Good intentions are not enough

The recent storm drove home the fact that good intentions are no substitute for actual preparedness.

Country living is a great laboratory for testing ones ideas about life and patterns of behavior without the awful finality of mistakes made on the open sea or while airborne. It puts you to the test and usually shows up your lack of preparedness without causing you irreparable damage.

Sunday's storm left us without electrical power from 3:30 AM on and 8 inches of snow with drifts several feet deep in spots.

Morning broke bright and clear with temperatures in the low 20's and a wind chill in the single digits. We had no water pressure and we had not stocked water in anticipation of power failure from the storm. The only bright spot was that our wood stove was keeping the entire house warm and we could cook on it if necessary.

I went out to start the emergency generator and the ever faithful Honda engine would not respond. The electrical starter worked fine but I had failed to inspect and test the generator after its last use.

I had intended to do this several times but other tasks seemed to be more urgent and the generator sat uninspected for more than a year under a tarp in the side yard.

So, I found myself removing a spark plug to find that it was so badly fouled that I could not clean it enough to get the engine running. After several more futile efforts, I set about locating a supplier who might have a spark plug that would fit this engine.

Power was still out in much of Floyd county and most of the businesses were closed. After many calls to auto part and small engine repair shops, I located a supply of this vital spark plug at Protocol Automotive in Floyd.

Protocol Automotive is Floyd's newest and most modern automobile and truck repair shop and owner Joey Kaylor came through big time. He had an entire carton of these plugs and I told him to hold two for me.

Getting into town on unplowed roads was dicey, but our Subaru made it, leaving undercarriage tracks where the snow was deepest. I am not sure we would have made it if the snow was any deeper. By this time it was almost noon.

I picked up the spark plugs and we drove into downtown Floyd to have breakfast. Almost every business and restaurant was closed, except for Farmers Supply, our wonderful all-purpose hardware store. They had suet for our birds, but they don't serve breakfast, so we decided to head on home.

I had called the Cafe del Sol earlier and they had been open, but they had finally closed up because none of their customers were able to make it into town!

On the way home, our neighbor Tom King called to let us know that power had been restored.

We went home to our home with its 21st Century conveniences restored and I went out and got the generator running in preparation for the next storm.

Our level of preparedness needs to be kicked up another notch. I think we will do better next time. It is an ongoing process.

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