Friday, September 15, 2017

There and back again.




We lost power, phones, and of course the internet on Monday afternoon.  Today is Friday, and for the moment at least, the power and the internet have been restored. The phones will take a lot longer, if past experience is anything to go on.

When the hurricane remnants came through here, North Georgia took a real beating. We had been told to expect 55 mph winds, which would have been bad enough, but in fact wind gusts hit 75 miles an hour. The counties like Lumpkin and White, which are at the foot of the mountains, were harder hit than Towns, Union, Fannin, and Rabun, which are actually in the mountains.

The wind came on like waves. You could hear it coming, just like an ocean wave roaring into the beach. Just before it actually hit us, things would start banging against the buildings and the roofs, branches and such that the wind had picked up or broken off.  This went on from about six in the evening through most of the next day.

We had some roof damage on two buildings, including the main house. We did not have any flooding. The people who live down at the foot of the mountain, on the paved road, were not so lucky. One of them had a big oak come down and split his house right in half. I doubt it can be fixed. The roads were trashed, mightily. I know from the scanner that a surprising number of people came out and cleared their own roads, something I had not expected this time around.

This was a hard four and a half days.  We didn't lack anything, but my wife and I were just slap worn out by yesterday. We didn't have as good an attitude as we have had in the past, perhaps because once the storm passed, the heat and humidity were very bad. The house and outbuildings got up to 71 percent humidity inside. It will take a while to get everything dried out, and a lot of things like blankets, sheets, etc that were on the shelves will have to be laundered and run through the drier.

We used virtually none of the extra supplies we bought, but we can use them later. Neither my wife or I felt like cooking, so we didn't eat much and that probably accounts for how worn down we both feel. The property is a mess. I had a lot of pine trees fall, and I will just let them lay where they fell if they are in the forest. But some will have to be cut up and I'll have to dump them in the woods to rot. That wont' be fun.

We got pretty by well except that physically and mentally, it was rough. I'm not sure why, as we have been through worse. Part of it was lack of information. Once we lost the satellite tv and couldn't see the Atlanta stations, we had no way of finding out what was coming. The NOAA weather transmitters on Brass Town Bald mountain went down almost immediately. No internet. Nothing of any help on shortwave. I can get one FM station here reliably, it's a hill billy station and in four days, the only thing I heard of any interest was when they put our county commissioner on. He said "be patient, the power is out everywhere." We knew that, so it wasn't all that helpful.

We're still catching up on our rest and our breath, so this is just a short post to say we are quite well and had little damage.  I'll sit down and write an "after action" report here this weekend, but it won't be much help to old time survivalists as it was all pretty routine. Might be of use to people new to the mind set,though..

Cartoons:













While I'm waiting for my 9mm MP-40, I think I will get me one of these!

These guys are funny.



32 comments:

  1. Glad to hear you and your wife are OK and survived with minimal damage. I had heard reports about the effects of the storm in N. Georgia. Was beginning to worry.

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    1. Vicki, it was a mess. When a big beetle pine goes down, it usually breaks about half way up and makes a noise like thunder. Then it crashes down through the trees beneath it. All you can do, really, is hope it isn't falling your way.

      Part of the problem is that there really isn't anything to do during a big storm, whatever it's nature. My wife and I went to the library before the storm and got some books but other than reading, there wasn't a lot to keep us occupied. At least with a snow storm, it's beautiful out side and you can fort up around the fire place, drink coffee, and just enjoy the quiet. There's nothing at all about a hurricane remnant that's good, nothing.

      We are ok though. It's Saturday morning now, and still about a quarter of the county is without power. That's another thing that's bad for your mental attitude. When everybody is in the same boat, you can just hunker down and ride it out. But when some people have electricity and are leading normal lives, and you are still in the "dark zone" and living like a caveman, it is really bad for your attitude. It doesn't help that here, everybody knows the power is restored on the basis of who you are and how "important" you are, rather than on the most efficient method. So it's very hit and miss and takes a lot longer than it would if the EMC would just look at the grid without regard to who lives where. That will never happen, though.

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  2. No AM radio available ?

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    1. The low power radio station situation here is very strange. We have one in the neighboring county, and one in our county. The one in our county is not really commercial, when bad weather comes they just lock up and go home. The one in the next county is intentionally "hill billy" and only carries high school athletics, car races at a track up in North Carolina, and some really irritating morning shows where the host makes his best effort to be a corn ball. Then, in the afternoon, they carry conservative talk radio. But, the terrain here presents big problems. I live just below the topographic crest of the mountain I'm on, and that blocks Atlanta signals. On all four sides of me, are higher mountains. I get the one station through a gap, but I have to move the radio antenna around sometimes to get the signal. You can get AM sporadically from other places, but you know how that is, it comes and goes and the static is awful. I usually use a satellite radio to listen to radio, but this time around the external antenna just quit working.

