My Week: Powerless

It started out rainy and got rainier and rainier. It was a terrible day to have to go grocery shopping and I just almost decided to blow it off until tomorrow when I opened the fridge door. No spinach. Very little romaine. Not much parsley at all. Unacceptable. Besides, I’d called the produce place and told them I’d be there today to pick up my oranges. So…

I bestirred myself and got ready to go. Getting to the car was a project. The rain had nowhere to go so it was standing everywhere. I went over to the neighbor’s paved driveway, picking my way carefully. Going on the other side of the truck, I managed to get to the far end of it by making myself very small and walking sideways at times. There was a rivulet running by the car that I dodged by making a giant step to get in. Whew! I was in the car with my soaked umbrella.

Going down the mountain was something else. The rain was already coming down hard but then it commenced to dump teacup-sized drops on the car. I slowed down and everyone else did, too.

My oranges loaded up, I proceeded on to Wally World and was ready to check out when I spied my hairdresser standing in the entry to the shop with, evidently, nothing to do. She saw me and smiled. I desperately needed a haircut. The frozen fruit in my cart was holding me back but not for long. I wheeled around, put it back where I’d gotten it, took my cart over to the doors leading to the produce storage and asked the young man (who looked very familiar) to let me put it where no one would get it and start putting stuff back. He wheeled it inside the double doors and parked it.

I headed back to the beauty shop and duly got my head shorn. The hairdresser thought she’d gotten it too short but I think it’s just about right. She tries to make it lay down where it doesn’t want to and I just let it stick up.

Looking for the young man to thank him proved fruitless. I retrieved my cart, got the frozen fruit back and checked out.

It wasn’t raining as hard coming home but the ground was so soft, on my last trip from the car to the house, the toe of my running shoe went down into the mud and was thoroughly covered. I took it off at the door and rinsed it in rainwater. There wasn’t anything I could do but throw my shoes in the washer along with some other things. I just hope they get dry enough to wear tomorrow.

I’m sitting here tonight listening to a critter under the house. My neighbor has a trap but I’m sure she wouldn’t want to try to do anything at the moment.

On the way to the car this morning, I emptied the rain gauge of 2.75″. That was what had fallen in the last day and a half. Fortunately, the rain had all but stopped and the ground wasn’t as soft as it was yesterday.

It was pretty steady at work all morning until I hit a bump. About 11 o’clock, I found out that I was the bank/post office person by default.

This afternoon, I stopped and filled the car up. Seems I have to do that more than usual these days. Guess all the warming up in the cold mornings made inroads for sure.

I found out today that it pays to complain. I’d gone on the Earthbound Farm site the other day and let them know I’d bought four packages of romaine hearts that had “now” coupons on them that I couldn’t use. The only thing Earthbound Farm in the whole place was romaine hearts and my purchase had to be a different product. Today, I had a nice surprise in my mailbox. They’d sent me a bunch of coupons—two for free whatever I want, two for $1 off for the same, two $.55 off, and added with two $.75 coupons I got the other day, a total of four. That could add up to something like $14. A nice trade for $4 worth of worthless coupons.

My neighbor met me at the car with a drawing of a deck I’d described to her. It was almost exactly what I had in mind except for the roof. I’ve since emailed her with my roof idea that’s a combination of mine and merm’s.

I still haven’t gotten up the nerve to try the Sheets from Itchyland again. When DD and merm were here, I’d referenced The Princess and the Pea and he had no idea what I was talking about. He said he had lived a sheltered life as a child.

It was to the bank and post office again today. And it was COLD. I’d gone back to wearing long johns and a heavy sweater. I didn’t walk. I’m a wimp. I know. You don’t have to tell me.

I talked to my neighbor about the deck and roof again today. Guess as long as I’m borrowing money to get the roof done, I might as well have the other done, too. She said they’d do the deck first. When I called about the loan, there was a bit of a hiccup but I think (I hope) it’s been solved.

