ITEM: An eventful weekend began with taking Laurie to work at Wal-Mart Saturday morning. Decided to get some shopping done, plus some extra walking as I deemed it too cold to go out walking in nature. And speaking of nature...
ITEM: When Scrappy and I woke up, we were listening to the usual bird songs. Then a few added in that we don't usually hear... first one that sounded like a squirrel, then an almost duck-quack. A pop-pop-pop, a chirp-trill that almost sounded like a tree frog. a near catlike catbird call. A loud whistle. By the time Woody started banging on a wall down the way, the whole deal was getting louder, as if right outside the window (though you couldn't see any of them). You'd have thought you were in a Marx Brothers movie with the boys passing various bird callers back and forth. Suddenly, the red tailed hawk let out his signature screech- and suddenly, the various calls subsided to a more muted version of the usuals. It was so stark a contrast we were still chuckling when Laurie came in a few moments later. Anyway, back to...
ITEM: ...Wal-Mart, where I finished my shopping and my walk and left, arriving home to find out that there's something about walking at WM that makes my pedometer switch from miles to kilometers. This would, amazingly, repeat itself on my return trip, the only two times it's happened.
ITEM: After a fairly productive day puttering around (the bulk of which you will see the results of on Friday's Time Machine to come), I go to get Laurie from work. It is now in between raining and big flakes of snow, with a pretty stiff breeze. I went an hour early to get more walking in. Along the way, I'm in the stereo section when of a sudden, music starts blaring. I look over to see two Amish (maybe Mennonite) girls playing with the equipment. The devil's play, I tell you!
When I passed the garden center at one point, the snow was now coming down hard- though, other than on car roofs, it wasn't cold enough to stick. By the time I made the front entrance again, I saw bright sunshine. As Laurie and I exited the store, the snow was just starting again... by the time we got home (a 5 minute drive with the lights in your favor), it was really coming down again. We came in, said hi to Scrappy, and retreated to our respective chambers for an apparently winter's nap.
ITEM: We awoke (well, Scrappy and I did) to big flakes of snow being driven by near-hurricane force winds. Our local weather station posts gusts as high as 58.7 MPH, but I will wager we had close to that sustained. This went on for a good 15 minutes... then the winds lowered slightly and the snow backed off. Within moments we had five minutes of bright sunshine again, albeit with the winds still hitting 30 or so.
At this point the kids showed up, and Jessica had her two younglings. After a few moments of talk, three things happened at roughly the same time. First, the clock struck 6 PM. Second, Laurie's alarm went off, and she was heard getting up. And third, the power went out, flashed, and went out for good.
ITEM: Several attempts to get through to AEP were met with busy signals and recorded requests to wait for the non-existent "next available representative". Flashlights came out, we began to discuss the topic of rent- at which point I remembered I hadn't paid ours. One quickly written check later, Father, son, two kids, and dog headed out into the cold wind and spitting snow, running occasionally (along with doggie pit stops invariably accompanied by "Oh, yuck!"), and dropped off the missing payment.
ITEM: The kids took off, we decided to ride out what we hoped to be a brief blackout (hope derived from the fact that most apartments at the north end of the complex, and indeed throughout the area, were still powered) at IHOP. There we witnessed our waitress get chewed out because a) she took a bathroom trip without letting the crew leader know, and b) as a result of which, she failed to get Laurie's soup out to us before her meal. Not a big deal, but it got us an unrequested $5 discount.
Upon our return...
...the remainder of the night was spent like this.
ITEM: Sunday came, more of the same. I was pretty frustrated that our local radio stations can't lift the "all canned, all weekend" rule even for something like this. Laurie headed out to work, and Scrappy and I headed out for a quick walk. Along the way....
ITEM: We were about halfway down the north canal when he went down the bank onto a triangular jut into the cold water. Against the bank a den hole awaited, and while he surveyed it from one side of the promontory, bubbles arose from the other... and a skrat calmly swam about two feet out and then back across Scrappy's field of vision. Er, that is, had his head been not firmly up a hole, which it was. This makes three skrats in two weeks he would have caught if he would just lift his nose and figure out that they swim.
|Remember this shot of the first time?|
ITEM: Tired of trying to find anything out on ANY of Ft Wayne's criminally useless radio stations, I called my sister out in the country. She said she heard about ten thousand were out at one point, but didn't remember when that was.
Which reminds me that Laurie did finally get through Saturday night, where she was informed that our specific outage was a 99-person outage, and thus we extrapolated we were at the nether end of the honey-do list.
It was then I decided to spring on her the news that I have thus far not told you, oh gentle reader...
...see the weirdo in the middle? He is going to be a grandpa, thanks to the happy lady at the bottom and the drunk on the top. It got sprung on me a bit back, and there's a few funny stories to it. The one I want to share involves Time Machine and the monster M10 hit Keep It Warm. As you may recall, this song from 1976 invited one to join in on various pop-cultural disasters and tragedies of the time period- then the crescendo drops, and the song finishes:
...Or make a better world
from the old one,
make yourself a baby
and hold one,
hold her in your arms, and keep her warm...
This song hit KC where he lived, and a mention a couple weekends back that Jessica was 8 weeks along with "Lil' Red" coincided with the 8th week since I played KC that song. "You're not blaming this on me!" I told him.
ITEM: So I told my sis the story, and she lit up like a Japanese lantern. Later she told me she was weeks away from a procedure to remove a kidney stone that managed to grow to 2 inches across in a little under two years. After which, the specialist said they were gonna all sit down and talk about a new plan, because what they were doing to stop her constant stream of (usually smaller) stones wasn't working.
ITEM: So then KC comes over, and shortly thereafter, Laurie calls and says she's bringing ice home for the necessary no-longer-refrigerated items, and get out to the shed and get the cooler. After about 20 minutes of sitting around, I went out to retrieve the cooler, when the phone rings again. I figure it's Laurie again, and I yell to KC, "Tell her I'm getting the damn thing!" But instead, KC gets a surprise.
ITEM: Just after I get off the phone with sister Sue, sister in law Glenna calls her with news of a mutual friend. Still flying high, the Japanese lantern lets Glenna in on the good news. (I wish I could get a Sunday Message post to spread so fast.) So when KC answers my phone, he gets:
G: "Is this Grandpa Chris?"
K: No, this is his son.
G: Oh, this is Auntie Glenna, Daddy KC!
As the old joke goes, there are three methods of communication- telephone, telegraph, and tell Sue.
ITEM: After an afternoon at KC's and a cold cut meal...
Wait, you say. You have a gas stove, just light the burners and cook something, right? Did that for lunch. Lesson, don't try to grill hot dogs on a pizza pan. I just got them where I wanted them when the downstairs fire alarm went off. I beat it into submission with a hotpad, when the upstairs one went off. That one is hardwired into the ceiling (just found that out) and didn't want to respond to a beating. I pulled it out of the ceiling trying to find the hidden passage into it's backup battery (failing that) when the downstairs one kicked on again. One hotpad blow sent it fleeing onto the bathroom floor, whereupon I returned upstairs. After several minutes, it finally decided, "If he hasn't listened by now..." and quit. I returned to consume my now-lukewarm dogs wiser for the experience.
...Laurie called AEP again, and was told (recorded message) that our particular outage was from a tree that waited until the wind let off Saturday to fall on the substation, and we would have power within about two hours. I think it was closer to an hour and change. The adventure, at long last, was over.