The Generator Wars

December 20, 2008

Snowman’Tis the season for the annual “generator wars” — let the games begin! Here in the sunny South, winter weather events which would pass unnoticed in colder climes become big deals. Even an inch or two of snow throws everyone into a tizzy. The only grocery store in town is full to bursting, as flu and cold-afflicted vulture-like predators customers systemically pick clean the bread, milk, eggs and other staples while exchanging illnesses. Entire shelves are stripped bare in the twinkling of an eye. We’ve idly wondered how long the shoppers think they’ll do without. Everyone prepares for a worst case scenario. Armageddon.


Blame Canada, Cold Weather is All Canada's Fault
It’s all Canada’s fault, you know. A massive Arctic cold front swept through the Great Plains, as we kept one eye on the spiffy graphics that the Louisville weatherman uses. Relentlessly, the cold front, which left blizzards in its wake to the West and ice storms to the northeast, dipped slowly southward. And then it was here. By 9 pm, a fine sheen of ice coated the car, ultimately increasing in depth to about two inches. Then, we could hear some sort of pellets falling. The yard was white, with strangely mounded clumps of ice pellets and snow masking the ice beneath. No one seemed quite sure what exactly the mixture was, with Kerri Richardson of the Louisville mayor’s office cheerfully announcing that it was a “precipitation potpourri.”

In the midst of the “precipitation potpourri,” it became clear that Penelope Puppy needed to commune with Mother Nature. We shoved all 25 pounds of her out the door, onto the deck. Glancing over her shoulder, she gave us a baleful stare as she picked her way through the mounded clumplets of “precipitation potpourri.” We’ve ordered her a fleece raincoat, but it hasn’t arrived yet. Yes, a raincoat. . .for a dog. We plead temporary insanity. According to friends in the Big Apple, the fleece raincoats are all the rage, and no self-respecting dog would be caught dead without one. We have a feeling that Penelope Puppy will be the only dog for miles around sporting a raincoat.

Dogs Modeling Raincoats

Here are some unfortunate canines whose humans have foisted raincoats upon them:Haughty Poodle in a RaincoatThis haughty poodle is standing in a perfect spot to maximize the odds that this visual abomination will soon be eradicated — the middle of the road.


Two Dogs Resembling Yellow ButtercupsLooks like two little buttercups. Why are these dogs not clawing off the plastic, and why do they behave perfectly on a double lead? Making a mental note to show this image to my two dogs, who never cooperate with one another but, rather, jockey for attention and position.


A Golden Retriever, Perfect in Every Way as UsualIs this dog on drugs? We realize it’s a Golden Retriever and that the breed tends to be perfect in every way — sunny disposition, easily trained, patient with children, etc. — but this one is sitting still as it’s enveloped in sticky yellow plastic. Unbelievable.


An Unfortunate Chihuahua, Wearing Pink BootiesAt least we’re not buying Penelope Puppy…pink booties. This Chihuahua, not surprisingly, looks annoyed. Why would any self-respecting dog want to be seen in public in sissy pink booties? It should consider filing charges against its owners for emotional pain and suffering. Soon you’ll get to see Penelope Puppy in her fleece raincoat. It should be here any day now.


Pajamadeen geared for imminent power loss, and for the generator wars. While there are many perks to living here, reliable power during inclement weather is not one of them. Rainy days? You can count on strange extraneous background noise on the phone lines. High winds? There goes the Internet connection. Ice storms and snow are the real bad boys though, often leading to phone and Internet outages combined with a lack of electricity and heat. Usually, these outages are not long-lasting. But Pajamadeen has been somewhat pampered in life. She likes to “stay connected.”

2004 Dodge Ram Macho TruckTo make matters worse, it’s hard not to notice that “Tractor Boy,” one of the neighbors, has a dandy — if horrifically noisy — generator. It kicks on the instant power goes out. The rest of the neighborhood sits in the dark, in the gloom, as Tractor Boy and his family turn on seemingly every light in their house, as if to celebrate their good fortune and foresight. For reasons too numerous to elaborate on here, Tractor Boy is not popular in the neighborhood, and this gloating does nothing to enhance his reputation. The generator, however, elicits a jealous, acquisitive streak in Pajamadeen. At least once a year, Pajamadeen finds herself on the sofa, staring out into the blackened neighborhood and the one bright spot — Tractor Boy’s house. It’s then that the generator wars begin. She begins to whine. “Why can’t we have a generator? Just think, I could use the computer. We could watch TV. We might even be…warm.”

Kentucky Snow AccumulationWe ended up with about three inches of “precipitation potpourri.” None of the power went out, which was a good thing for Wrinkled Randy. He had the flu and, despite Pajamadeen’s best efforts to give him a wide berth, that’s hard to do when the other person unhelpfully doesn’t cover their mouth when coughing. <—— hint, hint, hint! Wrinkled Randy lost count of how many times he sneezed in one 24-hour period, after he got to sneeze number 110.

Even the normally pleasant John Belski, a meteorologist with NBC’s Louisville, Kentucky affiliate, WAVE-3 TV, managed to get on PJ’s nerves, with this entry in his blog, outlining the near-term weather forecast: “Some light freezing rain and freezing drizzle (frizzle) is moving through this evening. Some snowflakes are mixing with that rain (snain).” Frizzle? Snain? We looked up “frizzle”. Frizzle was apparently documented in 2006 — but it refers to curled hair or the frying of foods such as bacon. Snain is documented in the Urban Dictionary in 2005 and is defined as “a slushy mix of snow flakes and rain droplets. The outer layer of a snain flake is soft and slushy while the inner core is icy. This wintry mix makes walking and driving rather fun.” We’ll take the Urban Dictionary’s word for it about the “fun” part.
Honda Generator.  Buy One for Pajamadeen.  Right NowUp to a foot of snow is now forecast; Pajamadeen’s generator lust has been rekindled. In her heart of hearts, she knows that a generator isn’t worth it for the few hours a year that the power fails. But, wouldn’t it be nice to have one? We could invite the neighbors over, and Tractor Boy would no longer have a lock on the “survivalist of the year” award, which exists only in Pajamadeen’s head. Never mind that generators are noisy and expensive. Pajamadeen wants the Honda EU6500iSA generator. It’s only $4,000, not counting taxes and what the retailer actually decides to sell this baby for. The 6,500 watt, 120/24-volt generator sounds like a dream come true. Honda describes it as “perfect for home back up power, RV’s, outdoor events, job sites, and more…super quiet; fuel efficient (up to 14 hrs on 4.5 gallons of gas),” with a “convenient electric start” and — best of all — its inverter is described as providing “stable power for computers.” Yes! Send me one. Now. It’s Christmas. (Pajamadeen is not above guilting her readers.) Just keep repeating this: “I want to send Pajamadeen a generator. She really needs a generator.”

Read about more meteorological travails in Tiny Town.

Copyright © 2008

Next Page »