Tuesday, December 19, 2006

And then there was light

The thing about losing power is that it makes you appreciate what you have. Especially when you get it all back.

After being stuck indoors all week by the pain in my back, the lack of napping & the pissing rain, on Thursday afternoon I persuaded Sugar Daddy to come home early to I could drive the three minutes required to get to Gymboree. Sure I could have walked but apparently I am made of sugar - that or I couldn't be bothered getting the stroller set up with the rain cover. We made it over there & Doodle Bug then went on her mission to collect all the balls scattered throughout the room whether or not they were in anyone else's hands. This resulted in a few tussels & several screeches of the velocirapter variety when someone tried to recover their ownership of the treasured plastic orbs. We were involved in this epic struggle while the rain poured down outside when all of a sudden there was the grumble of thunder followed by a huge flash of lightning. Despite the amount of rain we've experienced here I think this was the first bit of thunderstorm to date. Driving home you could see the cars ahead going through about 6 inches of water that was accumulating on the side of the roads. And the rain just kept coming down.

Then the wind picked up.

I'd seen the news earlier out of the corner of my eye while reading Dilly Duckling for the umpteenth time so I sorta knew that a severe windstorm was forecast. I was thinking Newfoundland gale but I don't remember experiencing anything quite like what was to come later that night while living in St. John's. You could hear the storm picking up power as the evening wore on & by the time we went to bed the wind was whipping up crap on the street & small branches out of the trees. It got so loud that I found it impossible to sleep properly & kept getting up every hour to look out the window to make sure the nearby trees weren't about to come through to main me & my loved ones in some freak accident.

Sometime between midnight & 2 am the power went out & the darkness was upon us. At first we just noticed that the clock was out but then realized that there was none of the regular piercing brightness from the streetlight outside our window. We figured the power would probably come back on as soon as the wind died down. Meanwhile we continued to not sleep through the night & kept watch on the desperate people still driving their cars in the total darkness. No streetlights, no traffic lights... what were these nutso's doing? We figured it had to be shift workers or stupid joyriders because we heard lots of screeching tires. Then the car alarms & sirens started. All throughout the night & the following 24 hours the sound of firetruck & police sirens were constant. Whether it was car accidents or candles left burning I don't know but it just didn't stop. In fact we're still hearing them though with much less frequency.

By morning the wind let up & taking a look outside we were a little surprised that the road below wasn't a bigger mess but I guess that the steady stream of nutty drivers throughout the night mashed the smaller branches into the pavement & pushed the larger ones to the side of the road. There was a large branch on the sidewalk from the tree outside our window & across the street we could see that the park was covered with tons of evergreen boughs & at least two large pines down on the ground (walking by later we found the playground closed because of the downed trees). The power was still out & when Sugar Daddy finally turned on the car radio we found out that we were just one of about a million people in the area without any electricity. Thankfully for us we have a gas stove, furnace & fireplace so we could make some much needed coffee. Seems we're pretty lucky. Our neighbor who works at Nordstrom's told us that many people were terribly pissed off that Starbucks wasn't making any coffee for them to fuel their shopping in the dark.

So anyway, no power. Oh well - no biggie. We've lived through 2 other major blackouts in the past 8 years. What's another one? It's not like its cold here or anything. Or is it? Apparently so. Once again I am conflicted by feelings of superior weather coping skills combined with concern for those who are suffering. Our place was a little cold the second night but nothing an extra blanket couldn't fix. It would've been a lot harder if we didn't have the gas stove but we still only used it to heat up water & fry up a microwave meal that wasn't cooking properly on the bbq. If we couldn't have used the stove we would've used our camping gear. We had a bunch of IKEA candles & tea lights, plus we had SD's bike light if we ran out of those. The dude even hooked up the laptop to the car so he could have music.

