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fire and ice

life got a little more complicated as an ice storm of some repute moved through michigan. and i got a good lesson in just how unprepared i am for any sort of disaster be it natural or otherwise. the power went out at around 7 p.m. and i sat around for a few hours listening to big, old trees in our neighborhood creak, groan and crack under the weight of the ice. bored, i went to bed full of faith that the power would be back on by morning. so full of faith that i didn't even bother to dress warmly, which made the then 40 degree wood floors pleasant at 6:30 a.m. no power.

i'm feeling lucky that we have a gas stove for cooking and coffee. things would have been measurably worse sans the coffee. and i'm feeling doubly lucky that we have a fireplace, with a few pieces of dry wood. things are looking up as i reheat yesterday's coffee and manage to barely avoid filling the entire house with smoke. cold floors, wood smoke and coffee always remind me of waking up at my grandparent's place in maine. i briefly contemplate going out to get two pounds of bacon just to complete the olfactory walk down memory lane. instead, i decide that i'll get all anachronistic and actually read the local newspaper. i find, in the always entertaining editorials, that a local woman is extremely disturbed at the local dead sea scrolls exihibit because a bible and the koran are placed in close proximity to one another.

infused with coffee and a bit of humor, i'm venture outdoors to inspect the damage. lots of arm-sized and a few torso-sized limbs and branches are down in the front and back yards, but amazingly i don't see any serious damage. my neighbor has a large bit of a tree in her backyard that will likely require a city crew to come mop up. she says she's talked with power company and they don't the power will be on until tuesday.

tuesday? the statement takes its time settling in and making the full weight of its meaning felt. tuesday. but it's only saturday. tuesday is many cold days and nights away. i don't have enough of anything to last until tuesday. not enough batteries, matches, candles, firewood or patience. luckily, our neighbor has a stockpile of seasoned firewood, which means i only need on thing. i don't have any kindling, so i decide to get some of the firestarter kits that you use while camping to get a fire going under less than ideal conditions. as it turns out, so is everyone else in the city.

this is when i get the smallest of tastes of what things could be like in a real emergency. the local grocery store is closed because the power is out. indeed, the entire strip mall is closed, and the parking lot is filled with a small battalion of power company cherry pickers that are waiting to be called into active duty. i decide to go to meijers, a local superstore roughly akin to a walmart, and it gets even more surreal. the store is on reserve power which means that entire acres of the store are dark. these happen to be the very acreage of store that i need to be in, so i'm wandering around in the dark with strangers who are cursing because there aren't any d batteries left in the city. i'm mildly amused at the spectacle until a store employee tells me that they are also out of firelogs.

all the wierdness naturally forces me to my local bookstore, which is where i find dozens of families without power - but with screaming kids - who have decided to transmorgify the bookstore into a daycare center. no firelogs at the walgreens, either. and they're running low on batteries too. i'm not panicky during this whole process, because i know the storm hasn't been that extensive and that i'll probably be able to drive to the other side of town and get firelogs. but it was interesting to see just how distruptive a relatively minor ice storm can be. of course in "these times", it's difficult not to think about how things might play out in a "real" emergency.

as luck would have it, after four hours of looking for firelogs i finally find some and by the time i get back home the power is back on.

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4/05/2003 08:00:00 PM 0 comments


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[ rhetoric ]

"it is hard to be brave," said piglet, sniffing slightly, "when you're only a Very Small Animal." rabbit, who had begun to write very busily, looked up and said: "it is because you are a very small animal that you will be Useful in the adventure before us."

the complete tales & poems of winnie the pooh

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this site chronicles the continuing adventures of my son, odin, who was unexpectedly born on the fourth of july at 25 weeks gestation, weighing 1 pound 7 ounces.

he's quite a fighter and you can always send him a postcard to the most current address listed here if you're inspired by his adventures. see the postcard project/google maps mashup to see a map of the postcards.

if you're new, you can browse the archives to catch up. and don't forget to watch a few movies that i made while we were in the neonatal intensive care unit. or if you want the abridged version and you can find a copy, you can read about his adventures in the november 2005 issue of parents magazine.

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