Category Archives: Hydro power outage

Only Child’s thoughts after the big hurricane May 4 in Southern Ontario

Calm few days after the storm

The day after the big wind storm – hurricane wind levels in Toronto – I was on my knees clearing out my garden. Not debris from the wind, but part of the annual clean-the-garden-in-the-spring ritual. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the man walk by. Although I didn’t know him I said, “good afternoon.”

I’m glad I did. Turns out he was a friend of Marie one of the seniors across the street. Marie had some damage to her roof from the winds and “she was freaking out he said. Do you know of anyone who could help fix it?”

I sprang into action. For the life of me I could not recall the name of the company who put up my roof in fall 2009 but I did know some neighbours who would know somebody. I directed him to my next door neighbour who works in construction and another one across the street who just retired from working in construction. Next door wasn’t in but Larry across the street was. After the man clarified the name of the fellow across the street and went to bang on his door, I went into high help mode.

I had to find the name of the company that did my roof. I knew it began with “E” and wasn’t a person’s first and/or last name. Dived into a few files. Nothing. Finally found a few old (like a couple of years) small brochures of home repairs/improvements companies and voila – and my roofers were listed in one brochure. It didn’t appear that they did roof repairs but if Marie ended up needing a new roof, I could recommend them. So I copied over their number on one of those memo pads real estate agents drop off – you know the ones with your name printed on the top – their play to get more business, I suppose. And with the brochure and the memo sheet and my house keys, I locked the doors and ran across the street to Marie’s.

The friend’s truck was still in the driveway, the front inside door was open and an array of shoes were discarded in the front hall. I knocked and knocked but no answer, so ran around to the backyard. No one. Came back to the front and knocked again because I could hear voices. No one came, so I returned to the driveway and could voices from a window, so called  out “It’s Sharon from across the street.” The  man who had talked to me said he would meet me at the front door. I met him there, and Marie, and the man’s wife and their two kids and the wife’s sister and her husband. They were the family of Marie’s late boyfriend.

Marie told  me that Larry had been there and said he would call his sons and see if they could come the next day (The did. I saw them there). Marie also complained about the roof she had – newer than mine – she’s had the roofer back three times to fix shingles. That’s not a very professional job done. So I wrote down the name and info of my roofer with the caveat – the owner, who do the estimate don’t go on the roof and because of that they missed the correct number of layers of old shingles on my roof – and I got charged more. But the actual workers did an excellent job, including their foreman who found the third layer when he inspected it just before they began doing the work and told me – he should be doing estimates.

“Make sure they go on the roof to check,” I told Marie.

I also gave her the name and phone number of the handyman who does plumbing, painting, electrical and other repairs and Marie and I exchanged phone numbers. The latter we should have done within a year after I moved into my house. I’ve been here nearly 20 years.

My wake-up call. Especially after reading online yesterday and watching the 11 p.m. news and finding that 500 homes in pockets of Toronto still didn’t have their power restored. Didn’t Toronto Hydro learn anything from the big ice storm in December 2013. True, there were downed trees and power lines from Friday’s hurricane but no ice. More likely not enough people doing the work. Again, didn’t Toronto Hydro learn anything from the ice storm of December 2013?

With this in mind and the below story in mind, where governments of all level in the US and Canada, forget about seniors during various hurricanes, floods, and other disasters, I decided it is really up to us who can do so to help. This story was published in Zoomer magazine last month and I’m linking to the online story. The photo (scroll down a bit) of the seniors sitting in water up to their waists in a nursing home because the authorities forgot about them breaks my heart. It took the son-in-law of the nursing home owner to Tweet about it to get any action. Then the National Guard came to the rescue.

Ageism is still around, unfortunately.

