Friday, November 2, 2012

Post Sandy Thoughts

The lights came on last night.  We were without power from Monday through the day on Thursday.  Something like 30% of our little town is still without electricity.  Our next door neighbor had his first experience with a generator and thought it was necessary to run it twenty four hours a day to keep his frozen food frozen.  He's young, he didn't know any better.  The fact that the generator was just outside our bedroom window was not the best idea he had.   We just went to the guest bedroom at the opposite end of the house.  Far enough that we weren't bothered greatly by the sound.  His generator was still running when we got home last night.  I went over and tapped on his door to let him know he could probably turn the darn thing off now that power had been restored.  I asked him why he thought he needed to run the gen.  at 3:00 AM in the morning.  As expected, he said he thought he needed it to keep his food frozen.  I said "come with me young man" and brought him to our kitchen.  I opened the freezer and tossed him a piece of chicken, still frozen solid.  I asked "was this your objective?".  Shocked, he asked how I had kept it frozen.  Dry ice.  One of the things about dry ice is that it doesn't make noise.  He went home better educated and vowed to use dry ice a lot and the gen as little as possible if there was another outage. 

Another instance was while buying the dry ice.  The guy in line in front of me wanted to make small talk, so he started bitchin' about the utility company.  Boy, did he pick the wrong guy.  My Dad spent his adult life working for the local utility company and I know how hard those guys work.  We don't get a whole lot of thousand mile wide hurricanes coming through meeting up with storm out of Canada.  In our area the electric company has had a campaign to cut back the trees on the side of the road with overhead wires, based on pressure due to last year's storms.  That sounded like a plan to the governor.  Like so many people, he didn't think it through.  One of the benefits (to the hurricane) was it removed any protection those trees gave from preventing the trees on the opposite side from having a clear shot at taking down wires on the side of the street  with the wires.  The best, half laid, plans of mice and men ...
We didn't have power for four days.  Big whoop, it was four days out of a lifetime.  Don't get me wrong, people on the coast (we're about twenty miles inland) got ravaged.  Some won't have power for a year.  Before they can get power they have to build a house to put power to.  "They" said the storm "affected"  sixty million people.  Six million people lost power or more.  Because of the population density in the northeast 20% of the country's people got wacked by Sandy.  Nobody more so than the people on the coast of New Jersey.  My hope is that people will remain reasonable and no one who survived the hurricane will get killed in the aftermath.  That's a hope, but unfortunately, not an expectation.