A few years ago I wrote here of my frustration with an unexpected large expense when my neighbor's back wall caused an attached segment of my wall to need reconstruction to prevent my own wall from completely falling. My neighbor refused to acknowledge his wall was adversely pressuring my wall despite our both being able to literally see his whole back wall was leaning. He saw this in person on several occasions, but denied the effect of his wall on mine. In fact, over the time I gave him to become convinced, his wall could easily be seen to keep leaning further and further. Additionally, I had sent him periodic measures and photos of the changing effects on my wall.
I finally consulted with our city authorities, they inspected, then gave me permission to detach his wall from mine. I had to have my wall section reconstructed to prevent a worsening situation. While that was in progress I had received notice my home insurance was in jeopardy. My neighbor later told a city official when they asked him that he would provide some financial reimbursement to me for the corner of my damaged wall's reconstruction. He never did.
I ultimately determined my legal pursuit of him for my costs, or even a part of them, was not best at that time for a variety of reasons. A few years later he subsequently sold the house. He had only been renting the house anyway since he was living somewhere in Los Angeles. I learned this week that during our storm the neighbor's backyard wall finally fell over. I feel sorry for the new owner who I haven't yet met, but at least his wall no longer has any effect on my wall.
Writing of our SoCal weather, I might add we've continued to have Santa Anna/Santana's (devil) winds. Given the strong winds downing over 300 trees in our city, damaging some homes. I have continued to withhold putting my trash bin out at the curb for weekly pickup lest it be blown over as would have happened the week I wrote of earlier.
I must not be living right because I had another weekend power outage about a week after the first power loss. I had been able to regain electricity the first time the furnace mechanism had been affected but had power after that for only a week before this second sudden loss. Only a service person was able to completely reactivate my power when he discovered a special code for restarting my furnace was required. At least I hadn't caused the problem I was relieved to learn since my thermostat adjusting efforts trying to turn on the furnace had been lacking.
Naturally, outages and breakdowns only occur on a weekend when repair service isn't readily available. That second weekend of power outage was miserably SoCal cold again for me, but nothing compared to what people in the rest of the U.S. have been having with snow, ice, zero and below temperatures so I shouldn't complain. Interestingly, this coming week our temperatures are going to be in the 70's - 80's F. This is unusually warm for these months.
The wonderful December rainfall we received has not been repeated, so our drought seems to be dominating again. There are no storms predicted in our future. February and March are typically the last months of our rainy season.
HUMANS FOIL GROUNDHOG'S WEATHER PROGNOSTICATIONS
Groundhog Day this past week on February 2nd brought thoughts that come to my mind every year. I'm finally going to share them here in a somewhat light-hearted questioning manner -- maybe even humorous. As if we don't have enough truly serious matters in the world -- what do you think?
Living many years beginning in my youth in a state adjoining Pennsylvania I always heard a lot about Punxsutawney Phil on Gobbler's Knob, long before he became a national celebrity with a special day observed in all groundhogs honor.
Phil, a groundhog, was said to exhibit behavior that would tell us on February 2nd if we would have more winter or spring, depending on whether he saw his shadow when he emerged from his burrow and hibernation. Learning more about various creatures lives as I became an adult, I soon concluded Phil's human owners actions were not only exploiting him but interfering with anyone's ability to reasonably judge by Phil's behavior future weather conditions.
Not only does Phil have to cope with variable weather issues, he's not even allowed to emerge from his burrow when he thinks the timing is appropriate as described in Mary Bernath's Sunbury, Pennsylvania's Danville News article linked here. One observer is reported to have noted:
"Phil doesn't want to come out, so they have to grab him by the scruff of his neck to pull him out."
Well, in my view, no wonder Phil has such a poor weather predictive accuracy record. Seems to me Phil's knowing when to emerge to see if he can see his shadow is a critical element in determining any prognostication for future weather.
Bernath reports people turn out in large numbers to see Phil on Groundhog Day:
"While all this hoopla is going on, most ordinary Pennsylvania groundhogs are still soundly asleep in their burrows. According to Jon Beam, naturalist at the Montour Preserve and assistant director of MARC, groundhogs settle in for the winter in late October and don't awaken until the last half of February or even early March. Males get up first, to wander around and check out female burrows to see who is awake. They might go back to their burrows for a while to keep warm, but the deep sleep is over."
I think we're long past time when Phil needs the freedom to determine for himself when to emerge from his burrow after awakening from hibernation. Maybe then Phil and other groundhogs will give us more accurate weather predictions about when or if winter is ending and spring is coming.