Saturday, January 31, 2009

From Crashing Branches to Chainsaws

And still the sirens.

Well, today's report will be much more personal. I no longer feel the burden of reporting the situation here to faraway frantic family members; the New York Times, MSNBC, and CNN are doing a fine job. But it is amazing - estimates are between 500,000 and 600,000 customers in Western Kentucky are still without power. The thing is, I think there are only 600,030 people in Western Kentucky!

I feel a little guilty that we have power. A lot of our neighbors are still without.

It was a beautiful day today. I took the dogs for their first walk since either Sunday or Monday, I can't remember. Things were still falling randomly out of the sky, but if you picked and chose where you walked, it was okay. First some photos for some friends.

Mary, here are your pretty trees. I'm sorry. The good news is your building looks fine.

Jean, here's the tree HARK wouldn't let you take down. I don't think it's a problem now.

I tried to volunteer my services as a not-quite-legal RN today. (I'm an RN, but not licensed in KY, and I'm currently taking the refresher course mandated to get my KY license.) I thought I could help - work under - other RNs, with vital signs, assessments, whatever, as long as I wasn't working independently.

Only the Red Cross office was closed. They had the Red Cross flag just a-flying, with a sign on the door: office hours are Monday - Friday only. I went to the library and to City Hall, to no avail. So I gave up and walked the dogs, thinking, "charity does begin at home." I found out later that the National Guard Armory, down by the airport was sheltering more than 500 people, but my neighbor who is a real RN, in fact a Nurse Practitioner, was told that they had enough help. So I felt better.

I heard on the radio that no animal shelters are open. This just breaks my heart. I hope that is not correct. I know friends who are staying in their cold homes, ahem, Karen and Steve, because they don't want to leave their pets, or upset them by uprooting them. Even when their neighbors offer warm beds and hot showers and private rooms for Cooper.

And I would do the exact same thing.

I heard something else on the radio, honest, I am not making this up. In these parts we pay our property taxes at the sheriff's offices. And the radio made the announcement that the sheriff's office in Murray did NOT want anyone coming in to pay their taxes which were due today. They begged folks to stay off the roads and let the National Guard and power companies do their work.

Then, five minutes later, the radio announcer said, "Murray Electric Company just called and said that if your electric bill is due today, you must pay it."

Now, at that particular point all of Murray was without power.

So what were they going to do if you didn't pay your bill on time? Turn your power off? Hello??? Power company people? The sheriff is begging people to stay off the roads. There IS no power. The banks are all closed. Roads are impassible. We are under a state of emergency.

Well, it gave me a good chuckle.

My neighbors went to Home Depot, and there were 600 people in line to buy generators. The grocery store is out of eggs, bread, lunch meat, D and C batteries, and toilet paper, but miraculously had milk. I got the last bag of my brand of dog food, much to the whippets' disappointment. They sure enjoyed last night's rice and London broil and spinach.

The neighborhood still sounds so different. The background noises are wrong. The "boop, boop, boop" of backing up power trucks. Chainsaws zzzzzzzzz-ing. Songbirds calling constantly; like us, I suppose they're trying to call home.
Sirens, off in the distance, mostly, but sometimes they zoom by on the main loop. A helicopter lifting up from the downtown hospital. That always sets me off in a prayer for the occupant and the family.
Thanks to our gas fireplaces and the guilty early return of power, we've been warm as toast. I've so enjoyed playing Uno with Lee and Dee and Bill, and oh my good lord I beat Bill in Scrabble!
hug your hounds


  1. Thanks so much for your well written updates. They say so much and it makes me feel like my friends are OK there somewhere.

    Today was our first day out for walkies in a week too, after subzero weather. It was a balmy 38 degrees, sunshine and blue skies. Sigh! I hope it lasts!

    Jo, Stella's Mom

  2. The thaw has definitely arrived in Memphis and St. Louilis....we hope it spreads rapidly in your direction.....don't feel guilty, just watch for the next are part of the plan.


