Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Winter Storm Draco (Malfoy)

UPDATE: After sitting around IN HIS CAR (they had to leave the hotel at 11am and had no where to go) waiting to be told where to go, finally at about 3pm, the company for which hubs works told the guys they were going to go to Rockford, IL.  After seeing that Rockford had all of 9K people out of power, hubs said "No way" and came home.  He was thankful he chose to do so since he found out that the crews who did go to Rockford, drove all the way down there and then turned around and came back because there was no work for them to do.

We are keeping abreast of the outages caused by the latest winter storm, but since there is a hockey tournament going on this week, I don't believe hubs would be very happy to go work storm and miss hockey. Sometimes, his priorities are a little skewed. But, since Tbone is playing in above-mentioned tournament, I believe that his heart is in the right place this time.

Winter Storm Draco (now we're naming winter storms? Really people? Is this so that we can hype them up more? Like people won't pay attention to blizzard warnings but if you NAME the blizzard people will wake up and say "Oh really? A named blizzard? We'd better prepare!" If it doesn't work for hurricanes - think "Sandy" or "Irene" - how well will it work for blizzards?!) is gearing up to wreck havoc like the Harry Potter-an Malfoy after which it's named, spreading snow from the Rockies to New England just in time for the Christmas travel season.  Technically, where I live, we're only supposed to get about an inch of snow overnight and into tomorrow, with some high winds kicked in to make the air feel at least ten degrees colder than it really is just for fun.  However, to the south and then east of us, they're expecting anywhere between six to twelve inches of snow mixed with rain, ice and more high winds, possibly the perfect combination for power outages to occur over several states.  Since Winter Storm Draco Malfoy is looking to be as ugly as its namesake, hubs has been put on "stand-by," which means that he and other High Voltage Linemen get to hang out in a hotel, far away from home, and wait to see what this nasty storm is going to bring.  This is the truly boring part of his job: seemingly endless hours spent sitting in a hotel room, only broken up by the random excursion out to find an open restaurant for something to eat.  Once the storm has passed through, they'll be told where (if there's a need) they'll be heading to restore power.

Generally, we're pretty excited about storms.  Not only does he get a chance to do something at which he is tremendously skilled and enjoys, that is, building power lines after they've been knocked down due to bad weather, he also likes being a part of the process of giving people who have lived without power for a time their electricity back.  But it also means a lot of overtime, so there's a financial incentive to chase storms as well as the "helping others" aspect of his job.  (Don't get him started on how linemen are the most powerful people in the country - that is a {mainly one-sided} conversation that can go on for hours.)  But Winter Storm Draco is seriously worrisome due to the timing: we're five days away from Christmas.

Hubs has missed at least the last three Independence Day celebrations due to storms that pop up the week before the 4th of July.  Because of Hurricane Sandy, we thought he'd miss Thanksgiving, but he came home the weekend prior, just in time to help me put up our Griswoldesque Christmas lights and enjoy the butter-laden turkey and other treats I prepared for the day.  He's missed birthdays, the first day of school, Valentine's day, swim meets and hockey games either because he was working out of town and couldn't come home or because of random storms that pop up at just the right time for him to miss those special days or events.  But, until (possibly) this year, he's always been home for Christmas.

He called me late this afternoon, after I had spent the day making crack-corn and rosettes (my house smells like a bad version of a White Castle burger joint right now due to the oil required for the rosettes - yummy) for the kids' teachers' and coaches' gifts, to let me know that he was being put on stand-by.  Since he's been working about 100 miles (one way) from home lately, and had no extra clothes (or extra long underwear or his boot dryer) with him, I offered to drive his needed supplies to him.  Thankfully, he said he could meet me halfway, which was a wonderful thing since Sparkles and Buttercup had to make the trip with me and almost four hours straight in the car would have been a little much for both of them.  So, after stuffing his always-packed "storm luggage" with extra long underwear and a brand new pack of thermal socks and grabbing a gallon-sized Ziploc baggie full of caramel-covered Old Dutch Puffcorn ("crack corn" - once you start, you can't stop) for him, I loaded everything and the girlies into Izzy the Isuzu and drove the 60 or so curving through fields and forests miles to meet him ( on the way, we saw two live deer on the side of the road and a small herd of reindeer, too).  He was happy for the suitcase and to see us before he had to head back South to wait to see what Draco is going to bring, but he was also quite concerned that if the storm goes all evil like Draco Malfoy that he'll miss out on his favorite part of Christmas: watching the kids open their presents from Santa on Christmas morning and stuffing their stockings with goodies while they sleep on Christmas Eve.  (I know I won't possibly be able to do it as quietly as he does, so this could also mean that this Christmas the girls will finally figure out that Santa doesn't actually do all that.)  As we talked about this possibility, we also discussed the flip-side: that if there are people who are without power, he gets to show the ultimate Christmas spirit and give them the best Christmas present ever by restoring their electricity, especially during a time when the temperatures will be seriously cold and they'll need heat, not to mention the power to run all their Christmas lights (you know, priorities).

So, I'm asking you, if you are affected by power outages caused by Winter Storm Draco Malfoy, before you go all Dick Cheney and start screaming after 12 hours of no electricity how slowly the power companies are restoring power (like the Easterners did after Hurricanes Irene and Sandy), please remember that while you don't have power, at least you (more than likely) have your family with you, unlike the linemen who are out in the cold and the wind, working as hard and as quickly as possible to get your electricity restored (and if you could also remember that they also have families who wish you had your electricity so their well-loved linemen could be home enjoying Christmas with them, that'd be an added bonus) so they can get home to their own families for the Holidays.

I'm praying that Winter Storm Draco is just a regular ol' blizzard that dumps some snow and blows said snow around without knocking anyone's power out this Christmas.

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