thinking that it might have been Snuffy Smith, but when I looked for an original image or quote online, there were indications that it could have been Barney Google. Regardless, I can’t find proof of either one, so I’m no wiser on the matter than before my “research.” One thing is for sure, with the weather we’ve had in the last 24 hours, this is one time that I’d second the thought.

At bedtime last night, it was 52 degrees and raining. By morning, it was in the teens and snowing a bit. My wife, myself and the dog went to town about nine, got us a McDonald’s breakfast, went to Walmart for a while and picked up a few things, gassed up and drove a loop around town. Heading back home about noon, the read-out on my dash said it was 16 degrees, then 14, then 12. At the end of our 15 minute ride home, it was trying to blink to 10, but not quite succeeding. Planning on staying home for the next 48 hours due to predictions of even lower temperatures, I first went online to catch up with Blogger, Facebook and emails. Then, after doing a little reading, making a prolonged stop in the little room (more reading), followed by taking the dog out, I went to the basement about three o’clock to do a little organizing. At 4, the electric went out.

After going upstairs to discuss the matter with my wife and the dog, I called the power company and spoke to their pretend person, who (after telling me in Spanish that if I wanted to hear the message in “Espanol,” to press a certain number) predicted the repairs would be made by 6:30. After much discussion and a five o’clock vote (with the dog abstaining), it was decided that it was better to drive around in a warm truck than sit in a rapidly cooling house. (By that time, it was 3 degrees, with a windchill of negative 11.) So, for an-hour-and-a-half, we drove slowly to and around town, with the only stop at about 6:30 for another meal at McDonald’s. By then, it was 1 degree with a windchill of negative 15.

Arriving home at 7, we were greeted by a dark neighborhood, except for those homes that had generators. Calling the power company once more, the pretend person on the other end of the line (after the Spanish blurb) told me that it would be 9 before the repair was complete. All things considered, I chose to take them up on their offer to call me when the repair was made, then we headed back to town. At 8, I got a call from another pretend person telling me that they had made some repairs that MAY have resulted in our service being restored, and asking whether we had power at the moment. Not knowing the answer to the question, I headed home to investigate. We were happy to find that power was, indeed, restored. The dog was happy, too. Unfortunately, the house had cooled enough and the weather had worsened enough, that it appears the furnace will have an uphill battle to catch up in weather that is supposed to be even worse tonight and tomorrow.

Before this even happened, the power company was warning that the added draw on power, due to the harsh weather, might cause power outages. That tells me that they knew it was coming (due to many years of not up-grading their system) and were trying to shift the blame from the greedy and incompetent management, to the electron-hungry consumers who were crazy enough to prefer not freezing to death. The only other logical scenario would sound like a conspiracy theory, so I won’t go there, since almost no-one wants to hear such things, even when they’re true. Something else came to mind, though. If the problem was fixable, wouldn’t it have been avoidable in the first place? I’ve learned that suits get very nervous when you pose such questions, so I guess I won’t call Mon Power and ask.

It’s now after 1 in the morning. I finally decided to put a blanket on my bed tonight, despite sleeping nearly year ‘round with only a sheet. (Fat guys can normally do that.) I also noticed my ears feeling funny, like I’d gotten too much wind. So, hoping to avoid an earache or head cold, I took a bandana, made a “mask” of it, similar to what outlaws and cattle drovers would use, and put it on my head “backwards” like a scarf, to cover my ears. I have no mirror up here in the bedroom, but in my mind’s eye, I see a fat Rosie-the Riveter with a beard. I hope that vision of loveliness doesn’t give me nightmares.

It’s now a negative 4 degrees with a windchill of negative 23. Dern such weather! © 2014


Sunnybrook Farm said...

Everyone that I check on seems to be having it worse than me even though I am up at 3 to get our backup heat working again. The propane heat was blowing cold air which even at 3 degrees doesn't sound reasonable. I took the cover off the unit and found an error code and remembering that the furnace guy said that there was a reset, I finally found a flash light that worked(the regular one failed) I reset the system and it has gone through a cycle without screwing up.
I didn't need that rosie the riviter mental picture. Can't wait for the heat wave after dawn, 20s will feel real good.

Gorges Smythe said...

I'm glad you got the heater fixed, SF; this is no time for trouble. As for the mental image, it's a wonder of the information age that I can now negatively affect the sleep of folks all around the globe with one simple sentence! They're saying a high of 8 degrees here today. I hope they guessed too low.

c w swanson said...

"Fat guys can normally do that." Ha, ha, preach it, brother!

Gorges Smythe said...

That's about the only advantage we've got, cw, but heat we've got!

Ralph Goff said...

A sheet! Man, I have triple that even in the summer time. I can't stand the cold. Although I do survive our -40 winter weather somehow. Gorges, you need a wood stove for times when the power goes off.

Gorges Smythe said...

I've got the woodstove, Ralph; it's the chimney I lack!