Here’s the link.

http://www.everythingzoomer.com/health/2018/04/19/seniors-natural-disaster-relief/

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

 

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Extreme Weather, Floods, Help and Support, Helping Others, Hydro power outage, Only child, Power Outages, Seniors, Toronto Hydro

Ice Storms Tornadoes Rain bring havoc to US and Canada

Tree destruction from ice storm

Tree destruction from ice storm

Wicked weather over the January 13 weekend and continuing this week if nothing else proves that we can no longer feel safe in our world – as if most of us didn’t already know that .It is heartbreaking and the icy conditions and tornadoes in the USA and now the ice storms, rainfalls and winds in Ontario from the same storm hit it home harder. So do the  torrential rains coming up to lower British Columbia. These and more (watch The Weather Network, especially the Force of Nature videos clips and that last word in the title is a misnomer and also Accuweather) should serve as a warning that we have to do something about this. Before we can even get -to climate change, first there are the current situations’ damage  that have to be taken care of.

Those last three words are important here. We need to go beyond hope and beyond prayer and get in there and help each other. If the power is out in your neighbourhood, make sure your neighbours are okay and help them  – if you have a generator and gas fireplace and/or gas stove, open your home to those that don’t. I keep thinking of the big southern Ontario ice storm of December 2013 and how my neighbours helped me and how my son, especially helped my then boarder and me by booking (and paying for) a hotel room for a few days in downtown Toronto where the power stayed on. My son, Martin, also took us out to dinner near the hotel, picked us up and drove us home for Christmas (we had the power back on then) and even brought Christmas dinner and helped cook it. Fortunately, I hadn’t opened the big freezer during the power outage, the freezer was full and except for the odd item in the fridge-top freezer and fridge that didn’t make it into my makeshift freezer – an old-fashioned milk shut-turned mailbox on an outside wall, food was okay.

Put salt on your driveway, sidewalks and verandah to melt the ice. As long as the temperature doesn’t go much below freezing it will soften the ice somewhat. Then get out there and move the ice with a sharp shovel. A garden digging shovel works fine. I know some of you with be tut-tutting the choice of salt, but in a situation like this people’s safety is the main thing. If you really want to get all environmentally proactive clearing the ice, use sand, but good luck finding any in winter.

I also have another problem to watch and with me it can happen without the torrential rainfalls in BC. I’m talking about basement flooding. Many properties in the area I live in have this problem due to the area being low level, with old sewers. The City of Toronto is working to remedy this situation but it will take years. See basement flooding program for more info on this.

My problem can happen no matter what the sewer infrastructure is because a contractor named  Nigel Applewaite who I hired to dig the side of the house with the wall cracks and to seal it, didn’t dig down far enough. He won ‘t do anything about it and has blamed it on the sewer drains. I had city workers check that out – twice. Drain was clear.

There was one other thing that developed that has something to do with it – the-eavestrough middle on the east side of the house got mis-shaped into a bow, no doubt from something in “nature” – i.e. extreme weather and/or raccoons.  My handyman noticed it when he put up heating cables there and on the roof. I hired a professional eavestrough company (I checked with three of them) last year to fix it. The eavesgtrough needed re-aligning. So far it seems to be helping, but I keep an eye on my basement floors and heavy towels on the floors under two windows are a permanent part of the decor. Today, with heavy rains and winds from the east I am doing regular checks of my basement and there better not be any water get in.

One thing all this weather damage does to you. If you’ve lived through it, you become wary and worried, sometimes to the point of paranoia.

Another reason to help your family, friends and neighbours when extreme weather hits. They say misery loves company. But so does picking up after all the misery. It is being pro-active together, much better than burying your face in whatever. Much better than doing something to relax. You need to take action and sometimes the adrenalin from the worry and the bad surprise can act as a catalyst for strength to try to fix the situation.

Just think if a group of neighbours, friends, etc. all work together towards this.

Fix the current disaster, then move on to climate change action. Do it in steps from the beginning.

And yes, I haven’t forgotten that governments and corporations have to do their part too. Some are.

But that’s a topic for another blog post.

As for Nigel Applewaite, he has had flooding in the basement and garage of his home. Sometimes what goes around does actually come around if we just let it.

