What does it say when you look up the word “redundant” in the dictionary?
It says - “see redundant”.
I love that joke.
It took on new meaning for us here on the “Jeanne Team” - just the other week.
We got one heck of a little storm out here on Cape Cod during the last week in October. We have seen Nor'easters before - but this one was a loo loo.
We got clobbered.
Our little family here at jeanneoneil.com are a collection of technologists. We have spent decades in the field - most of us establishing deep competency in project management. Jeanne herself is a project manager - maintaining her PMP certification for years. We have run many multi-million dollar projects, and have informally managed several home constructions and home moves. Heck, we even project manage our Thanksgiving dinners - Jeanne famously (and rigorously) working her “burn list” for the perfect turkey dinner served at exactly 4:20pm.
As project managers we constantly evaluate risk - and maintain contingency plans. Especially with the technology that we rely on.
All of our critical tech is on battery backup power supplies.
We maintain a backup internet router - just in case the hardware fails. We have not one, not two but three wifi hubs in our home. You know - just in case.
We have always had backup plans for our connectivity - maintaining high speed / unlimited mobile data plans just in case our main internet connection fails. Which it frequently does on Cape Cod.
We have a dedicated tablet that is pre-configured to work with a wireless bridge that we connect to the wifi router in our home - so we can seamlessly switch to mobile data if the occasion warrants. I know geeky.. But you get the idea. We are redundancy freaks.
We still had a problem with our electricity going out frequently here on the Cape and wisely made the investment in a whole house generator (thank you Cape Cod Independent Power)...
Redundancy obsessed - yes!
Yet, all of that planning. All of that redundancy - made no difference in this little storm.
We were happily working away on that fateful Tuesday in late October. We lost power overnight as the winds on Cape Cod approached 80 mph. No worry - our generator kicked in - and we carried on our business.
Then we lost internet connectivity. OK - the mobile hotspots worked well enough.
The kicker though was when we lost mobile phone service on Wed morning. It seems the storm damaged the fiber network that supplied cell service to the Cape. That was 3 layers of redundancy that failed (power, data, mobile). That is unheard of! And for the first time in decades - maybe in our lives - we were completely off the grid. No communication in or out was possible. We couldn’t text or call family and friends to let them know we were ok. We had no connection to the outside world and didn’t dare to even consider driving in the storm ravaged conditions. No, we simply resolved ourselves to the situation.
Curling up with a real book by the fire seemed appropriate at this point.. And Jeanne actually put the finishing touches on her latest painting while the winds roared outside.
The next day as the storm died down - we surveyed the damage. The Cape was pummeled. Trees and branches were down everywhere and the utilities remained out until the weekend. Chainsaws buzzed and Cape residents began cleaning up the debris from their yards.
Remarkably the storm took no lives, and things on the Cape are somewhat back to normal.
Still, we are reminded of the remarkable power of mother nature, and the humble realization that even our best planning efforts are comparably futile. We suppose that comes with life on The Cape. And - I think we are ok with that.
We hope that all of our neighbors here on Cape Cod made it safely through the storm.. And we wish you all well with your post storm clean up.
The Jeanne Team!