pathfinder through the downed trees
Thursday, July 14 2022
location: rural Hurley Township, Ulster County, NY
The power was most definitely still out when I awoke at my usual bright & early time. I looked on the Central Hudson outage map, and it indicated the power would be out until some time tonight. Clearly, then, if I wanted to get any work done in the remote office today, I was going to have to take a creative approach. And no, I wouldn't be working entirely from my phone (which, given the tools I use, is essentially impossible). I told my colleagues about the situation and then waited for Gretchen to wake up enough so I could ask her what her car needs were for the day. We'd be going to the Adirondacks at some point, I knew, but the Bolt hadn't been charged enough to make it there, and I thought it might be a good idea to take the Bolt into Kingston so I could be charging it while I did work at a coffee shop or other suitable place.
I went out to look at the damage from yesterday's storm and saw there was still a lot of small debris in Dug Hill Road. And a six-inch-thick sugar maple had snapped off about six feet above the ground. This suggested that most of the damage I was seeing had been from wind, not hail, though the hail had fallen so quickly it might've stuck to surfaces and dragged some things down. Meanwhile our neighbor Crazy Dave was losing his shit for some reason. I could hear him screaming at the top of his lungs at someone (his long-suffering wife, probably), though I couldn't piece together what exactly his complaint was.
Eventually Gretchen was awake enough to negotiate the car use, and I then drove down Dug Hill Road in hopes of getting to Kingston. But I only got a little below the bus turnaround before I encounterd a number of trucks and then a single youngish (and somewhat bewildered) Central Hudson employee, who made some hand motion that must've meant that I had to turn around and go back the other way, as Dug Hill Road was completely blocked by multiple fallen trees. So I drove to Kingston via 28A. I don't go down 28A east of Spillway very often, so the scenery there is not something I have a lot of memory snapshots of. The snapshot today was of the house that has small "God Bless America" sign posted on a utility pole. Today I saw that this house had added several new banners, including one reading "TRUMP 2024" and another reading "Fuck Biden" (with the "u" replaced with a fist having a raised middle finger). On some level, I'm actually a little happy that people now feel free to fly banners featuring extreme obscenities. The taboo against such words was so strong as recently as the early 2000s that nobody who wanted the respect of their neighbors would ever display such a word, and if they did, perhaps there would be some law against it. Then again, it's possible that this taboo continues and that people who love Trump and hate libruls think the present situation in America (election stealing, pedophiles openly buttfucking children in the streets, and Black Lives Matters kneeling treasonously at football games) is such an emergency that they don't care what the neighbors think.
Last night's storm must've been fairly localized, as there was no evidence of it on the north end of Dug Hill Road or along Route 28 into Kingston. But in Kingston itself, I saw more of last night's "road salad," and there were apparently persisting local power outages, causing (for example) the traffic light at the intersection of Washington Avenue and Front Street to be inoperative.
I drove to the parking lot behind the Ulster County Courthouse, where there are four ChargePoint charging stations. All but one were occupied, and there was a guy who had just plugged in next to the one open spot. I would have to share his charger, which would cut his charge current in half, but these were desperate times. I told him that the power was out at my house and I had to charge here. He said the situation was the same for him, and maybe he didn't know that my charging would halve his charge rate, because he didn't seem upset by me plugging in.
Gretchen had suggested I do my work at Rough Draft, the bookstore-cum-coffee-shop-cum-beer-garden. It was practically across the street from where I was charging, so that was where I went. Rough Draft was popular today, likely because all the remote workers in the area without power were there to do exactly what I was doing. I waited in a fairly long line and then ordered an oat milk cappuccino. All the tables and chairs were occupied, so I set up in a window, which had a low "stool" (that's the technical term; I looked it up) for me to sit on. There was also a powerstrip to plug into, which was essential, as my work-issued laptop had been on when the power died and now its battery was exhausted.
