Tag Archives: Power outages

Only Child terrified of horrible winter storm coming Wednesday and Thursday

Only child worries about upcoming winter storm

Only child worries about upcoming winter storm

I was going to start writing posts of how I am trying to make my world a little more joyful. Instead I am in emergency storm watch mode which will become big storm starting  tomorrow into Thursday. Southern Ontario is going to get hit with a big storm thanks to yet another Colorado clipper. We have the warm air and cold air clashing and that could bring freezing rain or snow. I might have known that something bad would be coming.

It might be nice if I was wrong for a change. Meteorologists can’t, at this time, actually nail down what will arrive where and when- all rain, freezing rain or snow and some mixing. We will get the latter Wednesday, but it is overnight Wednesday and into Thursday – all day and into evening – that is the big concern. I hate winter weather with a passion, and hate to say this, but I preferred the extreme cold of last winter. We had no mixed precipitation, no rain, no freezing rain and there was not a lot of snow. For this unwelcome, unwanted storm coming up, I would pick regular rain only, except this time it would be a lot of rain with the winds coming from the east and some water might get into my basement. Freezing rain is the one I really don’t want. Think power outages, ice, ice and ice on trees and hydro etc. wires and on the ground. Think the big ice storm in December 2013 in southern Ontario.

After all that ice in December 2013 and a two-day power outage where I live, I do not want to experience it again. I should not have to. Neither should anybody else anywhere.

So, I’m putting emergency plans into operation but really, it won’t stop the ice storm and any power outages, downed trees, icy roads and sidewalks, etc. resulting.. Only God can prevent the freezing rain and I am hoping he will be merciful this time and listen to me (and any others asking him). Sparing us the ice storm is something that will benefit many people.

I’m also supposed to be part of a panel of crime writers presenting at a library Thursday evening but hopefully that will be cancelled and we can re-schedule for all of us for a later date – preferably in late spring, summer or early fall.

If those reading this post think I am being a fear-monger or a wuss, just think about previous ice storms around the world. Maybe you had to go through one (or two or more). They are not to be taken lightly and in fact, should be taken completely off the weather we get – anywhere at any time.

Not bloody likely.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Anxiety, Extreme Weather, God, Ice Storm Southern Ontario, Ice storm Toronto, Life demands, Mixed Perceptation, Power Outages, Weather, Winter Weather

Only Child turns new leaf to kindness

Winter weather still causing problems

Winter weather still causing problems

Late last night or early this morning – depending on your time take – I had just finished reading the newspaper and was heading for bed when the power went out.

Instant panic. After the big Southern Ontario power outage of summer 2003 and the ice storm-induced outage starting Dec. 21, 2013, I do not take kindly to power outages. Especially when I have put it out there to God (or whomever you believe are the powers that be) to please keep all utilities working 24/7. And I’m not listened to.

Immediately I went into action. Phoned Toronto Hydro to report the outage but couldn’t get past the “hit No 1 to report an outage.” When I hit “1” the phone went dead on their end. I was using my trusty landline phone on the wall – no electric connections there. The next half hour was spent actually going outside and looking to see where the outage was and more phone call attempts.

Surprise. It was a small pocket on part of my street and the street my house faces. My friends next door had power and the street light on our property line was on. Back into the house with another try to get Toronto Hydro. This time it didn’t ring and nothing at their end, but all fine at my end of the phone. In my panic, I decided to try 311 – the city help line – but they were backed up with calls. So I hung up and decided to call 911 – maybe the police could report the outage to Toronto Hydro; maybe they could get through to Toronto Hydro.

Well, I got the rudest person – a civilian – in police communications. He kept rudely repeating I had to call Toronto Hydro and despite my saying I tried but couldn’t get through to them, he kept saying that 911 was for fire, police and medical emergency. On the rude scale he hit above the 10 mark. Even if not his place to help me, he could have been polite and soothing.

I finally did get through to Toronto Hydro – after getting through the main line and listening to the recorded message of current power outages being attended to (mine, not mentioned), I hit “2” instead of “1” and got a live person. What a difference from the asshole civilian at police communications. This Hydro fellow said they already had one notification from the other street here and said he would add my street to the list. I asked how long before power is restored and he said as soon as they could as they had crews at a big fire (Note: thanks to the weather – not Toronto Hydro’s fault – there are problems with the transmitters up the poles and elsewhere – come getting on fire and so the power goes out.)

