Sunday, February 1, 2009

Here I Am !!...(Says Jo While Jumping and Waving)

I am sending great big smooches out to my Tersie for doing a post while I was away. Thank you Sweetheart, you did a great job and I really liked that you added the pictures of the snow and my Grand puppy, Lucy.

I have to say that there were times when I doubted we would ever have electricity again, as well as Internet service. We decided that we would upgrade our Internet service from home to professional so we could get extra bandwidth. We had been operating on 200 MB per day and on today's Internet that isn't a lot and of course when we hit that quota we were punished by not having service for 24 hours. For $10.00 more a month we were able to increase that limit to 350 MB per day. This was on Tuesday that I called to upgrade. This upgrade process required re-registering and setting up the system again. The system just wasn't letting us re-register. Most of the day Tuesday I was on the phone and went through several tech support people, all of which did not speak English well enough for me to understand their instructions with out asking them to repeat themselves at least three or four times. The last tech guy I talked to was named Omar and spoke English better than me. He asked about the weather, of course by then it had started to snow.... He checked his resources and told me that it was snowing in Germantown, Maryland. With that bit of knowledge, he then explained that when I want to get online my computer sends a signal to the satellite and it bounces back to the server at Germantown, Maryland, in turn Germantown, Maryland returns a signal that bounces off of the satellite to me. If just one of us is having bad weather there usually is no problem, but if we are both having bad weather I might as well forget about it.... I won't be getting online. He then suggested that I wait until one of us is having good weather and call back.

Well that wasn't going to happen any time soon. By Wednesday we had about 4 inches of snow on top of the white fluff we had accumulated on Sunday. Then came about an inch of sleet and freezing rain. That of course was followed closely with another 4 inches of snow. After two flickers of the light bulb, we found ourselves with no electric. This stretched out for three days and at times I felt as if we would never again have electricity in this house. I waited 24 hours before I called to see if they had an estimate for how long we would be without electric service. I was told by a pleasant voice that it should be back on by 6 PM that evening. I waited until 8 PM and called back for a status update and was told by a fairly hateful voice at the other end of the conversation that there was no estimate on when service would be restored. There was no need for his attitude and there was need for giving me false information earlier when I called. Between those two AEP employees they trampled all over my good nature and left me feeling as if my last nerve was going to spring at any moment.

In a conversation with Tersie at some point during this experience, we talked about how beautiful this snow and ice was, yet it had such an adverse affect on so many people. I am sure that lives have been lost during this storm and I heard that there are places that won't have their service restored before the middle of the month. JD and I were far more fortunate than most people. We did have two wood stoves in the house that kept us warm, as well as served as cooking surfaces to fix coffee and meals. We had lots of candles and kerosene lamps for night so we didn't have to sit around in the dark. We also had the well to draw water from for flushing the toilet and washing dishes. Our drinking and cooking water comes from the spring and we had a good supply of that.

I looked at this whole experience as a message that we need to slow down and live simply so that we will see the beauty in the world around us. It was like a winter wonderland. Even though the tops of many trees was bent over and so many snapped and broke from the weight of the ice and snow, when the light of the sun reflected off of the tree limbs it was like they were all covered with glitter. An awesome sight to experience. The photos captured some of that sparkle, but the lens of the camera just doesn't do it justice.

While we were sitting here without the conveniences that we have come to depend so heavily on, I finished reading a Gladys Taber book and finished crocheting a poncho that I had been working on for T~Bear. I fed the birds and enjoyed watching them at the feeder. I even noticed a couple of robins that had decided to try and stick out the winter here instead of flying south. During the months when they are usually here I have never seen them eating anything but worms and bugs. Now that they find themselves with their usual cuisine not available to them, they have been eating the seeds that fall to the ground from the feeder.

