On Saturday night we lost our electricity. By then the snow was about six inches deep and still coming down hard. Bushes and trees were bent over with the weight of the snow. David had found the candles and flashlights (he was not in such deep denial as I was), so we used those to navigate our way to the bathroom and then to bed.
Yesterday morning dawned bright and sunny, but still no electricity. When we looked out our west window, we saw this:
The town had planted these trees next to the war memorial before we moved here. They’ve gained a lot of height in the three years we’ve been here. It looks like they are lost, with the trunks twisted and broken.
The house held its heat overnight pretty well. We opened all the shades for the solar gain. The temperature did not go below 65 in here yesterday, so we felt very fortunate. We are on town water and we have an insulated hot water tank, so we had still had access to both cold and hot water.
We received a warning in the morning from our town to stay off the roads (oh yes, we keep one corded phone in the house for occasions like this). I did things I’ve been putting off for a while. I sorted through all the paperwork on my desk (what a great feeling!), I changed the sheets on the bed in the guest room, I prepared everything I plan to bring to my book talk tomorrow evening (provided the library has electricity by then–they don’t right now), and I washed dishes the Amish way (you know, with two pans of water, one for washing one for rinsing) and I cleaned the counters.
About mid-afternoon we were feeling rather hungry, so we decided to go to Hadley to see if we could get something to eat at our favorite little restaurant. Closed. So we went to Trader Joes. Closed. Then we went to Atkins Market. Closed. And all along the way, we saw huge branches dangling on the high wires, down trees, and branches littering the snowy landscape. In one case, we saw a tree had fallen on a car. The car’s roof was completely crushed. We thought the car looked totaled. We were heading back home, to see what we could find in our cupboards, when I asked David to go to the large supermarket and just see. We drove up and noticed the store was dark, but people were coming out with bags of groceries. So we went in, and they had just enough light in in the store so we could see what we were buying. People were milling about in the store. Everyone looked as disoriented as we felt, but everyone was polite and there wasn’t the frantic pace that one usually sees in such big supermarkets — in fact it felt quite laid back. They must have had a generator running because the cash registers were working. Everyone seemed very patient with the long lines. It really makes me wonder: if we didn’t have so many things we want to do, would our lives slow down?
When we got home, we ate another cold meal. David then went outside and dug a hole and put in a permanent mailbox, instead of the “temporary” one stuck into an orange five-gallon bucket that’s been there for three years. I am so happy to have this new mailbox! Our goal was to have it in before the snow flies — we almost made it!
When the sun went down, we snuggled on the sofa to keep one another warm and by the light of the candles we talked about days gone by.
In the middle of the night, I awoke and realized our electricity had come on. This morning we are doing all the things we couldn’t without electricity — laundry, emailing, blogging, making Christmas ornaments, and make warm meals. And our solar panels are making electricity again. (We have grid-tied system, so when the power goes out, we cannot use the power generated by the sun.)
Just as I am about to finish this post, we just received another message from the town, saying that much of our town is still without electricity and will be for the next three days. They have a shelter set up in the school gym. They are strongly advising families to not go trick-or-treating tonight.
We had this happen once before during an ice storm when we lived in Vermont — we got our power back before many others did. We invited friends to come over and take showers and have a warm breakfast with us. They did — and as each family got their electricity back, they retreated back into their homes. I missed the Amish-like community atmosphere that had been created for those few short days.
It’s time to open our doors to those who don’t have electricity. They may crave a warm shower, something warm to eat, or just a warm place to visit.
Did you lose your electricity during the storm? If so, what did you do that you wouldn’t have otherwise? What did you not do that you would have otherwise?