Watching for the mail

Seeing as I’ve been on vacation for the past week, as usual I’ve had lofty goals for what I wanted to get accomplished. It’s now Thursday Friday (see what happened there?) and admittedly, while I’ve gotten a lot done in terms of laying on the couch, napping, and relaxing, I haven’t done a whole lot on the list of things I wanted to get accomplished.

A lot of that has been due to the weather we’ve been having, at the beginning of my vacation it was actually unseasonably warm, and I should have taken advantage of that, and I did to a certain extent. But not really enough to get my major project accomplished, ie getting the car into the garage for the winter. At present, the garage is still a bit of a mess, with things strewn here and there, and no organization to be found. Since the beginning of the week it’s been cold, windy and not very hospitable for a garage that has no insulation, and I’ve been biding my time for the temperature etc al to be more convenient.

My other issue has been watching the progress of a package that has been traveling from China since October 20. It made it to the US last week and everything went smoothly until it reached this side of the country. At that point, the hilarity ensued. The package arrived at the regional hub in Rochester, NY but it couldn’t seem to make it all the way to me. Over the last week it’s been to three different post offices in my vicinity and back to Rochester a further three times. Wednesday evening I decided to get involved, going to the USPS website and attempting to redirect it to me and give better instructions on where to leave it.

It didn’t work.

I tried again last night, and this morning it was back at one of the other post offices it had been to previously. I figured, before it traveled back to Rochester a fourth time, I’d call them and see if at worst I could come collect it.

The postmistress was very happy I called, though it was going to be unnecessary for me to travel. They are taking the contents of the box, putting it in a Priority box and overnighting it to my post office. Where it should arrive and be delivered tomorrow. In theory. Considering the amount its traveled in the last 5 days, anything could occur at this point. I’m just glad the items weren’t perishable.

Though in a way they were. I had hoped to receive my Biden/Harris stuff before the election, although Trump’s antics over the past 2 weeks hasn’t negated the need or desire to have them. At any rate, I’m sure the USPS in Rochester will be happy not to see that package returned.

On a side note, I managed to take advantage of the near 70° temperature today to both gather, collect and deposit my neighbor’s leaves on the curb. It feels good not to have to worry about them all winter.

Next job; the garage!

Anywhere the wind blows

I’m taking my last vacation in 2020.  Since there’s a pandemic going on, and I live with someone who is in the ‘high-risk’ category for catching COVID, I’m not traveling anywhere.   Fortunately, there’s plenty that needs to be done here, seeing as we live in a house that’s 180+ years old.  We may live on a little scrap of land, but that land has trees around it.  Being fall/autumn, the leaves fall to the ground, need to be gathered up and deposited on the curb for the village to pick up and dispose of at the town compost site.  As they do every year.

Of course, my neighbor to the east has large oak trees, and they don’t typically drop their leaves until late in the season, so I have to wait for that to occur before they can be gathered.  Typically, property owners gather their own leaves, and ‘do their duty‘ but in their case, they don’t.  And since the wind doesn’t discriminate, the leaves inevitably end up in my yard and blown against my house, which is a natural wind-break.  Lucky me. (Yes, I’ve tried reasoning with them, but to no avail.)

Consequently, every fall, I’m out there with my small Hitachi leaf blower, my rakes, and my tarp, gathering up the leaves and plopping them on the curb.  Now, the village doesn’t always show up johnny on the spot to collect, they have a large area with many streets to cover, so it may very well be a week or more before they get to, (or get back to) mine.  And just coincidentally, they collected on Friday here, while I was at work.  Yes, to add insult to injury.  Thank you fate.  Fortunately, while I was out running errands, I noticed that several houses up the street have put their leaves out again for collection, so in theory, I still have time to do mine.

As long as the wind and weather cooperate.

Things that go bump in the night

Last night we had a really bad storm in the area.  Bad enough that even in a brick house I could hear the wind blowing outside.  Coupled with a torrential rain (we live on high ground so flooding isn’t really an issue) that had lasted most of the day there were parts of town that were inundated with the wet stuff but not too terrible.

This past winter we’d had a fairly significant heavy snowfall that had weakened several trees near the property.  One in particular while belonging to the village also encroaches upon our front yard slightly, meaning one of the larger branches hangs over the property line.  The tree’s base has a rather old but unsightly gash in it, and it’s probably on it’s way towards dying in the next 10 years or so.

Last night around 10:45 I heard what sounded like a significant crash from the front of the house.  One of the cameras in the front of the house showed some accelerated activity in the form of leaves blowing around the steps, but nothing that suggested there was anything major amiss.  Looking out the front door, my wife informed me that there was something in the darkness that didn’t look quite right, that her view toward the street seemed to be blocked.  Turning on the porch lights I could see why.

windstorm1Granted this is the next morning, but going right off from our porch (off to camera right) I could tell that a significant portion of the tree I had been concerned about since this past winter was now residing in the front yard.  I put on my shoes and a jacket, went outside (it had stopped raining at this point but was still pretty windy, probably 20-25 mph gusts) with a flashlight and my phone.  Couldn’t really take any pictures at that point as there wouldn’t be any depth of field.  With my flashlight I could tell the positioning of the tree and the piece that had broken off.  It wasn’t impeding traffic so it seemed pointless to call anyone to take care of it.

About an hour later, the whole thing became moot anyway as the power went off.  Not just for us, but apparently for pretty much our whole town and quite a few towns around us.  The local electrical co-op posted on Facebook that NYSEG had for some reason shut off the electrical connection between them, so they were without power to distribute.  Until that was turned back on, their hands were effectively tied.  Certainly it had something to do with the windstorm, as the NYSEG website’s outage page was lit up like a Christmas tree with outages all over the state.  So it wasn’t just my area, it was all over the place.  One can surmise what probably happened.  One grid goes down, and like dominoes, as each grid is overloaded by others failing, someone needs to pull the plug before they all go down.  So, in my opinion, that’s what someone decided to do.

Regardless, the power was off for a little under five hours.  Came back on around 4:30 and in the morning, I took a few pictures before calling the village street department and informing them about the tree.  About an hour later a crew arrived and disposed of the debris.  I chatted with the foreman about the final disposition of what was left of the tree, and he agreed it will probably have to all come down, it’s pretty rickety the way it is.  Even so, it’s still standing as I’m typing this out.  We’ll see if they bother to remove it.