Monday, October 29, 2012

The Great Storm of 2012

I heard noise coming from down the street.  It wasn't enough to really disturb me but it was sufficient to probably piss off a neighbor or two.   My wife informed me that it was the new guy, redoing his entire house.  Of course, she's the expert.  I don't know exactly how she knows this stuff but she does.  It's almost like the Python sketch with the two old ladies who had the whole neighborhood under surveillance with videotape and multiple monitors.

Having been brought up to date on the Neighborhood Situation, I only hoped that the new guy would generate enough noise to sufficiently piss off the Louds.  I have written a few times about the Loud Family.  There are two very loud parents, five or seven loud children (each with their own loud cars), at least two loud pets and a loud house.  Furthermore there is a loud basketball court somewhere out of site, as well as twenty or thirty really loud friends.

The loud children lob F-bombs at their parents.  The loud cars are the 2000 reproductions of 1970's muscle cars so they're very loud.  They just got a loud lawn tractor, much to my dismay.

So I hoped the new guy could make enough noise to get on the nerves of the Louds.  But it was not to be.  Later the next day, the noise was getting so bad I had to consult my wife.  I said that the guy had a right to redo his house but this was getting out of hand - especially when it woke me up at nine in the morning.  Mrs lefty informed me that eight is ok to start in our little township.

I should have known, of course.  No normal human being can keep up that amount of noise for that protracted a period of time without physical or emotional harm.  It wasn't New Guy, it was the Louds.  They somehow managed to procure a smaller (but LOUDER) piece of yard equipment and were taking turns with it all weekend long.

We have only one working theory for the Louds: poor Mr. Loud is in such a horrible marriage that he would rather spend all of his time outside, working on the yard and house, than inside, with Mrs. Loud (whose other car is, in fact, a broom).


Meanwhile, news of the impending storm raced through work Friday.  They were working themselves up into a pretty spectacular PANIC, which is par for the course.  Meetings were called, Continuity of Government operations were put into place, disaster recovery was brought up (and laughted at hysterically) and multi-unit conference calls were had by all necessary emergency personnel.

I had bacon pizza.  If you have never tried bacon pizza, I cannot recommend it strongly enough.  Even if it sounds a bit weird, give it a try; you'll thank me.  I brought a few slices home for the wife to try, setting them carefully on the table, out of the range of leaping cockers.

Since Saturday was supposed to be nice, we went out for a bit.  As one would expect, the weather was dreary and every major road was either closed for no particular reason or so jammed up, it took forever to get to your destination.  I maintain that the best thing that could happen to Philly is a fire.  They they could rebuild roads to a reasonable capacity for now and for the future.

When we returned, I went to heat up the bacon pizza for my wife.  No dice, lefty.

Why?  Because I found the pizza box on the floor, next to the table.  Need I mention that it was totally empty?  Occam's Razor (the easiest answer is usually the correct answer) dictated that the cat jumped up and sent the pizza box flying, at which point the dog probably ate it.  Or they ate it in tandem - they work well together when no one is looking.


Meanwhile, PANIC ensues.  Philadelphia announces it is closing Monday.  Public transportation is closing Sunday night.  My workplace, the Twilight Zone<tm>, is also closing.  This of course requires a twenty-person conference call.

We went to visit friends for dinner and stopped at the market for a pie.  The wife informed me that the place was a madhouse, with people whizzing all over the place, as if there was going to be no food for them to purchase.  Wawa was out of bread and milk also.

When we returned, we were treated to the sight of a huge stain on the carpet.  Somebody (smart money is on the dog) overturned a cardboard drink caddy with two or three half-finished cups of coffee in them.  We should invest in carpet cleaner stock.

What's even more frustrating is that we have no one to blame but ourselves.  And our smart ($*#ing pets.

Speaking of smart pets, the cat has been attached to me and licking my arm.  No one knows why.


UPDATE: Hopefully final.

Philthydelphia and work shut down for a second day.  Then we lost power at home.  Totally.  But simply losing power was not sufficient for modern infrastructure, no sir.  My cell phone service went out too (thank you once again T-Mobile).  You have to admit that it was a stunning coincidence; the electricity and the cell phone service going out at once.

Fortunately our power got reconnected, only twenty five hours later.  We seem to live in something of a power black hole.  Last time was similar.  The block next door had power but we did not.  We have no idea why.  Apparently the entire block is looking into generators or somehow getting put onto a less black holey power feed.  Have I mentioned we have a guy who works for the local electric concern on the block?

Too add insult to injury, the Louds had procured a generator for just such emergencies.  Need I mention that it was a sufficiently loud generator?  It sounded like a truck idling outside my door for twenty five hours.  I am somewhat surprised that it didn't kill the entire neighborhood via carbon monoxide but I'll take my luck where I can get it.

Cell phone service is another matter entirely.  The only reason it reappeared is that I ran it through my wireless system.  Up for work Wednesday morning, I still had no signal.  In fact, I had no signal until I got to work, where it seemed to fluctuate wildly.   Even when I went wireless, it still failed.  Having trouble texting, which is the easiest thing to get through.  Sigh.... maybe one day I'll take the test to become a radio amateur; at least that never goes down.

According to the largely useless FCC, approximately twenty-five percent of cell towers were damaged by the storm.  I suspect it to be only the T-Mobile towers (both of them) but time will tell. 

The ride into work took twice as long as normal, largely due to trees that steadfastly refused to stay planted (and city workers that weren't working).  New slogan: Welcome to Philly- You can't get there from here!

Lessons learned: buy a super UPS for the computer, possibly a generator for the house.  Get real cell phone service.


Cell service is crappy all over.  Really crappy.  T-Mobile rep has been sending me updates, indicating they're making real progress.  None that I can actually see (work+home) but she's pretty honest.

NJ is a mess.  Moreso.  A good fried of the blog lives in that godforsaken mess and said it is not pretty. No electricity, almost no cell service, no internet, and a three hour line for gas.  Curfew and necessary traffic only.  We may have to dispatch the Libertarian Guard to rescue them.  We will look most resplendent in our official Hyundai.

At least we have our health?

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