I went out for a walk yesterday, intending to take pictures of the aftermath of the storm, but it was too sad. It would have been like taking pictures at the scene of an accident or something. So many trees have broken in half that our skyline looks completely different.

“Skyline” may be the wrong word for a place as rural as this, but there is all this openness. And every house in my neighborhood has horrible devastation, or else stumps with stacks of branches and lengths of trunks.

Sad.

I thought I’d grade papers yesterday, but so few are in that I couldn’t. I don’t grade ont he curve, exactly, but I like to have a sense of how the whole class has done on an assignment before assigning grades, for the sake of having realistic standards. Whether my students had no electricity, were among those who have been working around the clock during the crisis, or are taking advantage of the situation to turn their papers in late, I don’t know, but my college inbox was almost empty.

I did get another job, one of those where if I do well on the first task they’ll keep me on for the future. This is another oDesk job, and they’ve set me up for ten hours. I should explain that buyers can set an upper limit of working hours, so that they don’t end up with some overzealous worker racking up way more hours than needed. I don’t expect to have ten hours a week with this buyer, but I take it as a good omen. I looked at all my assignments there, and if I actually worked all those hours, I’d have 36 hours a week there, plus my teaching and my private clients, and of course I’d never get to sleep at all.

In actuality, I decided at the new year to increase my hours there from the 2008 average of three a week to five a week. In January, I did six hours the first couple of weeks and ten the second couple of weeks. Were the new client to have ten hours for me on a regular basis, I would meet my 2009 goal for billable hours. I’m doing reasonably well with the reduction of unbillable hours, too.

I’m not doing as well with my health-related goals, but that is in part because of the ice storm. Being without power made me feel like the helpless plaything of fate, having no choice but to huddle under blankets eating corn chips (that’s what the menfolks brought back from their expedition to find foods that didn’t need to be cooked, but there were also oranges and carrots here — still are, for that matter). CraftyMommaVT would doubtless have said that it wasn’t cold and just strapped on her snowshoes and grilled up some chicken in the backyard, encouraging us to play touch football while we waited for dinner.

I don’t know what people from The Frozen North would have done, really, but she left a comment yesterday about her favorite thing to do after ice storms that just left me flabbergasted. Like having a favorite thing to do after volcanic eruptions or something. If nothing else, it implies that ice storms are a normal part of life where she lives.

I’ll leave you with that sobering thought.