Thursday, November 29, 2012

Notes for Next Time

One month after Superstorm Sandy, the greater part of recovery work is largely finished roundabout Exit 151, unlike in more severely impacted areas (including lower Manhattan). A minor surprise is it took far, far longer to get my regular Internet service back than cable TV. I thought both services were provided via the same wire to the same box, but maybe not. Or maybe when it comes to restoring service, the good old TV still trumps the World Wide Web. Huh. Anyway, I'm finally back to blogging without elaborate workarounds, at least until next time. I don't doubt there will be a next time – unhappily, blackouts lasting more than three days seem to have become an annual event. So, let me catch up with some quick notes.

As previously mentioned, there's more hurricane knitting (or more accurately, post-hurricane or blackout knitting) besides Clowder. The cowl was my night knitting. My day knitting was another Swallowtail Shawl by Evelyn A. Clark, this one worked in Malabrigo Lace, colorway 228 Snowbird. It's my go-to pattern – beautiful, comforting in its familiarity, complex enough to remain fresh and entertaining – perfect for coping with post-Sandy privations.

Swallowtail shawl detail

It made sense to do lace knitting during the day when there was good light and worsted-weight knitting at night when there wasn't, but... an unintended consequence was night knitting was finished at night and photographed by day and day knitting was finished by day and photographed at night. Sorry about the murky photo of the day FO! I've thought about re-doing the FO pic, and may yet do so for Ravelry, but here on the blog it's a reminder of the times.

Improvised sign

My knitting may have emerged from the storm in fine shape, but I'll grumpily admit my other preparations and improvisations often were not adequate to the task. This helpfully chatty post on the Bridgeton, PA Emergency Management website, "Blackouts Won't Get Any Shorter, So Be Ready," lists some useful items to have on hand that I didn't. Sigh.Bloomberg Businessweek cover

For those unclear, misled, or deluded about larger causes, there's the tough talking Bloomberg Businessweek November 1 cover story by Paul M. Barrett and cover photo of an inundated, blacked out lower Manhattan. Risk and contingency management, including environmental remediation, has its costs – but the cost of ignorance, obstruction, and inaction is demonstrably far higher. Consider the source – this is business.

As the temperature dropped my key lesson learned is that lights and a fridge are nice, a cell phone helpful, hot water and a stovetop important, but heat is essential. (Maybe I'd feel differently if the water and sewer systems had failed, as they did in some places, or if power failed during a heat wave.) At present there's no alternative way to heat casa Jersey Knitter during a power outage, something that must be addressed. Hopefully the solution will not involve potentially immolating, asphyxiating, bankrupting or otherwise causing yours truly to get a frownie face. A multitude of hot water bottles just won't do, but as Nicholas D. Kristoff points out, expensive, inefficient private electricity generation won't really do either. What is needed is modern infrastructure, particularly a smart grid less prone to failure, easier to maintain and repair.

Frownie face tree stump

Some re-thinking of personal gear and gadgets is also needed. I have 'way too many things that require charging but won't run on standard batteries. My crank lantern worked well until the crank broke, as mechanical things will do. For reliability over a long haul, I've learned that standard batteries are the way to go. Hm.

Thanksgiving pie

Finally, after the storm it was remarkably easy to be thankful this Thanksgiving. Not just for all the good things I have in absolute terms or in contrast to the lack of others, but for their intrinsic goodness. I suppose that may seem egotistical or self-indulgent, and perhaps that may be true. But that's where I found myself on T-Day, speaking of my mental state. As for my physical state, that's fodder for the next post.

1 comment:

Kaye said...

Interesting, because the heat I was OK without. Well...let's say I adapted better to that. It was easier to pile on the blankets and bring the baby to bed with us than it was to accompany the 3 year old the bathroom everytime he had to pee past sunset!