Funny about Money

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ―Edmund Burke

Live-Blogging from Storm Central

July 30, 8:00 p.m.

Well, not exactly blogging: power’s out and likely to be that way for quite some time. We could say “pre-blogging”…in Word, the laptop being fully charged but, of course, offline.

Dinner at M’hijito’s house. Just as we were finishing the feast, we could see the storm blowing in, and then a pretty heavy dust-storm hit his part of town. I wanted to get home, as I’d taken a Benadryl a few hours earlier to stave off a (weird!) allergic reaction, and it had turned me into a zombie. Just wanted to go home and go straight to bed.

Not so much.

So I figured if I was lucky and the traffic was thin, I could fly low and get home before the rain started.


About halfway up the north leg of the trip, some serious rain started to sluice down. Limbs were already down all over the road, and now it was sheeting rain. An ambulance trundled by and – oh yeah, naturally – turned into the ’hood.

My beaten path to avoid Big Brother’s hateful speed bumps and aggravating round-abouts entails entering our area from the east side on a little neighborhood lane that everybody who lives here knows runs from Main Drag east to Primary Feeder Street North/South.

Via Neighborhood Lane, I’m trying to reach Secondary Feeder North/South, midway between Main Drag East and Primary Feeder Street North/South, by way of making my way up to the small neighborhood road that runs from Lower Richistan to Normalville, my part of the ’hood.

I get about three-quarters of the way up to Small Neighborhood Road and find a large branch down across Secondary Feeder N/S. So hang a U-ie and go back down to Neighborhood Lane, upon which I figure to reach Primary Feeder N/S. And THERE I find my neighbor Josie stopped in front of an entire downed tree.

In the dark, it appears a whole Aleppo pine – and these things are HUGE – uprooted and came crashing down across the road. I get out of my car to check the house across the street, to see if everyone’s OK. It looks like it didn’t quite reach that house, but it’s in their yard. If the residents are home, they’re huddled inside. I don’t think anyone’s hurt.

Josie knows the people who own the house where the tree stood, and she’s on the phone to them. They’re not home. We think their house is OK…except, ahem, for the absence of one exceptionally large shade tree.

Now I tell Josie that I couldn’t get through on Seccondary Feeder N/S. She says she couldn’t get through on the Main Drag to the south, either, because the power is out and the traffic is insane. She doesn’t think we can even reach Primary Feeder Street N/S along Main Drag South.

I say I think I can pull the downed limb off the road if we go back up Secondary. We both make U-turns and she follows me up Secondary. But by now others are trying to get through, and now a neighbor – a large male neighbor – is out in front of the house where the limb fell, trying to wave people away from the traffic jam.

I say I think we can pull it far enough off the road for cars to pass. He says he tried and couldn’t move it. He suggests we go up the wrong way on Secondary – Secondary is a divided road with a planter strip up the middle. No one is coming in our direction, so Josie and I cut across the road and make our way up the down street.

Luckily, we reach Main Feeder East/West before anybody comes our way. And before a cop comes along.

Because the power is out, once I get to the Funny Farm I can’t get into the garage. It is pouring rain. Leaving the dogs in the car, I enter the house, free the garage opener latch, and push the door open. Manage to haul the door closed behind the car – fortunately the door is well balanced, because it’s old, all steel, and damned heavy.

July 30, an hour later:

The power is still out. It’s damn hot in here. I’ve opened the doors that have security screens with drill-proof deadbolts, but of course can’t leave any of the sliders or the windows open. Well….I do have the bedroom sliding door open, because what we have here on the bed is a dual alarm system. If anyone comes anywhere near the place, they go off like banshees.

Which, I suppose, is what they are.

Not surprisingly, I can’t get online, so cannot check the Salt River Project website for word of how soon they might get the power back on. Not very, I expect. People are wandering around outside yakking, babies are screaming, and it’s wet and steamy. Still sprinkling a little, but not enough to keep the yakkers indoors. Or to keep the damn helicopters from buzzing overhead.

Some very odd things are working in the outage.

The phone, for example. I was told it would not run without electric. The Cox guy put a battery in the modem, but that thing died forthwith. So I’m bopping around in the dark when I hear an unfamiliar phone bell ringing. WTF? The clamshell throwaway phone??? My son, trying to get through????!?

Grab the camp lantern, make my way to the office, whence the noise emanates. It’s the main phone that plugs direct to the cable connection. Pick it up: La Maya on the phone. We yak for awhile. She says to be careful about leaving doors or windows open, because she caught a sh!thead prowling outside one of her windows a night or so ago.

Thank heavens for Schlage and Medco locks, think I.

Still. This is the time when you do want your German shepherd back.

And in the weirdly still-working department: I had a Washington Post online game up on the computer before I left the house. Even though the computer is offline, the little game is working! 😀


The streetlight outside the Funny Farm flickered a few times, as though the power was trying to come on. Then went dark again.

