Note: I wrote this abut a month ago when it was really, really, cold out. I had forgotten that I had this as a draft.
Everything is falling apart. I just finished spending 45 minutes getting the internet back online. I am not sure if it was a network outage or some weird thing on my end. But I do know that I trouble shooted the daylights out of my modem and router and finally got it working. It was incredibly frustrating.
I hate talking to service companies and (f)utility companies. They never really help and you always end up either shouting at them or trying to bang your head against the wall getting them to understand you.
If that wasn’t bad enough there was about a two week stretch last month (February) of really, really bad cold weather. There was ice and snow and subzero cold. St. Louis in winter is no fun anyway, but this was a particularly nasty stretch of weather. in fact, it was the longest cold spell with single digits temperatures since the 1940s.
For about 16 days it was in the teens at its warmest with wind chills between -15 and -25. It was no fun. Early , I toughed it out and planned things out to minimize exposure. After the first snow stopped, however, I went ahead and shoveled the back steps, driveway and front entryway. Thankfully, it was the kind of snow where you could just sweep it away.
It was like sweeping inside a meat cooler. I set my phone alarm for 30 minutes so I would not be out very long. It was 1 degree out and a -8 windchill. Ick!
It was like seriously Jack London and Ernest Shackleton cold. It was not a time to play around. I didn’t even have a Tauntaun. However, I did wear layers and paced myself. I got a lot of it cleared off in pretty decent time. Having finished that, I threw down some salt because it was supposed to snow two more times over the coming days and all the smart people from the weather bureau said it would help keep freezing down when the next snow hit.
It did snow again and boy were they right about throwing salt of gritty stuff on the ground.
Next, I moved the trashcan and recycle bin next to the back stairs, so it was right outside the back stairs so all I would need to do is open the back door and go a few steps to unload recycling and trash. My motivation for this was to avoid going outside again for a long period of time. I am glad I did this because I didn’t leave home for six days. I bundled up and dropped stuff in bins twice but I was only outside for, at most, maybe a minute or two.
The entire time this was happening I was worried about the pipes freezing. There is no-one living on the second floor which meant that no one was running a tap lightly at night to keep things from freezing. Luckily everything held.
It was Pushkin novel cold outside.
With regards to warmth, plugging in heaters and using every available blanket to bundle up was fun. Not really. Although things were not too cold inside, it got a bit rough when the winds picked up. But there was whiskey, hot tea and hot chocolate for that.
Having weathered that fiasco the drama of the water heater unfolded. There was no warm water for nearly a week. The pilot light just would not stay lit. A guy game to fix it and installed a new thermometer in it and things got warm for a few hours. But then it was cold again. This was the saga. Light pilot light, have warm water for a short duration and then it was cold again. Repeat, repeat, repeat. It went on forever, almost as long as the Battle of Iwo Jima. There also was water leaking for the tank into the drain in the basement.
So the back and forth of getting my property manager to fix this went on and then they fixed it. When they sorted it out it was if the Red Sea had parted or something. It was insanely frustrating.
Then there was the entropy in the outside world. People were losing their goddamn minds. They couldn’t get vaccinated. They chose not to get vaccinated. They didn’t eat the red M&M’s. They insisted on going out maskless. They watched Friends. Civilization was ending.
If that wasn’t enough my freelance client spent a lot of time explaining to me that the Pope was a robot. Normally I would have cut my losses and run but she was paying me and the money was a nice supplement to the work income I was losing because the store was closed.
These kind of failures are emblematic of modern times. Things break, fall apart or need to be disassembled and then reassembled until they are in working order. In the end it all get sorted. Unless you need a vaccine in Missouri, then you are just screwed.
To call the ineptitude and disorganization around Missouri’s distribution of Covid vaccines Stalinist would be a compliment. This kind of total bureaucracy mixed with an unwavering sense of malice is utterly vile. The lack of compassion and disinterest in planning is simply inexcusable in our world. It is all infuriating.
On the plus side, I did get finally get my first shot. I only had to register at 20 (yes 20!) places before getting lucky. I even dug out the map of the state so I could find all these hick towns in the region that got more vials of vaccine than they had residents.