We spent Friday hanging out playing Yahtzee, reading to the baby & cleaning up. It got a little boring so we opened our Christmas presents to each other (the big things that we won't be taking on the plane to Newfoundland). Sugar Daddy gave me a digital video camera but since it didn't come with any tapes we decided to head over to one of the open stores to see of we could get one. Nothing like essentials people…. essentials. We ended up at Target & the place was packed with people stocking up on essentials (the real kind, like beer & Cheetos) & holiday goods. The flashlights were sold out & I think staples like bread & milk were in short supply.

Heading home we noticed how many dumbasses don’t know what to do at an intersection with non-working lights. Really, did you think that line up of cars in the other direction were waiting especially for you to get through mister? Oh by all means – go through. By the time we got back to the house we were once again shrouded in the darkness so we felt our way upstairs & began the search for matches & the little flashlight we knew was around somewhere. We managed to light about a zillion tea lights – just enough to be able to change a diaper with - & invited the new neighbors over for a drink. Last blackout we were in was awesome for neighborly activities. It was so warm people were wandering the streets in the evening for a bit of coolness so we got to meet a lot of the community we wouldn’t have otherwise. Folks would be hanging out on their lawns drinking their warmish beers, eating their decaying freezer food & looking up at the stars. That was good times. Good times.

Our new neighbors couldn’t come over at first because they had to go get gas. Seems everybody needed some. I’m not sure why people were driving around so much when most everything was closed, work & schools were cancelled & it was a pain in the ass with the trees & lack of streetlights. Apparently our neighbors both had to work despite the outages & needed to drive. Others were using their cars to stay warm because it was about 10 degrees Celsius (50F) in their homes. I know that’s pretty chilly but it begs the question of how little insulation do the buildings here have? I think our house might have gone down to 5 or 10 degrees during the ice storm blackout but it was about – 20 (-10F) or so outside. And this was after a week. Anyway there have been lineups at what few pumps are working throughout the area. Some pumps don’t have power & the ones that do have run out of gas because of the demand. Thankfully we had over half a tank & had nowhere to drive besides Target down the road.

Eventually the neighbors came over & hung out for a few hours, most of which I spent upstairs trying to get the baby to sleep. Of course I fell asleep once she finally went down so it was Sugar Daddy who got to do most of the socializing. And the drinking. When he finally went to bed around 2am he was pretty tipsy & the power was back on. Woo hoo! So in the end, at least for us, this was not a bad power outage at all. Of course there are still about 200,000 people without power & plenty of those are without heat. I guess we have a horseshoe up our butts because with all that could’ve happened we were lucky to have only been frustrated by inconveniences.

So we're back to almost normal except that the internet cable connection keeps going out so we lose cable channels & that most awesome information superhighway that keeps me in touch with the outside world. Also our phone is all screwed up - it rings & I can hear someone on the line but they can't hear me. Very frustrating. But we only have to put up with it one more day as we leave tomorrow for St. John's & Ottawa. We're looking forward to seeing everyone & some familiar sights, not to mention Lucky Ron. I'm super excited to see the Doodles enjoying the Christmas tree, ripping paper from presents & getting spoiled rotten from Grammy & Poppy. We've been talking to her about Santa & she points him out everytime we catch sight of one. Him & snowmen, reindeers & holiday lights. She's so much fun right now & cracks me up every few minutes. Anyway, this has taken way too long to get posted once again so I bid you all Happy Holidays & we're looking forward to seeing those of you back home.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Oops I did it again

Oh my aching back. I think I slipped a disc yesterday picking up the Doodle Bug. I did this once previously & it was major suckage for about 6 + weeks. That time it was just before getting knocked up & I did it shovelling snow from our driveway (the back, not the knocking up though that would've been fun for our neighbors). It was a lift & twist motion that got me since I was bending at the knees like a good snow shoveller with a propensity for weird injuries. Same thing this time.