It’s time for the next chapter in the story of my life so I’d better get to it.

Boy! I was sleeping so well I slept right through the alarm and was up an hour late. That kind of set the tone for the rest of the day.

I remembered to go out and start the car this morning but I didn’t make it out there in 10 minutes as I’d planned. As a result, it ran for twice that long.

It was bank/post office again today. That was the good part.

One of my co-workers is always hungry and she came into my office looking for food. I told her what I’d brought was for my meal—it wasn’t for snacks. I said if she would bring her own fruit and eat enough of it, she wouldn’t be hungry all the time. She made some remark about getting it cheap enough. Well, that really ticks me when people will spend money on an expensive car or a shiny new ________ (to quote merm) but they try to cut corners on food. I informed her that what goes INTO her body is more important than what goes ON it. She reluctantly agreed but she’ll be in the break room tomorrow with her white bread, peanut butter and jelly and then wonder why she’s hungry. Her blood sugar probably thinks it’s on a roller coaster.

Late morning, my boss called me and said she needed a check cut. Oh, woe! I do that so little it takes me forever. I couldn’t go over just when she called. Two of the registrars went home shortly after lunch and I was backup for the only one left. I’d blended up my smoothie but didn’t have time to drink it all.

When I had more than half a glass left, the registrar had to leave to go to the ER and I had two patients come to the window at almost the same time. I was registering one while she went back to schedule some procedures and the other man came to the window. I had to ask him to wait even though it looked like the woman had left. Fortunately, the registrar got back from the ER and took care of the man before he walked out the door.

With less than an hour left, I grabbed my notes and dashed over to cut the check. I had to call for help umpteen times but finally got ‘er done. It was time to leave when I got back into the office so I dumped the rest of my smoothie, grabbed my blueberries to eat later and left my Clementines for tomorrow.

Are these what are called “buttermilk clouds”? I wanted to stop sooner to get a picture but the power lines were always in the way.

Buttermilk sky

I was glad to get home and now I’m going to bed.

Today was another rough one. I did get to work earlier but that was only prolonging the agony.

I was the bank/post office person again and that was the high spot of the day. I’ll be the same tomorrow.

Being the bearer of bad tidings is not my favorite role but it had to be done. I had been instructed yesterday that I was to flex hours even further than the 32 the staff is already not permitted to exceed. Last night, I was lying in bed with my mind in a turmoil until I prayed that the Lord would take it over. I don’t know what time it was when I went to sleep but it was later than I’d hoped.

This afternoon, after it was obvious things weren’t going to pick up, I broke the news (I’d emailed with some questions this morning and never got an answer). It wasn’t received with any enthusiasm. Problem is, the bills keep coming in and and the hours get cut. It doesn’t help any that the CEO makes more than half a million dollars a year and was recently awarded, along with many of the others at the top, by fat bonuses. There’s a lot of discontent and I can understand why. Morale is in the toilet and still I have to cut cut cut. Sometimes I hate my job. It gives me gray hair and wrinkles but I can’t afford to retire.

The late shift person took the news in stride. She wasn’t surprised. I wouldn’t be surprised to lose some staff over this but I hope I won’t. There’s no way anyone would come in and learn everything that has to be known and stay for the wages paid. So now I’ve vented.

I’m going to write a short post and go to bed.

I went in to work and did my morning duties of the bank and post office. There were low lying clouds which wasn’t surprising. My neighbor called to see how everything was. I didn’t have anything to report at that point.

There was reason for me to go over to the nursing home. I was questioned about staffing and I assured the questioner that everything was covered. I stopped by to see my friend and she said she was thankful she didn’t have to go out.

Late morning, one of the registrars got a call from her mother who lives near the next town to the southwest. She said it was snowing so hard, she couldn’t see the mountain. I’d told my boss I was going to cut out early and that was fine with her. Last time I’d looked outside, it wasn’t doing anything but this time it was coming down, thick and fast.