Be safe.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

Leave a comment

Filed under Climate Change, Extreme Weather, Faulty Contractors, Floods, Helping Others, Hydro power outage, Ice Storms, Life demands, Only child, Rain and wind storm

Only Child in scary storm watch

Winter storms now constant worry

Winter storms now constant worry

I’m doing this week’s post early (but setting it to go live the usual late Tuesday morning). Why? We’re in winter storm watch in southern, southwestern and southeastern Ontario from suppertime. Depending on where you live it could include snow mixed with ice pellets, freezing rain and then transitioning early morning to just rain for light rain Tuesday. High easterly winds coming with all this until 11 a.m. or so on Tuesday. Maybe power outages but hopefully not.

This week’s post was supposed to be my year-end tally of the good and bad that have happened in my corner of the world. That will have to wait until next week’s post. If I posted this week the bad would outnumber the good by a lot. May still outnumber the good, but maybe not so much as this week. Who knows? We live in a scary horrible world where no place is safe – and I don’t mean only the weather

One of my close friends is very sick with cancer. She was rushed to the hospital yesterday. Her son isn’t well either, so her husband is doing everything. For privacy’s sake I’m not naming them or giving any more details. Just saying they are among the friends who have helped me a lot and I am trying to help them where possible.

I am also trying to reach my son and his girlfriend. They were here Christmas Day and evening and we had a lovely visit, chatting and eating Christmas dinner. They brought the cooked ham (I’m allergic to turkey) and Martin did a few quick odd jobs around the house. Martin and Juni (who is a graphic designer) designed the background colours for my new website in the works. I’m working on content, but the three of us sat at my desktop computer (with Martin doing actual computer stuff) to sort out content layout and even content and where it should go.

Boxing Day early morning they left early for the Ottawa Valley area in eastern Ontario. Yesterday that area got hit with hours of freezing rain. I have emailed but no response so don’t know what their situation is. They are staying at the home of Juni’s aunt and uncle. I’m going to try phoning my son’s cell but who knows if there is cell reception there or what.

The three of us did talk about the impending storm for the Greater Toronto Area and beyond coming today and they thought they might wait to leave to come home until Tuesday. But more storm is coming their way then. I suggested we keep in contact by phone and email Monday and Tuesday because of this weather.

I hope they are all right.

Meantime, back on the home front, I’ve gone into emergency disaster mode – everything from batteries to non electric radios (I have an old Walkman, although it’s difficult to see what station you are on and the old ghetto blaster can be used with six C batteries – if you get them all in correctly). Have a land line with cords (can’t use the wireless landline extension during power outages) so hopefully the phone service doesn’t go. Don’t want power to go either. But have flashlights (and extra batteries), candles (but I’m leery about using them much for safety’s sake). Have done most of the emergency profile/info from the Ontario government page – to help me do what I need to do – as much of it as I can.

It is all a big worry.

Not safe anywhere in the world – England has floods in York area, southern and midwestern USA – tornadoes, twisters, rain, snow, floods.

Yuck.

Anyway, let’s hope 2016 is much better in all ways for everyone.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Comments

Filed under Anxiety, Extreme Weather, Family and Friends, Floods, Hydro power outage, Ice Storm Southern Ontario, Leaky Basements, Mixed Perceptation, Only child, Uncategorized, Weather, Winter Weather

Only Child says Mercury Retrograde caused communication problems

Mercury in Retrograde at work.

Mercury in Retrograde at work

I call it the polar vortex of communications going haywire. I’m referring to Mercury in Retrograde – three or four times a year the planet Mercury goes retrograde. And before you think that’s woo-woo and/or I’m crazy, it’s not all astrology. There is some science involved.

Mercury is a planet which spins around the earth. Like we humans, it needs to slow down and does so three or four times a year. During those times it appears that it is actually stopping and then spinning backwards. The latter isn’t actually happening. That is when electrical and electronic devices and services can go bonkers.

Blaming Mercury in retrograde for that is where some sceptics draw the line. Here is my non-technical, non-scientific explanation. There are electronic waves out there in space and they have a lot to do with radio, TV (think satellites) and digital devices such as computer Internet and cell phone reception. And like anything else in our world, it does not all work perfectly 100 per cent of the time. Weather, of course, can interfere. But so can the planets.

