Busy Sunday

Another beautiful winter’s day in Connecticut.

Sure it’s Sunday, but it’s also the third night of Chanukah&#185 – the Jewish Festival of Lights.

It is not ‘our Christmas’ – though I sense the hoopla over this lesser holiday is our defense mechanism. It’s tough to compete with Christmas.

Trust me – growing up Stef never objected to eight nights of gifts. She probably still doesn’t!

Every year around this time, our friends Harvey and Sandy throw a Chanukah party. We weren’t able to go to the last few, but said yes tonight.

Then we saw the calendar. The Eagles would be playing the Giants in a meaningful game right as the party was getting underway.

Hey, a commitment is a commitment. We went and had a great time.

There’s a special tradition that goes with this party, though we only knew a few of the 50 or so adults and children there. Along with the people and the food and the being incredibly jealous of whatever new adult toys Harvey has acquired in the past year, there is the lighting of the menorahs.

Each night during Chanukah, at sunset, one additional candle is lit on the menorah (One the first night, two the second, and so on), accompanied by a few Hebrew prayers. I’m not particularly religious, but this is tradition worth keeping, especially with all the kids this year.

Before we left our house, Helaine and I decided we’d record the football game and then try and avoid any mention of it. But seriously, how could a Giants game be ignored here in Giant’s territory?

As it turned out, no one said a word about the game. We were stunned. Does this speak to the athleticism of Jews, or Harvey and Sandy’s friends, or did we just luck out and avoid discussions that were ongoing, but out of earshot?

When it was time to go home, we headed out with the radio off. By the time we picked up this 4:00 o’clock game, it was nearly 9:00PM.

If you’re a football fan, you already know, the Eagles won. If you’re not a football fan, you don’t care. This entry will no game details.

There is one observation I must make. Helaine and I were surprised… no, astounded, to see the Eagles win. This was especially true, since they were their own worst enemy with stupid penalties at crucial times. The Giants didn’t take advantage and the Eagles didn’t quit.

I believe this Sunday was a total success.

&#185 – Chanukah, being a Hebrew word, is only approximated in English. This spelling is one of many. I am of the personal opinion that if you say it right, people near you will get wet.

Festival of Lights

At 4:45PM, as I was typing a now erased entry to this blog, the power went off. Interestingly, and I’ve noticed this over time, the outage didn’t happen in an instant as happens when you flip a switch. The power flickered and fluttered and – poof – it was gone.

So, with the snow flying, and outside temperatures in the 20’s, we were plunged into darkness.

The first thing I noticed was our alarm system showed a fault. Since the alarm has battery backup, I just reset it and it was fine. Second, an older cordless phone in our spare bedroom started chirping every 20-30 seconds. It was complaining that it could no longer hear its base station. I’m sure this was a great idea when it was designed into the phone, but it’s a royal pain whenever the power goes out.

Helaine had been online, playing poker. Judging by the fact that I haven’t received any email, her hand must have been folded and folded and folded and she finally ‘blinded out.’

Steffie started rounding up candles. By the time she was done, there were nine of them, sitting on the coffee table, providing enough light to study by. In the photo on the left, the little post-it note sign says, “Festival of Lights.”

I called the power company and listened to their recorded message. There had been another, earlier outage, in the area around my house. Dispatching crews was treacherous in this weather. After being on hold for over 15 minutes, a new message was added, acknowledging the new problem that included my house. I hung up the phone.

Upstairs, I found an old Sony Watchman battery operated TV. The batteries still had a full charge, though I can’t remember the last time it was used.

This is the kind of thing authorities tell you you’re supposed to have in just this situation so you can receive emergency information. Helaine used it to watch the Cowboys and Redskins.

The reception was awful After a while she gave up on watching and listened instead.

Our heating system is based on hot water bringing warmth to air handlers in the basement and attic. In a situation like this, I worry about the system freezing and the pipes bursting. Luckily, we were back in business with the power on in around an hour.

It’s possible I’ll hear what caused the outage tomorrow. Judging by the weather, car vs. pole is always the most likely scenario.