Near me were a few white people who eventually began speaking to each other in a foreign (I want to say Scandanavian) language. Evidently people are free to bring their dogs into Rough Draft, because a woman to my right who appeared to be flipping through a childrens' book about LGBTQXYZ identity had a small poodle with her. The poodle was somewhat neurotic, which explained why she was wearing a Thunder Vest. I let her sniff and lick my fingers, so she was cool with me, but when she saw other dogs (either walking by outside or in the store) she started barking. Eventually someone who was in a remote meeting actually complained about it, but not me. I thought it was funny to let the dog bark a few times at my colleagues before muting. It being a Thursday, we were having a backlog refinement, which is a long meeting that rarely requires much input from me (since I still have had very little impact on any of the major applications).
After the meeting, there wasn't much reason to stay at Rough Draft. What with all the zoom meetings being attended by other customers, there was little bandwidth left to do other things.
Before going home, I visited the brick mansion on Downs Street to see if downed branches from one of the trees in the backyard were a problem. They hadn't broken anything and were just in the way, so I dragged them to the side and made a pile (though there was no saw in the Bolt for cutting them up).
I drove most of the way from Kingston back to Hurley on US 209, and there weren't many signs of last evening's storm along that route, though I did notice the billboard at the railroad crossing (just north of the State Police barracks) had toppled over.
When I got to the bottom of Dug Hill Road, I saw no sign saying it was closed, so I attempted to drive up it. I soon found myself surrounded by fallen trees all tangled up in wire from all the utilities (even the fat phone cable was broken). But there was a narrow path through it all, and I kept driving, making it slowly through. I was soon joined by two other cars, who followed me through the tangle until I eventually had to pull over to remove a branch that I could hear dragging. As I did this, the guy driving the car behind me said, "but you're our pathfinder!"
I rejoined the group of slow-driving cars, and we proceeded all the way up until we reached that bewildered-looking Central Hudson employee I'd seen earlier. He was wondering if he should let us through, and one of the guys in our convoy convinced him to do this. To navigate the short section of blocked roadway ahead of us, we actually had to drive off the road even a bit beyond the shoulder to get around the obstacles. But then a couple hundred feet below the bus turnaround, the roadway was mostly unaffected by the storm. I wish I'd taken pictures, but I hadn't had presence of mind.
Back at the house, Gretchen had to cancel all her social plans because of the lack of power, so that meant that it made sense for us to immediately drive up the cabin, where at least there was electricity and usable internet.
Because our Bolt had been charged to about half its capacity, we were forced to stop at the Electrify America quickcharging station in Albany. Fortunately, the chargers there appeared to be in better working order than they'd been in last time I'd used them. Instead of going to the Walmart, Gretchen and I went into two other stores, the first being Skechers Warehouse Outlet, a vast space selling tackier versions of what people buy in a Target (I integrated a display of "yard toads" so that the green ones were kissing the brown ones). Gretchen found that place deeply depressing, so we then went to TJ Maxl, and there Gretchen bought a couple metal containers normally used for storing dog food (they were painted with the slogan "Live, Love, Bark!") but that she wants to use for storing stuff and keeping it out of the weather at the dock. We only charged our car to about 60% before continuing on.
Meanwhile in the remote workplace, there kept being issues from a task I'd attempted where I'd removed unnecessary DevExpress (it's a proprietary framework) DLLs. Initially things seemed to work okay after I'd removed the DLLs, but in different environments the code kept breaking for want of the DLLs (sometimes just for the display of some custom error page). Since I'd been mostly absent all day due to my weather-related power and connectivity problems, Joe the Lead Developer was having to deal with this, and it made me feel like I wasn't doing my part. (I might be lazy, but I am also conscientious.)
Once we got to the cabin, I was able to do a few little things across the internet from there, so it wasn't a complete hash of a day.
At 5:00pm or so, I walked down to the lake by myself. Gretchen was already down there, and when I got to the lake, I saw her on the other side paddling the canoe with both dogs as passengers. She told me to come join them in a kayak, so I did. We looked at the floater on Joel's dock and considered whether having a small additional floating dock we can put anywhere in the lake might be fun.
Then, once Gretchen was done with the canoe, I used it to retrieve yet more pieces of granite to further improved the dock abutment and to flesh out a set of stone steps I'm building adjacent to the abutment to allow someone who just wants to wade in the shallows access to the lake. I continued puttering around down there until around sunset.
Gretchen paddling around Woodworth Lake with the dogs this evening.
For linking purposes this article's URL is:feedback
previous | next