things always look better in the morning…even if there still is no power

I got some photos at the end of daybreak with my regular camera, but this tablet photo will have to do for now. Last night was a long night. We kept the wood stove stoked all night and it’s roaring happily this morning.

Living in Chester County when I have now discovered that when the power goes out during a storm, it can stay out, I am glad we have the wood stove even if this is yet another “O Pioneers” (Willa Cather novel 1913) feeling storm event.The wind howled so fiercely last night. After the ice storm of 2014, it still makes me a little anxious to hear the freight train- like sounds of high winds through the woods.

What made last night a really long night is our son’s car broke down on a dark and windy Chester County road. He had gone to a friend’s house on the other side of where University of Valley Forge is. I will be honest that I had wanted him to come home right after school because of the weather. (But anyway….)

There is nothing worse than finding out in the middle of a nasty storm where trees are coming down like matchsticks everywhere that your kid is broken down on the side of the road. My husband went to get him and they sat for hours waiting for the tow truck that never showed up.

Fortunately, the police department over there did have a tow truck. So the car is safe and off of the road. All’s well that ends well, but in the deep dark of night with power out all over, that was so not fun.

We are still without power. We still don’t know when it will be restored. We are not alone in Chester County.

I think PECO Energy as a utility really needs to let us know the status of our infrastructure. I would also like to know if it’s true that they never completely restored the infrastructure that was damaged during the 2014 ice storm and maybe our state elected officials can check on that?

Maybe our esteemed Governor could do a little more than be a talking head running for re-election ? I mean is Tom Wolf is a giant disappointment and waste of time. He really hasn’t done anything. And wasn’t part of his platform fixing Pennsylvania’s infrastructure and dealing with pipelines? I totally digress but I had to get that in there because I was thinking about that.

But if I am to be without power at least we are all together and the sun is shining.

hunker down, chester county

I have lost count of how many people are without power in Chester County.

It is going to be one of those winter weekends.

We have been told by neighbors 5pm Sunday for power restoration maybe. And others have been saying that as well.

When I first reported my power outage, PECO’s system gave me a hard time. Both on the app and the toll free emergency/outage number. The system did not believe me there was a power outage.

Then as more and more people called in power outages the text messages started. First they said 5 PM today, but by 4 PM the system said “assessing damage”

As of 8:44 PM they still say “assessing damage” which is utility speak for we don’t know what the hell is going on right now.

So is it time for our elected officials to ask PECO Energy some tough infrastructure questions? As in did they ever put it all back together after the 2014 ice storm? Because my sources say no.

I have been told that PECO Energy’s website is completely overwhelmed and crashing. I don’t know from personal experience if that is true because I use their app or I call them.

The emergency/outage number is 1-800-841-4141.

There are lots of trees down everywhere, so I think some of the roads are a bit of a mess. And the winds are crazy outside.

So March has definitely arrived like a veritable lion. Stay safe and warm and dry everyone.

driver vs. utility pole in west whiteland


On Friday evening, May 23 at the start of the Memorial Day Weekend many residents in East and West Whiteland Townships experienced a major power surge and subsequent outage and damage due to a case of driver vs. PECO Energy Utility pole.

This driver and their accident has caused damage to many residences and businesses in at least two townships: East Whiteland and West Whiteland are the ones I know about.

The accident reportedly occurred off of King Road near Phoenixville Pike as per my sources. A police report is pending, and apparently the Patrol Sergeant who took the call is off shift until Wednesday or Thursday evening.

I have checked the Daily Local to see if they have anything about this and see nothing.

If you were affected by this power surge and outage, and have damaged property as a result, call PECO Customer Service at 1-800-494-4000 to open a claim. The e-mail I find listed for Claims is and their fax is listed as 215-841-4919.

I am further told that if you experienced loss as a result of this driver taking out the utility pole that you can request a copy of the police report from West Whiteland Police Department.

Save all of your receipts for any repair work or replacement costs you experience as a result of this driver taking down PECO’s utility pole. You will need receipts to file any sort of claim.

If I hear anything else about this I will post it.

