CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A veteran of several extended power outages, I have come to a conclusion.
If I can't accept these inevitable periods of disruption, I need to move back to the West Side.
That's where I grew up, in a small house on Garden Street, which runs behind Stonewall Jackson Middle School from Mathews to Hunt Avenue.
The houses on our street were close together on small lots. There were trees, but not nearly as many as in the South Hills neighborhood where I live now.
Garden Street experienced power outages, but not like these. I don't recall any lasting more than a few hours.
Nowadays my short commute along Loudon Heights Road is like a drive through a national forest. It's beautiful, but there's a price to be paid. It doesn't take much of a rain for the road to look like a leafy war zone.
As I headed out Tuesday morning after the big snow, the neighborhood was downright creepy. Superstorm Sandy and her gang of colluding weather systems had achieved what the most creative Halloween decorators could not.
Trees and shrubs drooped with heavy, wet snow, which still was falling. Houses were dark, silent.
Most ominous were the sagging power lines.
Here we go again, I thought. Restoration would take days.
The morning after last summer's big windstorm, my husband and I drove to several non-functioning grocery stores before finally finding one open. Guess where it was?
The West Side.
Of course, moving is a bigger hassle than a multi-day power outage.
But I'm reminded that the amenities of modern life are not a given. They can disappear in the flash of a blown transformer.
West Virginians actually are lucky in that most of us dwell in single-family houses or small apartment buildings. Think what it must be like on an upper floor of a high-rise in one of the Northeastern cities whacked by Sandy. Talk about creepy.