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Gearing Up To Bear Down

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Bloviating Zeppelin: Gearing Up To Bear Down

Bloviating Zeppelin

(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Gearing Up To Bear Down

Firewood stacked: check. Fresh water jugs stacked: check. 500-gallon propane tank filled to the brim: check. Extra batteries: check. Two AM/FM radios with WX: check. Outside hose bibs disconnected and protected: check. Deck cleared: check. Canned goods: check. Good. Ready for more Global Warming.

This happens to be the earlierst snowfall I've had in my memory. Occasionally I've had a snowy Christmas or two -- even that has been somewhat rare. The heavy snows usually begin in January.

Earlier this week I wanted to get up to my cabin in the Sierra Nevada mountains. I work in Sacratomato and my wife lives there as well. However, the three-day storm which occurred last weekend took down trees and power lines, then froze all snow and water. I'd had a wonderful spiral-cut ham in the freezer which we'd planned for Thanksgiving. Though I worked Thanksgiving that wasn't going to stop dinner. The day before, with a break in the storm, I drove up to my cabin; PG&E trucks were festooned everywhere. Obviously, this did not bode well for returned power. Like a game of Pac Man, slowly I drove around the parked and outrigged blue trucks with their accompanying booms and buckets -- again, literally everywhere.

My street had been cleared, so I crept along the ice downhill, losing traction and beginning to slide sideways until I hit a clear bit of asphalt now and then. The hill to my cabin is fairly steep -- to the point where kids going up frequently push their bicycles. I thunked my right front tire into a bank of snow like a naturally-chocked wheel. Another frozen bank of snow occluded my gate. A small bent and frozen tree fell across the steps to my door. I could see, around the left corner of my big deck, about a 6-inch wide tree had fallen over the railing. The deck itself was covered by a lump of white rock about 5 feet deep.

So far, I thought, no broken windows, no snapped power or phone lines to the house, no big downed trees. Those things, of course, have happened before. Two years ago a chunk of frozen snow came down from a redwood and put a 12" dent into the fender of my RAV-4.

Once I sussed out how, I managed (yes, even at my bulk) to climb over the fence and gain access to the side door, shutting it behind me. Flip-flip. No power. I threw open the blinds for interior light and made more checks. Nice, clean house (thanks Kathy!). Interior warm (propane heat). Water running. Toilets flushing. Ooops. Refrigerator. Dare I?

My senses are predominantly gone. I am color blind. My taste buds provide little action. I have killed various audio frequency bands after years of wearing headphones in radio in my tender and ignorant youth; going to Black Sabbath, King Crimson, Led Zeppelin and Status Quo concerts didn't help much either. My olfactory senses are, at best, almost completely absent. I could linger on old and vile homicide scenes much longer than my partners.

So when I opened the door for but a moment and could actually smell the refrigerator -- including freezer -- I somehow sensed this was not a good thing.

Losing power for a good seven days will do that, I concluded.

I chipped and dug a path back out to my SUV, unloaded some gear and crossed my fingers that power would be forthcoming. But not before I hiked around the corner to a scattered conglomerate of huge PG&E crane trucks. It was only then that I observed massive chunks of freshly-sawed tree trunks behind the trucks a property or two away. Yes, dearest readers, your humble blogger was the very last to acquire power within a 20-mile radius because a large fir had fallen and not only sliced through the power cables but smacked into a pole, causing more lines to snap. Lucky me.

The crew foreman chatted with me for a few minutes. Yes, PG&E trucks were everywhere. He himself had been called and responded from Bakersfield. Other power agencies from outside Fornicalia had responded as well. I would have power, he said, by later that afternoon. He was both correct and incorrect. I thanked him and his crew for their hard work and slided/hiked back to the cabin. Aaaah, nice heat. It was 22-degrees outside.

I waited some more. Hours passed. Nothing. I re-loaded the RAV-4 and clawed my way back up the hill to leave. The PG&E trucks hadn't moved. At the T-intersection I noted: hey, the house on the right has its porch light activated! I saw a big blue truck now behind me. Coolio, I thought, maybe I have power.

Finishing my U-turn, I again stopped in the snow berm. My own porch lights were on! (Insert chorale of angels here.) I unloaded my junk again (three trips) via the recently-chunked-out path through frozen snow, down the steps, to the door. I began to further unload some food purchases, books, and my mail. Five minutes into detailed unloading -- a distant boom from outside the house. Total darkness. Cat piss!

