Author Topic: California Dreamin'  (Read 569 times)

Richard Johnson

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California Dreamin'
« on: September 09, 2020, 09:22:07 PM »
We've just survived our first PSPS (Public Safety Power Shutoff) of the season--and actually, we had the good fortune to be out of town during the two or three last year, so this was our very first. 20 hours without electricity--and also without internet, a problem apparently caused by the power outage since they both came back at the same time. A few months back we joined an increasing number of neighbors in buying a portable generator, so we actually did have power, at least partial power (most of the essentials, but no air conditioning, laundry, and dishwasher; oh, and hot tub) for the hours that we ran the generator (about 8 a.m. through 9 p.m., with a pause for refueling midday). We were kind of dreading the no air conditioning, with a forecast of triple digit heat, but fortunately that didn't turn out to be the case. i think yesterday it may have hit 90, but today was cooler.

The cooler temps, though, in part because of the thick smoke cover from the various fires burning round about. The closest significant one to us is perhaps 100 miles away, and the smoke has been massive. Fortunately it is mostly high in the sky, so there isn't much of a smell of smoke, and the air quality has generally been rated "unhealthy for sensitive groups"; I'm still willing to take our morning walk at that level, though for a couple of days last week it was into the stronger "unhealthy" category and my wife wouldn't let me walk ("you're older than I and you have asthma," she scolded).

We were mostly able to stay "connected" by using the personal hot spot on our phones (being sure to keep them charged when the power was on), but it was pretty spotty. Tuesday is the day we record our church service, and I went into church (where the power and internet were both on) and sat in the fellowship hall to record; my colleague was in the sanctuary, and our other colleague was at home (where he also had both power and internet). So we made it work.

My wife observes that these are all very much first world and white privilege problems, and of course she's right. We were suffering minor inconveniences for two days. Many others have lost their homes, or are stuck in shelters in the midst of a pandemic.

I've also been reading through voluminous files of correspondence of my late in-laws, a good bit of which is between them while my father-in-law was living away from home either on business or at school. I am astonished at how often he advises his wife which bills to pay and which to let ride for a month. (This would be the late 1940s/early 1950s.) She was managing the household alone with three or four small children. We are so very fortunate.

Even as I write, a plane goes overhead. This time of year, you immediately perk up, wait to see if there's another, and if so, go out and see if you see new smoke. But as my wife says, "At least its something other than Covid to worry about."

Feeling grateful, though, in spite of it all.

The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

J. Thomas Shelley

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Re: California Dreamin'
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2020, 10:58:29 PM »
In the aftermath of the remnants of Tropical Storm Isabel (2003) we endured 94 hours without power.

It was this time of the year, semi-cool evenings, not horribly hot days.

But it was B.G. (before generator).

Even minimally opening the refrigerators and freezer only keeps things cold for so long.  And then it is "so long" to too much food. 

I drank too much beer (before it could spoil) and grilled too many burgers (because the propane grill still worked).

Now the beer consumption caused another problem.  With no public sewer or water, no electricity = no water.  Fortunately living on five wooded acres the problem was minimalized--for me.   Not so for my wife, and, to make matters worse, it was the "wrong time of the month."  But there is a decent stream running through the property and I could keep water buckets filled for toilet flushing.

I had only been "on line" for three years and it was, in some ways, alarming to realize just how internet-dependent I had become in so short a time.  And, of course the daily computer logs for various spreadsheets were suspended and temporarily replaced by old fashioned analog pen and paper.

So the investment was made into a propane generator with automatic transfer switch...not quite enough to power the HVAC and range but enough to cover the well, hot water heater, almost every lighting circuit, and computers.

A three day power outage from a February 2014 ice storm was endurable...with some special intervention.

But that is another story for another time.

« Last Edit: September 09, 2020, 11:01:00 PM by J. Thomas Shelley »
Greek Orthodox-Ecumenical Patriarchate

Baptized, Confirmed, and Ordained United Methodist.
Served as a Lutheran Pastor October 31, 1989 - October 31, 2014.
Charter member of the first chapter of the Society of the Holy Trinity.

Chrismated Antiochian Orthodox, eve of Mary of Egypt Sunday, A.D. 2015

John_Hannah

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Re: California Dreamin'
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2020, 02:27:00 PM »
We've just survived our first PSPS (Public Safety Power Shutoff) of the season--and actually, we had the good fortune to be out of town during the two or three last year, so this was our very first. 20 hours without electricity--and also without internet, a problem apparently caused by the power outage since they both came back at the same time. A few months back we joined an increasing number of neighbors in buying a portable generator, so we actually did have power, at least partial power (most of the essentials, but no air conditioning, laundry, and dishwasher; oh, and hot tub) for the hours that we ran the generator (about 8 a.m. through 9 p.m., with a pause for refueling midday). We were kind of dreading the no air conditioning, with a forecast of triple digit heat, but fortunately that didn't turn out to be the case. i think yesterday it may have hit 90, but today was cooler.

The cooler temps, though, in part because of the thick smoke cover from the various fires burning round about. The closest significant one to us is perhaps 100 miles away, and the smoke has been massive. Fortunately it is mostly high in the sky, so there isn't much of a smell of smoke, and the air quality has generally been rated "unhealthy for sensitive groups"; I'm still willing to take our morning walk at that level, though for a couple of days last week it was into the stronger "unhealthy" category and my wife wouldn't let me walk ("you're older than I and you have asthma," she scolded).

