Here is an email I received from Piper relating his Y2K experience. This is vintage Piper--it shows his heart and his love for life, his family and the less fortunate.
Hi, Happy New Year... good to hear from you... I am putting Sean to sleep, he has gotten into this thing where he only lays down if someone is in the room with him. So I got a little time on my hands ... don't mind any spelling & grammar mistakes, as if my emails are usually with out them... I just would like to write up a quick couple of paragraphs about our new years celebrations as it was quite interesting.
We got to experience something that a lot of people in the world thought would happen, but luckily didn't get to experience... You know the dreaded y2k problems... though the problem we had didn't stemm from y2k but rather from someone who needed 14 meters of cable & couldn't wait till the new years celebrations were over to steal it, he just climbed up a pole & cut what he needed... We had planned a party (Ro and I & 2 other girls from work, Regi & Jenia) at a big house rented by PAS. We got a bunch of food and
drinks and catered a dinner. I dropped Ro & Sean off there & then went back to town to get the girls & the dinner. When we got back the power was out in the whole neighborhood. I walked into the house & Ro was there rocking Sean
by the fire place, putting him to sleep. Turns out that the power had been off for an hour already... Ro put Sean up in the room to sleep with about 4 pairs of pants & sweatshirts & a full body suit pajama. In this house the heat works on electricity & so did the phones. It was about -40 C (-40 F) out
side so the house was becoming an ice box... thankfully we had a couple cell phones on us so we were not totally cut off from the rest of the world. But we did think about conserving batteries as at the time we were not sure why the power was off & y2k was yet to reveal it self. Russia is not like India
where it is usual for the power to go off... in the time I have been here I think this was like the first time I had seen the power off. I was a pretty avid believer & pretty vocal that nothing would happen at y2k. But I was starting to think that maybe those worrywarts were right. Well, we called everyone we had invited & told them they may not want to show up, because the house was slowly turning into a walk-in-freezer. But we decided that "The Show Must Go On" so we had a candle light dinner. Even though I was "sure" nothing bad would come with the New Year, we did do a extra large
shopping the weekend before, you know "just in case", & we bought a bunch of candles... so they came in real handy. We had more food & drinks than we could handle since it was just going to be the 4 of us & the landlady. But we started knocking out the bottles one by one starting with champagne
ending up with vodka (nothing like vodka to keep you warm)
The director of our project had just gotten back from a trip & she called us at about 11pm on the mobile. We told her she was welcome to come but we had no power sure enough 15 minutes to midnight she rolled in. after a few more shots we were warm enough to brave the -40 cold and try out our "Made in Russia" Fireworks that we had. It was fun & they weren't bad except being the only guy there I was the one that had to take their glove off to light the things... we had about 10 - 15 minutes worth but by the time we were 3/4 done it was only Jenia & I left. We decided to save the rest for "Old New
Year" (a holiday on Jan 13th).
As soon as we came inside the power came back on... it was about 12:15. That was really significant for me as Russia seems to be the type of place where if someone steal 14 meters of cable on New Years Eve you are with out power till the 5th of Jan when people start working again... so the fact that there were people working right through New Years night really meant a lot to me. I feel sorry for them, having to work but really proud of them as it just seems so un-normal for this place. It showed me that there is HOPE for this place.
Well with the power came the music. And the party continued. I had to go
out side & start the car ever 2 hours or it wouldn;t start the next morning... (usually the guys at the parking lot do it for us). I guess all that to say it was a very enjoyable New Year's inspite of the suspense & adventure... it was like we moved from the 18th century to the 21st over night.
We partied some more the next night, back at the house -- and we stoked up the sauna. Though I don't really like saunas but it was fun any way...
We had a bunch more orphanages to visit with Santa & toys before the 7th of Jan, Russian Christmas. I am not sure if we told you about the toy drive we
did for the Orphans of Siberia? The 4 of us & a few others from work decided
to dedicate our Christmas/New Year holidays to helping bring the joy of
Christmas to as many Siberian orphans as possible. It was a lot of work as
I think this was the first toy drive ever in this city... We put boxes in
lots of key places in town & advertised on TV we were able to do the same in
Moscow & I was really impressed with the response that we got. The US
embassy in Moscow also did their own toy drive & sent a truck load of toys.
Then we sorted them all here & divided them up between the different orphanages. We did a bunch before New Years around our Christmas & on the 4th of Jan we took off for the villages again. It was really touching to see
some of those kids & how thankful they were for what they got. Most
orphanages outside the city are so poor the kids never get toys... some of
them were no bigger than Seany. It brought tears to my eyes a couple of
times seeing these little kids who have nothing, not even parents, singing
along with Santa clapping their hands just so happy to be given some love &
attention. I am happy that we were able at least do a little to help bring
some joy & happiness into their Christmas. I wish I would have & could have
done more though...
Ok the kid is a sleep i think I better slip out of the room now...Sean had
just started talking so so much the last few days is it amazing... he like
puts 2 or 3 words together now sometimes... & every day he shocks us with a
new one... it is really cool... any way... until next time. By the way check
out http://members.xoom.com/thehalfpiper there are 2 pages there with
photos... I may have sent those to you already though, I forget... Take care
& Happy New Year once again.