Think about the influences of our moon – equinoxes on different occasions in and around planet earth. So, why not Mercury (and other planets for that matter)? When Mercury is in in retrograde I believe it slows down or even stops/interrupts communication services.

What’s been happening to me the past few weeks is a good example. This current phase of Mercury Retrograde began January 21, 2015. Since then I’ve had a wave (pun intended) of interrupted reception in my cable TV service, my Kobo e-reader froze, there have been computer problems (some weird) on both my desktop PC and laptop and my area of Toronto had an 8-minute power outage just after midnight one night.

That comes to four electronic/electric mishap items – although all but the power outage have branches.

When the Kobo reader froze last week (only the second time in its two year age), the usual unfreeze method of sliding the power “button” to the off and holding it for 10 seconds didn’t work. The techie support at Kobo had me taking a small paper clip, bending it and inserting it into a tiny hole at the bottom of the reader. It worked. I was in the middle of a murder mystery in the Julia Spencer-Fleming series so you can imagine how grateful I was.

The computers have had programs freezing, programs needing replacement or updates. My computer techie is making another visit tomorrow morning for another of these occurrences on the laptop.

The Rogers cable TV service is turning into a bad saga. Big company with too many departments and people. The problem with the cable TV service – sporadically it would pixel, garble the voices and then go to black with the message “We have detected a service interruption. Please call your service provider.” I did – seven times so far and seven techies (two of them the same ones) showed up and all had different ideas. My friend next door was also having the same reception problem but only with her TV upstairs – the downstairs one was working fine. A similar thing happened – but encompassing more of us on the street- in fall 2013. It dragged on with the parade of techies in and out until Rogers finally got some smarts and figured out it was a defective cable up the poles behind one of the houses and fixed it. Then I hadn’t said anything, but non-techie me had figured out it had to be a cable.

So this time I’m speaking out when each techie walks through the door. One has replaced one cable up the pole behind my neighbours (both our service is connected to that). However, these are all old cables outside and all should be replaced.

Each techie had different ideas what was the cause but unfortunately when they arrived the service had returned. I called when there was the actual service disruption but they won’t send a techie right away to catch it. So far, besides the new cable out back, the techies have done the following: replaced the digital cable TV adapter (the old one was working fine), updated some connecting device in the cable box outside on the house wall, replaced a cable from the digital box to the TV, and one “bright” techie decided I had too much reception (because I have only the one cable device with Rogers – the TV) and put something on the TV to adapter cable to decrease the reception. Makes sense, right? One of the following techies removed the device.

The most recent techie (yesterday), a senior techie, actually tested the TV reception with a device which he placed in front of the TV and then he did some settings with the remote. All seemed to be working then. (Of course, the reception had come back – it was three days since I had called in the problem to Rogers technical support). He also moved the electrical connection of the adapter from one electrical outlet to another because he said he had found that was the cause at another residence. He even knocked on my next-door neighbours to ask her about her TV reception and she said it was okay then.

This techie also said he had found nothing, but to try the electric outlet plug-in change for a few days and if the service is disrupted again to phone in and make sure I ask for outside maintenance or I could be charged if a techie again comes to the door to come inside.

What? I pay enough monthly for the service and part of that service is free techie fixes. I told him this and pulled my senior’s card.

If this techie is right and it was the electrical outlet, I will be grateful and do the equivalent of eating crow. But I will need at least three months of uninterrupted cable TV service before I even remotely believe that.

Meantime I have searched the Internet and collected info and contact info on the Rogers Cable executives – CEO and Vice-president of communications. And I also have the contact information for a media consumer advocate – for future complaint reference.

This round of Mercury in Retrograde is supposed to end February 11. We shall see what we shall see here.

I still am filled with trepidation when I turn on my TV and computers. Experience has taught me not to be complacent and not to take anything for granted. For there lies the way of getting the rug pulled from under you.

