Monday, January 07, 2008

BLACK OUT...........................

I'm back from the 18th century. Friday 1/4/08 a winter storm hit Monterey California. Now in 04-05 I lived and recorded in the state of Washington. We got STRORMS up there. We lived less than 25 miles from Mount Saint Helen. And when a storm hit, I had to go in my back yard the next day and pick up all of my neighbor's trees. Make sure my fence was still standing but other than that, the electricity never went out. But of course we lived in a modern housing district that had underground cable and power.

2 years later, welcome back to California. Monterey/Carmel pride it's self on their beautiful "old" Cypress trees. This is the Cypress forest. Unfortunately, it never ever rains here in Monterey. It's like that song from the early 70's "It never rains in Southern California". Well it did this last Friday and at 11:00 AM every tree branch that could fall on an electric power line did. The priority of the reclaimation project will be interesting reading. I know that the fire department and power companies covet the tourist area. So downtown and Cannary Row had very little downtime. Then of course those on ventilators or repirators were helped. After that I'm sure it was the Mayor's grid, anyone who worked for Pacific Gas and Electricity's grid, etc.... We were 3 days down on the list.

Friday wasn't to bad. We had showered and cleaned up just before the storm. BUT being from the SF Bay area where trees are a rare specie; we never had our power out for more than 45 minutes. So it was a surprise to go to bed without power. Wake up in the middle of the night and go to the restroom without power, then wake up and find no hot water. *Note, even though your water heater is gas, the thermostat is electrical.

Saturday morning I had to cancel guitar classes as the studio was around 53 degrees, (the same temperature as the bay) No hot water meant no shower. One nice thing was that we have a gas stove which enabled us to cook food by lighting the burners by hand. I made 2 really gourmet meals just to pass the time. Later that night with no power, I boiled a pot of water and we washed our faces and then did a "sponge" bath before bedtime.

Sunday morning, more of the same only all of the warmth that was insulated in the house Sat. AM was gone. Every room was in the 50's. We boiled lots of water and did an old fashion shower in the bathroom by pouring heated water on our heads so we could shampoo our hair. Unfortunately we had no hair dryers so that was a new cold experience. We went to R.E.I. to see if they had any propane lanterns but they were sold out. Target was Sold out of all of their camping gear. We had no Idea how long this was going to last. We managed to eat all of the food we had in our fridge. (taking the perishables from the bottom and sticking them up in the freezer area as the temps went down)

Over all it was just unfrozen veggies that got tossed along with the milk.

The biggest pain aside from having no heat or hot water was having NO INTERNET ACCESS. I never realized just how dependent if not addicted we are to the new one eyed monster. People communicate via email now. If given a choice I think most busy people would prefer to send an email than make a phone call.

My cell phone died Saturday night. I had to recharge it at Starbuck's on Sunday morning. As did 50,000 other people.

I realize now that living in a tourist area that is basically a cowtown seaport has it's drawbacks. All I could think of in the dark was the letter I was going to send to the director of the PUC. What was hard to swallow was that I knew the PG&E guys were working hard and still are to get people's electricity back on. But in a way, we were just as prepared for this as the city of New ORleans was for Katrina. We knew it was coming but just sat back and responded.

You folks up in the Bay Area, be glad that your public works commision has a year long "Pro-active" tree trimming program that helps avoid long outages. Apparently here in Monterey county; it's a felony to trim a tree without city permit.

What did I "gleen" from this experience that I can pass on to others?

1. Enjoy your hot water showers.
2. Keep plenty of fresh batteries and battery operated appliances around.
3. Enjoy your furnace.
4. And keep lots of good reading material around.

Ace Out......................


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home