During our hopefully last foray to the mall for xmas gifts Sugar Daddy was searching for something special for his mom while I played baby wrangler. She had only slept for about 30 minutes that morning so by 5 yesterday she was going into overtired crazy mode & started picking up the charity promotion teddy bears that were lined up on the store floor we were looking in. She'd pick up one & then another so she had one in each hand, then she'd drop one & pick up another so by the time we left she'd touched each of the thousand bears in the store. Then of course, since she'd staken her claim to all of them by way of the grabbing she took a fit when I tried to make her put them back. We've been getting a taste of tantrum around here lately if the girl doesn't get what she wants. We are on a rollercoaster to hell people. She'll screech like a frenzied bat & then lose function in her legs as she assumes the position of either head on floor between her knees or the one where her back arches into a rigid backwards C as she collapes into my arms crying like her entire world is coming apart. It's good fun.

Anyway I think she did the head to knee position first & then as I tried to pick her & one of the bears up she manoevered into her next pose which made me swivel so as not to drop her on the floor. I shoulda dropped her. I felt the twinge in my lower spine as I did this & a quick "oh oh" flitted into my consciousness. Followed by an out loud "oh shit!" which got the attention of most of the remaining bears & store employees. Still I got her thrashing body in my arms & tried to quell the screams of frustration by promising ice cream. No go. She had to have one of those damn bears. Being the suckers that we are, she broke us down into whimpering puddles of weakly made jello. Jello that easily caved on our mutual promises of not to succumb to the pitfall of having little plastic cards in our wallets & to the ever-mutating whims of our whiny child. How far we have fallen in our quest for an unspoiled, quiet & even-tempered tot. But you knew that would happen didn't you?

So, my back appears to be frigged right up. Not quite as bad as last time but I'm having trouble sitting on my ass which I like to do a lot. Lying on my side to nurse is excrutiating & there's shooting daggers being thrust down my legs from time to time. I'm trying to spend my time lying on my back & then doing gentle upper body lifts while lying on my belly (as prescribed by the physio last time) but it's a little difficult when Doodles just wants me to pick her up all the time. If she'd just let me lie on the floor all day while I drink away the pain everything would be hunky dory. Maybe we can reach some kind of compromise. I'll let you know. Gotta go lie down & think about beer for a while.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

For lack of brain power

I'd like to do a meme that I stole from the most awesome DaniGirl. I have lots to write about but I just can't get myself in gear. I'm burnt out from too much Xmas shopping. Anyway here's a very long list of stuff I have (in bold) & have not done. Be prepared for my fantasticness.

