June 15th, 2008



And Now We Wake You Up For This Important Announcement

Eyes opened up at 4:38am early on Friday, because the bedroom UPS unit was beeping. Fan on the window air conditioner was spinning down. Beeping from the living room UPS unit. Power must be out. Six seconds later I heard the generator start up and everything came back on -- we rolled over and went back to sleep for another two hours.

Funny thing was that there wasn't particularly anything storming outside at the time. We were still on the generator when we both left for work. When I got home and checked its counter, the generator had been on for 10.8 hours. Huh. That may be our second longest power outage since late last summer when we had it installed.


The much more interesting thing was while I was driving home, about half a mile from our house, I saw some wet grass torn up with double tire tracks from a truck which ended up turning into the swampy woods where a power line ran. And about forty feet from the road was a tree with several large limbs broken off. Near as I can tell, it was this broken tree which broke the power line.

I think this is the first time I've ever seen direct evidence of what caused a particular power failure in our area.


While West Michigan doesn't have nearly the flooding I've seen on the news in Iowa, or heard about in Indiana and elsewhere, there's been plenty of flooding and quite a number of new road washouts. US-31 has been severed twice now -- once in Holland and once near Luddington -- so it isn't just beach roads and minor trunks along rivers.

Lots of basements flooding. One friend had a sump pump failure and so they now have a lot of cleanup to do. They were in the process of trying to sell their house and had to cancel the appointment with the appraiser. Home values have dropped enough without adding standing water to the estimates...

The flooding elsewhere will greatly affect the spring planting and the summer crops. I was relieved on Thursday night to drive by some fields on 68th Avenue which previously had some standing water, but now showed rows of little green plants. And the best looking corn fields around, at 84th and Lake Michigan Drive, the rain and the heat last week caused the corn to shoot up and it looks lush and green.

The Promise of Spring

The other day Mrs. Dr. Phil stopped at the Farmer's Market that Grand Valley State University has set up for local farmers and brought home the first strawberries of the year. Haven't had strawberry shortcake yet -- but fresh strawberries on vanilla bean ice cream, that's pretty damned wonderful, too.


Dr. Phil
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