Monday, November 12, 2012
POWER FULL ... AND STILL RUNNING ON EMPTY
CAVEAT: Forgive any formatting issues. Editing on an iPad isn't as easy as it COULD be.... or SHOULD be for that matter....
My nephew had the greatest status update on Facebook.
"I think, thanks to this snow storm and Hurricane Sandy, I have been around the same people since I lost power and I am losing my mind."
That about sums things up. I believe we call that "punch drunk." My preference at this point is to remove the punch part, grab a bottle of vodka, insert a straw and just begin drinking. Yes. I'm WELL AWARE that's not healthy but I can assure you that waking up in a home that is 44 degrees is not healthy either. That was the morning we moved out. Reluctantly. But those are dangerously low temperatures and we had no choice. I toughed it out for nine nights before jumping ship.
I'm grateful. I've already expressed my gratitude but in case my gratitude fell between the Sandy cracks, I'll repeat myself. I am lucky and I am thankful. I lost things. Stupid things. A glass table top. Shrubs and trees. I have water damage in my basement because there was no electricity to power the pump. It will take minimal effort to repair and replace the "stuff." Others? From entire homes that have been decimated to half homes that are in need of tremendous work, I know I am lucky. I was inconvenienced. I was annoyed and irritated. Others? Distraught. Rightfully so.
My only frustration throughout this mess has been my inability to connect. Social media is a large part of who I have become. Writing this blog, reaching out on twitter, keeping an eye on Facebook.....those things matter. Some might laugh. Blog? Twitter? Facebook? That's nothing more than "online fun" and for most, social media is simply that: "Online Fun."
I DO have tons of fun while I'm online but it's about the interaction with many people that has impacted me in ways I could never have imagined. I don't even know where to begin to say thank you for the many messages I have received here, in emails, on twitter and on Facebook. The few times I have been able to connect, those messages have made me smile. And.... it's made me realize this "interruption" in my daily life has taken a tremendous toll on me. There are a few people about whom I am concerned. I have not been able to keep my eye on them. That's been troubling. I brainstorm with many and losing the ability to do that is troubling. Missing two BCSM chats and quite possibly a third (tonight) is troubling.
On the other hand, I think I was burning the candle at both ends. The storm and its aftermath left me with little to do but step back. I wasn't slowing down on my own. Sandy knocked me down and kept me down. I was prepared for power outages. I had all sorts of portable chargers to keep my phone and my iPad running. I had a car with a full tank of gas to recharge everything. So much for thinking I had even the slightest element of control. Quite frankly, Mother Nature kicked my ass.
I needed a little cooperation from either Verizon or AT&T. Today is day 15 and I still do not have their blessing. I can get online for short periods of time but LTE? Not sustainable for more than moments at a time. 3G? Worse than dial up. The cell towers tumbled right alongside the trees. Whatever tiny signal on either of their "internal" networks was available was overloaded by demand. It was fully ten days before I saw pictures of flooded tunnels and charred homes. My radio, my sole source of information, did no justice to what 50 BILLION dollars of damage actually looks like.
Let it be known that I love my iPad but it has its limitations. Trying to upload photos via the blogger interface is challenging. File sharing without WiFi is virtually impossible. I have many photos (some just taken yesterday) of the streets in and around my home. There are still wires dangling or draped across roadways. The magnitude of the damage around me is unprecedented. I have personally seen trucks and workers from Wisconsin, Tennessee, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Texas, Alabama and Louisiana working independently to clear trees from wires. I can't drive more than a few blocks without seeing a caravan headed to a worksite or a flagman directing cars around the men in the cherry pickers.
LIPA, the local power company can't be faulted for their shitty infrastructure. The money required to overhaul their grid would send my already exorbitant utility bills into the stratosphere. Having a hurricane collide with another storm thus creating a superstorm isn't something for which they can be blamed. Having temperatures immediately plummet to record lows, again, not their fault. A nor'easter dumping eight inches of WET snow on compromised and weakened trees just days later, also, not. their. fault.
However, none of this exonerates them from their failure to get in front of this thing. Hold a daily press conference to provide an update. Instead, they are in hiding. Creating anarchy. And here I go, off on another rant. I just went to their "outage" site to see how many people are still waiting for electricity. They are doing my favorite thing. Skewing numbers. Except, someone needs to tell them how to do this without letting everyone actually SEE their blatant lies.
The present map breaks down the three areas that LIPA serves. One of them is known as the Rockaway Peninsula. It's destroyed. The ocean pushed up so far into the community, there are now cars parked on a heap of sand. They can not safely restore power to that area. I may have chemobrain and my brain may SUCK at numbers but ..... well, you tell me if this adds up.
Please note : While LIPA is able to deliver power to the electric grid, there are currently up to 17,500 customers in Nassau and Suffolk , and 37,500 customers in the Rockaway Peninsula who are currently unable to safely receive power without customer repairs.These 55,000 customers should be subtracted from the total number of outages to accurately reflect how many customers who can receive power safely are without service.
** DEDUCT 37,500 FROM HERE? How does that work? I think I missed the lesson on how to calculate using "funny math. " I sure hope someone in the media picks up on this and points it out. Talk in numbers, damn it. Real numbers.
Clearly, the bitch is back.......