We had a total of three days with no electricity. Friday afternoon we decided we would make the trip to town and shower at Chris and Melody's. The buzzards were starting to circle overhead when we went outside. We got to visit with the boys for a little while, pay a couple of those first of the month bills, and get a few more supplies to see us through more long days of roughing it. After dinner we had settled in for a quiet evening of listening to the wood crackle as it burned in the wood stoves and watching the flames dance around on the logs. I had laid down on the couch and turned the portable radio on to try and catch a news broadcast to learn what was going on in the world. All of a sudden I heard these strange noises and saw strange sites all around me. Sounds and noises that I was sure I would never experience again. Lights and the ceiling fan had popped on and all of a sudden there was that gurgle~hum~hum sound from the refrigerator. Sounds from the blower on the wood stove jumping into action. The neighbor's security lights came on causing the ice on the trees and the snow on the ground to come alive again with all of the beautiful glistening and sparkle that only God's Hand could create.

As for the computer......... Another long story made short. Saturday was an exhausting day of dealing with one Tech guy after another until shortly after supper when I gave it one last try for the day and we had a huge breakthrough and the online experience once more became a part of our lives. At one point one techy guy told me that he thought we needed to have a technician come to the house for the sum of $125. JD made one more trip to the dish and deiced it some more and we were making headway at last. I am thinking the next time we want to upgrade our service, I will have one of our computer savvy grandchildren come and take care of it for us. It is way too much stress on me.

It is great to be back and thank you all for the sweet comments that you left while we were gone. I hope you enjoyed Tersie's post, she has quite a gift with words. Have a blessed new week and please keep those that are still without electric in your prayers.


Mike Golch said...

just poped in to say and.I hope that you are having a great weekend.Love yesterday by the Beatles.

Anonymous said...


Linds said...

Jo it is great to see you up and running on line again! The photos are amazing and the last few with the blue skies were simply stunning. I can see how iced up you were and those roads look rather slippery too.
I have had endless dealings with techs in foreign parts which drove me crackers, so I sympathise.

Betty said...

Hi Jo,

You have had a rough few days, haven't you? Those pictures of the snow and ice are just beautiful. I lived through something like that when I was 12 or 15 years old. Everything stood still for a good two weeks. It is pretty but dreadful.

Tersie said...

Taryn's poncho fits her. I'm glad things are back to normal on your mountain! Michael was able to come down for a visit today so things feel a little more routine here too now. I love you!

Jess said...

So glad you are back!

Lanny said...

What an adventur you had! I am glad you only had one little moment of nearly loosing your sweet disposition. I wish the fix it estimates were not such a hard thing to get. But now that we have a generator we don't even bother trying to find out. We are at the end of the line and are always the last to get power back so the generator turned into a necessity for the animals as we cannot draw water without it. O my what a long comment I have. Tersie's post was quite lovely! What

Anonymous said...

Absolutely lovely pictures! I spent quite a bit of time with tech support recently myself. If we didn't have grey hair already, these non-English speaking techies would give us grey hair! It's so great to have you back online. I sure do miss you when you're not around. If I'd only checked Tersie's blog post here, I could have saved myself from worrying about you. Loved her post and her pictures too. Here's hoping you don't have any more ice storms to deal with this winter & the power stays on. Welcome back, Toots!
Luv ya, Huggerlynn

Anonymous said...

Hi, Sis!
I enjoyed the pictures and am very, very glad I saw all that snow IN PICTURES. Surely hope we don't have that experience here. We did back in 1972 and occasionally get an inch at night which melts the next day.
Glad you have your internet back too!
Now if it snows like that again, you sit really still. I still worry about you sliding off that mountain. I'm anxious to see it but if I do, it will be in summer time.
Loves you!

BClark said...

Dear Jo,
Welcome back to the world of modern wonders. It is always such a shock when it ceases to function, but then it becomes peaceful. So glad you had your wood stoves to keep you warm. Hopefully by next year we will have ours all hooked up and a nice big woodpile ready. I have the lamps and a couple of camping heaters plus a huge coleman propane heater in basement. Each year I add something, just in case!