From December 18, 2006, following a devastating wind storm that brought Western Washington to it's knees on 12/14/06, with widespread and prolonged power outtages and terrible damage. My power was out for nearly 6 days, during the darkest and coldest time of the year. It very nearly ruined the holidays. Crews were brought in from all over the USA to try and restore power & phone service. The rural and mountain communities didn't get power back till Christmas Eve. It was so bad that this storm even has it's own Wikipedia entry HERE. It was dubbed The Hannukah Eve Storm of 2006. The emergency response came under massive fire and criticism. It should be noted that after sinking nearly $10,000 into a state of the art generator & gas stove after this storm, we never lost power again. This post was done when I was at work since I had no power at home until the 20th. I was unable to post the photos taken the day after the storm for several days.
Without further adieu, I give you:
BUT HEY, I'M OK
POST-STORM REPORT CARD:
State of Washington: F
Puget Sound Energy: F
City of Bonney Lake: F
Qwest Telephone: A
Comcast Cable: A
It was one hell of a storm we had on Thursday night. It poured rain in buckets all day long, and my boss sent me home at 2 to prepare for the storm. I was so relieved when Brian made it home. The wind didn't start kicking up till about 6:30 and it was pretty bad. Our power flickered for a few hours. We finally went to bed at about 9:30, and when Pepper woke me up at 10, shivering and crying, the power was out. Poor little doggie was so frightened. I got up and gave her half a doggie tranquilizer and let her get up on my bed, but she wouldn't stop shaking. Brian finally got up and gave her the other half and let her up on his bed.
We woke up to massive devastation on Friday morning. Fortunately, no trees fell on our house, but we had a lot of huge and heavy branches in the yard. We also discovered that Sagan was so frightened that he'd vomited in his crate all night long, so Brian had to clean that up. Friday we went for a walk w/ the dogs and checked out the damage. Lots of trees on power lines, snapped poles, one guy had a tree fall on and cut in half his brand new 5th wheel. We also saw a few damaged homes. All things considered, we were in good spirits on Friday, and Friday night we figured our power would be on by Saturday night. Meanwhile, we withheld food from Sagan on Friday but he did drink water, which he proceeded to projectile vomit all over the family room rug that night.
Saturday arrives and our kitchen freezer is clearly melting, fast. There's a huge puddle of water on the kitchen floor. We threw out all the food in the freezer, and put some of the fridge stuff outside since it's cold enough to keep. We were able to get the cars out of the garage by propping the door open. We were starved so we went out for breakfast, came home, and did storm clean up just like the rest of our neighbors. The thing that REALLY annoyed us was that as soon as you turn off our street, everyone else has power. But you should see the piles of debris alongside the roads!!! I swear, just let the City of Bonney Lake tell us to remove the debris and they will suffer my wrath. Meantime, we let the doggies out in the backyard to play and get some air while we cleaned up out front. Saturday night arrives, and we are still in the dark. I notice that Sagan is acting really weird. He can't seem to stand up or walk right, he keeps staggering into the walls, tipping over and he has this goofy grin on his face. Brian gave him a quick exam and there were no yelps of pain. Then we smelled it.....sour apples. Sagan got into the rotting apples in the back yard and was drunk. I half expected to wake up the next day and see that he had a tattoo on his leg that said "mom" or "rosie" or something. lol We spent Sat. night in the dark, again.
Sunday we get up and there's STILL no power. By this time I am pretty much apoplectic. I was able to get the car out and go to the bank, but the gas station was out of gas, and they had jacked the price dramatically. I called PSE and was assured that they were "working on it". I called them again at 3:00 and I shit you not, the message they had on their first menu, after listing all the towns (in King County of course) that may not see power for another week, was "for emergency shelter information, go to our website." HELLO!!!!!! How can you check a website WHEN YOU DON'T HAVE ANY POWER? Morons. I finally talked to someone and basically bitched at him.
Before I explain further, those people who do not live here or have ever lived here need to understand the dynamics in Washington State. King County thinks that they are god & Seattle is the center of the universe. They think they are the only county in the state. They look down on Pierce County as if we are a bunch of redneck country bumpkins. A few years ago I was on my way home from work and there were 2 accidents on Highway 410, and a brush fire at the top of the highway, and not one single Seattle-based traffic report mentioned it. Not one. All facilities are restored to King County FIRST and foremost. (Unlike the east coast, where people are more town-centric, west coast people identify themselves by county. It's the same in California). Meanwhile, as you travel around town, you can see plenty of Qwest and Comcast trucks working on their lines, but not a PSE truck or City of Bonney Lake truck to be seen anywhere.
At 6:30, I called PSE again. I wade through their stupid menus and finally get a person. I am stark raving mad now. And you know what she tells me???? She has the unmitigated AUDACITY to tell me, "I know, we have people in Medina who are still out of power too." That was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. "MEDINA?!" I scream into the phone. "WHO CARES ABOUT THE GODDAMN BILLIONAIRES IN MEDINA!" (Bill Gates lives in Medina!!) The only reason the fucking lights are off in Medina is that the richest of the rich flew their private jets to Vail or Aspen for the holidays!!!! If she had said any other town - Spanaway, Graham, Yelm....places that are remote and poor, I would have been more understanding, but don't expect me to feel sorry for the mucky mucks in Medina for chrissakes. So then she explains the 4 stages of repair: "First we assess the situation. Then we assign a job number to the repair and wait till that number comes up, for the repair stage, but if the crew has to wait for another piece of equipment to arrive like the tree cutting crew, they will leave and go to another location to keep working. Then we next make sure that the mainlines are working & power is restored." She goes on to tell me that they are flying in crews from other states to help.
I said, "OK, the trees are on the lines, there's a pole snapped in half and dangling over the road, SITUATION ASSESSED! NOW GET THE DAMN TRUCKS OUT THERE!" She was actually really nice and took my abuse pretty well......and I did try to tone it down a little b/c a part of me felt sorry for her b/c I'm sure I wasn't the only one who was that upset. In fact, she said they were getting a lot of irate calls from my neighborhood. But she did say that it was in their system so that meant that the crew had been out to "assess" the situation & repair number was assigned, which meant that we were now in the "repair stage". Well la-de-frickin-da. And another thing, it's not like they didn't know this storm was coming! Why weren't crews from the other states on their way up here on Friday? They wait till Sat. and Sun. to fly people up?
At that point, I left a message on my work's machine and my boss' home machine, with my cell phone number, requesting that he call me at 6:00 a.m. to wake me up so that I could get to work on time. He called this morning, as requested, and felt awful about our situation. I had to bring Pepper to work with me because the house is too cold, and we took Sagan to day care. Both dogs desperately need a bath.
Next time my PSE bill comes in, I'm thinking about sending my payment at the last possible second with a letter that says, "your bill came in and first I assessed the situation. Then I assigned it a bill-paying number and put it in line after all the other bills that came in before yours. But then when I went to pay it, I didn't have a pen that worked so I moved on to other things. Then once I found a pen that worked, I was able to write the check. Then I had to bring it into work to get a stamp. Then I mailed it."
So all things considered, we are fine and in a lot better shape than those who had multiple trees fall on their houses. However, we are greatly inconvenienced without power and clearly, I was not cut out to be Amish. The first 3 things on my "want" list are: A landline telephone, a generator and a gas stove.