Monday, September 22, 2008

Did I say that I wanted rain?

I should be careful of what I wish for. Our rain that was so welcomed last Monday night brought more rain and wind on Tuesday. After Alexandra prepared out dessert consisting of Iza's flip flop, the skies grew dark.We were getting ready to run to the grocery store for a few things and just about to get into the car when -WHOOSH! -a strong gust of wind blew in, tossing light items around the balcony. We turned around and went back up the stairs into the house, the kids were screaming with excitement and a little bit of fear. These winds that we get here are really powerful. Shortly after we settled inside the rain started falling. I shouldn't say "falling" because it was actually pouring.

With a combination gale force winds and pouring rain there was very little visibility...sheets of rain were coming down. The electric was blinking off & on so I quickly switched off all of our power strips in order to avoid any future problems with our electronics. This storm only lasted about 20 minutes, but in that short amount of time here's what happened...

First, our power went out-here's a picture of some of my candles. It brought back memories of spring.

Next, our bathroom drain on the first floor backed up. Yuck. Iza discovered it as she was walking toward the bathroom. She slipped and fell only to blame Gigi. "Mom! Gigi peed on the floor and the whole bathroom is wet!" Hmmm...first, the dog doesn't make those little mistakes anymore and second, she wouldn't have filled the whole bathroom. Time to investigate. It turns out that so much water came down is such little time that the drain on the porch outside of the bathroom backed up our drain in the bathroom. Fantastic. Mopping by candlelight was something I had never experienced before.
After the storm ended it was bedtime. Iza and Foti thought that it was cool to fall asleep by candlelight so they went to bed without much coaxing. Alexandra, on the other hand, wasn't letting us out of her sight. So, she fell asleep on the couch with Gigi.
Kosta and I decided to go out on the balcony to see if anyone else had power. It seems that everyone in the surrounding area had it except for our little neighborhood. I took some pictures of the moon since the sky was so gorgeous after the storm.
The flash from my camera drew our neighbors outside. They suggested that we join them for a glass of wine on their porch. What a great idea, but we had our kids sleeping in the house and we couldn't leave them. Their house isn't that close to ours either. "Achh-Seri...den birazi...ela atho"... ("Achh! Cheryl...it doesn't matter...come over!") Well, yes, it does matter and thank you for the offer! We both declined. Besides, Kosta was waiting anxiously for the power to go back on so that he could get back to work. That brings me to his phone call to DEH.
After three hours without power we decided to call the power company, DEH, to see if we could be given an estimated time for the power to be restored. Well, since our home phones don't work without power he used his cell phone to call. He called an "emergency" number, the only number available for us to get in touch with anyone at DEH at that time of night.
Before Kosta could say anything the man that answered the phone started yelling at him. Here's how the exchange unfolded:

K: "Hi, I'm calling because our power went out a few hours...(interrupted by yelling man)

DEH: " You can't use this number, you're not calling from a land line!"

K: "That's because my land line doesn't work without power..."

DEH: " I don't care, you can't call from a mobile...go to a periptoro!" (periptoros are stands on corners and elsewhere that sell newspapers, magazines, cigarettes...etc. It's like a convenience store.)

K: (getting very irritated)" Listen to me, I don't have a land line that works and I'm nowhere near a periptoro! Are you going to help me?"

DEH: (shouting so loud I heard every word clearly from the other side of the room)"I can't help you!" Click.

The guy hung up.

After a few choice words in both Greek and English Kosta hit redial.

The same man answered.

K: "Was I just talking to you?"

DEH: (yelling) "Yes! You can't use this number!"

K: "What's your boss's name and number?!"

DEH: "I'm the boss!"

K: "No! (now yelling) I want the name of the person that will be there in the morning!!"

The man at DEH shouted two names, his and his superior's and hung up.

After that, Kosta just vented his frustration and then we started laughing about how ridiculous the man's behavior was. If we really couldn't call that number then why was it working? And, if the man wasn't crazy and actually spoke to Kosta instead of shouting at him, things could've been a lot different. So, let's say that we couldn't use the number because their system tracks where the calls are coming in by phone numbers...that can be explained in a civil manner with understanding. But, the man was a beast. That's how most things work here. A lot of yelling and screaming for no good cause. At this point we can only laugh. It's time for DEH to invest in an automated answering system.

So, I went to bed shortly after midnight. Apparently, the power was restored at around 4:00 am. The next day we heard that one of the utility poles was damaged by the storm. So, that was that.

Finally, we've lost a lot of apples and peaches due to the high winds. We had a full peach tree before last Sunday and as of Wednesday there were only about 10 left on the tree. I went out and tried to salvage what I could from the ground but there weren't too many left untouched by the birds or insects. I guess if you snooze you lose! :(


*****************
Since last week it's been windy and cool. The temperature during most days has been in the high 60's. We've had our fireplace burning since we haven't ordered diesel for the boiler yet. It's been refreshing. We've been wearing our socks and slippers and I've been forced to dig out the kids' fall clothes, something I just wasn't prepared for. Oh, wait, back to slippers...the kids are wearing theirs and I've been wearing just socks because Gigi takes mine outside all of the time. For almost a week I've been asking myself out loud, "where's my other slipper?" I hadn't been able to locate the other one until late last week. It appears that Gigi has found a new spot to hide our things...under the bushes that line the driveway. Here's my missing slipper. Cold, wet, muddy and alone...under a bush.

I personally like the leaves that have gathered inside.
Have a great week everyone!

7 comments:

  1. this is a great greek story, cheryl. i like the way winter catches us by surprise, even in hania. it's been raining for the last four days - so early this year compared to other years when it comes in october - and i still couldn't decide how to dress the kids for school this morning!

    but i know you agree with me when i say i love a good rainfall, and how refreshing it felt!

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  2. Classic story of DEH encounter - they are absolutely maddening. I'm glad you were able to laugh because, honestly, that is all you can do.

    The weather on the island finally broke on Friday, completely with thunder and lightning and very high winds. Luckily the power stayed on!! We were walking to dinner at a friend's house during the downpour. Of course, there aren't any storm drains, so by the time we got there we were wading through the water that had accumulated on the street. Except for here, I've never lived around lightning, so it always makes me nervous to be outside when its happening.

    Glad you got your slipper back!

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  3. hey cheryl, if you have the time, post some pumpkin recipes: i'm dying to try out a good pumpkin bread recipe

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  4. Maria, thank you. I know...it's all so typical. The weather did really change quickly but I do agree with you, it is so refreshing. I'll try to make some time to post a recipe later this week...I dug one up yesterday after reading your comment. :)

    Laurie, yes! All that you can do is try to laugh because if you don't you could go crazy. I'm close to crazy these days!
    Ligtning is very scary. I was more afraid of it back home because our house is wood and lightning tends to be the cause of many house fires each year.
    Yep, my slipper is back. But one of Iza's is missing now! :)

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  5. I'm afraid of wind, rather than lightning. I always imagine the house falling down. It doesn't help that during one major storm the patio cover fell over.

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  6. Hey Lulu! I just noticed this comment...sorry! I'm kind of with you...wind is way more scary than lightning. We had a wind blow through here last year that knocked roof tiles off and sent my iron chairs and table across the balcony. Very, very scary. Was your patio cover damaged? I'm just glad that there aren't tornados here...that's one thing that I don't miss about home, tornado season.

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