Unfortunately, that is the way of the world these days, a world I’m disliking more and more each day.

I am interested if any of you have experienced “communication” problems lately. It is not just devices but communication with others. For more information on Mercury in Retrograde, go to http://astrostyle.com/learn-astrology/mercury-retrograde/#sthash.Isy4UkBm.dpuf There are even do’s and don’t’s to survive Mercury Retrogades.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

Leave a comment

Filed under Hydro power outage, Kobo e-reader freezes, Mercury in Retrograde, Only child, Problems, Rogers Cable TV Service

Only Child’s meaning of Christmas

The Christmas tree decorated brings Christmas joy to Only Child

The Christmas tree decorated brings Christmas joy to Only Child

Christmas means different things to different people. To show what Christmas means to me, I’m going to take you back to last December 2013. Close your eyes and remember.

Early morning December 22, 2013, the lights, the furnace, the fridge, the freezer, the heat suddenly went off. Ice pelted down on southern Ontario and Toronto was badly hit including many fallen trees on power lines. Toronto lost about one-third of its tree canopy. It was like the wrath of God was unleashed full force and we were being punished.

The boarder and her cat (still living with me then) and I were stuck. We had water, including hot water because that is a separate utility here and the hot water heat is gas-run. So is the furnace but years ago turning on the gas furnace switched to an electric-turn on.

Mid-day Sunday, my son Martin phoned. He still had power; so did downtown Toronto. He wanted to put us up at a downtown hotel. We resisted at first – partly because of the boarder waffling and partly because I was worried about leaving the house. He gave me advice about removing the ice from the veranda and driveway (put down salt and a couple of hours later go out with a shovel and hack away/shovel it). I did that.

Next day, the Monday, the phone woke me up (a land line, my life line then). Martin again insisting we had to go into a hotel downtown because the temperature was plummeting later in the day. The room included the boarder and her cat. So, after talking to some of my friends on the block and elsewhere, I got the house situation straightened out (except for no power and no heat, so I left a tap in the laundry room on dripping).

We took a taxi to the hotel and Martin met us there. He got us checked in and helped me set up my laptop with the hotel’s Internet while the boarder fed her cat. Then Martin took us out for dinner at Fran’s Restaurant and left me with a Starbucks gift certificate for hot chocolate for the boarder and me. Much later after Martin returned home, he phoned me at the hotel. Tanya, my friend next door had just texted him that the power had just gone back on. I called Tanya.

We stayed in the hotel for the two days booked. Christmas around noon, Martin in a leased car arrived, paid for our stay,  and drove us back home. That wasn’t all – he brought Christmas dinner – ham, potatoes, cream cheese, rosemary and cooked it. I supplied green beans and the dishes.

Looking back, I realize this is the true meaning of Christmas. Friends and family helping each other and celebrating Christmas together. To me, that includes taking time through the year to get small but useful presents for those close to me. I do it bit by bit when on holidays and afterwards. The only mall part was going to the Hudson Bay Company – but in a smaller mall and I focused on the department and the person I was buying for. To me Christmas is not about playing shopaholics at the mallChristmas is not about sitting in a church for Christmas services. You might say my take on Christmas is secular/spiritual, but definitely not religious. My Christmas spirit is (no, not in a bottle, although I like the occasional glass of wine) connected to family and friends, and helping others when and where I can. My Christmas spirit is listening to Christmas songs – secular and religious – it’s the music I like, watching Christmas movies – old and new – on TV, looking at decorated Christmas trees and decorating my two foot high artificial tree,  and walking around outside looking at the Christmas lights. May not be able to do that this year either as according to weather forecasts we are supposed to get very high winds with rain. Not happy about that and I’ve told God what I think about that and what is the right thing to do.

That’s my Christmas story and I’m sticking to it.

Happy holiday to all. And may it be safe, especially from bad and extreme weather.

 

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

1 Comment

Filed under Christmas, Christmas spirit, Extreme Weather, Hydro power outage, Sharon A. Crawford, Toronto