We were mostly able to stay "connected" by using the personal hot spot on our phones (being sure to keep them charged when the power was on), but it was pretty spotty. Tuesday is the day we record our church service, and I went into church (where the power and internet were both on) and sat in the fellowship hall to record; my colleague was in the sanctuary, and our other colleague was at home (where he also had both power and internet). So we made it work.

My wife observes that these are all very much first world and white privilege problems, and of course she's right. We were suffering minor inconveniences for two days. Many others have lost their homes, or are stuck in shelters in the midst of a pandemic.

I've also been reading through voluminous files of correspondence of my late in-laws, a good bit of which is between them while my father-in-law was living away from home either on business or at school. I am astonished at how often he advises his wife which bills to pay and which to let ride for a month. (This would be the late 1940s/early 1950s.) She was managing the household alone with three or four small children. We are so very fortunate.

Even as I write, a plane goes overhead. This time of year, you immediately perk up, wait to see if there's another, and if so, go out and see if you see new smoke. But as my wife says, "At least its something other than Covid to worry about."

Feeling grateful, though, in spite of it all.

Good to know you are doing OK. I wonder about you every time I watch the news. Praying that you stay safe and don't suffer power loss too often.   ;)

Peace, JOHN
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

Richard Johnson

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Re: California Dreamin'
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2020, 07:43:53 PM »
It's kind of pro and con, you know? The winds are dangerous, but they did have the effect of clearing out some of the smoke, and air quality was almost normal yesterday. Today the winds are gone, but the air quality is in the dangerous range. But the smoke helps to keep things cool--59 when I got up this morning, and I don't think we hit 80 today. The generators are very convenient, but I don't miss the noise of multiple generators on our street howling all day long. (Actually, couldn't hear most of them because ours is so loud.)

I do confess to being happy to have the internet reliably back, at least for the moment.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

J. Thomas Shelley

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Re: California Dreamin'
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2020, 09:32:21 PM »
"Giving thanks in all things" is almost always challenging, particularly when the blessings are mixed.
Greek Orthodox-Ecumenical Patriarchate

Baptized, Confirmed, and Ordained United Methodist.
Served as a Lutheran Pastor October 31, 1989 - October 31, 2014.
Charter member of the first chapter of the Society of the Holy Trinity.

Chrismated Antiochian Orthodox, eve of Mary of Egypt Sunday, A.D. 2015

Dave Benke

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Re: California Dreamin'
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2020, 08:58:00 AM »
It's kind of pro and con, you know? The winds are dangerous, but they did have the effect of clearing out some of the smoke, and air quality was almost normal yesterday. Today the winds are gone, but the air quality is in the dangerous range. But the smoke helps to keep things cool--59 when I got up this morning, and I don't think we hit 80 today. The generators are very convenient, but I don't miss the noise of multiple generators on our street howling all day long. (Actually, couldn't hear most of them because ours is so loud.)

I do confess to being happy to have the internet reliably back, at least for the moment.

Today's NYTimes had photos that included the area affected by the Bear fire, which has hit and overwhelmed Oroville, CA.  My brother Mike's first parish was in Oroville, and we spent time there with Mike and his folks, who remain friends - truly devastating in all regards.  Keeping you in thought and prayer,

Dave Benke

Richard Johnson

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Re: California Dreamin'
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2020, 12:34:30 PM »
It's kind of pro and con, you know? The winds are dangerous, but they did have the effect of clearing out some of the smoke, and air quality was almost normal yesterday. Today the winds are gone, but the air quality is in the dangerous range. But the smoke helps to keep things cool--59 when I got up this morning, and I don't think we hit 80 today. The generators are very convenient, but I don't miss the noise of multiple generators on our street howling all day long. (Actually, couldn't hear most of them because ours is so loud.)

I do confess to being happy to have the internet reliably back, at least for the moment.

Today's NYTimes had photos that included the area affected by the Bear fire, which has hit and overwhelmed Oroville, CA.  My brother Mike's first parish was in Oroville, and we spent time there with Mike and his folks, who remain friends - truly devastating in all regards.  Keeping you in thought and prayer,

Dave Benke

Thanks. Yes, Oroville is about 75 miles from here, 20 miles from my home town of Chico. The smoke we're getting now is mostly from that fire.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

J.L. Precup

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Re: California Dreamin'
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2020, 01:40:15 PM »
It's kind of pro and con, you know? The winds are dangerous, but they did have the effect of clearing out some of the smoke, and air quality was almost normal yesterday. Today the winds are gone, but the air quality is in the dangerous range. But the smoke helps to keep things cool--59 when I got up this morning, and I don't think we hit 80 today. The generators are very convenient, but I don't miss the noise of multiple generators on our street howling all day long. (Actually, couldn't hear most of them because ours is so loud.)

I do confess to being happy to have the internet reliably back, at least for the moment.

Today's NYTimes had photos that included the area affected by the Bear fire, which has hit and overwhelmed Oroville, CA.  My brother Mike's first parish was in Oroville, and we spent time there with Mike and his folks, who remain friends - truly devastating in all regards.  Keeping you in thought and prayer,

Dave Benke

Dave, don't forget that classmate Myron Ista is in Oroville.  One year threatened by flood, now threatened by fire.  And classmates Ron Freise and John Krueger are in far northern California.  Ministry took some of us midwesterners to the edges.
Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love's sake. Amen.