My Thoughts, Exactly » Jim Chase

That’s it. I’ve officially changed the lyrics of the classic Christmas song, “Let It Snow” to “Let It Blow”! I’m mean, chill out, Mutha Nature. That Santa Ana event our county weathered last week was nothing short of epic. In my many years here in Southern California, we’ve made the national news several times due to spectacular wildfires that make for riveting video footage. But never (at least to my knowledge) have we received network coverage for our windstorms. Until last week.

Listening to the winds as they ripped through the trees around our home last Wednesday night, I kept looking at the clock on my nightstand so I’d know when we lost power. In the backyard, I could hear pine cones dropping like heavy mortar-fire onto our lawn from a neighbor’s pine tree that towers over our back fence. With nervous laughter, our family has always called these football-sized pinecones “widowmakers” because of their wicked, talon-sharp scales and impressive weight. The thuds as the cones hit the turf made me thankful our dog was sleeping fitfully alongside our bed and not outside in the line of fire. Thankfully, no animals or small children were lost in the pinecone barrage.

We eventually lost our power sometime early Thursday morning and didn’t get it back until Saturday. Which meant, of course, that we also lost a significant amount of food from our kitchen fridge and the separate freezer in which we store all those great Costco buys out in the garage. Sigh. As frustrating as it was having to throw food away, I have to admit to feeling a sense of adventure as I dusted off our ancient Coleman gas lantern (and had to remember how to replace the fragile cloth mantles) and hung it from the ceiling fan in our den to read by. Without Facebook, email or TV (among other e-distractions), I read more in the few days we were powerless than I’ve been able to read in months. In fact, I almost finished author Stephen King’s latest cinder block-sized novel (all 800-plus pages of the beast) released only a few weeks ago. I was sure the book would last me well into the New Year.

Yes, it was cold in our house, but we bundled up and made the best of it. And to be honest, I wasn’t looking forward to resetting all of the digital clocks in our house when the power returned.

For me, however, the worst part of the power outage was witnessing how dangerously ignorant (or willfully reckless) many of our fellow CV drivers were in blasting through busy intersections where the signals weren’t in operation (which means almost every intersection along Foothill). Did the DMV change the law about treating an intersection as a four-way stop when traffic lights aren’t working? I lost track of how many times I waited at an intersection – watching the dance of the drivers try to figure out whose turn it was to creep out into the no-man’s land – only to have some clueless chucklehead blast through it without so much as tapping their brakes. How there weren’t more head-ons or destruction derby-like collisions is a mystery. Note to the DMV: make it more difficult to pass the driver’s test from now on, please.

Thankfully, the winds seemed to shut off just in time for the annual Montrose Christmas parade to go off without a hitch – or at least without spectators and participants alike having to be tied down like so many warmly dressed balloons. I hope everyone who made it out to the parade route had as much fun as all of us on the CV Weekly float did waving to you all.

Oh, and thanks for all the much appreciated shout outs of support as we passed by. We love you too.

With my LED flashlight and a boatload of AA-cells close at hand these days, I’ll see you ’round town.

© 2011 WordChaser, Inc. Jim Chase is an award- winning advertising copywriter and native of Southern California. Readers are invited to “friend” his My Thoughts Exactly page on Facebook. Also visit Jim’s new blog with past columns and additional thoughts at: http://

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