I’m sorry I did not do the promised Thanksgiving Musing. Mother Nature had other plans and sent a storm up our way. I called to all my allegedly telekinetic friends to combine forces and move the storm off shore. Since that didn’t happen, I dealt with two disappointments yesterday. First, the storm dumped heavy, wet snow on the trees causing the branches to entwine with the power lines in a most inconsiderate way. As you can imagine, that did not turn out so well, but more on that in a sec.
The other disappointment was the confirmation that telekinesis is bunkum. The storm didn’t even take a quick dip in the other direction. This is a sad revelation. Without telekinetic powers, about half of what makes The Force cool has been negated. You can’t force grab anything, can’t play pranks from across the room, can’t open doors with your mind when your arms are full of groceries. You’ll still need to buy gas because you can’t just think your motor into running and you can’t make the remote control that’s allllll the way on the other side of the couch come to you.
“That’s not so bad, Bethie. Minor annoyances.”
Okay, fair point. But what if you get your Y-wing stuck in a bog? What then? You can’t just mind-lift it. You’ll have to call for a tow like everyone else. You’re a fricken Jedi who needs to call AAA for A TOW. You know the tow guy’s gonna wanna know how in the hell it happened, too.
Without telekinesis, what’s left to make The Force enticing? Nudging peoples’ opinions with suggestive thoughts. Great. I can get the discount even without a physical coupon next time I buy Charmin. Big whoop. At least if I go to the Dark Side, I can do that cool lightning trick out of my fingertips.
Thanks for killing my dreams, telekinesicists.
I must admit, the tele-revelations took second place to the lack of power on the importance scale in the overall scheme of things. I just didn’t have the internet to distract me, so it made the Jedi thing seem so much more important than it probably is. I just sat there, listening to the battery powered clock tick, thinking about how I’ll never be a Jedi now, even if I still wanted to. Sad.
We lost the juice at about 5:30 on Wednesday. Since we’re a blended family, with his and mine having other turkeys to go eat, we did our T-Day feast on Wednesday afternoon. We were fat and stuffed full of bacon wrapped turkey…
Yes, you read that right. Bacon wrapped turkey. JEALOUS? HMM?? You should be.
…and pie, watching a movie we were just really getting into when the power went out. It was dark, but we had a wide array of hand held digital gadgets that produce a surprising amount of light, candles, a battery operated color-changing dragon lamp…we were all set. I had the kiddies bed down in the same room and thought that the lights would be on shortly.
They were not.
The morning came with nothing but muted sunlight. Seventy-five percent of our kids left to go to the others’ houses for the others’ turkeys (that were NOT bacon wrapped, I might add), and we shoveled out.
Look. I’m going to complain for a minute. I know that I’m a native, I know that I’m used to these storms. I know I choose to live here and get what I deserve and blah blah. But what non-natives don’t realize is that we put up with the snow in the winter, the black flies in the spring, the humidity in the summer, and the panicked road crews who block off every other mile in the autumn to race to get the road work finished before winter that they damn well SHOULD have done in the spring. We put up with that so we can have the right to a soul-cleansing bitch-fest about winter. Anyone who does not want to read whining this morning, please skip ahead to paragraph 18.
There are many types of snow. If you live in any area that gets snow on a fairly regular basis, you understand. However, for those who don’t, I’ll give you a bit of a lesson. First you’ve got your puffy snow. The flakes are large and stick together. They pile up quickly, but usually don’t amount to much. Those flakes look impressive in the air, like you’re trapped in a snow globe. When you see that snow, you know that it’ll probably either stop soon or change over to rain. Either way, it’s warm enough that if you leave the snow for a few hours, it’ll pretty much take care of itself by melting.
Then you have fluffy snow. Don’t be fooled, fluffy snow is not the same as puffy snow! Fluffy snow tends to be tiny flakes that don’t stick together. This is the kind you get when it’s really cold. The fluffly flakes pile up, but when you go to shovel them it’s like you’re shoveling soap suds. All fluff and no heft. If it’s a windy day, that gets annoying, but at least it’s light and dreamy. You can blow on it and send the whirls in all directions off your car. This kind sucks for snowballs, but is great for your back when you’re looking at an entire drive that needs clearing.
Then you have the heavy, wet stuff like we got yesterday. It happens when the temperature is juuuuust cold enough to keep the flakes all snow, and juuuuust warm enough to glue them together when they land. It’s heavy. It’s wet. Each shovelful feels like you’re lifting boulders. It sticks when you step in it, making it impossible to use your shovel like a snow plow and push the snow out of the way. Add to that the fact that we’ve got about 30 feet of driveway on the main road, with a berm of salt and ice from the road the town crew seems to get great pleasure in building up, and it was not a fun morning. Bethie’s back is not a happy camper today.