….and then the cavalry came


Today we saw PECO trucks and workers. They came to get my remaining neighbors’ power back on, and I was especially happy for my neighbors who had a tree go through their roof and punch part of it in.

We went up to the PECO crew to say “thank you” and as we turned away we heard one worker say to another worker “they are the only people who have said thank you to us since this began.”

Wow. I was surprised. Why? Because no matter how PECO handled outages, it was not the fault of these guys. They are the cavalry. When you see them you know the end of the ordeal is near. And we had a really nice crew of guys on the street and they looked as exhausted as we still feel.

I am so glad it is Sunday. I am not thrilled it is snowing yet again and it is a nasty, biting, icy and cold snow. But at least the destruction that is laying against my house and woods looks better with a little white frosting.

Next comes the circus of adjusters, insurance, clean up and repairs for us and so many others. I can’t wait for the couple thousand pounds of tree to be off my house.

I hope too many people don’t get sucked in by public adjusters because all they do is take a tasty percentage of whatever your insurance company gives you and in my opinion they can badly slow up the process.

I know people still without power. I think they must feel worse than I did before my power came on. This storm frayed the nerves and good nature of many. I definitely understand. I am not going to say I know how they are feeling, but I understand.

This storm I think PECO tried harder than some other times but part of the issue is we have an aging infrastructure that no one seems to want to deal with. I also think their automated reporting system needs tweaking.

Another issue I see are the municipalities that really tell residents absolutely nothing. I never saw or heard anything from my municipality. Maybe they have an email list or text list that not everyone knows about? In their favor however is the fact their public works guys really take care of the plowing. Those East Whiteland public works guys work their tails off and are super nice.

A lot of municipalities maintained communications with residents or had email lists and text alerts. It is easy to feel isolated in a storm event like this so I commend those who stayed in touch with residents.

Friends forwarded emails to my phone from their townships and boroughs, supervisors, and commissioners. They were good enough to tell residents updates on power outages and things like road conditions including what roads were open and closed.

But onward and upward, right? We need to learn a little something from craziness like this, right?

I learned it was really hard to just sort of be at the mercy of Mother Nature and then to accept that we had absolutely minimal control over things while all the while looking at the mess the storm made. I know it could have been much, much worse. I hope there is no next time, but if there is at least I know how it all goes now, right?


what a long, strange week it has been


The power came on about an hour ago. Fingers crossed it lasts this time. It has been a hell of a week and the fun is just beginning as next comes clean up and insurance companies and repairs….and undoubtedly more snow.

This long horrible week has been a week of amusing moments. My favorite is the email someone sent me from West Vincent that said:

“I had a call from Ken Miller at 7:00 this morning asking me to let you know. He said there is not a road in the Township that doesn’t have a tree down on it. The road crew and police are on the job but the ice is treacherous and the roads are blocked….Please pass the word. Thank you and be safe….Chickenman, please forward.”

That is pretty funny all things considered, and Chickenman did indeed forward the message out which shows him to be the fine feathered gent that he is. And amusing that the township would need his help.

Of course it had not all been nice, unusual and truly neighborly moments as there has been a lot said to people who expressed dismay and frustration and just plain exhaustion at the past few days…..myself included. As a matter of fact I just deleted a comment from someone who said I was “whining”. The reality is this week has been hell and never having experienced anything like this I am not going to apologize for expressing how I feel.

I close my eyes and I still hear branches and trees hitting my house and that will take time to fade. And I will never forget the sick crashing noise when the tree hit my house or how my house literally shook from the impact.

If I never experience anything like this again I will be very grateful.

Now the clean up and repair phase begins. The storm inflated pricing on the part of tree guys and contractors has already begun. It is the unfortunate nature of natural disaster and commerce. It’s not right, but it just is .

I hope my power is on to stay and I did want to thank PECO. Especially because their customer service people although they never had much they could tell us were for the most part very pleasant. ( It can’t have been easy to take calls from close to. 800,000 freaked out people) I also want to say thanks to all those line men who have descended on our area from all over the US and Canada.

I think this evening for the first time in days I will actually sleep tonight.

