Saturday, September 20, 2008

Blog #54: The Calm After the Storm = Boredom

(The following paragraph was cribbed from this Blog to add as a postscript to Blog #53. However, because it really belongs here with my storm report, I am using it again here at the beginning of #54. #54 will be somewhat shorter than my usual blog, because a week without any news of the outside world rather limits what you can write about.)

Hurricane Ike came on shore at Galveston Island late Friday afternoon, Sept. 12, and hit Houston some seven hours later, in the middle of the night. The family that lives in my house with me, had left for Dallas to escape the storm. It was smart of them, for I hesitate to think what life would have been like with five children and three adults trying to use a toilet whose tank had to be manually filled with water from the bathtub after each flush. I elected to stay with the house, to take care of the dog, and to watch over things here. My house, at 12022 North Fairhollow Lane., in northwest Houston, is well built enough that I did not notice the high winds and excessive rain, and I slept peacefully through the height of the storm Saturday morning. Power went off sometime between 12:45, when I got up for bladder relief with the power on, and 3:25 on Saturday morning when another trip to the john found the power off.

The power remained off all day Saturday, and the rains continued falling all the livelong day, as the song goes. The wind had pretty much ended by daylight Saturday, but not the rain, although Saturday’s daytime rain was pretty light. That was one huge storm though, it pretty well filled up the Gulf of Mexico, and like the Energizer Bunny its rains just kept going on and on. On Sunday, Sept. 14, the power came on for about 10 seconds at approximately 7 a.m. This at least showed that the house was still connected to our power source, but it was frustrating to know that electricity was possible but not available. It stayed on just long enough for my computer to begin the startup process, before shutting off again. The family that lives here with me returned on Sunday afternoon, but probably because of the uncertainty of not having power they slept Sunday night in their sleeping bags on the floor of my large living room. The rain had quit sometime Sunday morning, although it had remained cloudy for most of the day, the sun only making its reappearance in the late afternoon.

The power came on again Monday, Sept 15, also at around 7 a.m. and remained on for about 25 minutes, which was long enough to allow my Cusinart Automatic Brewer, Grinder to make me the first pot of coffee I had since the storm. But the coffee was rather thin because the power went off again before the cycle was complete. It was really nice having coffee again. I highly recommend it the first thing in the morning. The power came back on Monday at 1:07, and hopefully it’s now back for good. For there hasn’t been as much as a flicker since electricity’s return.

My trusty computer is working again as if it had never stopped, however the internet is down, as is cable service plus we also have Comcast for our phone service. A Triad of Services – All Kaput. So I guess the Mighty Comcast has a storm related problem or two on its hands. (A call to Comcast got a recorded message that cable, the telephone, and the internet service may be off for as much as two weeks. I guess Hurricane Ike must have sent Comcast’s satellite dishes a’flying.) If and when internet service resumes I will post a little addendum to my blog #53 to let one and all know I truly did survive the Mighty Ike.

Electricity is something we take for granted in this day and age, something that in a normal course of events we don’t think twice about. That is until we are somehow deprived of it. Then all of a sudden the bottom drops out of our civilized world, and we lose all of our normal creature comforts. For in a modern house, not only are we cooled from the summer’s heat with air conditioning and ceiling fans, but freezzers thaw and we lose our frozen foods, and what is worse, we lose the power to cook our meals. For two days all I had to eat was ham and cheese sandwiches, kept at a glorious room temperature in our refrigerator turned room temperature box. The lack of electricity also affected things you would not normally relate to power, such as water pressure. Fortunately I had heeded my younger son’s good advice and filled my bathtub with water, because for the two days of the power blackout the only way to flush the toilet was by scooping pots of water from the tub, and pouring it into the toilet’s tank.

But the worst thing about the power being out, is that there is no television, no computer, no escape; you are faced with only yourself for company. You can read a book if you sit close to the light, and if you haven’t forgotten how to read a book. I spent the two days sitting by the door in a rocking chair, reading the latest issue of MacWorld magazine and also the History of My Life by Giacomo Casanova. That is what I normally read a couple of pages at a time while daily moving my bowels. It was interesting to use it to pass the time during the aftermath of the great storm. However, it gets dark by 8 p.m. these days and so when there is no power there is nothing to do when it gets dark but go to bed. And it doesn’t get light until 7 a.m. and so you have an eleven hour date with yourself in your bed. Of course my digital clock is electric and so there was no alarm to wake me up, and no reason to arise before daylight. During normally powered times I go to bed a midnight, and get up at six in the morning.

