Winter? Kinda… I get to experience New Year’s Eve fireworks with the Pitney Bowes service tech in the Philippines

Wednesday December 31, 2008 New Year’s Eve 11:30 am
Nice and chilly this morning!  I’d gone to sleep not knowing the temp would drop overnight and awoke about 5am with windows open and feeling kinda freezie.  I’d fallen asleep as usual proofreading on the couch, wearing sweats, sheepskin booties and my ridiculously gigantic but warm and fuzzy robe.  At some point in my sleep I’d reached over and pulled the acrylic blanket over me, too.  Ok, so it only got down to about 42 degrees, but that’s pretty cold for central Florida.  I got up and went around closing all the windows. The thermostat said it was 65 degrees inside but without the wind blowing through it felt fine.

I realize how lucky I have it, having grown up in Florida.  I can’t imagine what real cold must feel like.  The coldest I’ve ever been is back in January 2000.  I’d driven all day to arrive after dark at a home I had in Murphy, NC and when I arrived, it was 15 degrees and snowflakey.  I’d picked up groceries in Elijay, GA on my way in.  I thought how good a hot shower would feel, and I would heat soup on the stove and the heater would be going by the time I got out of the shower.  I came in and went right to the kitchen to set groceries down and get my soup going.  I found I had no water!  I went into the bathroom and tried that faucet, no water.  So much for a shower.

So I start my soup and notice my big cast iron frying pan is not on the stove.  Now why would I have moved that somewhere else?  Then I go to turn the oil heater on and notice it is missing.  Taken completely out of the wall.  I go into the living room and see my computer and printer and fax still there.  Even on my sacred altar, the jade prayer beads were still there.  I had several items on the altar that would just look like jewelry to someone, yet none of it was touched.  As far as I could tell, only the heater and the frying pan were missing.  I went to the back door and could tell that is where they broke in, and they had cut themselves badly on the jalousie glass.

It was about 7pm when I made a call and the Cherokee County officer came out to take a report.  He was a young handsome kid.  I told him about the water and we walked out to my well and he did some fishing around and told me they took my water pump.  I thought that was interesting.  Someone breaks in to my place and takes only a heater, a water pump and a cast iron frypan.  They didn’t even damage the door, except for a few broken jalousies on the back porch.  I thought, these were just people who needed to stay warm and have water.  I couldn’t be mad and I didn’t feel afraid.  I did have a wall heater in my bedroom and I was comfortable that night by sleeping in my sweats, socks and knit cap, wrapped in 2 blankets, on the floor of my bedroom a few feet away from the wall heater.

In the morning, I went out to my van to drive to McDonald’s (I thought) and found an inch thick layer of ice on the windshield.  I thought, hmmm, so that’s what ice scrapers are for…  well I’ll just run the hose over it, but remembered I had no water.  BUT I did have my bottle of water in the van and I’ll just pour that on the windshield.  But it was frozen solid!  What????  I’m a Florida gal.  I’ve never seen that ever.  Then I had the mental flash that my van may not be set up to run when it is this cold, so I just went inside and waited for the day to warm up.  I later called my aunt who lived 7 miles away, and she said it was a good idea not to try to start the car until it had warmed up.  So that night was the coldest I’ve ever been.

I went to use my postage meter this morning and suddenly it is no longer printing.  So I called Pitney Bowes and after a 7 minute wait, I get connected to a service tech in the Phillipines.  As we are waiting for my meter to run through its test process, I ask him if it’s new year’s eve there or new year’s day yet.  He said it was just a few minutes after midnight and he was watching all the fireworks from his window right then!  I got so excited!  I asked him to describe what he saw, so he was telling me the colors and designs.  It was very exciting to be part of that.  It was not so exciting that he has to send me a replacement print head, but I was glad I had to make the call.

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