I crawled the RAV-4 up the hill once again and sojourned carefully down I-80 to Sacratomato, no spiral cut ham in tow. That was the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving. We had to punt.

Following work my wife and I had a Mexican Thanksgiving. She cooked chicken in mole over rice. So tender the chicken fell right off the bones. Great meal!

It's 10 am now on Sunday, and I have a couple days off in succession. Once I publish this post, I plan to head back back up I-80 to the cabin. Chain control is just past the exit to my cabin, so I should safely make the journey. I'll re-assess the house then. I expect I'll be making a large food run, cleaning out the fridge, and bagging things you wouldn't want to see.

Just another day in God's country. And I wouldn't trade it for the world.



Blogger Old NFO said...

Be careful BZ, and make sure to wipe the fridge down with a bleach mix to kill any remaining bacteria!

Sun Nov 28, 04:17:00 PM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

It has been suggested to me, NFO, to wipe the interior of my fridge down with vinegar to bleach to TSP to baking soda combinations.

I'll likely utilize a combination of all of those. I suppose I can't go wrong there.


Sun Nov 28, 06:19:00 PM PST  
Blogger cj said...

Now wait a minute, bud. You can't live in God's country because I live in God's country...

And aren't we both lucky.

Got four inches of the wonderful white stuff Friday night and now I think I heard rain in the forecast. That's the UP of Michigan to a T.


Mon Nov 29, 05:05:00 AM PST  
Blogger Susannah said...

And you wouldn't trade it for the world?? Oh my. Sounds like a WHOLE lot of work to me.

I'll opt for the temperate NC climate, all day (& all winter) long. (

Cue JT tunes: "In my mind I'm goin' to Carolina. Can't you see the sunshine? Can't you feel the moonshining? Ain't it just like a friend of mine...and I'm goin' to Carolina in my mind...)

Mon Nov 29, 05:47:00 AM PST  
Blogger mrchuck said...

Caught myself instinctively breathing through my mouth when reading about your refrigerator homicide scene.
After working so many years in high altitude snow areas, I really don't miss it now.
Great prose in your writings, and I truly enjoy them.

Mon Nov 29, 10:25:00 AM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

cj, in what portion of the mountains do you live?

Susannah: I used to live in Ohio where it was hot and humid in the summer and then would snow in the winter. I despise humidity now; just can't take it. But we mostly live where we like it. . .

Mr C: thanks kindly for the writing kudos.


Mon Nov 29, 03:25:00 PM PST  
Blogger Susannah said...

BZ~ Ohio? Humidity in Ohio?? :)

OK. So I've never lived in Ohio, but I can just not imagine unbearable humidity so far "north." My 'people' are South Carolina people: Dad went to The Citadel in Charleston - wool uniforms in August. Then my parents lived a while in Columbia - quite possibly the hottest, most humid place on the planet - aside from the Nile Delta.

Of course, I grew up in NC (which can get downright sweltering), but have suffered through many a SC summer, either in Columbia or on the Coast (which is much more temperate, due to the ocean breeze). And twice when I was pregnant! ugh.

But enough about that. You're right - we all seem to end up where we 'like it.' And it takes all kinds!

Tue Nov 30, 01:25:00 PM PST  
Blogger A Jacksonian said...

Sounds like my growing up in Buffalo. Lose power for a week or two? Live next to the fireplace, use the gas stove in the basement, put up blankets across the stairs to the second floor and put all the frozen food into garbage cans and stick them on the back porch. Cycle things that need to be kept cool into the indoors every hour or so, or tuck them into the defrosting freezer.

In the basement were canned goods... lots of them. You could live for a week just on that stuff, but having to clear out the perishables meant you had a few days of buffer before that, and then you had all the stuff in the freezer to eat through. We never did get to even the half-way point on the freezer, but were making up dehydrated milk and drinking tea after the coffee and postum ran out. But there is nothing like bacon and eggs done on cast iron fry pans in the fireplace! If it was a month without power, we would have had problems...

Now I have lovely canfulls of dehydrated and freeze-dried goods enough for a year. Plus MRE's in the single pouches and squad trays, along with all other sorts of fun things packed away for a nasty year. Plus my ammo hardbox is nearly full: an old four-pack steel box used to supply the Bradley's with ammo for the test range... I can fit two Mosin's cross-wise in it with lots of room to spare, but now its just ammo. Lots of ammo.

Sat Dec 04, 04:36:00 AM PST  

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