And now it’s raining steadily again. It’s hot and stuffy in here. Believe I’ll throw a sheet on the tiles and go to sleep on the floor, where it’s cooler. A lot cooler…

July 31, 1:00 a.m.

The power finally came back on sometime in the wee hours., just as I was figuring that come dawn, I’d have to make a run on Walmart, Fry’s, and whatever other stores I could think of in search of dry ice to try to preserve the food in the fridge and freezer. If the whole area’s power was down all night, it could be quite a long grocery store run…

Salt River Project’s website says the power went off here around 7:15 last night. So it’s been off five and a half hours, give or take. This would be O.K. if it hadn’t been around 100 degrees when the power went out. Just now it’s about 80 outside, and around 83 inside the shack.

I see a new assignment came in from a client while all these shenanigans were going on. I hope they don’t want the thing back tomorrow, because today I’m gonna be in no shape to read technical copy. Ugh.

July 31, 7:17 a.m.

Power was out most of the night. Cox has been up and down. No phone, no pool, two heat-soaked pets…ain’t got no cigarettes.

I think the cable (i.e. phone) connection is up right now, but that doesn’t mean it’ll stay up. Here at the Funny Farm, though, it looks like things are intact. Thank heaven Luis came earlier this summer and thinned out the forest! But for sure…I’m going to have to do something about that devil-pod tree. If that thing falls over, it will smush either my house or Terri’s.

July 31, 8:27 a.m.

Dogs fed and walked. Property reconnoitered. Phone and Internet crashed again and are still out…I do hate Cox. Really. Hate. Cox.

Neighbor took this foto of the scene on Neighborhood Lane, just west of Primary Feeder Street N/W.  That tree was uprooted and blown out of the front yard on the right-hand side of the image. Fortunately, the lots are huge and the houses are set back a good distance off the road. If it had been most other neighborhoods in this city, that tree would have fallen into the house situated on the left side of this picture.

That’s an Aleppo pine, a type of tree popular when the tract was built out…back in the 1950s. So the tree is probably 50 or 60 years old. At least. Another pine in the yard lost about a third of its branches — whether because this tree hit it on the way down or from the action of the wind.

Mercifully, no damage here at the Funny Farm. The potted ficus tree, which has waxed huge in its new place beneath the lath shade covering, fell over. Its pot didn’t break, thank goodness, and I managed (just) to haul it back upright and drag it, a quarter-inch at a time, back into the shelter. Fine mess in the pool, but Harvey the Hayward Pool Cleaner was up to it with no problem. Harvey was already out of the water, in anticipation of just such an event as occurred. Turned on the pump, which scooted the big stuff into a pile. Scooped that out easily with the hose-end water vacuum. Then dropped Harvey back in the drink, where he began tracing white trails through the brown dust. Otherwise everything seems OK except maybe the bougainvillea on the side, which got royally walloped.

Was very glad I’d hired Luis to trim all the trees in front. That devil-pod tree on the side, though, is beyond one man and a saw….Gerardo wants to take it down, but I’m afraid of having one of his cousins fall out of the damn thing. Since he’s laid first dibs on the job, though, I’m also afraid of pissing him off by hiring a tree company (at many times what he’ll charge) to cut it down. And don’t know what could take its place…as hated as it is, it DOES shade the west side of the shack.

I see the wind did blow a lot of shingles off the neighbor’s roof catty-corner behind me. That guy…there’s always one in every neighborhood, isn’t there?…is a shiftless soul. He inherited the house from parents who lived there till they died. And since he didn’t have to pay for it and is one of those clowns who doesn’t understand that real estate = dollars and paid-off real estate = investment, he’s just let it rot away. So that won’t be fixed, and what was already getting to be an eyesore will now be even dumpier.

Checked my own roof with binoculars. Doesn’t look like there’s much damage, though a couple of shingles might need repair. The roofing guys who installed that roof after Late Great Hailstorm didn’t leave me any extra shingles! Duh! I didn’t even think about it at the time. So…finding shingles to match may be a bit of a challenge. Dollars to donuts, they’re not available at the Depot, eh?

July 31, 10:34 a.m.

Having enjoyed all of about two hours’ sleep last night, I’m going back to bed. And so, away…



Author: funny

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  1. We had a wild rains torm in our parts a while back that uprooted so many deciduous trees it was tragic. One house two streets up from me experienced a massive uprooted tree that took out half of the power line so a few houses were without power for over a week. I learned that electric companies fix problems by how many people are affected. If the issue is just 2-3 houses, you’re last on the totem pole if it’s a hot mess of outages out there. We only lost power for 4 hours, so we survived no harm no foul.

    Glad your power came on soon enough. Are permanent generators common in your parts? Because of the tall trees in PA, you see a lot of homes with those Generac gas line generators. If I ever experience a week without power, I might be calling an installer next day, lol.

    • Wow! That sounds like a fine adventure. Makes sense about how the power companies prioritize repairs: the squeaky wheel gets the grease…so a whole bunch of wheels squeaking together would get the grease first! 😀