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  3. Glad you're still amongst the living. ;-)

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    1. Yes, still here. Saturday morning and we are beginning to feel more normal. I've done a more thorough survey of the buildings and have a little more work to do than I realized, but I still feel like we got off really lucky.

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  4. Hey, Harry...glad you two are OK. The critters OK, too? Yeah, rough week all right. You were in our thoughts every day.

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    1. Everybody is ok. The dogs have a cement block dog house on the porch, so they were protected. The outdoor cats can get into the barn. The ferrets live in the apartment over the shop, so they were snug. The indoor cats and Rufus the Aged Pomeranian were fine inside. Rufus didn't like going out in the wind to make pit stops, but he got used to it.

      This past week has really got me to thinking. Not long ago, I watched a survivalist channel a guy in his thirties runs. He did a segment called "can old geezers be survivalists?" I've been doing this since before this fellow was alive, so I thought it would be positive. But instead, he said that once you get to be 60, you might as well just give the lifestyle up, enjoy yourself, and if things come apart just die. He said you only live to be about 70 on average anyway, so why keep spending the money and making the effort to live what is often a very expensive and constraining life style. I was taken aback. I know I'm old, but I still enjoy the same things I did when I was younger, I am happier now that I am retired than I've ever been. I tend to try to just worry about today and not fixate on medical problems, things like that. I don't think I would like to just change my way of living and say to hell with it based on my age. But after this week, I begin to wonder if there's some merit to his premise? Everybody knows you can't keep a big place up when you get older, at some point you have to scale back, like Vicki is doing now. Things like Irma make you wonder if you have reached that point and just didn't realize it.

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  5. Glad you came through in reasonably good shape. Take a day or two to get caught back up on your rest. I can't sleep when the wind blows hard, and 75 miles an hour gusts!! Yikes! Glad you got power back. I heard some folks in FL are going to be out for a while longer. Not having air conditioning is no fun when it is humid and muggy outside. I find it gets harder to handle as I get older when it is humid out.
    Glad you are back on line, and looking forward to the AAR.
    Many times I pick up tips on things I wouldn't have thought of.

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    1. Suz, I have a generator but that's no panacea for a power outage. People see these advertisements on tv where the power goes out, and the husband goes on the porch and turns on the generator. Instantly the lights come on and the mom and young daughter are sitting on the couch happily reading a book. But that's not the reality. A generator will run a few things (and they better be things you can replace, because generators can overamp or underamp your load and that's it for that). 5 KW, which is what I have, won't constantly run the freezer and the refrigerator. You have to run the power through a big battery back up rig if you want to run anything like the satellite tv on it, to filter the power. And the noise is horrific. My generator is a diesel and sounds like a tank ticking over on the porch. I've tried different field expedient mufflers and none of them worked worth a damn. For the most part, we just didn't run the generator. I can run the pump off the generator, and as long as the water heater has generator power I can have hot water (the hot water heater runs off propane, but it has an electric blower on it to expell CO2.) Trying to do load management through a power outage is a constant and worrisome pain. That generator is nice to have but it's not going to make life "normal." So you get worn down.

      Florida is a mess. My kids were going to transfer down to Jacksonville, Florida or Daytona, in October. But their company offices down there were damaged, and the manager in Jacksonville told my kids boss that they need to wait til April or March before everything will be up and running again!

      It will be a long time before everybody gets over Harvey and Irma. It isn't news anymore, but there's so much damage and disruption to people's lives that will just go on quietly after the ambulance chasers have long left the scene.

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  6. Harry-Thanks for the post to let us know that you are o.k. So glad to hear that you and your wife made it through Irma without any physical harm. I know you guys must be exhausted and having the a/c back on is such a blessing. I look forward to your next post. Jana

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    1. Jana,
      We went into town yesterday and had lunch. We went to a quiet little place back off the road, and it was full of old people from Florida. They are still up here at their second homes because things in Florida are such a wreck. It was really nice to "get out" and do something besides worry about the storm.

      Today is Saturday, and the house is getting dried out. I am running five big dehumidifiers in the house, the shop, the apartment, and the climate controlled portion of the barn, as well as two air conditioners. We are getting clothing and linen run through the washer and drier. "Normalcy" is a commodity it's hard to overrate. Especially now that we both are retired, we have become creatures of routine and when that routine is blown all to the devil (literally, in the case of Irma) we aren't as quick to snap back these days.

      But all is well now, nothing I can't handle in terms of fixing, repairing, replacing. Not like the guy down there on the hard surface road whose house was destroyed and all his possessions ruined.

