Saturday, June 27, 2009

Yo! NJ, You're Not In Kansas Anymore

At 6:12 yesterday evening the sky went dark, thunder crashed in a boom that shook the house and lightening crackled like daggers from the gods.

At 6:14 the lights flickered.

At 6:15 they flickered again.

At 6:21 all the power went out.

I got out the lanterns and candles telling myself that it really wasn’t necessary. There were two hours of light left and surely this would be over way before then.

I went out to the carport to watch the storm – it was impressive. Dark swirling clouds that appeared to be going in every direction at once. Heavy sheets of rain that fell straight down until the winds drove them sideways.

When the wind turned from swift to howling and the hail started I went inside.

Much earlier in the day I had secured all the outside stuff – small planters and light chairs, I anchored the BBQ and cut off the gas connection. I put the patio umbrella in lock position and laid it down against the house.

In other words I prepared for the storm that every TV and radio station had been warning us about for hours.

I truly need to take over the electric company.

I understand wind and lightening and trees don’t go together. I get that virtually all lines here are above ground. I get it, really I do.

What I don’t get is why no extra crews are called in until after the power goes out. The weather service said the storm was 100% on its way.

I don’t get why the customer service number doesn’t have automatic updates. If you can program it to say – “there are widespread power outages, we are working …” then you can program a device where a person enters their zip code or phone number and gets a real estimate of how long power will be out.

You sure as hell shouldn’t have your system tell people all circuits are busy and then hang up on them. You’re responsible for power for millions of people – get a freakin’ IT person.

And people. People! For the love of God. Sweet Jesus, Mary and Joseph – as my Mom loved to say – take some responsibility.

If the tree in front of your house has branches and limbs leaning on power lines then call the damn power company and tell them. They’re actually really good about that. They come, they make it better. I’ve done it many times.

And snooty bitch in the supermarket this morning – don’t call the power company and tell them you have downed wires when you don’t. You divert from people who really do. And sure as hell don’t brag about it in front of your kids and everyone on the deli line.

So anyway …

The power was out for 12 hours. Thankfully it wasn’t terribly hot so opening the windows made the air bearable. Although I did discover at least 10 new people around me who I truly don’t like. The power is out – it is not the end of days. Stop shouting to each other, get off your fat ass and walk the 10 feet across the driveway to have your scintillating discussion of whether or not you should go get ice.

And comfort your children and pets. It’s dark, the sky is lighting up and the earth is booming – don’t yell at them you pre-historic tub of beer and chips. Even in the total darkness I can see your neck is red and your trash is white.

All in all I try, as always, to put things back into a state of graceful perspective.

Some folks still don’t have their power back. I discovered that on the way back from the supermarket as I calmly observed people not having a fucking clue as to what to do when a traffic light is out. Gee – I suggest we all just floor it and hope for the best.

People in Iran stand on rooftops and take their lives in their hands to shout for freedom.

NJ can’t make it through an intersection.

Here are some shots I took last night …

Poor Siren did his "fearful aggression" pose and licked himself incessantly throughout the storm. Deaf and Dizzy Mia slept through it all.
I know Si Man well enough to let him be when he's trying to melt into the wall. I just spoke to him lovingly whenever he glanced my way...

There was a storm lull at sunset and the sky was pretty ...

My house is afraid of the dark ...

The candle lit kitchen looked pretty from the carport ...

The lantern at the side door was less romantic and more functional. My son came home from a double shift to find no dinner and the pizza place was closed. We BBQ'd bacon ...

The brake lights of an asshat who speeds down a dark street and then discovers it has a sudden curve ...

My neighbor's son finds me hilarious. Last night I called his solar lights and LED lantern "glowing orbs" and it made him giggle for hours ...

My stationary fan in the light of the glowing orbs. The shadows freaked Siren out so I spent most of the time in the dark. I wish I could have captured Mia's reaction to no lights - she shuffled into the living room at about 3AM and I swear she did a spit take ...

One last thing --- I’m taking a break from SATURDAY WORDZZLE. I have a lot distracting me and I find I only enjoy posting when it comes to me, and how it comes to me. I’m also finding my photo blog to be very relaxing.

I kinda need that right now.


Anonymous said...