Boredom was uppermost during the two powerless days of my post Ike experience, but I’m happy to say that I did manage to survive the blackout with bells on. However, for the record let me say, this idea of going to bed at dark and sleeping until daylight is shift for the birds, if you get my drift. However, it’s really good to be back in a world powered by electricity. I highly recommend it, and in the future will always dutifully pay my light bill right off the bat.

Here follows a report on how 12022 North Fairhollow Lane survived the storm. Actually the house weathered the storm in noble fashion. Not one iota of damage meets the eye. However, two large trees in our front yard did not survive the storm, they were broken off about halfway up, and their myriad branches and leaves blocked our walkway and made our front yard into some kind of leaf and branch wonderland. And the wind has also caused two of our three fences to lean mightily. However these are still together, and I think a few well placed posts will return them to the straight and narrow. Claudia borrowed enough money from a friend to buy a chainsaw, and by three o’clock on Monday all of the downed wood in our front yard had been cut into manageable lengths, and it is presently stacked as neatly as possible placed between the sidewalk and the road. Hopefully at some point the city of Houston will haul away our remaining souvenirs of Hurricane Ike.

However, even after the return of electric power, with its corresponding return to refrigerated food, and a working stove on which to cook it, there was still a horrendous lack in my life thanks to dear Comcast. For there was no telephone, no cable television, and so no news or contact with the outside world. And I am what you might call a news junkie. And not only was there no television, but to make matters worse there was no internet, meaning no access to the Houston Chronicle, the Washington Post and the New York Times. I was determined to somehow make it through, despite being deprived of all the amenities which help make life in this world interesting and somewhat bearable.

Of course, I did have power, and that meant I had my computer. And though I could not access anything outside of my house, I had access to the novels of my favorite erotic writers, Wizard, Russell Hoisington, and Nick Scipio, all of whose stories appear on: Fortunately I had the good sense to download and format many of their stories, and those of many other fine erotic writers as well, so there was much literature residing on my hard drive awaiting opening and reading. However, take it from me that old saying about “ignorance being bliss” is somewhat exaggerated. Whereas I must confess that it has been a pleasure not having to see John McCain as he demeans Barack Obama, and while he is about it, twisting the truth and distorting the facts. Why McCain must try to demean Obama is perfectly clear. When you have nothing positive to run on yourself all that is left for you is to belittle your opponent. If John McCain ran on what he and the Republican Party really stand for, they would most likely get themselves run out of the country on a rail.

In addition to rereading my favorite stories, during my solitary week I got a chance to replay the first season of NBC’s Saturday Night Live, which I had downloaded just before the storm, and which I had written about in Blog #53. I would read a story for a couple of hours, then watch an episode of SNL. I started at the beginning, with the show George Carlin hosted, and was going straight through the first year, shows hosted by Paul Simon, Rob Reiner, Candice Bergen, Robert Klein, Lily Tomlin, and Richard Pryor when suddenly Friday afternoon at around 4:30, cable, the internet, and my landline telephones all came on together, once again feeding my news Jones, as well as giving me a chance to reacquaint myself with the Chronicle’s Tech Blog. Oddly enough, Friday’s Tech Blog LinkPost, which I had dearly missed during the week’s internet blackout, was the first LinkPost since the Storm, and so it turned out that I hadn’t missed anything after all.

My week of dreadful isolation was finally over. I managed to actually live with myself and survive the process. And perhaps even grow a little bit while doing so. It was nice returning to the outside world. After the novelty passes of again keeping up with the news on cable, I will surely go back to watching episodes of that first year of SNL, and continue rereading my favorite erotic authors, but I’ll be able to do all of that while being tuned into what's happening in the outside world. And so Casanova move over, Hurricane Ike and its aftermath now takes its rightful place in the History of My Life.

The Real Little Eddy

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