There’s a storm blowing into the area tonight. It looks like it could be historic, or at least feel that way. In the meantime, the power is on, and I can write. Locals reading this just after I post can appreciate the wind storm coming up the Sound. It may set records. My Voters’ Pamphlet arrived today, and those waters certainly aren’t calm. Within my business and personal finance world, one significant cutback and a hint at another are making my mind turbulent enough, even without the other turmoils. My Litany of Optimism includes a powerful concept; storms blow through.
A confession. I’m a weather geek. With a bit more encouragement in Junior High School I probably would’ve apprenticed myself to the local airport’s meteorologist. It was about a one mile walk to the tower from my house. Some friends and I would head over there and ask for the old weather maps, the ones that were out of date. Thanks to a weatherman who had a sense of humor, and an inspirational science teacher, we learned about highs, lows, and occluded fronts. For a while we took daily weather readings for the school. I wonder what happened to those records. Despite the support from adults, no one took us seriously; though I do wonder if that created the foundation for my eventual career in aerospace. Now, it means that I read the Weather Services forecast discussions, the chatter behind the forecasts where they reveal their level of confidence and the unpublicized scenarios. I post them on Facebook where they’re reasonably well received. That also means I’ve been watching this storm approach for days.
— NWS Seattle (@NWSSeattle) October 12, 2016
People in hurricane zones scoff at Seattle’s storms. Ours don’t even get names. And yet, any region that gets storms that can knock out power for five days for some is wise to respect nature’s expressions. The coast has already seen hurricane level gusts, though not sustained. Of course, the 20 to 40 foot waves have an impact, too; but that’s there, not here. Here, the gusts are expected to hit 50 mph starting about now. It’s just past 10PM and the winds have already blown open a window, one of those that go up and down. Not sure how it did that. The house has already felt a couple of bumps that felt like small earthquakes.
Watching a storm approach for days means having plenty of time to prepare. I already have an earthquake kit (doesn’t everyone in the neighborhood?), but wind storms and power outages usually don’t require that level of preparation. I had to cancel some meetings but I was able to check on a roof patch, brace the fence, clear the deck, harvest before the wind did it, and stock the freezer and refrigerator with ice, and stock a cooler with food and ice so the big box can stay shut while I eat from the smaller one. It’s a good thing wine stores well. So do potato chips.
I suspect I’ll have to clean up the yard a bit, and maybe wait a while until the power comes back on (assuming it is going to go off at some point); and that the storm will pass.
The electoral storm is certainly historic. I’m planning a separate post on my frugal approach to voting (Vote!), but I mostly steer clear of political debates. I have opinions, and I like the fact that in the US we have secret ballots. One interesting consequence is that most folks think I’m voting for the other party whenever I don’t automatically agree that I’ll vote the way they will. Maybe I will, but secret balloting is one of the keys to free representation. One thing I do enjoy, however, is posting the British Bookie report. After the conventions I start tracking the candidates via Ladbrokes, the British betting site. As I posted earlier today on Facebook;
“I figure bookies have to get it right, otherwise they lose money. American pollsters make money by conducting polls, and the tighter the race the more polls are conducted. Pollsters, therefore, like to report about close races. And yet, bookies may have other incentives. I don’t know. I don’t use them.“
As tight as some make the US election sound, the gamblers think the race is nearly certain. Wait a month and we’re likely to know. Another storm will have passed, probably.
While I was getting ready for the storm, I picked up my mail. Nice. A check from a long-term client. Usually, the check is wrapped in a thank you note. This time it was wrapped in a cutback notice. It’s only 25%, but that’s also the amount of my health care premium. I’ll be able to adjust, and I’m glad I stocked the pantry. Within my Litany of Optimism is also a fascinating part-time temporary job that was going to restart soon; and I received an email hinting that the project may be cancelled. A couple of other opportunities have been suggested, but bills aren’t paid by suggestions. And yet, the right good news can make an enormous difference. My brain’s been swirling with the upsets and possibilities, but the main thing I can do is relax and let networking and budgets sort themselves out.
Those aren’t the only storms in my neighborhood, but they’re enough. If stubbing your toe makes you forget about the cramp in your thigh which made you forget about hitting your not-so-funny funny bone, then great. They’ll all get better, but in the meantime, ouch, ouch, and ouch.
I have the equivalent of the stubbed toe, et al. It is too easy to imagine someone who doesn’t have a home, is worried about deportation, and has even more uncertain employment. I’m impressed with how some people get through a day.
Frugality encourages being prepared. It doesn’t take much to put together an emergency kit. Some electoral decisions are easy. Appreciating the value of various skills and talents creates optimism based on awareness, not just hopes.
These storms will pass. Things will calm down. I tell myself that, and know it’s mostly true. And then, there’s the next storm, which is really the candidate for history. A dying typhoon is about one day behind this wind storm. They do that, dissipating their energy on the first coast they find. That storm, too, will pass. Let’s hope the electoral and financial storms don’t have similar second shifts.