#275–Storms, swarms & crossword puzzles . . .


This past week, we had a major storm where many people lost power, a landslide closed Hwy 126 between Florence and Eugene for days, a section of Hwy 101 by Otter Rock sunk so traffic is restricted, flooding occurred along rivers, sneaker waves caused a serious threat on beaches, and so on. Like I said, it was a major storm. And it didn’t just blow through, it lasted from Monday night through Tuesday and through Tuesday night, which is when it peaked.

Flooding along the river was caused by extra high tides and prolonged heavy rains.

There was heavy rain off and on throughout. What was most impressive to me was the wind. It was strong Monday night and Tuesday. But it got truly fierce Tuesday night. It had a steady roar with the occasional gust that would make the house shudder. My house is two-story and very sturdy; it takes a lot to make it shudder. My neighbor whose bedroom faces south, slept downstairs in her guest room because the noise of the horizontal rain and wind kept her awake in her bedroom. With trees that tower higher than my house on either side, there were plenty of small branches and cones hitting the house, adding to the noise.

This storm reminded me of storms of the 1980s and ‘90s that I’ve experienced in this house. There was the July 4th storm of 1986 that knocked over my brand-new woodshed and smashed four of my newly planted rhodies. It was unusual because it was summer and the wind came from the north. There was the snowstorm of February 1989 that dumped 11 inches of snow here, and we had icicles the size of spears. In the aftermath of that storm, the high temps didn’t rise above freezing for 12 days, and we were without power or a cleared road that we could drive on the entire time. Then there was the 100 mph windstorm of December 1996 that came right up the coast.  Each town would let the next know when it hit them. With that storm, a lot of trees went down, and we were without power for six days. It definitely caused the house to shudder, but that storm blew through in a couple hours. It was not sustained like the one earlier this week.

These are some of the branches picked up after the storm. More were hauled away by Todd, my yard man. He pulled down a very, very large branch high up in a tree because it was broken off but hung up on another branch. Any wind might have brought it down.

None of these storms measured up to the Columbus Day storm of 1962 when rain and wind damaged a 50-mile wide swath from Northern California to Vancouver Island with windspeeds that hit 138 mph in Newport, 116 mph in Portland, and 127 mph in Corvallis. And the barometer hit a low of 28.85. There was incredible damage throughout. Neither I nor my house were here then.

Old-timers, who survived the ’62 storm had quite the stories to tell. I heard many of them when I attended the opening reception for The Mightiest Wind exhibit of the Columbus Day storm at the Oregon Historical Society in Portland on October 12, 2012. It marked the 50th anniversary of the storm.


In the past few weeks, I’ve endured swarms of phone calls that I think are scams. Some I’ve received over the years and some are new. They are mostly robo calls.

I kept a partial list:

–Medicare calls about various things but the latest is to advise you of cancer screenings. I’m sure all are scams.

–Social Security wants to talk to you regarding some aspect of your benefits. Another scam.

–IRS has a warrant for your arrest. Press 1. This got my attention! Definitely a scam.

–Your Amazon account is charging your credit card $799.99. Sometimes it’s a different amount. You are instructed to press 1 if you dispute this charge. Who wouldn’t dispute it? Another scam.

–Subscription to use your own computer is expiring and your credit card is being charged $299.99 for an unlimited subscription. If you have any issues with this, call a number that they give only once. This is new, but I’m receiving it weekly. So, it’s becoming old fast.

–Stay at Marriott in Orlando, FL, which may be legit, but they aren’t paying airfare, meals, etc. I receive a similar call like this about once a year for a free stay in Orlando.

–Four credit card companies have agreed to lower your rates, just press 1. Similar calls don’t use the four-credit-cards line but do tell you to press 1 to find out how to lower your rates.  One time, it started with “Attention! Attention!” All scams, I’m sure.

–My least favorite has to do with the extended warranty on my car. Every time I’m assured that this is my final courtesy call or that it’s their final attempt to reach me. I wish!  I’ve received this one for years every few months.  During that time, I’ve had more than one car. I always ask, “Which car?” Never get an answer!

My new favorite passtime.

–My favorite so far is the American Sweepstakes where I’ll be receiving a check for $8 million. They are surprised that I have not received the notice in the mail or by email. All I have to do is pay $3,000 for a Golden Medallion seal! This one had an actual voice who kept reassuring me it was for real, whenever I told him I thought it was a scam.

Although I keep pressing ‘”2” to delete me from their calling lists, I’m sure the fun will continue!

Crossword puzzles

My dad used to do crossword puzzles and several people that I know do them. Back when I was in my 20s, I used to try the crossword puzzle in the Sunday paper. But I would usually get frustrated and not finish it. Eventually, I quit doing them until . . .

. . . we had a power outage that lasted a couple days last November two weeks before Thanksgiving. I was going through a pile of stuff on the counter and found a booklet of crossword puzzles that I forgot I had. I thought, “Why not!” It was something I could do by candlelight.

Probably not the most difficult. Definitely not the New York Times’ puzzles, but I enjoy them.

So, I selected one and worked it as far as I could without help. Then I turned to my iPhone and the trusty Internet, which continued working in spite of the power outage. I punched in the word or clue and asked for a definition or synonyms, and I could usually find the answer. Of course, the more letters you fill in, the easier it gets. And, yes, I do them in ink. I’m not always right, but I don’t mind scribbling them out when I realize something’s wrong. It doesn’t have to be pretty!

Apparently, I’ve become addicted to crossword puzzles. I use them as a reward when I finish a project, and I’m really enjoying them. Who knew!

This last week was filled with a major storm, unwanted phone calls, and time spent doing crossword puzzles––all with the backdrop of the pandemic at its worst, continued shock at last week’s violence at the U.S. Capitol, increasing concerns of more violence by the far right, and now a doubly impeached president. Who knows what next week will bring as we inaugurate our new president?

Let’s hope for the best. 2021 is supposed to be better!   

About crossingsauthor

Judy Fleagle spent 22 years teaching 1st and 2nd grades and 21 years as editor/staff writer with Oregon Coast and Northwest Travel magazines.Since 2009, she has written five books: "Crossings: McCullough's Coastal Bridges," "The Crossings Guide to Oregon's Coastal Spans," "Around Florence," "Devil Cat and Other Colorful Animals I Have Known," and "The Oregon Coast Guide to the UNEXPECTED!!!."
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