I figured I’d wait until both registrars had lunch and then I’d go. A man came in to talk about his bills and I had to look up four for him and explain what they were for and why he had balances. He settled in for a visit and commented on the picture on my wall before he decided to pay one of the accounts. I asked how he planned to pay it and he said he’d write a check. Okay. I went to get the receipt book and wrote the receipt. When I turned to get his check, he had a debit card in his hand. We don’t write receipts except for what goes into the deposit so I had to void the receipt, copy his card (we don’t have any way to run them ourselves) and call the Mother Ship to have it processed. He waited through the whole thing. The registrar at the switchboard pointedly said, “If you’re going to eat lunch and go, you’d better do it quick!” I told her that was my plan. She told the man it was probably getting bad out where he lives. He finally took the hint and left.

So did I. The car was covered with snow so I quickly scraped it off the side windows and part of the rear window. The windshield wipers made short work of the front. I was getting ready to back out when the other registrar ran out and wanted to know what she should do. The other departments were calling in the late shift people. I told her to go ahead and call ours. When I was backing out, I narrowly missed an SUV parked at the curb behind me. The driver backed up just in time. People who park there are just asking to be hit.

Coming up the mountain, I got behind a driver who drove between 12-15 miles an hour. The roads weren’t bad at all and I could have gotten home lots sooner had I been in front. I made it safely and that was the important thing.

Unwilling follower

Slowly making it home

"My" road in the snow

The ground was covered when I got here. I called the hospital and talked to the registrar. My neighbor had called to make sure I was okay. There was voice mail on the computer from her, too. I called and let her know I’d made it okay and it’s been snowing steadily ever since. So far, there’s about 3″. Not a huge amount but it’s still snowing. It looks like a cat has come walking along. Maybe Smokey?

I’ve tried to contact someone about church tomorrow. I think I’m going to hibernate. Good night and happy Sabbath!!

One more note before bed—a church Facebook friend posted that services have been canceled tomorrow. I won’t feel bad about staying home. And now I am going to bed and I’ll sleep (as my mother would say) until my mind changes.

Sabbath afternoon
Well, here I sit, powerless. The computer is telling me the wireless is not connected. DUH! Nothing’s connected. There’s not much juice left on my netbook. I should have gone ahead and recharged it last night but I can’t do anything about it now except use up what’s there.

I got up late this morning. It was after 8 o’clock. I didn’t have anywhere to go so what’s the difference? When there’s a Weather Event, the local TV stations are all over it and have lots of coverage so I flipped on my favorite channel for news and, sure enough, there they were with people in outlying areas. It was all about how the snow had turned to sleet and freezing rain and trees were down everywhere causing widespread power outages. I felt pretty smug that it didn’t include me.

Giving the day person time to get to the hospital, I called and checked to see how things were going. The second shift person had to spend the night last night. We were gabbing away when the lights blinked. As soon as I could get back online, I called again and we finished our conversation.

Getting on the computer, I should have gone ahead and had my devotions but I got on Facebook and uploaded a picture of the ice covered trees outside my front door. I’d had my water and was thinking about a breakfast smoothie when the lights blinked again. And again. And again but that time they stayed off. That was at 9:45 and now it’s almost 3. I’m being warned my battery is low so I’ll save this for another time. It’s still showing 30 minutes so I’ll tempt fate.

Outside my front door

This morning

I read in my women’s devotional book and was going to read a chapter in Genesis since I finished reading Revelation yesterday and am starting back through. This time, it will take two years, though, instead of six months. I got The Clear Word and started in. It’s such interesting reading, I’ve read 24 chapters so far and am getting ready to read about Abraham remarrying as soon as this battery dies.

My food has turned out to be bananas (4), a couple of oranges, a pear, some dehydrated persimmon and papaya, some OJ, marinated mushrooms, a Bubbies pickle and a grapefruit. I think that’s all of it so far. I wanted to get the rest of the greens washed before the hot water was gone so I did that and switched the thermometer from the cold room to the fridge. The cold room isn’t going to get any warmer and the fridge will. Last time I checked, it was up to 25. The only thing in there I’m concerned about is the greens so I may get them out and put them in the cold room.