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  7. Hey Harry,

    (captaincrunch)


    I'm glad you guys came out okay.

    Things here are slowly returning to normal. I finally got the insurance adjuster out to view my roof and fence damage.
    I'm hoping to get enough money to replace the roof. I don't care about the fence.
    Taxes and insurance are becoming so burdensome down here that today I am reconsidering staying here long term. I get in this mindset every now and then wondering if this is worth the expense and hassle.

    'Back in the old days. If you built a house on the coast it was at your own risk. If the house blew down during a storm. The homeowner just got some more plywood and rebuilt the house. Now with inspectors, regulations, permit's and certifications that are all designed make money for people. Owning a house on a coastline has became a regulated nightmare.
    I wish I could go back to 1920 and buy a section of beach on top of a dune and build a shack out of driftwood. You could do that back then. No questions asked. I read stories of that occurring often down here.
    Now that civilization and money has crept in. Everything has changed.

    Maybe we will get lucky and some virus emanating from some 'Zimbabwe Bush meat barbecue. will wipe out four billion humans in a year or so and reform civilization to smaller, less powerful nations and a much greater emphasis on human freedom.

    Overpopulation is the root cause of all social problems. I would hate to see that stuff happen but I think its inevitable.

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    1. I hope the insurance adjuster is not an anal orifice. The last one I dealt with, after hurricane Opel, is lucky he got out of here alive.

      I know what you mean. When I came here, there were no building codes at all, no zoning, no inspections, no permits. Now, it's like New York city. You have more inspectors on your place than you do builders if you want to put something up.

      I am sure a lot of us would go back to less complicated times if we could. I know my grandparents had it better than I do, and my parents did as well. The quality of life in America has plummeted.

      I'm not sure it's overpopulation, so much as the fact that now we are top heavy with people who have no connection to American history or culture, who do not share our values, who do not care anything about the country. If we could wave a magic wand and get rid of the half of the population that is causing so much misery, life would be better. But I don't think a pandemic would help us out, as it's too indiscriminate.

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    1. We got off lightly. Especially since I've been out more now, I know that we were fortunate. Lots of people here had a lot more damage. Some still don't have power.

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  9. Glad you came through somewhat okay. Totally okay would have been better, but, well, you survived.

    As to your beddings and stuff. Get lots of those big-arsed Ziploc bags, and bars of a soap you like. Launder the bedding/clothing/cloth items, and put them in bags with a bar of soap per bag. Stuff stays dry, and smells good, too.

    A bar of soap in a plastic tub of cloths works well for long-term storage, too, as long as the humidity stays below 90%. I have used this technique for years for SCA camping. The soap helps dry out the air, for some weird reason, in the covered tub.

    And as to eating, dude-sir... You are a Marine. You know the first rules of Marine are eat and sleep when you can. Those rules still apply in your non-active duty age. Yeah, smaller amounts due to the heat, but you still need to eat. Think of the children, or at least the ferret and the other animals!

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    1. Andrew, good idea about the linens and such. We have old fashioned cedar chests down in the store rooms, and we have a big wall closet for linen. But when the air gets sodden, that's no real protection.

      We just got so very tired that we didn't have any real desire to eat. Strangely, cooking is not at all effected here by a power outage. We have a Kenmore range that was specifically designed for rural propane systems, so lack of electricity makes no different at all. We had plenty of water, that wasn't a problem. I think it was just that the total disruption of our routine, and the constant anticipation of some event that would launch us into emergency mode, dulled our appetites.

      It was hard to get any sleep during this period, and I'm sure being exhausted had a lot to do with it. The storm went on for longer than I thought it would, just seemed like it would never settle down.

      All's well that ends well, though.

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  10. Hang in there Harry, really glad that you have come through without too much damage. Wish i was a bit closer so i could come over and lend a hand. Make sure you both have a good meal and a rest to recharge the batteries.
    Cheers

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    1. Hey, Sgt. I know you've been through a lot worse down there in Australia. I have been through worse myself, but I was about half the age I am now.

      We are slowly getting back to normal. We had dinner out yesterday, and I think we are going up to the big lake and have supper tonight at a place my wife really likes.

      I haven't done much more here than just clean up the area around the two main buildings. I can't stand disorder, so I got out and took care of that right away. There's still a lot do do but it's not as urgent. For instance, the trip wire fence I installed around the two main buildings was totally destroyed. No reconstructing that, I'll have to rebuild it from scratch. But that's something I can work on a bit at a time.

      Thanks for the good thoughts.

