Sunday, January 22, 2012

SNOW DAY!! The Revenge

Snow days are always a mixture of elation and frustration for me.  As a teacher, I know these are days I'll need to make up in June.  They're not freebies off with pay.  Unlike my wife, I can't work them off from home.  They have some real consequences for me.  The first snow day of the year is made up on the Friday before Memorial Day weekend.  That's the first day of Enfilade.  No snow days means I can easily make the Friday sessions.  Snow days mean I have to leave from school at 2:30 and fight traffic down to Olympia.  Bleah.

 The snow days of this week, however, had a new set of challenges.  We knew the Wednesday snow fall was going to be big.  Just how big wasn't clear.  I thought I'd be out of school Wednesday and Thursday and back to work on Friday.  I envisioned lots of painting and finishing the Chickasaw palisade.  It certainly started out that way.

 Wednesday we got the snow.  Thursday morning we got freezing rain.  Dum, dum, dum.  In an area with lots of trees and above ground electrical wires, freezing rain is the weather equivalent of nuclear war.

At 9:00 we heard from my son a few miles away, he'd lost power.  At 11:00 I walked out to the arterial near our development to check on road conditions, came home to figure out how to best de-ice our frozen cars, walked in the door and we lost our power.  It was out for nearly 60 hours, coming on last night at 8:00ish.

As with all disasters, the first thing you have to do is assess your resources.  We knew we'd have light for a while-good.  We also had an electric lantern-rechargeable variety-so light-for a while.  We had plenty of food.  A few years ago we installed a gas fireplace in the living room and a small standing gas fireplace in the bedroom for just these occasions.  We wouldn't freeze or be forced to leave the house with our ridiculous dogs.No entertainment to speak of, but I did have a battery powered radio that could also be hand cranked and lots of batteries. I had my Kindle, with a nice back light, so I could read in the dark until . . .A couple of working flashlights and Lorri is the candle queen.

We also checked our problems.  The fireplaces would keep our bedroom warm if we closed the door, but the electric blower in the living room was off so the immediate effect of the living room fireplace was to camp us right in front of it.  No computer, limited light, no television.     Phones are all-electric, so no phones.  Cell phone service went down with the nearby cell towers, so service was terrible. Text messaging was okay, but no internet, e-mail, or calls from my iPhone.

 Bottom line, we were prepared for a short power outage, the kind we always have, say 24-36 hours.  We survived Thursday and Friday just fine.  It still got chilly in the house unless in the bedroom or sitting by the fireplace. There was never enough light paint by, and one can only listen to so much radio.  The lantern died after about 12 hours and no way to recharge.  We didn't complain, however.  We drove all around, to charge our phones, and could see the outage was massive.  18,000 customers in Puyallup lost power; 280,000 in the Puget Sound area were out-we'd get by. 

Thursday we checked on family, and drove to survey the extent of the outage.  We went to the movies and saw We Bought a Zoo and I liked it. Cameron Crowe movie with Matt Damon, what's not to like.  This was easy.

 Friday I drove around and surveyed the extent of the damage.  Weyerhaeuser, Lorri's employer, lost power, so I drove her around in search of fabric stores.  No luck, all closed.  Came home.  No power.  The lantern died.  I finished building the Chickasaw fort by firelight. Not fun. A last drive on Friday night to recharge the cell phones showed a little progress in repairing the power.  We were optimistic.

 By Saturday morning, it was clear the repairs were fully underway.  The neighborhoods with power were creeping closer to us.  We had an errand to run to Issaquah, forty miles away, and were confident when we returned we too would have power.  My son Pat got his power back within six hours of his outage.  My mother in law had hers back within eighteen hours, and my brother-in-law Paul had his back early Saturday morning. Our errand, to pick up forty pounds of chicken, which would go in our freezer, required power.

When we returned home at 4:00 to no power it was devastating. (We ran the meat over to my vegan son and daughter in law's freezer.  They must have been so pleased.) I was looking forward to who know's how much longer of time wasted-no heat, no light, no painting gah!  Lorri went out with a friend at 6:00 and sent me a text that some houses in our development-"Fuck those guys, I want power." I sent off several Facebook posts reporting similar, if somewhat more G rated views. My brother-in-law dropped off a working lantern, some hot water for coffee and tea.  Ingrate that I am, I continued reading my Kindle by firelight and finished my Diet Coke, but I did truly appreciate the effort. Finally at 8:30 the power came on to cheers and hosannas. 

I know we're fortunate.  It could have been worse and for many folks out there that live on isolated lots or small communities, it will be.  Puget Sound Energy always focuses on the biggest bang for their buck first-bring on as many customers at one time as possible.  Some time mid-week they'll have their power back on.
Top view of completed fort.  I used wood putty around the base of the palings and created some slight ground irregularities.

A comparison with figure size.  The minis are OG Woodland indians.

Another shot with Indians from a different angle.  Seems weird to have Indians defending a frontier fortification.

The beginnings of landscaping.  I painted the green areas with an artist's acrylic.  I just can't make Ceramcoat's Forest Green cover anything so I'm using Artist's Advantage Hooker Green from Fred Meyer.  It works.

Another aerial shot.
 So my snow days are gone, and it's time to move on.  I've included a couple of photos of the few things I was able to get done.  The Chickasaw fort is still in progress.  The palings are all in, and now I'm beginning to landscape.
One can't have too many trees, and I have a bajillion armatures for fairly smallish trees and the clump foliage to stick on 'em.  They'll be mounted on washers to weigh the little darlin's down.

I started working on trees from Woodland Scenics.  I have a lot of the smaller armatures, and I want to be sure I have plenty for the Chickasaw game.  I'm weighting them with 5/16" washers flat cut washers so I can use them individually.  I probably have about 60 or so armatures, so I've got a lot of work to do.

1 comment:

DeanM said...

Sorry to hear how long it took for you guys. We got ours back on Friday late-afternoon (about 4:00pm). It had been out since early Thursday morning. I did some painting by lantern light. Oh well, we all need to be reminded how our fore-fathers (& mothers) lived :)! Dean