Monday, June 4, 2012

Any Port in a Storm

This posting is late, I know, but my internet hasn't been working since the storm last week.

My friend had to go to Brockville on Tuesday (May 29th), and she asked me if I wanted to go for the ride. I had not seen much of her lately so I thought it would be a great chance to catch up. The weatherman had been threatening us with storms since the previous Friday, but once again, we were sitting in sunshine, so off we went. Everything was fine until part way home when the sky to the west started to get dark.

It wasn’t long before we had a light mist of rain, but the sky was getting darker still, and there was lightning in the distance. Then these big splats of rain started to hit the windshield. They were far enough apart still, so, while it was a bit surprising to go from fine mist to big splats, seeing the approaching storm we knew something was coming. We weren’t too far from home by then, so we didn’t worry about it. But as the rain picked up, so did the wind. I noticed the trees really start to move, and said, "Look at the wind!" just as a gust hit the car and my friend grabbed the steering wheel tighter and let out a "Whoa!"

The rain started coming down in sheets, and with the driving force of the wind behind it, it became very difficult to see the road in front of us. But we were just on the edge of the village by then and so we crept forward through this curtain of water, ever so slowly, trying to see where to turn onto our street. There was another vehicle coming out of there, so we waited for it to get out of the way as we were not sure if it was in the middle of the road or not. As we crept down the first block, my friend looked warily at a big tree by the side of the road and said she didn’t trust it. Our silly solution was to zoom under it as fast as we could, just to get clear of it.

We had been discussing whether we would have tea at her house or mine, but the weather decided that for us. There was no way to get from the car to her front door without getting totally soaked, but I have a large overhanging roof by my side door, so we could pull up under that and have tea at my house. Ya sure.
It seems my hubby left the garbage can in just the wrong spot for us to just drive straight in, so my friend angled her vehicle in such a way as to miss that can. She asked if I would be able to get out, and we both looked to the right, and saw a waterfall coming off the roof, just outside the car window. Nope. If I even tried to open the door that water would come right into the car with the next gust of wind. So she tried again, and though I knew I could make it to the door I decided to make sure I had the right key in hand and wait for a lull in the gusting wind. It came. I went. I got to the door, I got the key in, and just as I was turning it, another gust came up and blew the wall of water in such a way that I got soaked from head to foot, all down my back. I shrieked. I’m sure I did, as the rain was colder than expected. I looked back at my friend who I thought would still be safely in the car, laughing at me. but she was already out of the vehicle, and discovering that she had pulled up so close to the garage that it was very difficult to get by the car. I think she shrieked too. By the time we got inside, we were both wet, and giggling.

It didn’t take long to discover that the power was out, and there would be no tea for us that day.
My driveway was full of water, which isn’t too unusual, since my house is the low spot on the street, but then my sidewalk acquired several inches of water too. With the power off, my sump pump wouldn’t be working, so this was not a good thing. I have not only the usual (for our area) indoor sump pump, but also an outside one. There’s an underground river that flows under my garage, but worse than that, the tile drainage also flows into that hole.

I called my son, who lives in another town, to get him to check the internet so he could tell me when the power might come back on. He said 6:45pm. It wasn’t yet 4pm. My hubby called at 4:45pm and when he found out the power wasn’t on, he decided he better come home and look after any possible water situation that might arise. As it turned out, our power was not restored until 1:30am the following morning, while others in our area were not expecting power until at least noon.

I quickly discovered that I had neither cable nor internet, but it was Drop In day at one of the local churches, so I went there for the company after taking a ride around town on my bike to survey the damage from the storm.

There were lots of big branches down, and other trees that had been either uprooted or snapped off. It was reported that we had a tornado, but it turned out that we didn’t. We did have winds or 110km/hr though, and I’ve never seen that much water come down all at once before.

We likely should have been in the basement, but with no power we didn’t get the weather alerts and felt so much safer once we were in the house we were content to sit in the kitchen and watch the storm.

The cable company fixed their problem and we had TV the afternoon after the storm, but I still had no internet. I use Sympatico, so I checked with a few friends who use that too, and theirs was fine. That meant the problem was just mine. So I tried rebooting the modem a couple of times, unplugging and restarting and everything, but nothing worked. My hubby called Bell and they had him check the filter and do a few other things before they decide that the problem had to be at their end after all. They said they would fix it within 24 hours. My hubby asked me the second night if I was suffering from internet withdrawal yet, but apparently I wasn’t as I actually turned down a chance to use a neighbour’s machine earlier in the day. I just knew the e-mail would be piled up to an almost unmanageable amount by the time I got to it again.

The 24 hours passed and still no internet. After calling Sympatico again, they decided to send us a new modem. I doubted that would solve the problem, since I had the computer and the modem unplugged when the storm came through. The new modem didn't help, so another call and a few more tests and they decided they would send a technician Sunday morning.  The techie found a bad port at the switching station and assigned us a new one, but wasn't sure if anyone at Bell worked on that sort of thing on Sundays so said it could be Monday before we got back online. We spent the day away from home on Sunday and when we got back we discovered we were finally reconnected to the world. 

I'd say, considering all the uprooted and damaged trees around here, we got off lucky here.

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