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  11. Storm prep, enduring, and recovery are quite exhausting. We just got our power back on Friday (I'm in Florida) and I just folded and put away my eleventh load of laundry! We had 9 people, 3 dogs, a cat and a parrot ride out the storm in our home. No damage here, but plenty of debris to pick up afterward. Irma seemed to take forever to make up her mind on a path, so I was already tired from anxiety by the time she arrived.

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    1. THF, you put your finger right on one of the things that was hardest about this storm. We tracked it all the way from out in the Atlantic, and it was never the same track two days in a row. Often, one news channel had a completely different track projection than another at the same time. The stress of not knowing what you are really dealing with absolutely does wear you down. Anxiety is not a word men use much, but that's exactly the word that fits this past storm. It was the worst after we essentially lost all communications with the outside. Once my satellite tv and satellite radio went, and the NOAA transmitter we listen to went out, we were "in the dark" in more ways than one.

      Glad you made it through ok. At least in our case, we just had to take care of ourselves. I admire you for being able to host that many souls.

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    1. All's well. Power went out again today from about 1:30 in the afternoon until five, but it came back on. I was worried there for awhile.

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  13. That's annoying to loose power! We're still trying to recover from hail damage this summer. Fighting with the insurance company with one car. They estimated a lower cost than it will cost to fix the car. The car is older. We probably shouldn't of even had that covered. We're learning. Honestly I've never much had to deal with car insurance before now.

    I hope you didn't loose too much food with your power being out.

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    1. Alissa, it was certainly that. Especially for almost four days. Went out again this afternoon, but is back on now.

      Insurance adjusters will often try to give you the short end of the stick. If you have comprehensive it should cover hair damage and depending on your deductible, if they are reputable they shouldn't be short changing you. Unfortunately, not all insurance companies play fair. I will say, for USAA, that when I have had claims they have done me right. I hope it works out ok.

      We cooked a bunch of meat before the storm, then the power went out. The refrigerator got above 45 degrees, and my wife said we should not eat the meat, so the dogs got steaks, beef hot dogs, summer sausage, pork chops to their hearts content. I should have cooked and eaten that meat before the storm even hit Florida, but I did what humans usually do, I hoped the storm wouldn't come up here and I could just lead my normal routine, so I waited too late. At least the dogs ate it so it wasn't really wasted.

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  14. Thank you Harry for letting us know that you and your wife are ok.Sad to read what you have been through.

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    1. Yael, it was not fun but we got off easy. I got a call from the old man at the foot of the mountain this evening. He told me that someone we both know had flood damage to his house, and had no insurance, and he killed himself this afternoon. Guess it was just one thing too many.

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    2. harry,
      tried to email you but mine isn't working.
      ignore the young jerk. you have no idea when your number will be up. an average ties in all the infant deaths with those of the centenarians, so it is just a number.
      live how you want as you are able.
      if you get where you want to sell there are many who can pay for a 'redoubt' that is in ready to go condition.
      some bloggers will mention you want to sell and that ill sift out the riff raff.
      get a more convenient place and put a storage bldg for your collections.
      if you have $$ and know who to trust yo can hire younger guys for roof shingling and brush clearing.
      i'd prefer you to let a couple of younger guys up on the roof these days, anyway.
      you have time to give it thought and scope out possibilities. sorry your kids are headed to florida--strengthens m.'s arguments for a move south. too bad asheville became a nonstarter.
      rest easy and enjoy your mountain!
      .

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  15. Email here has been intermittent since the storm. We had a four hour power outage again yesterday, but fortunately M and I were up in North Carolina and didn't even know it until we got home.

    The guy that wrote all that stuff about Geezers was reflecting the typical attitude of the young. I can remember when my dad turned 65. He and I were not close, but I still felt bad because I thought his life was pretty much over and that he would die soon. Instead he partied on til 87 and enjoyed retirement to the max. I guess it's perspective. I still feel like the same "me" I have always been, it's just harder to get things done and I don't have the energy I did when I was young. But life is good.

    I would like to pass this place on to G and E. That was always the plan. I don't know if that will work out, but things have a way of resolving themselves.

    I could pay people to do those things for me, but I really don't like to expose my set up here to gossip. I'm a private person, and I don't mix much with people. Also, I feel like when the day comes I can't take care of myself and my place, then it really is time to be thinking about that condo in Florida. I know you are being far more practical than I am about the issue, but it's a personality quirk of mine. One of many, I'm afraid.

    It's all good, D.H. Every day there's some kind of challenge

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  16. By the time it made it's way up to where we are, the winds weren't so bad. So we just got a lot of steady rain, and no power loss. I can see where it would wear you out! I hope you and your wife are feeling more rested now. Looks like there are more storms brewing out there.

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    1. We're fine now Lisa. just hoping that Hurricane Maria passes us by.




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