  3. Serious situation you have. The Red Cross has been very disappointing in recent years. I have stopped giving to them. They want your $$$ but when there is a real problem such as in your area WHERE ARE THEY!!!!! Hope life gets back to normal soon! The whippets look good walking in sunshine. Hugs from the Great State of Alaska.

  4. We are glad you guys have power and hope that everyone else gets it back soon. I bet the whippets were BUMMED when they saw that regular food coming through!! Those Power Company people sound like real Doofuses.

  5. Yeaaaaaaaa, we're so glad you got your electricity back, Patience, and we're sorry the dogs have to go back to eating dog food!

    Love ya lots,
    Maggie and Mitch

  6. Absolutely astonishing and distressing.

    The damage ice can do. During an ice storm in Canada a few years ago a good part of Quebec was without power for a month

    I'm glad, at least, that you are safe and warm.

  7. Patience, I'm just glad you are safe. Sending good zen to the rest of your poor battered state.

  8. You and Suzanne are doing a GREAT JOB of covering this disaster! I feel for everyone, and am happy to hear that things are coming back around, slowly but surely. Thanks for the photo -- looks like we have a little clean up to do!!!! xooxoxoxmt

  9. A great post...until the very end. The "oh my good lord...." part was totally un-neccesary and had nothing to do with the rest of the story. Besides, I still think you cheated!

    with love,
    your husband.

  10. Dear readers, would someone please tell my husband that "zed" is a word?

  11. Martha and P-DoggyFebruary 1, 2009 at 1:48 PM

    The Canadians will agree that "zed" is INDEED a word-or a sound,I forget which.maybe you and Bill can play "medical scrabble" ? (and I think the songbirds are saying "all will be ok,all will be will be over soon")

  12. Patience,

    Never ever more will I complain about hurricane season. Your tales of the ice storm rival what we've experienced with Wilma and others. We're glad you're toasty and that the whippets have been able to do their business in the accustomed way.

    The Murray Electric story is such an example of bureaucracy gone awry, Perhaps they shall turn the power off retroactively once it is restored.

    Hugs to all.

    The Barkies and their hoomans.

  13. Oh my goodness, Patience, I didn't visit my favourite blogs for a few days and come back to see these phenomenal photos and stories - I obviously haven't been listening to the news this week either.
    I am glad you are all safe and warm, and please tell Bill that this Canadian says zed is definitely a word. In fact, I checked with Mr. Webster and he has it listed in his dictionary:
    zed \'zed\n[ME, fr. MF Zede, fr. LL zeta zeta. fr. Gk Zeta] chiefly Brit: the letter z

    In fact it comes right before zee, for which the definition is also "the letter z".

    And I don't think you cheated at all!


  14. Thanks for your update! We talked to my MIL, Jackson House was without power for 16 hours. Not bad except she lives on the 19th floor and the elevators were not working. She bundled up in several blankets, and complained about not being able to flush her toilet! Cold food of course, but she did eat.

    My dogs would have been happy with dinner like that, too!

  15. I am sorry you were mis informed about the Red Cross in Paducah. The Lowertown office was closed only when it had no power. You should have called the answering service, read the paper or listened to the radio or TV because the Red Cross was desperate for volunteers. it was the Red Cross that staffed and operated the shelter at the Armory. It was such a neat cooperative effort with the Salvation Army cooking, the health department nursing, and the Red Cross, attending to everything else.

  16. I called the answering service and I got a message that said, "Please call during regular business hours. If you have an emergency, press zero." I didn't want to abuse the system. So I called the radio station and asked if there were another number. I went to the armory, but (stupidly) the wrong one. I went to the one across from Noble Park. I learned later of my mistake; that I should have gone out by the airport.

  17. And thanks to AT&T the Red Cross employees had no cell phone connectivity until FEMA issued them Verizon phones.


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