18. There. Complaining over. Those who skipped it, welcome back!
Once the drive was shoveled, we were bored. The roads were clear and we thought we’d just drive around for a bit and warm up in the car. Did I mention that we have electric heat in the house? Would you know that doesn’t work when the power’s out, either? So we got in the car with the 1/4 child population of the house and drove around.
I tell you what. Like any decent Bond villain, Nature is both stunning and evil. I say I hate snow, but really I just hate dealing with it. I love looking at the White Nasty. It’s so very beautiful. Here. Look. Look upon the destructive beauty.
See? Postcard. A fricken Currier & Ives postcard. And yet, those heavy, gorgeous branches are exactly why we had to tool around in a car to be warm. As soon as we got on the road, we saw branch after branch leaning on or snapped off and entwined in the power lines. We figured we’d be without power for days for certain. There was just so much damage!
We drove around, went to a store just before it closed early for the holiday, bought some kickass flashlights. We got back home and realized we were still very bored. After feeding the .25 of our kids lunch, we went back out the other direction. The trees on that side of the town fared no better, and it was with a sinking feeling of dread that we were in this for a long haul that I turned into a Walmart parking lot to turn around and head home. Do you know what we saw? The store was open.
Look. I know there’s a ton of controversy about retail stores being open on Thanksgiving, our Nation’s second biggest holiday. I’m not here to debate the sides. All I can tell you is that we saw lights on and we were sold. We went in, found about half of our town was wandering around in lighted heat, too, and accidentally did Black Friday shopping.
We don’t usually do that. We usually get gifts online because we’re just that kind of people. It’s so much easier to shop in your bathrobe and give Amazon the hassle of actually having to physically pick up the products off the shelf. Besides, I hate shopping in a crowd.
I’ve been before, though. When I was younger, I did a couple of Black Friday events. It was a huge deal in my ex’s family, and they treated the whole thing like a black op. I got my list, was handed a stack of cash, put on war paint and my game face and dove in with the rest of them. The older I get, the more I hate having to elbow little old ladies for the last $5 electric ChopMaster.
I mean, I’ll do it if I had to. C’mon, $5 ChopMaster! But I don’t feel GOOD about it.
And I have never once gone to a store to shop on Thanksgiving Day itself. Never thought I would, either.
We certainly didn’t intend to shop when we pulled in. We saw the lights on, watched fellow townies walking like frozen zombies towards the beacon of the glowing Walmart sign, and followed suit. It occurred to us that we might want a better lantern once we got inside. The dragon lamp is great and all, but it kind of felt like we were stuck in a disco all night with no music.
So we headed toward the camping section, and along the way found five things on the list we wanted to get the kiddies for Christmas, at greatly reduced prices. I’m not going to lie. We walked out of there happier than we’d been all day. I guess I’m now part of the problem. Ah well. It killed two hours and as we drove home still commenting about the downed trees everywhere, we had a niggling of hope that maybe the lights were back on.
Walmart gave us hope. THAT’S how desperate you feel when you’re looking at another dark night with no heat in sub-freezing temperatures.
On the way home we also saw fleets of tree trucks heading to the worst spots. We cheered them as we passed, as if they could somehow hear us. I mean, you do realize yesterday was Thanksgiving, right? These hundreds of men and women worked through the night before, gave up their turkey time all through the day, worked through last night, and will no doubt spend more time today, tonight, tomorrow…working in the foot of snow, hiking over the iced up berms, performing surgery to get the branches out of the highly charged electrical lines all so I could take a hot shower this morning. I didn’t care if they could hear me or not, I cheered.
The cheering worked, too. I’m sure it did, because at midnight last night, when the inside of my house was a scorching 41 degrees, the lights came back on. Only about 30ish hours, with all that massive cleanup, and we had the lights and heat back on. I got up this morning and while it’ll take awhile to get fully back up to temp, it’s already 58 in here. Not bad. I can deal with that. Especially since I have the internet for entertainment and fresh, hot coffee.
So, yay and thanks to the tree crews! Yay and thanks to the power line workers! I guess my mental cheering did help. I mind-nudged them into working in my area. Maybe The Force still has some appeal after all.
Thus concludes a chilly-but-thawing-quickly Musing for Friday, November 28, 2014. Here’s hoping the rest of the folks without power get it back today. We were lucky that we’ve got a gas stove and town water instead of a well. The power outage is fun to bitch about, but we really were better equipped than many. We had water and a way to cook. People on a well with electric stoves did not. I hope everyone still without power gets through this. Send good thoughts up for them and maybe we can reassess the telekinesis theory…