Monday, 15 December 2008

The hand of nature

My natural inclination towards slow blogging is not only reinforced by family life, work and house renovation but apparently now also nature has joined the fray. After a busy final week of school before the summer holidays, I was frantically scrubbing my bathroom last Thursday evening in preparation for a Christmas gathering on the following afternoon. Assurances by people that I had no need to tidy the house for the party merely showed how unfamiliar they were with my housekeeping. A storm was predicted and I had carefully shut down the computer in preparation. The storm was unimpressive, the rain merely a 5mm splatter, but either our shed or very close to it was struck by lightening. The flash and immense immediate crack of thunder were accompanied by a long sizzle, a sudden cessation of power and a few exclamations from me along the lines of “drat, bother” and so-forth. After about half an hour, I contacted the local electricity company who at first were unconvinced by our loss of power. Approximately twelve hours later, they managed to track it down to us and eleven other houses in Marburg that lost power due to an “area fault.”

Twelve hours without power are not anything major unless of course you rely on electricity to power the pumps that provide water to the house. Or if you are not partway through a pre-party house clean that requires water. Or if you don’t have fridges full of party ice and food preparations. Or if perhaps the weather is not unbearably hot and you are lying sweaty in bed wondering how to host a party without water or electricity and smelling, shall we say, less-than-fresh. At four am after further calls to the electricity company assuring them that we still did not have power in spite of their recorded messages that “no power outages are reported in the Marburg area,” the power was restored.

I barely had time on the Friday to check the results of the power failure. The safety switch in the shed had been tripped so I reset that to get the party fridge going again. Various household electrical items were flashing to get my attention so those were dealt with. I did notice that the modem seemed to not be working. Then I tried my email and it was clear that the modem had been toasted. Trauma but no time to dwell on it.

Mr Blithe ordered and picked up a new modem on Saturday (yes you can pick up VOIP ADSL modems in Brisbane on a Saturday if you are prepared for a drive) and your partner seems about to have a breakdown. Then we discovered that it wasn’t only the modem that had been fried. The surge had blown up the modem, then two ports on the router switch, then the internet port into the computer.

So the short story is, we need a new computer that can talk to the outside world. The long story is that I can still blog thanks to the kindness of my brother-in-law who spent five hours last night setting up our modem and phone systems and loaned us a laptop so that we can access our internet. The only glitch is that I need to use the old computer to write (owing to age and obsolescence issues on the laptop), then save it onto a zip drive, transfer it to the laptop and upload it from there. But hey, I’m here and nature is again circumvented (if that’s not tempting fate).

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