I’ve been warm and comfy. I have the gas logs going and I turned up the flame so they’ll throw out more heat.

The mail from yesterday was still in the car so I went out to get it and whatever the faithful postperson brought today. There was a young man walking along bundled up and I hulloed! him and asked if there were any news about the power. He said no, that it was still off at his house, too.

I was feeling very prepared with my windup radio, etc., but it’s been so long since I had to use the radio, I don’t know where it is. I’ve hunted high and low with no luck. I have one of those long lighters for fireplaces and have no idea where it is, either, so no candlelight.

Feeling at loose ends, I grabbed my camera and went out to the road and took some pictures.

The long view

Frigid temps and rain make for icy trees

Neighbors across the street broken tree

The neighbors yard to the north

Broken branches

Freezing evergreens

Snowy icy trees

My snowy icy car

It isn’t especially cold yet but I heard the temp is supposed to drop. I’m not concerned about staying warm but I’d like not to lose my frozen food. I’m set with food to eat if I don’t get out of here for several days. I don’t think there’s any danger of being stranded, though. I think I could get out now if I had to but since I don’t have to…I’m going to stay put.

I’ve learned some things about myself since being powerless. I can cope as long as there’s electricity. If I had to, I’m sure I could live without it if I were set up to do that but I’m not.

Well, the computer blinked and went off. I was able to bring it back up but it doesn’t want to keep on so I’ll save this and maybe write more on the other one. I’d shut it down as soon as the power went off to conserve the battery so it should last a few hours. They don’t like to go terribly long without recharging, though.

Saturday night
I was in the storage room rooting around for the windup radio when I felt warm air squeezing through the closed register. I opened the door and, sure enough! There was electricity! I felt like I’d been rescued! It’s a shame I’m so dependent. Did Ben Franklin do us a favor or a disservice?

I came out and cranked up the laptop. There was voice mail from my neighbor at 10:20. It was now almost 4. I called back, playing phone tag, and left voice mail for her.

Immediately, I juiced some oranges and blended peaches, strawberries, pineapple and mango with the OJ and relaxed with my smoothie. The VitaMix is more or less a paperweight if the power is off.

I caught up with my SS lesson, Guideposts, the Upper Room and listened to the Sabbath School Lesson discussion from PineKnoll and Ranger BILLLL-L-L-L-L. By that time, it was sundown and I turned on the TV to see what I might learn. More of the same. Trees down. Power off.

My oldest sister called and left voice mail so I emailed her and told her I had my salad ready to eat so I wouldn’t take time to call right then. It’s just as well. The lights kept blinking. I was trying to watch a program I’d recorded but it would go off, then have to find the satellites again, come back on, lights would blink and it would happen all over again.

After my salad, I tried to call my sister with no luck. The phone rang and rang and rang and went to voice mail when I was almost ready to hang up. I left a message but she hasn’t called again. I hope she’s okay.

Not much more to tell. The excitement—I hope—is over. The precipitation seems to have passed. There was some fine snow falling after the freezing rain today but there wasn’t much more accumulation.

I had forgotten about the mail until I was proofreading this post and I mentioned going to the car to get it. It was the light and water bill. The water bill was no more than usual and the light bill was $179. That was more but not as much as I thought it would be. I wouldn’t have been surprised if it had been $300. Praise the Lord!

This is where I let you rest from what, I believe, is the longest post I’ve ever written. I promise I’ll never do it again. I think.

2 Responses to My Week: Powerless

  1. Cassandra February 2, 2010 at 11:43 am #

    Great pictures! The snow is very pretty, especially if I don’t have to live in it. 😉

    Glad you’re safe!

    • Tommie February 2, 2010 at 5:58 pm #

      Aw, c’mon! Surely you’d like to leave the balmy winter in AZ and share in some REAL winter weather!

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