Friday, February 26, 2010

Irony, Thy Name Is Irony

It snowed.

And it snowed. And it snowed. In fact, it's still snowing.

That's my car up there. It took five people to dig it out (not that I'm going anyplace).

At one point, I got into my car, went in reverse for about one foot,stopped, and couldn't get the door to open. I was literally stuck in my car. I honked and honked and everyone ignored me (they were all busy digging themselves out), until I started feeling like a Stephen King character. Then I realized if I could get into the car, I could get out of it, so I went into drive, drove back the one foot, and rescued myself.

It started snowing night before last, and it scheduled to stop sometime in 2011. My guess is my car will have to be dug out again, perhaps more than once.

This morning, I had scheduled my first video conference. Yes, I can now webcam and Skype and all those other things everyone else can do. I have a loaner webcam from Harcourt, and as long as Scooter doesn't play with it too much, it should last a few more months (so if any school or library is interested in a webcam visit this spring, just email me and ask). I was scheduled to talk to middle school students in Minnesota.

All this was very exciting for me. We had several run throughs, since I had no idea what I was doing, and all systems were go.

That was until my electricity went out last night at 6 PM.

I want to be on record as saying NOT MY FAULT that I don't have a working flashlight. I'd bought one at Target a couple of months ago. Granted, I wondered at the time why a $15 flashlight was marked down to $3, but a bargain is a bargain.

Fortunately, I happen to own many candles. Unfortunately, quite a number of them are scented, and no two scents are the same. Pretty soon my apartment smelled like a multicultural French bordello (not that I've ever been to a multicultural French bordello, or any bordello for that matter, although I have been to France and wish I were there right now, assuming it's not snowing).

I had two major concerns about my lack of electricity. Okay two and a half. I was concerned about going hungry, but I have enough 100 calorie snacks to last until 2011, and potato chips are wholesome and nutritious. So that was only half a concern.

My primary concern was holding up my end of the webcam event this morning, which would definitely require electricity on my part, and if I never got the electricity, letting the school in Minnesota know why I wasn't there.

I had a phone number for the school, but that was in my emails. And my emails couldn't be gotten to (I had no internet access, even on my little portable guy).

I ended up calling my brother and having him break into my email account, find the right one, and tell me the phone number, so I could call this morning if I needed to. Life is way too complicated.

The other concern was that last night was the Olympic women's figure skating final, which only happens once every four years, generally on a night when I have electricity. I knew the final group of women wouldn't skate until 11, but I had no way of knowing when, or even if, my electricity would return.

I called my mother, who had electricity, but no cable. "I'm reading a book," she said. "Wait a second."

I wait, thinking maybe I'll have her read the book out loud to me. Things can get pretty boring without electricity.

"It's name is This World We Live In," she said.

"That's my book!" I yelped.

"Yes, I know," she said, but she didn't say if she liked it or not. Oh well. I know she likes me, which is a little more important.

I stayed up (mostly talking on the phone) until 10:55, at which point, I took my half sleeping pill and brushed my teeth, etc. And just as I'd completed my evening toilette, the electricity and cable came back on.

I vowed that no drugs, not even my half sleeping pill, would keep me from watching the final group of skaters. And no drugs did. I stayed awake until at least ten seconds after midnight. And this morning I found out those wretched miserable curs at NBC hardly showed any of the skaters before 11. I barely missed a thing.

And I never had to call Minnesota. The webcam conference went without a hitch, and I, for one, had a wonderful time.

As Scooter would say, if he could talk, which thank goodness he can't, things are looking up!


Elaine Marie Alphin said...

I'm so glad your first webcam school visit was a hit, despite the tension of the power outage - I love doing them! And I laughed at your getting yourself stuck inside your car by the snow - good for you for saving yourself! I haven't gotten stuck inside my car, but I've gotten stuck in the snow in the library parking lot in Bozeman - and I lost count of the people who helped dig me out (and finally haul my car free by means of a chain and a pickup). Isn't it good to know that there are so many good people in the world willing to help (at least, as long as you're not shut inside your car honking for dear life)?

I couldn't stay awake for the figure skating last night after a long day's drive out here in the relatively snow-free west. NBC really is doing a terrible job picking and choosing what to broadcast when. Way too much of those skiers twisting and turning in midair and landing on their rear ends during primetime, instead of showing the figure skating when tired people might be awake to watch.

I'm sure your mother loves the book.

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi Elaine Marie Alphin-

I think the problem was that a Civic's horn just isn't assertive enough.

One of the many people who helped actually pushed (maybe even lifted) my car from the front. It's a great relief that I didn't cause many heart attacks in the effort to liberate my car.

I don't know how my liberators feel, but I am physically exhausted. And it isn't helping that it's snowing really hard all over again!

Elaine Marie Alphin said...

More snow? Then it's a good thing you've got plenty of 100 calorie snacks to tide you over. Not to mention candles. And Scooter, who I am sure is not afraid of either the dark or the snow, as long as he's got you and a good book to nibble...I mean, read.

It's been a long winter - I admit I'm getting tired of it myself, especially now that my knee has gone out again. Ice is treacherous.

I always think that people who stop to help must be very healthy and not fearful of heart attacks from strenuous rescues. Maybe you should get an air horn to keep in your Civic in case of future traps?

Paige Y. said...