01. bought everyone in the bar a drink (I'm too poor / cheap)
02. swam with wild dolphins
03. climbed a mountain (two, plus a few really really big hills)
04. taken a ferrari for a test drive
05. been inside the great pyramid
06. held a tarantula (Little Ray's Repile Zoo)
07. taken a candlelit bath with someone (awkward)
08. said "i love you" and meant it
09. hugged a tree
10. bungee jumped
11. visited paris (hated it the first time & got maced at New Years the next time)
12. watched a lightning storm at sea
13. stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. seen the northern lights
15. gone to a huge sports game (I wouldn't say huge)
16. walked the stairs to the top of the leaning tower of pisa (it was closed for repairs)
17. grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. touched an iceberg
19. slept under the stars
20. changed a baby's diaper (plenty)
21. taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. watched a meteor shower
23. gotten drunk on champagne
24. given more than you can afford to charity (well Sugar Daddy did on my part)
25. looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. had a food fight
28. bet on a winning horse (when I was 12)
29. asked out a stranger
30. had a snowball fight
31. screamed as loudly as you possibly can (In the car)
32. held a lamb (lived on a sheep farm)
33. seen a total eclipse
34. ridden a roller coaster (hated it)
35. hit a home run (I suck)
36. danced like a fool and not cared who was looking (countless times)
37. adopted an accent for an entire day (not really on purpose - it just happens)
38. actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment (a moment or two)
39. had two hard drives for your computer (does an external one count?)
40. visited all 50 states (22 I think)
41. taken care of someone who was drunk
42. had amazing friends
43. danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. watched whales
45. stolen a sign (Paddy's Day drunkeness)
46. backpacked in europe
47. taken a road-trip
48. gone rock climbing (I actually used to be decent)
49. midnight walk on the beach
50. gone sky diving
51. visited ireland (so close but never made it)
52. been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love (oh sure)
53. in a restaurant, sat at a stranger's table and had a meal with them
54. visited japan
55. milked a cow (fresh milk is kind of gross)
56. alphabetized your cds
57. pretended to be a superhero (does the Bionic Woman count?)
58. sung karaoke (only when drunk)
59. lounged around in bed all day
60. played touch football
61. gone scuba diving (once in a pool & I freaked out)
62. kissed in the rain
63. played in the mud
64. played in the rain
65. gone to a drive-in theater
66. visited the great wall of china
67. started a business
68. fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. toured ancient sites
70. taken a martial arts class
71. played d&d for more than 6 hours straight
72. gotten married
73. been in a movie (nope but on tv a few times)
74. crashed a party
75. gotten divorced
76. gone without food for 5 days
77. made cookies from scratch
78. won first prize in a costume contest
79. ridden a gondola in venice
80. gotten a tattoo
81. rafted the snake river (went on the Athabasca)
82. been on television news programs as an "expert"
83. gotten flowers for no reason
84. performed on stage
85. been to las vegas
86. recorded music (er....)
87. eaten shark (tried whale in Iceland - it tasted like liver. Yuck!)
88. kissed on the first date
89. gone to thailand
90. bought a house
91. been in a combat zone
92. buried one/both of your parents
93. been on a cruise ship
94. spoken more than one language fluently
95. performed in rocky horror
96. raised children
97. followed your favorite band/singer on tour (once my friends & I followed Jesus Jones from Winnipeg to Minneapolis, plus I've supported a few friend's bands by driving to Brandon - woo hoo!)
98. passed out cold (fainted a few times - never from booze)
99. taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country (how about biking in Cape Cod?)
100. picked up and moved to another city to just start over (more than once)
101. walked the golden gate bridge
102. sang loudly in the car, and didn't stop when you knew someone was looking
103. had plastic surgery
104. survived an accident that you shouldn't have survived
105. wrote articles for a large publication (I wouldn't say large)
106. lost over 100 pounds
107. held someone while they were having a flashback
108. piloted an airplane
109. touched a stingray
110. broken someone's heart (I think so)
111. helped an animal give birth (so cool - sheep, cat, dog)
112. won money on a t.v. game show
113. broken a bone (a few little ones along with a cracked tailbone - twice)
114. gone on an african photo safari
115. had a facial part pierced other than your ears
116. fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol (shotgun when I was 14)
117. eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild (hallucinegenic ones count right?)
sidenote where is 118?
119. had major surgery
120. had a snake as a pet
121. hiked to the bottom of the grand canyon
122. slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours (mono)
123. visited more foreign countries than u.s. states (I think it's about equal)
124. visited all 7 continents
125. taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. eaten kangaroo meat
127. eaten sushi
128. had your picture in the newspaper
129. changed someone's mind about something you care deeply about (hopefully)
130. gone back to school
131. parasailed
132. touched a cockroach
133. eaten fried green tomatoes
134. read The Iliad
135. selected one "important" author who you missed in school, and read (a few)
136. killed and prepared an animal for eating (a fish a long time ago)
137. skipped all your school reunions (you know I was never notified - what does that tell you?)
138. communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. been elected to public office
140. written your own computer language
141. thought to yourself that you're living your dream (for a moment or two)
142. had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. built your own PC from parts
144. sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you (school art auction)
145. had a booth at a street fair (face painting on Canada Day / lemonade stand)
146. dyed your hair
147. been a dj
148. shaved your head (pretty damn close)
149. caused a car accident
150. saved someone's life

That's it. I'll try & write properly soon.

P.S. Huge congratulations to G & K on the birth of Douglas!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Foot in blogging mouth?

I don't know. I'm feeling pretty shitty for making fun of people who don't know how to drive in snow when something like this happens.