Expatriate Owl

A politically-incorrect perspective that does not necessarily tow the party line, on various matters including but not limited to taxation, academia, government and religion.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Irene's Aftermath

Hurricane Irene was Tropical Storm Irene by the time she got past Long Island. At about 7:45 AM on Sunday morning, after most of the storm had passed and the precipitation was minimal, we lost our electricity. It was still out Sunday evening, so my wife and I had a romantic candlelit dinner and then, after reading by flashlight for about an hour, went to bed. But I couldn't get to sleep, so about 2 AM I went out for my workout run. Being that there were no street lights, nor any light from any houses (except for a handful who had generators), I had to be careful where I stepped. At one point I realized that, about 15 feet in front of me, was a tree that had come down and was totally obstructing the roadway. So I stepped over the trunk and continued my run (the tree was in a section of the neighborhood where the developers had the foresight to lay the electrical and cable TV and telephone lines underground, so live downed wires were not an issue at that point).

But, on the other hand, the lack of artificial lights from the immediate vicinity, together with the clear sky, gave a view of the constellations the likes of which I had not seen since a few years ago when we were up in the mountains.

After about 24 hours our power came back on, and we have been fully operational ever since. Unfortunately, some of our neighbors, including the people directly behind us, have yet to get power restored. My rabbi told me that someone had told him that a major stepdown transformer blew, and while that information would not be admissible in court under the hearsay evidence rules, it completely explains the events; accordingly, I shall go with that story unless and until I hear something more definitive.

Our pool, of course, was full of leaves and twigs, and also a fair amount of algae. I was able to swim a few laps in it today, and got a relatively good workout and cool down after my run. I got out the major stuff but the pool bottom needs a good vacuum. My pool maintenance guy is scheduled to come tomorrow. He is paid to deal with those issues, and so, he will earn his money this week.

During the 24 hours we had no power, I had occasion to drive in the immediate vicinity. For about a mile on a main road out here, the traffic lights had no power. In New York (and, I daresay, just about every other state), if the traffic light is not working, then the intersection is treated as though it were a 4-way stop sign intersection, which means that all cars must come to a full stop. I only saw 3 cars in addition to my own obey that rule, the rest of them just drove through! The Suffolk County police blew that golden opportunity to erase half of the County's deficit, because they could have written an easy 100 tickets at any of the affected intersections.

Yesterday I started teaching again. I'm happy to be back, but it is going to be a very challenging semester for all sorts of reasons.

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