February 2010 Issue

Semper Ubi Sub Ubi


Well, there you go.  No sooner had I recovered from the craven clam murder attempt detailed in last month’s missive than I was laid low by the Flu from Hell, and I’m still not over it.  Bleh.  No, I’m not sure what kind it was.  We don’t cotton to doctors out here in the boonies.  If one of our kin takes sick, we just carry ‘em out into the woods, tie ‘em to a big rock, and hope the coyotes don’t get ‘em afore spring.

Anyway, I know it’s March now, but I’m still calling this the February edition because, barring some further catastrophe, I intend to put up another batch later this month.  This batch does not, however, have any of the usual odd illustrations in it, so you’ll have to get out your Crayolas and draw your own on your monitors.

Onward.  This is a real long shot, but here goes.  If anyone out there has a laptop computer of semi-recent vintage (more recent than 2005 or so) that you’re not using (but which does work, and has a CD-R or DVD drive), please consider popping it in a box and sending it to P.O. Box 1, Millersport, OH 43046.  The one I’ve been trying to use was made in — I kid you not — 1998, and it just doesn’t cut it (if it ever did, which I doubt).  The operating system is irrelevant, since I’d probably just replace it with Linux.  If somebody has an aging IBM Thinkpad, that would be awesome (cause I love that little pointer thingy), but anything functional would be appreciated.  Even that little netbook you got carried away and bought but don’t really like….  Or someone with pots of money could buy me something like this.

There’s actually a good reason for this request, having to do with my mobility (or lack thereof).  I spend a lot of time climbing up and down stairs during the day, and past a certain point it becomes very painful, so it would be nice to be able to do some work downstairs.  It would also be helpful to have when the lights go out and we have to pile in the car and drive 20 miles to the Caribou Coffee place with wifi so we can send our columns to the newspapers.

Speaking of which, the inability of the local electric co-op to keep the power on in anything more than a stiff breeze made last month’s snow-a-thon a real nailbiter around here.  The lights actually went out four or five times one night for a minute or two at a time, which usually means they’re about to conk out for good, but they miraculously stayed on.  If the power goes out, we lose lights, heat, water and most of the stove, and, since this house, dating to the 1860s, is insulated with horse hair, it quickly becomes very cold in here.

When we first moved out here, the power company came by at least once every summer to trim limbs and check the lines.  Mirabile dictu, power outages were very rare.  That kind of maintenance stopped around 2004, and now it’s not unusual to have outages ranging from two hours to two days several times per year.  People with the means to do so are installing whole-house generating systems, and I realized last month that something like that would change the way I look at snow.  Growing up in Connecticut, we had far more snow than Ohio gets, plus some pretty serious storms coming off the Atlantic.  But we never lost power, except for once when the entire Northeast went dark in the mid-60s.  So storms were kinda neat.  But out here, we spend all night waiting for the other shoe to drop.  Not fun.

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