Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Let There Be Light!

I came THIS close to hugging a complete stranger this evening. He was a Con Ed worker and he told me we would have power back by tonight as opposed to Thursday at midnight which was the original time frame.

We only lost power for 65 hours after Hurricane Irene but it seemed like a lifetime. The first day was cool: we had plenty of food, board games galore and the gumption of pioneers on the Laura Ingalls Wilder homestead. We drove around a little bit (my husband likes to plow through puddles in his truck plus he was utterly convinced he could find an open Starbucks. He could not) then we took a walk into town where kids were boogie-boarding down main street and people waded through the flood waters in frightening disregard for the live power lines dangling by the water line. Firemen drove by shouting at us to go home and get off the streets but the excitement was contagious and frankly it just felt good to be out of the house.

At night, my husband was concerned with leaving an unattended open flame so we blew out the candles when we went to bed and Minx woke in the middle of the night screaming about it being "as dark as death". We brought her into our bed where she promptly pulled an "H" position and neither of us got any sleep. At the crack of dawn the smoke detectors starting beeping their warnings of power-deprivation and so day two began.

Monday saw us at the gym, exercising, watching TV (yay!), swimming and most importantly, using the showers. We still had no power, but we had email on the Blackberry which I charged every second that the car engine was running. The food in the fridge seems unappealing and the dry ice we lined up for really isn't keeping anything fresh. At any rate, our BBQ is out of propane. Any restaurants open?

At night, in spite of the candle left burning in the kids' bathroom, my son manages to trip over something and fall, cutting his eyelid open and requiring a 1:00 am trip to the ER and four stitches. Once again, we are functioning without sleep. The food in the freezer is ruined and the food in the fridge 100% unappealing. I no longer have email access which makes me panic because school starts in a week and I am driven crazy by the thought that I am missing out on IMPORTANT messages. There isn't a 'Snakes and Ladders' or 'Yahtzee' game left in us. We empty and clean the freezer then head to a local pool club as guests of a sympathetic friend. Entertainment and showers. I can't even begin to think about laundry.

For dinner we heat pizza bagels and Lean Pockets in a fry pan and just as I finish washing the dishes I see the reflection of emergency lights in the front window. Three huge Con Ed trucks trundle up our road, a liberation army. You can hear cheering, like a wave, up and down our street and then pandemonium as the houses light up one by one.

It is amazing to me that everybody used to live without electricity and so many still have to. I am supremely happy tonight to be back on the grid.

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