One week ago. Thankfully, it seems longer ago than that. No power from Sunday afternoon through Thursday afternoon. I am done playing Pioneers. I am done sitting in the dark listening to one channel on the radio. I am done playing Abe Lincoln trying to read by fireplace light or thanks to Edison (and Conrad Hubert), by flashlight. I am done sleeping in the living room with layers of clothes and blankets to try and keep warm. Done cooking on a Sterno stove. Done flushing toilets sparingly by pouring water in the bowl. Done sponge bathing and trying to wash my hair.
At work, done sorting the mail in the cold and trying to read the addresses by the light of day from the windows or by flashlight. Done calculating prices manually and putting stamps on all pieces instead of meter strips. Done using my cell phone to stay in contact with management. Done shoveling the walkway and now I have to order a new shovel because it broke!
On Tuesday it was our 36th wedding anniversary. The fireplace and candlelit dinners had lost all romanticism. I not sure I will ever feel that way about them again.
At times during this ordeal, I thought I would actually welcome a call from a telemarketer. That would mean that my phone was working and that I had contact again with civilization. I missed seeing how other people were faring via Facebook and emails, though, it was comforting, in a selfish way, to know that most everyone I knew was in the same boat.
On Wednesday evening, we came home from a nice meal lovingly prepared at the Parish Hall in East Hartland for the public left in the dark and cold. As we drove home, in separate cars, I cannot tell the joy we felt as we saw house after house lit up. We were elated that our power must be on. We saw outside garage lights, bright lights in living rooms and even TV's on. Oh, joy!
Then five houses before our house were all dark except for the one we knew had a generator. As we pulled in our driveway to our dark, cold house, we realized all those people had generators or powerful alternative sources of light. I could have almost cried as we prepared for another cold night with an inefficient fireplace and dealing with the smokey smell, which still seems to be lingering.
I had Thursday and Friday off as we were thinking of getting away for a mini vacation--not! First, where would we find a motel available within 200 miles? Secondly, I could never have a good time knowing that I would come back to dishes needing to be washed, clothes to be laundered, much dusting and wiping to get the smokey smell off of everything. Also, the sad task of cleaning out the two refrigerators and their freezers and sadly disposing of food. That was a heartbreak for the waste. Our insurance company was very nice when we filed a claim. It was done over the phone with no proof necessary and no deductible applied. That helps a little. Then we had to shop for the basics from milk to margarine, eggs and meat. There was no way I could go away and relax with all that to be done.
On top of all that, the darkness at night and the cold, made me useless in the evening. I didn't take care of bills to be paid or other things that I could have done by candlelight. The lack of energy in the house equaled the lack of energy in my body. We were just drained.
Early Thursday afternoon we were standing in the kitchen and we both looked at each other as we thought we heard a distant ringing. George has tinnitus, so he wasn't sure and asked if I heard something that sounded like a phone. We heard it again and I said, "Phone!" and ran to the bedroom. The kitchen had a cordless which won't work without electricity, but we have a non-cordless in the bedroom. I ran and got there in time to talk via this wonderful invention. It was a salesman, of course. It was actually a solicited one from a home show. I explained our situation and said that we could not even think about anything else at this time.
After the phone came back, we got the electricity back in a few more hours. I danced the jig that I promised George that I would dance when it happened. Since then, I've been playing catch up and cleaning. We are also checking into alternative heating sources. Generators scare me and sound kind of like a hassle. We were thinking of a pellet stove, but silly us, we did not know that you need electricity to use them. I used kerosene one year and I swear it made me groggy.
Both George and I had the best night of sleep that we could remember that night back in our own comfortable, cozy, warm bed. We woke so refreshed and rested...finally.
Well, a week later and about eighteen inches of snow have melted. There are even spots of bare ground where you can see the leaves that didn't get raked. Many trees are still holding on to their rusty and gold colored leaves. We were fortunate for no damage to our trees or property. Unlike the power company or state, whoever is at fault, this summer, George took down a ton of branches and trees that were weak or in danger of causing us damage.
So, all is almost back to normal. I just wish everyone in that state had their power back. With all the crews that were supposedly working all this time, that makes more to focus on the remaining customers and therefore, should have them back by the promised deadline of tonight.
Note: I did write this with paragraph breaks. I have no clue why they didn't take. My apologies to the reader.