Thursday, December 31, 2015


Zestful Blog Post #139

Big-ass storms sweep over Washington’s Olympic Peninsula a lot. They like to knock down trees. Back when Marcia and I were living in the deep woods there, we had to make shift without electricity many times, once for a whole winter week. (A woodstove and well-stocked shed solve many problems.) During one such outage, I hiked into our neighbors’ woods to watch a work crew, whose truck I’d heard rumble up the rough road we shared.

The guys’ problem was a large dead hemlock that had fallen across the power line, which stretched from the lower road straight up through a steep, thickly forested hillside. The tree hadn’t ripped the line down; it was hanging on it, fifty yards from the road. No way could the guys get their cherry-picker truck down there to lift the tree off; they’d have to wallow down the slope with their chainsaws. Having felled trees myself, I knew the perils of hanging timber, and wondered how the hell they were going to cut up that tree safely. It seemed impossible.

[A different large hemlock, but you get the idea. This one didn't pause, but just ripped down the electric and phone lines on its way to block our garage, along with a fragrant cedar.]

They solved the dangerous problem in less than a minute. They eased the truck next to the pole that supported the line as it crossed the road. One guy went up in the basket, reached up with a jaws-of-life-looking tool, and simply cut the line. It whanged, and the tree crashed to the ground. The other guy scampered down the slope and retrieved the line. They had the son of a bitch spliced and back on the pole in five more minutes. They rumbled down the road, flipped the circuit at the main pole, and left. I just stood there absorbing the brilliant work-around that for them was routine.

My New Year’s resolution is to figure out as many work-arounds as possible, in my own life and work, so as to save time and be brilliant. Gotta look beyond obvious solutions; I think the key will be to first BELIEVE that more than one solution might exist.

p.s. Thanks to my buddy Steve for prompting my thoughts on this. Here’s hoping for better weather up there soon.
And here’s hoping for a happy New Year for everyone.

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  1. During an October snowstorm that knocked down trees and left main roads looking like paths machete through a jungle, we had one gas generator for the whole extended family. when my family's turn came, after about a week, you guessed it, the power came back up a half hour later.

  2. The writing problems I have to work around always seem to involve technology. How do I get a YouTube video to display properly on my blog (the version that appears to subscribers), and why does my computer screen go black and flash back on repeatedly? Instead of asking my IT guy-husband this year, I hope to find answers faster by Googling for one online. (Assuming my screen stays on.) Thanks to you and Steve, Elizabeth, and the best in 2016.

  3. Ain't it the way, Big Stan? And Tricia, go for it. It's funny, I've taken to solving things myself more via explicit Internet searches, rather than asking my in-house programmer... More empowering, and it really can be faster. Depending...

  4. Not two hours had passed from when I wrote my post to you when it appeared that a Shutterfly book I designed and was ready to proof and order, had disappeared. I stopped and thought about your blog. I got creative. I found it. You made my New Year's Day.

  5. There's always one way around a problem is something I'll have to remember whenever I'm creatively stumped. Thanks for the post and hope for some better weather. Happy New Year!


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