Wednesday, January 14, 2009


So, how has your 2009 been so far? Good I hope. Here's a little taste of mine.

"You have reached Nova Scotia Power's outage line. To report an outage, or for outage updates, press one." BEEP

"To report a complete loss of power, please press one." BEEP

Happy New Year.

We first lost power a little before 3pm on Thursday. Not a big deal, we thought. We're right in the middle of town, I'm sure it won't be off for long.

Within about an hour, our generator-less house, completely reliant on electric heat, was getting pretty chilly. We all put on an extra sweater, gathered in the living room, and hoped the French doors would keep some warmth in until the power was restored.

We were wrong.

At a little after 4pm, with grumbling tummies and no means to cook, we bundled up and braved the blizzard, making our way to the only open restaurant in Port Hawkesbury. Half a kilometer later, we knew our efforts were in vain, since there was about four feet of snow on Reeves Street. Home we went, where we dined on cheese, cereal, and cookies. Yummy.

By 6pm (which was, by the way, the time NSP had originally forecast the power to be restored), our house was freezing. We would have gone to stay with someone who had heat, but the roads were impassable and the weather didn't look to be improving. We broke out the comforters and candles, turned on the radio, and hunkered down.

We waited. And waited and waited. The novelty of, "there's no lights and no TV, let's play with flashlights" wore off rather quickly, and soon we were two cranky adults and two bored children, all freezing to death in the dark.

Approximate restoration time went from 6pm, to 11:30pm, to 5am Friday. The flames of anger raging inside us did not, unfortunately, keep us warm at all.

The evening hours were spent mostly in silence. I cursed the power company, plotted murder on half a dozen people, tried to visualize a beach in Mexico, re-evaluated my thoughts about homeless people, explained the difference between candles and "decorative candles", planned the purchase of alternate heating sources, snapped at my husband, and swore to donate money and blankets to Social Services first thing in the morning.

We had to resign ourselves to the inevitability of bedtime, and wondered how we would make it through the night in a house with an internal temperature hovering around two degrees. With no hope of power restoration in sight, we called it a night. The sleeping arrangements were finalized and I found myself in bed with the two kids, both in layers and layers of socks and sweaters, our rib cages partly crushed by the seven comforters required to keep us semi-warm. My husband, ever the martyr, held his own in another bed with what blankets remained. It was a long, cold night.

Imagine our surprise to wake up and still have no power. We waited, most impatiently, for a few hours, but gave up when we could see our breath. To the in-laws we went, until the power was restored at 4pm on Friday.

We returned home and cranked every heater we had. By about 7:30pm, we were finally comfortable enough to remove a layer of clothing and start living again.

And at 7:47pm, the power went out.

The expletive-laced tirades that followed are not repeatable in this fine family newspaper.

What little heat had returned to our house was gone in no time flat, and like the worst case of deja-vu ever, we huddled in the living room, under blankets, listening to the radio.

I swore to keep calling the power company, and I did repeatedly until I thought their phone might explode. Let it explode, I thought; this is ridiculous. I'll call every fifteen minutes until they get so tired of hearing my voice, the person answering will drive to Port Hawkesbury and climb the pole to fix it themselves, just for the sake of shutting me up.

Maybe it worked, or maybe it was sheer coincidence, but regardless, the lights came on at 10:30pm. By 11:00, thanks to a few powerful space heaters, the kids were warm and sleeping in their beds.

I could easily write an entire article about Nova Scotia Power, but I won't. Intelligent, professional journalists have (and will continue to have) a field day writing about a huge corporation with mind-blowing profits and constant rate hikes, who still have not adjusted their equipment and practices to Nova Scotian weather conditions, even though those conditions have existed since the dawn of electricity. I'll leave it to them to sort out. My fingers are still too numb to type it all.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

2008 - A Year in Quotes

Quotes are great, aren't they? I've taken my favorites from this past year and compiled them here, to take you into 2009 with a bit of a chuckle (and occasionally, a nod of agreement).

The world is filled with irony, and here is proof: "I think the results last night prove the wisdom of my investment." -- Hilary Clinton, after winning an early primary, on lending $5m of her own money to her presidential campaign. I'm sure it seemed like a good idea at the time, Hilary.

"We have no business qualifications, we don't understand marketing, and we're not very good at anything." -- Michael and Xochi Birch, who are set to make in excess of $850 million from the sale of the Bebo social networking site to AOL. Meanwhile, there are as many "X-rings" at Tim Horton's as there are double-doubles.

"I live to play hockey. I like to go camping and hang out with the boys, do some fishing. I don't want kids. I'm a redneck." -- Levi Johnston, boyfriend of Bristol Palin, and father of the baby she had a few weeks ago. Hindsight sure is 20/20. Quotes coming out of Hollywood are always good for a laugh: "I feel like I am 20 again, but with arthritis." -- Sylvester Stallone, 61, on his return as as Rambo. No word, however, on whether arthritis was the purpose of the massive amounts of injected anabolic steroids.

"There's always someone younger and prettier." -- Actress Gwyneth Paltrow, 35. She should really have a talk with Demi Moore.

"If I see something sagging, bagging and dragging, I'm going to nip it, tuck it and suck it." -- Dolly Parton reveals her anti-aging procedure. At least she's honest about it, right?

"What is the difference between God and Bono? God doesn't wander down Grafton Street thinking he's Bono." -- Irish TV personality Louis Walsh. Now THAT was funny.
"They are steeped in sin and, if eaten long enough or in quantity, will almost certainly kill you." -- Actress Emma Thompson on the scourge of potato chips. I think that description comes from Keira Knightly's diet book, "I've Been Starving Since 1992: An Actress' Guide to Deprivation and Anorexia".

"Everyone over 50 should be issued every week with a wet fish in a plastic bag by the Post Office so that, whenever you see someone young and happy, you can hit them as hard as you can across the face." -- Richard Griffiths, the 61-year-old actor. He might be bitter, but I bet he eats chips without shame.
"I go three, maybe four times a year to get tested for sexually transmitted infections and most of the time I don't even need to." -- Kelly Osborne. If you didn't laugh at that, you need to read it again.

One of the most interesting figures of 2008 was Sarah "Caribou Barbie" Palin. There are so many fantastic quotes by and about her, that I had a hard time picking out my favorites. Here are a few gems: "If BS were currency, Palin could bail out Wall Street herself. If Palin were a man, we'd all be guffawing... But because she's a woman — and the first ever on a Republican presidential ticket — we are reluctant to say what is painfully true." ―conservative columnist Kathleen Parker, writing in National Review. Thank you, Kathleen, my thoughts exactly.

"According to expense reports, Sarah Palin charged the state of Alaska over $21,000 for her children to travel with her on official business. In fairness to Gov. Palin, when she leaves them home alone, they get pregnant." ―Seth Meyers on Saturday Night Live's "Weekend Update". That one might be mean, but it's so funny I couldn't resist.

"I'm like, OK, God, if there is an open door for me somewhere, this is what I always pray, I'm like, don't let me miss the open door. Show me where the open door is." -- Sarah Palin. And to think, Americans nearly ushered that level of Paris Hilton-esque eloquence right into the White House. Yikes.

On the bright side, President Elect Barack Obama let fly a few funny, sometimes inspirational, quotes of his own, like: "Washington is a place where good ideas go to die." Excellent point.

He also said, in his victory speech on November 4, "If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer." Those lines will be quoted for years to come.
Finally, what would a list of memorable quotes be without a zinger from the outgoing George W. Bush: "I'll be long gone before some smart person ever figures out what happened inside this Oval Office." Goodbye and good luck, Mr. Bush.
Happy new year, everyone!