I thanked the fellow and then got busy with my own emergency stuff. Moved all my “delicate” fridge food (eggs, milk and the like) except for the rest of a casserole (which shall hit the green bin) to my “second fridge” – the old milk chute from the 1950s when milk was delivered – it’s a mailbox now. Put the fridge thermometer in and a later check showed it at fridge temperature. Made several more forays into the fridge to remove fresh fruit and veggies, bread and peanut butter – stuff that could stay out of the fridge in case that was going to be part of my meals today (along with the tinned stuff I stock up on). I even managed to take a shower by candlelight. The hot water heater is gas-fueled. So is the furnace but the thermostat is hydro induced. Apparently years ago, maybe even before my time, gas furnaces started up without the hydro connection. Obviously somebody screwed up when changing that setup.

I took some valerian (natural relaxant/sleep tablet) and crawled into bed under the covers.

And if it sounds like I was composed, no. I kept getting up to check this and that. But finally fell asleep but woke up. Just after my second wake-up, and my mind was going through how I could get through my day without hydro and get my morning coffee, the power went back on. I got up and wandered through the house, enjoying the lights and being grateful.

This morning I phoned Toronto Hydro to leave a message to thank the fellow I talked to and the workers for taking the time from all these hydro fires to restore power in a small pocket where I live.

All this has made me re-think something I had tried to do a few months ago but it got lost in the swarm of bad stuff coming at me. I will now live in a more kindly manner and try to do more random acts of kindness (I have actually managed to do a few, despite all my troubles).

That doesn’t meant that those who give me a hard time get off the hook. I will just be more selective and focus on the important.

Like the rude police communications civilian. I’m contacting Toronto Police Services and complaining about his attitude. Chances are I’m not the only one he treats so callously. And as all 911 calls are recorded with the caller’s location, they shouldn’t have problems figuring out who is the guilty party here.

 

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Civility, God, Gratitude, Life demands, Only child, Sharon A. Crawford, Toronto Police Services Communications, 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

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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

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

Wind storm prompts Only Child to random acts of kindness

Trees  bleak fall wind stormSouth and southwestern Ontario, Canada got hit with a horrible windstorm – gusts over 100 km in some places and much wind damage including trees down and power outages. Some places such as Kitchener and London, Ontario received flooding from the heavy rain. As I watched the videos about it on the weather network and listed what I did and didn’t want to happen, something good came out of all of this.

But first some background.

As many of you know I take the weather situations around the world seriously. No matter where you live you get plummeted with what I call the wrath of God, weather-wise. If you think I am nuts, just check out The Weather Network www.theweathernetwork.com or watch it on TV. The Force of Nature video clips are especially interesting, not just because they go round the world, but because of that title. Think about it “Force of Nature.” Really? Nature in that sense doesn’t seem appropriate. And then there is my favourite “Mother Nature” who in my mind doesn’t exist, especially when you think of all the extreme weather conditions as the norm worldwide. For those interested in the earliest recorded info about Mother Nature (not the Bible folks), and some variations through the ages, go to http://www.gotquestions.org/mother-nature.html

In previous posts I have also mentioned my takes on praying to God and the shakiness about “ask and you will receive.” So, with this storm coming and while it was here, I decided to lay it on the line, so to speak, to God about what I didn’t want to happen – not just for me but for everyone in the area being hit by the windstorm.

Those videos and stories on The Weather Network show that he didn’t listen completely. However, as I was checking for damage here and so far found I was lucky (We still have somewhat higher winds here in Toronto but not nearly as bad as last night, buy I’m keeping toes crossed), I made a decision.

We are all in this mess of weather God sends us. Some worse than others. As I watched some of the videos I felt badly for the people who lost homes from floods, winds, and in the Buffalo, New York area, from way too much snow last week. The latter claimed a dozen or so lives

Not right.

While I will continue to make my take on it all to God, etc., I plan to do some good. No I’m not rushing out to the damaged areas to help remove trees and restore hydro service. That’s for the experts.

Instead, I’m going to try to do random acts of kindness – once a day – all spontaneous. It may be as small as opening a door for someone or giving directions for someone trying to find a location. (I like to do the latter, perhaps because I have gotten lost before and just the thought of it is frightening).

Just to be clear, I am not doing it as Christian or Catholic duty. After all that has happened to me and what I have seen happen to others, I don’t consider myself Christian or Catholic anymore. Not sure what you would call me here – not agnostic or atheist and probably not even humanist, as I do believe in God – what I believe about him is just not any conventional belief. So what I want to do has nothing to do with God, religion and anything related.

