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Retro Redux: Stormy Weather – Part Deux

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Just my luck. In a recent piece I related a couple of stories about 'stormy' experiences I've had, including the time that I lost something I was writing when the power failed, but it turns out that ol' Mama Nature wasn't quite finished with me. She slapped me again this week when stormy weather caused extended power outages in our area.

In that earlier article I made a musical connection to Ellington's "Stormy Weather," but this time around Billie Holiday's "Stormy Blues" would probably be closer to my mood, although I would never equate our recent problem to those faced by the legendary singer. I also understand that in the greater scheme of things, our lack of electricity isn't really that big a deal. There are people everywhere with problems much bigger than ours; and losing TV, air-conditioning, and (sob) computers is actually small potatoes. But still…

Our power company is one of those multi-state monoliths, the kind that have grown bigger by swallowing up smaller rivals — which is what they did to our previous company a while back. And although I will give them credit for bringing in extra crews and doing their best to get things right, I can't help but notice that we seem to have more frequent outages since they've taken over. Sort of makes you wonder if they're cutting corners on preventative maintenance.

Since I'm kind of a nostalgia buff, you might think it would be a perfect opportunity to go back to basics — carrying water in buckets, cooking in the fireplace, using an outhouse. Unfortunately we don't have a fireplace or an outhouse, and even though we did try coping for a while, by the second day without power we'd moved to a motel. (In our defense, there were health issues.)

Power had been restored by the third day and we moved back home, but within a few hours – and in the middle of a bright, sunny afternoon – the power shut down again. This outage only lasted a short while, but coming on the heels of the earlier problem made it extra troubling. Besides that, at the time it occurred I was writing the original version of this piece — and it was just a tad more critical of the power company. I'm not saying they somehow knew that, but I did tone down this version a little. No point in tempting fate.

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