Hazardous Lights: Shannon’s Power Struggle


Shannon O'Donnell

While I’m in the midst of a three-part blog series on my ‘Adventures in the Equatorial Pacific,’ and I’m sure you’re waiting with bated breath to hear the final chapter (where I’ll detail the hazing I endured for crossing the Equator for the first time, and like my fish story, I have the pictures to back it up… they’re worth waiting for!), I had to take a detour from my blog plan to tell you about the harrowing week I recently had.

In terms of electricity, the force just hasn’t been with me. I believe it all began with a trio of king crab legs I picked up for my husband. He is crazy about crab roasted in lots of butter, onions and garlic (a specialty you’ll see in many San Francisco restaurants for exorbitant fees, so I’ve learned to replicate the dish at home much more economically), and I attempted to prepare this for him for his birthday on Sunday night. Our 25-year-old oven, of which I’ve been hoping to give the heave-ho to for some time, just would NOT heat up. You’re supposed to roast the crab at 500 degrees, but the not-so-trusty ancient oven just wouldn’t get there for me. At one point I tasted the crab to see if it was good and roasty-buttery tasting yet, and Pete shrieked, “what are you doing, it’s not done yet!”, but I knowingly informed him that crab always came pre-cooked. Famous last words.

Before I tell the rest of THIS fish tale, let me tell you that I’m not one to buy the, “oh I can’t come in because I have food poisoning” excuse. At my first TV job, one of the other weather guys called in sick EIGHTEEN times in one year–he drove me bananas! About every fifth time, he blamed it on ‘food poisoning.’ Yeah right.

Anyway, I woke up at midnight just not feeling quite right, and went outside to ‘get some air’… I’d forgotten that I’d eaten the questionable crab, so just assumed that it had been too buttery and rich for me. Waking up again at 2:45 for work on Monday morning, I was DEFINITELY ill. But at that point of the morning, it’s just too late to call in sick in my opinion, so I braved it and headed in to work. Uggh, big mistake. I haven’t been that sick since eating at Wendy’s in South Korea. I mean, crawling on the floor, head between my knees ILLIN’. At any rate, my husband didn’t get it (he didn’t try the crab until it had roasted, 500 degrees or not, for some time) and my kids didn’t get sick, so I think it was definitely some seriously disturbed seafood that got to me. Problems with power, part one, of the week. That darned oven.

My second electrically-challenged-incident occurred on Thursday morning. Leaving my neighborhood on my morning commute, it was so dark that I nearly took out a parked car. “Gee, what’s the deal?”, I thought, navigating my way through the pitch-black, narrow streets. My windows were really foggy and dewy, so I attributed my temporary blindness to that and headed onto the freeway. Yowza, I could barely see a thing! BOTH of my headlights were out! What were the chances?

I remembered getting my headlights changed out earlier this year… I went in to get one replaced, and the technician said he’d just change both bulbs as the other one was going to burn out soon anyway. I guess getting two bulbs put in at the same time means there’s a chance they’ll go OUT at around the same time, but this was ridiculous!

Not only am I sure that going on the freeway without properly-powered headlights is highly illegal, but highly DANGEROUS as well. Needless to say, I didn’t think I could AGAIN call in sick to work on such short notice, so I went the entire way with my hazard lights on, praying the gigantic semis swerving down 101 would be able to see me and not deliver me into the barrier. Yet another example of electricity just not being on my side lately.

Now with the fall stormy season on the way, my headlights are working and my oven seems to be on the mend. But with a chance for lightning in the mix, maybe I should take a lesson from Ben Franklin and get out my kite and key… just to be sure the lights don’t go out on me again.

Shannon O’Donnell
NBC11 WeatherPlus Meteorologist


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