Well for once I agree with ya...can you stand it. I don't understand all that either about power companies and it makes no sense to me whatsoever. Can you be the Secretary of Energy? I'm going to write Obama and tell him to get you in there. Were you a girl scout? Be Prepared :)
Why didn't you bitch slap her in the supermarket? Let her kids get a real thrill? Love the idea of bbq'ing bacon and the glowing orbs...ROFLMAO. Great pictures...Oh an BTW..."this is a test...this is only a test...dial tone

Cloudia said...

You are so right about the utilities!

Great word picture, and picture-pictures too.

I want you with me in an emergency, we seem to have a similar sensibility. LOL

Glad you survived the storm.
Aloha, Friend

Comfort Spiral

bobbie said...

Great post. People can be so dense - and utility companies are the worst.

Sorry it was so bad in north Jersey. It missed us down here.

Travis said...

The one thing our power company tries to do is preventive maintenance with trees near power lines. With the crazy wind storms, we have to be prepared.

And they have a lovely recording designed to assist rather than piss off.

Linda Reeder said...

By the time I got to the BBQ'd bacon, I was laughing out loud.
And isn't it amazing that in a country founded by pioneers, people now can hardly manage in a power outage.
Glad you have survival skills.

Linda said...

You BBQ'd bacon? My gosh, do your talents never end? I never would have thought of that but I can see where it would be possible!

We got some thunderstorms up our way here in Connecticut but nothing that caused the power to go out or the lights to even flicker though I guess there was talk of tornadoes all over the place. Me, I'm too stupid to even think about storms and actually decided yesterday evening would be a good time to walk home from work for a change! As I was walking down the final stretch I could see storm clouds moving in quickly and heard thunder booming in the distance. Ooops! Thankfully I made it home in time before the heavens opened up and the rain came down in buckets.

As for power lines and the such, it seems to me that it's time for the East Coast to get its collective head out of the sand and start putting some of those lines underground like they do out west! Not only will it prevent power outages but it would make our lives as photographers that much easier to not have power lines all over the place!

Mrs. C said...


We really *DID* have a downed wire across our street once... almost all the way down, fire and sparks coming out. (I think that's down ENOUGH. Esp. since kids could reach it.)

To think people like this would divert from a real emergency makes me so ill. And she bragged to her kids about it!

Ok. Maybe we **DO** both agree that there are some people who really shouldn't homeschool. LOL I just changed my political opinion b/c of one of your blog posts, ok? :p

kenju said...

Sorry about the storm. We're overdue for one, but I hope it passes us by. Power companies don't seem to care very much whether they answer the phone or not, do they?

Dianne said...

thom - I WAS a Girl Scout!! and preparation is my middle name ;)
you would write to the Big O for me!! that warms my heart
and we often agree, don't be dramatic ;)

cloudia - it's an honor to have sensibilities similar to yours :)

bobbie - I thought of you as they said it was going out to sea rather than south

travis - this co. is good in all respects except emergencies - they need to work on that

linda r - I always love it when people tell me they laughed - thanks!!

linda - did you take photos of the clouds!? ;)

mrs c - I swear, bad leg and all, I am doing a jig!!! there I go, changing America one post at a time ;)

kenju - they seem to get overwhelmed by weather ;)

Michael Manning said...

I quite agree with you, Dianne. I spoke with my Mom today in the Mid-West and of course living now in the desert, I feel as if I am in a different world. lol!

Queen-Size funny bone said...

Love the photos. I don't mind going without anything for awhile except flushing the toilet.

Anya said...

Hi siren and mia

Nice to meet you!!
you are so lovely.....
I send you a BIG hug

Kareltje =^.^=

the walking man said...

Kiddo...Storms to the north of us, storms to the south, east and west of us but...Detroit be so bad even the thunder don't come here. We got maybe 3/8ths inch of drizzle while all around us got hammered.

There is a benefit to being the baddest place on earth.

Nessa said...

I am happy to say that we weathered that storm easily, but I don't have a good story to tell, like you.

This Eclectic Life said...

I'd almost be willing to weather a storm for BBQ bacon! Almost! Sorry about the hard time you are having. I'm not fond of spring storms either, but so far, so good this summer.
Stay cool and calm

Jay said...

When did the looting start? On TV and in the movies there's always looting when the power goes out in New Jersey.

Every time we have a storm pass through, at some point the lights will flash. They don't go out and stay out, they just flash. Which means the computer and everything else resets. And the cable goes out along with the internet and the phone for anywhere from 2 to 6 hours. Every. Single. Time.