I’m doing it because we are in the same leaky boat (any pun intended) in this life and if we don’t help one another some way, who will do it?

You probably can guess whom I think won’t do it.

 

Cheers.

 

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Floods, God, Only child, Prayer, Rain and wind storm, Sharon A. Crawford, Snow, Trees and Shrubs, Weather, Winter Weather

Only Child posts early because of Hurricane Sandy

Some of Only Child’s patio furniture put away for protection from Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy is due to hit southern and eastern Ontario  early this evening. By then it is supposed to be downgraded to a tropical storm. Tropical or hurricane it is still nasty. So, who knows if we’ll have power or Internet service, etc. then and overnight? So, I hope you’ll forgive me for posting one day early.

The last hurricane in the Toronto, Ontario, Canada area was Hurricane Hazel in 1954, also in October. I was too little to remember much of that. I do remember lying in my bed and hearing rain pounding outside. My Mom also said that we were lucky and didn’t get any flooding in our basement because our house was up on a hill. A lot of the flooding was on low-lying lands in the Don Valley and Humber River areas. After that, the physical structure – sewers and dams, and the like – were changed to help protect against strong storms such as hurricanes. We shall see if they work with Sandy and also if my Mom’s pronouncement is true today. My house is up on high ground.

But there are other problems. I’ve diligently moved all patio furniture into the tool shed or indoors and any remaining potted plants and even Halloween decorations, indoors. I’m hoping to move the Halloween stuff back out and  the mum and pansies too. I’ve also barricaded the recycling bin (which despite its size tends to get blown around in high winds) with heavy bins filled with the branches of pruned plants and leaves. And put bricks on them.

The leaves still in the eavestrough worry me. I do have a gutter protection in them and the protection is supposed to catch the leaves and let the water go down the downspouts or catch the leaves until the wind blows them away. There will be lots of heavy winds but will it blow them onto the ground or into the downspouts?

I blame my handyman for this. These walnut trees  require up to three cleanings each fall. In a previous post I blogged about this handyman cancelling one eavestrough cleaning (the second one); he came later for this). Friday, with the leaves about all off the trees (except for five or six branches which the wind would and has taken care of) I booked him for yesterday to do the final cleaning. You guessed it – he didn’t show. When I phoned him, to ask if he could come a half hour early as it had stopped raining, he said he couldn’t come because he was working (he is an apartment superintendent), and “sorry.”

“Sorry” doesn’t cut it. I’ve done or had done all I can do. Last year, a masonry expert dug the area by one side of the house, sealed and tarped the cement below ground; this year the grading for that was done. The other side and back of the house was re-graded three years ago. And the previous owners had more sealing (the back) done with weeping tiles put in.

Thanks to this handyman, this morning I stood on a chair with a rake and a broom (not at the same time) hacking at the leaves and branches. Some came down. Getting right up close would have been better for removal. However, I suffer from vertigo, so on a ladder beyond about four feet I get dizzy and panic.

If I get basement flooding or any other problems coming from the eavestroughs, this handyman will discover the true meaning of the word “sorry.” Some of you may wonder why I don’t get someone else to do small to medium house repairs. My answer is “Who?” This fellow, when he shows up, does a good job and charges me very little. Come next year, I may look into finding someone else. But again, cost will be a big factor.

And to make it more worrying I am slated to do a TV appearance tomorrow (podcast  Internet TV station)  around noon to promote my new book – my debut collection of mystery short stories Beyond the Tripping Point. The TV appearance per se doesn’t scare me – I’m just worried about getting there. It’s in downtown Toronto but will I be able to get out the door here? Will  public transit be running or held up because of flooding, etc.? Will I be able to walk to the bus stop and from where I get off either a bus or subway outside to the TV studio? Will there be disaster in my home and on my property I’m leaving behind? What about power outages and other utility outages? Over the weekend I stocked up on batteries, water and food that doesn’t need refrigeration. I have flashlights and candles and an old transistor radio (anyone remember them?) run on batteries and a ghetto blaster with battery option. But I don’t do power outages well or basement floods or downed trees, etc. well.

I also consider being an only person with no partner a big factor here. Not going into a rant, just stating it.

I may post again later this week. Meanwhile for more information about my book go to my other blog http://www.sharonacrawfordauthor.com. My big book launch is this Sunday, November 4, 2 p.m. (eastern standard time) at The Rivoli in Toronto. Those in the area are welcome to come. Details at my publisher’s website http://www.bluedenimpress.com – click on “Toronto.”

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Betrayal, CDs