I must admit to laughing out loud while reading your post. I hope that nobody walked by your door and wondered if a French bordello had moved in.

Being from North Carolina, I simply cannot imagine the amount of snow you've had this year. We've had a very heavy snow year, but it's nothing compared to what you've had.

We had a huge ice storm several years ago, and I had candles lined up behind the sofa -- I must confess to feeling a little like Laura Ingalls Wilder, hunched around a candle, trying to read my book.

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi again Elaine Marie Alphin and hello to Paige Y.-

It's actually been a fairly easy winter here; for most of it Washingon D.C. got a lot more snow than we did.

But this was a good old fashioned snowstorm, and since it had also snowed on Tuesday, and the Tuesday before, there was some snow on the ground to begin with.

Scooter, thank goodness, wasn't all that interested in the candles. I guess he wouldn't be all that interested in a multicultural French bordello either!

Shirley Shimer said...

It's good you have so many candles around! What I really like to have around that looks nice even when you aren't using it/doesn't smell badly/is easy to use and doesn't require batteries OR electricity is good old fashioned oil lamps! And they cast a TON of light! My parents have about five of them and I can remember growing up in there house and lighting the oil lamps everytime the electricity went out because of wind storms (which happen a lot in Western Washington State).

I should really invest in some of those myself since I'm on my own now...the power has only gone out once before in my apartment though so I generally try to avoid admitting that it's possible my apartment building could go more than half a day without electricity (hence my not buying oil lamps). So I'll be stuck in the same boat as you if my power does go out again!

However you've reminded me to check my flashlights to see if they still work. They do! I'm disregarding the fact that they're about the size of a pencil each and provide basically no light.

I am -so- excited to read This World We Live In! I'm sure your mom thinks it's could she not?!

Good luck with the snow--I hope it stops and that the rest melts off soon. Snow is always fun for a few days but after too many, it's restrictions on travel are such a drag.

Shirley Shimer said...

Whoops, "their house", not "there house". Sorry, had to correct myself.

Shweta said...

That's lot of snow out there. I used to complain that we don't stay in a place where I could enjoy snowfall and low boring it is to have rainfall for like three quarters of the year. :)

Anonymous said...

I think it's a strange coincidence that I chose this weekend to read "Life As We Knew It" and you posted the snow pics while I was reading about Miranda's snow troubles. :o)


p.s. when I finished the book, I took a long and hot shower and reveled in it. Your book really puts me in the story!

Nina said...

We here in coastal Maine have had non-snow snowday yesterday as we had such high winds and heavy rains that no one had power. I thought of your books and your wonderful characters all day! (But we have a honking big generator out here in the country and it even provides us with heat and water!). So we weren't really that inconvenienced, but it does give one pause! Hope you don't have too much more snow. I have a good friend in Greenwood Lake who has definitely had enough!

Anonymous said...

In Virginia weeks back, we got hit with a snowstorm that nearly broke hundreds of trees. We lost power for two days and on Superbowl weekend. (don't worry we caught it at half time.) It hasn't snowed for a while now and i'm kind of glad.

Susan, I can't wait until your new book, This world we live in, comes out. I got many of my friends hooked onto the series. I've saved up the money I got from Xmas to buy it. I'll be one of the first in Barne's and Noble. :)

Jess said...

Confession: whenever I hear news reports on the east coast storms, I always feel a wee bit guilty that I live in sunny LA.

(Though, it was raining today, so that was a bit of a downer.)

I'm glad your webcam school visit was a hit! Those kids are lucky to get the chance to hear you speak. :)

Also hope the power stayed on, and you had the chance to catch the figure skating exhibition. NBC seems determined to drive away viewers - I think I only managed to catch four skaters, since NBC kept jumping around - but a little bird DID tell me that MSNBC is airing the full two hours sometime today.

Stay warm and dry! I will totally be up for sending in a rescue squad if the snow gets to be too much. :D

Oh, and I hope you received my card! :)

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Happy Sunday morning to slightlynorsk and Shweta and WandaV and Nina and
DeviouslyCartoonified and Jessamyn-

I'll start with an apology. Yes, Jessamyn, I did get your card, and I should have acknowledged it. Thank you. I know you went to extra effort to get it to me, and I do truly appreciate it.

Now onto the never ending saga of irony that is my life. NBC (bad NBC) showed almost none of the figure skating exhibitions last night (all of which I watched online). But MSNBC said it was showing 6 hours worth of figure skating from 6 AM until noon today, even longer than what Jessamyn had heard.

So I set my VCR (yes, I'm old fashioned) for all six hours, and when I finally gave in to Scooter's demands and got out of bed at 7, I turned the TV on to see if MSNBC was as good as its word.

Well, I'll never know. Because my cable is out!

At one point, I was getting some TV stations and not others, and definitely not MSNBC. But the last I looked, it was totally out.

I tried calling Time Warner a couple of times, but they left their phone off the hook.

I really hope the cable is fixed by 3 PM. I'm not much of a hockey fan, but I do want to see the US/Canada final.

Having said all that, I'm very fortunate I have power at all (many thousands of people still don't). And I do like winter and snow (although one of the trees I can see out my window has broken in two from the weight of the snow). And I wouldn't like endless rain or even endless sun. Variety, preferably with electricity and cable, is best for me.

And I really will buy a flashlight and keep it in working order!