When my internet returns I will have lots of cool photos.

Be safe all and if you don’t have power yet I hope you do soon.

I wonder if I can get Verizon to repair the Fios on in time for Downton Abbey? Probably not but I can dream…..


post ice-storm: now we know how “sandy” victims felt


I know I am not alone. I know and accept there are hundreds of thousands of people just like me experiencing hell in Pennsylvania right now after this horrific ice storm.

I now understand completely how victims of hurricane Sandy felt.

And yet, when it happens to you, you feel all alone. I know that sounds ridiculous and babyish, and I am grateful to God in the heavens above that the damage to our home wasn’t worse than it is.

Yet still, might I just admit that I am so terribly sick of this right now? I’m trying not to be a big baby, but part of this is just really hard. I love my home and it feels like mother nature violated it.

My neighbors and I are without power still and we feel like we are living an episode of Little House on the Prairie or re-enacting O’Pioneer. On the other hand, I am grateful I have such awesome neighbors.

One of my neighbors had a tree go through the roof.

Another neighbor had to pay a tree company to get a gigantic limb from a multi hundred foot tree removed on an emergency basis yesterday, because if it dropped (and it was hanging by a thread as it was), it would have gone right through their house in the center like a giant spear.

Those of us with storm damage are already gearing up for what we know will be ahead: contractors and service providers jacking up prices after a storm event like this where a state had declared a state of emergency. It is despicable, but is the unfortunate nature of mankind and commerce meets an emergency.

PECO had our power on for a few minutes then it went out again. What we didn’t know until we found out by accident, was that every time your power goes on and then off you have to keep reporting the outages. Which is frustrating to try to do when you have limited cell phone battery and no phone service. And after sitting on hold and suffering through multiple prompts, getting a live person at the electric company who is sitting in a warm office telling you they know “exactly how you feel” is a little hard to swallow even though they are trying to be helpful.

People are are having a hard time with the electric company’s automated outage reporting system because a lot of people found that there outages weren’t reported even though they followed all the prompts and phoned it in.

Township the municipalities and counties are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of what they are dealing with. There are trees down everywhere and even the Borough of Malvern was mostly dark yesterday.

This storm for sure will be one for the record books. I hear President Obama has declared Pennsylvania a state of emergency. I hope that helps get things put right faster. Stay warm and safe. I am also hearing reports now of people who are finding that their homes are getting burglarized when they have had to leave to seek shelter and warmth .

This storm is one that will also teach you a lot about human nature. I am grateful for my friends, family, and neighbors. I am grateful I still have a roof to put over my head where so many no longer do.

But I feel so disconnected from everyone after a multi-day power outage, it is almost a surreal feeling. When I sleep I still hear the ice crashing down on my roof and the sound of tree branches and trees falling everywhere around me. Also when I sleep I dream of hot showers and the every day pleasure of watching TV.

Hope all of you out there are doing well, and I hope that this is over soon.

If you have a power outage you have not reported, or a subsequent power outage please report it. That way the electric companies have a more accurate count of who has power and who doesn’t.

I had many friends in New Jersey and that went through weeks of horrible stuff post hurricane Sandy. In some cases, months. I now totally get what they meant when they said until you have experienced something crazy like this personally, you really don’t get it.

I hope everyone has a good day and thank you for listening.

post sandy: downed wires in glenmoore, upper uwchland

I promised that I would post Sandy photos if they were sent to sandysnaps @ spamex . com

Here are a couple from Glenmoore.  They come from Dawn and Ed Mourar with the following message:

“As of 2 pm on 10/31, these lines remain untouched and on the ground.”

Now I know PECO is slammed, but I sent the photos to a contact anyway (and of course out that way, it might not be PECO, it might be PPL).  What I don’t understand is why Upper Uwchland has not at least hazard taped this area off? They could be live wires, right?

Glenmoore isn’t that big, so hopefully someone knows where this is. The one drawback for me is a location other than Glenmoore did not come with the photos. If anyone knows the exact location, please post a comment.

Remember – PLEASE DON’T TOUCH DOWNED WIRES.  Leave it to the professionals.