Akelamalu said...

I'm touching wood as I say this but we haven't had any powers cuts for a long time. I quite like candlelight anyway - it's very flattering. (wink)

Love the photos.

Raven said...

I love it when you're pissed off. It's so much fun to read. Mia sounds like Tara Grace. She has her rules for how the world is supposed to be. They must not be varied. I hope Siren is ok now. I have a love hate relationship with those big storms. They are awesome but especially since one of them took my big beautiful tree last year, they scare me a bit.

As for the Electric company. Would that someone like you could take charge. Incompetence does seem to rise to the top way too often. And I agree about people who think their inconvenience tops public safety. What a world.

Hope you are doing better. I have been lost in a cyber game. It's like a drug and I can't stop. Agggh.

Daryl said...

Amazing ..

I was out to dinner w/gal pals when there was this FLASH of light followed by a downpour ... at home later Ray told me there'd been MANY lightening flashes not one .. hey all I saw was the one and it was BIG ..

Poor kits

Dianne said...

michael - what about sand storms ;)

queen size funny - I don't either unless it's really hot, I get very cranky

anya - thank you! :)

walking man - love when you call me kiddo
I think anywhere you are is the "baddest" place - you're too cool for storms

nessa - if it wasn't for taking photos and composing a post in my head I would surely have hurt someone ;)

eclectic - I'd BBQ bacon for ya any time :)

jay - we don't have looters any more, the Mafia killed them all ...
I was thinking about you during the storm, figured if you could deal then so could I

akelamalu - the flattering dark did strike me as a plus LOL

raven - pissed off is my best writing style ;)
I play games all the time to relax

daryl - the lightening was constant!! when I was outside I swore they were all hitting the ground
hours after the sky was still flashing far up in the clouds

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Oh Lordy...The Electric Company...!! You said it all, my dear...All these places just don't seem to have it together anymore--if they ever did...And, it gets worse and worse as the so called technology gets ever more, 'more'....if you understand what I mean....I love your descriptions of the Animals and their response to the storm...The People?? OY VEY!
Your pictures are mysterious and interesting and certainly set a mood....That was some storm!

Thanks for your B-Day wishes and your very very sweet words....The feeling is mutual, my dear. I think YOU are quite something!

Enjoy your break, Dianne....I understand...I feel like I am slowing down and not posting as often because that is just the way it is right now....So, not to worry. We will all be here....!

Matt-Man said...

The power going out is kinda fun...for awhile. Cheers Di!!

Deb said...

You have my vote ! We lost our power last December during a huge ice storm - for 8 days. I had many of the same complaints as you had here - especially regarding updates from the power company. The experience made me appreciate my electricity - which sounds weird but by the eighth day I wasn't too pleasant to be around. Bacon on the grill - I just might give this a try! Enjoy your day!

Deborah Godin said...

Disasters of every scale and level of inconvenience seem to bring out the best in some people and the worst in others - doesn't seem to be any in-between. Hope you are back to (and stay at ) normal, and no more grillin' bacon!!

Ivanhoe said...

You can learn some interesting stuff about neighbors when you loose power for a few hours. Some of ours are whiskey-tango as well :o)
Can not wait to move to a country house with at least a couple of acre property...

Sleepypete said...

I think I know why the lights always flicker twice before the final dark bit :-) (3 phase power supplies, the first two flickers are due to the first two phases going down and the grid adjusting)

People around me have had big thunderstorms but apart from Friday I've missed out. Not counting the 7am this morning one cos I was only semi-conscious when I noticed it get Awful Dark :-)

PS Know whatcha mean with the sporadic posting thing - that's bitten me too lately ... But I have a decent one as my latest (Girlie Cricketers again) to make up for a couple of downer posts :-)

Kerry said...

The way they do it in Hawaii: Neighborhoods get turned back on one at a time so as not to overload the system. If the power in a certain area comes on and then immediately blows out again, that are is sent to the back of the line and it will be SEVERAL hours before they even ATTEMPT to turn that area on again. Somehow the military housing areas always manage to be last.

I'm told that the power never goes out in Japan; they're too efficient for all that nonsense. We'll see about that. I live on a US base, anyway.

CG said...

Really enjoyable post, it made me feel I was experiencing it along with you!

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