BlastedI don't even know where to start on this blog. It seems like it has been a month since I had access to the outside world other than a cell phone and a radio--and I LOATHE radios! Apparently even the cell phone had its bad days (including Christmas Day).
It all started on Monday. I was working from home due to MORE snow and posting photos of our crazy world gone wild with snow, ice, bad streets, terrible commutes, etc. I lost access to the web and cable around noon and roughly 30 mins. later, I lost power. I'd already had power issues over the weekend and thought that was behind me. The power finally came back 4 or 5 hours later but the cable and hi-speed connection was still out. Having no internet also takes out my phone since I use a VoiP phone. The power returned briefly at one point during the day and I rushed into the kitchen and made soup and hot tea to warm up. It went off again but was back on later. Any time I got it back, I immediately made hot food and cranked on the heat to warm things up while the opportunity availed itself. Power stabilized after Monday night--that was a relief and at least gave me options to use the computer, charge phone and MP3 player, bake or cook, etc.
The loss of the internet was the big problem. Without it I couldn't work from home and I also was unable to get to the office to work so I was out of luck. I seem to have been in the worse pocket of the city for all the problems--at least my co-workers were able to work from home. That was Tuesday.
Wednesday, I thought I'd try to make it to the park&ride and get a bus. I called TriMet (our mass transit) and was told my bus was cancelled. I called my boss again. No internet, no bus, no way I can drive to work. I was also supposed to go to a yearly Christmas Eve party and had to cancel.
I did get in the car in the afternoon since they finally cleared my street. I figured once I got past that it wouldn't be bad. I HAD NO IDEA. The streets were like heavily rutted dirt roads. Since they use no chemicals here, we had huge chunks of frozen snow and ice all over the streets. If you had a high enough vehicle, it wasn't too bad but as low as the average car is--it was awful. Because it had warmed up a bit, it was slushier than rock-hard but it was an effort to get to a store a mile from the house and back. I decided to stay put again and not risk an accident.
Thursday--no point in leaving. Everything was closed (or should be) and we had freezing rain most of the day. It just got harder and rougher on the streets. Oh, and then the sheriff visited (so much for Santa and the chimney!) and scared the bejeezus out of me and kept me awake most of the night. HOHOHO...
Friday--I called TriMet again. All buses were cancelled. I decided I'd offer to go to a local hotel and work if my boss wanted to foot the bill. I couldn't drive to downtown and I couldn't get a bus but maybe I could make it out to the hotel. He told me to forget it--the streets were even worse than before Christmas Day and icier and more dangerous. So, another day at home with no cable, no internet, no phone. That night I heard the wind blowing hard and wondered if it was finally bringing in some warmer temperatures since we never made it above freezing except once for 2 weeks since the snow first started.
Saturday--sure enough it was warmer in the morning and I turned on the radio long enough to listen to the weather and heard we were going to a balmy 46 for the day. FINALLY, I could get out and the streets would be safe again and hopefully all melted. I talked to my mom and sister before leaving and assured them I was doing fine, had power, still no cable or internet but managing and going out since the streets were finally in good shape, if wet.
I went to the Dollar Store. I was wrong about them not having sales. All the Christmas stuff was at 50% off. How cool is that?? So, I bought some stuff for next year and went to another place for some stuff and headed home. I remembered I hadn't taken my books (which I had no idea if they were overdue or not with no web) to the book-drop and also needed to pick up batteries for my kitchen scale. Amazingly my batteries quit on Christmas Day. Being without my kitchen scale is nearly as bad as being without the web (almost!). So, back out to the drug-store for the batteries and take the books to the book-drop. The parking lot was clear except for large walls of snow where they had plowed and the snow was higher and taking longer to melt. The rain and warmer temps were making quick work of the meltdown but these walls were at least 2 feet tall and would take a while. Unfortunately they made the aisles tight to get down between the parked cars and limited parking but it was doable.
I went in, got my batteries and decided to visit the grocery store next door. I SO wish I hadn't bothered. I came out and headed to my car. I noticed a guy whose van was parked across several spaces and the driver standing and writing on a tablet. My first thought was "he's hit someone and is leaving a note". He had and he was. He hit me. I just stood there. I wanted to cry. For two weeks I'd avoided driving to keep my car from an accident and on the day it was all melted my car got sideswiped by an idiot who tried to squeeze his van down an aisle too narrow for him.
I will give the guy credit that he was ABJECTLY apologetic and was honest enough to be leaving a note on the car. It was just timing that I showed up and talked to him. I came home sick from anger and frustration. It took me most of the night to get back to a place where I felt better about it all. It's not a lot of damage but it always makes me sick to be in an accident and have to deal with all the grief of getting the car repaired and back to normal. The irony of it was just too much for me.
Today. I went out and started cleaning off the deck. A lot of mess from all the peanut hulls and seed that got buried under snow and uneaten. While I was out there, my neighbor next door hollered over and asked me if I wanted him to come drag the downed branches over to his place to cut up for firewood. I guess it pays if you have a neighbor who is willing to clean up a storm mess to get free firewood.
My sister was worried about me being alone and no one noticing any problems with me but I've always found the kindness of people comes out during disaster or weather calamity. I figured he would come get the larger branches and I'd clean up the rest but later I looked out and he and his son and some guy with a chainsaw were cleaning up everything for me. I baked some cookies to take him and his son later. Hopefully it will show them I appreciated the help and clean-up. I realize he gets some free wood but he also did a great clean-up for me that would have taken me longer or I'd have had to hire someone to do.
I'll post the other photos in my snow album to show you the amount of stuff that was there and cleaned up. I'm sure that's why it took so long to get the cable and internet back--all the downed limbs and iced-up lines.
The good news is I'm back with cable TV and internet and I have to admit it is a delight to have both again. At times I felt like I was living on another planet for a week with little contact with anyone (other than the mail carrier) and no sense of the world. My most frequent visitors were the birds, squirrels and my raccoons.
It could have been worse. I hear there are still people with power issues and I know there were people without food and comfort for their Christmas Day 2008 so I feel I should feel more blessed than blasted. Do I still love winter? Absolutely. I just prefer it a little less blasted and a little more normal. Or at least better snow removal. :) My friends in MN hee-hawed about the city being "crippled" by a foot of snow but in MN we wouldn't have been snowbound by it and rarely lost power over it.
I told my sister I had to laugh when I opened her Christmas gift. It couldn't have been more perfect for the occasion. :)
Christmas 2008 will definitely go down as a memorable one. A quiet one. A frustrating one. A surreal one.
Oh, my biggest blessing of the season was a library, CD books, a Mac and an MP3 player - all combined. Thanks to my library, I recently got a bunch of CD books, ripped them easily with my Mac laptop and had them available to keep me sane when I needed some entertainment in my isolation.
Oh, I have to thank Robert Jordan for having a great Wheel of Time series with a LOT of BIG books that I fortunately ripped most of and had available for listening. You can only read so much with tired eyes, bake so much with limited supplies and I felt connected to a world--even if a fantasy one. And a few DVDs were helpful too.
I feel loved here being missed so much! Believe me I missed you all too! I'm not sure I'll ever feel I really caught up with everything here! :)
Hope everyone else had a great holiday season!