The ice storm that hit New England almost two weeks ago left people in the dark and, at least initially, in awe of the power of Mother Nature. In the days after the storm it was common to see people walking up and down the street wearing helmets for safety. For two days the wind blew, the sun shined, and the ice melted, cracked and fell from tree limbs. And precariously hanging tree limbs also continued to fall. Walking about was a bit of a dangerous activity.
The second day after the storm (12/13), the ice that cocooned limbs and branches revealed curious formations.
It also became evident how extensive the damage was to the surrounding power lines.
As the initial clean-up took place, often by those in the immediate neighborhoods, the first wave of clean-up crews arrived.
At home on Day 2, we discovered three working electrical outlets in two different hallways that functioned on the same circuits powered by the generator. With extension cords in hand we were able to use a hair dryer in the guest bathroom, charge our cell phones, and plug in my laptop. I couldn’t receive any email or view the internet but I could pass the time by catching up on old blog posts collected by Feedblitz.
The laundry room became my makeshift studio. Using an extension cord, I could plug in my pasta machine motor, an old toaster oven and get back to the business of filling last minute orders. Sanding was done in the kitchen sink. I ran the buffing machine off another outlet in the second floor hallway. It wasn’t the most efficient set up, however, it helped me get the job done.
We headed south that night for dinner and errands. It was like entering another world. People had electricity, Christmas lights were burning, and there was very little, if any, ice to be seen. That night at home we played Scrabble while listening to the Boston Pops holiday program on the radio.
On Sunday, Day 3 (12/14) we found ourselves surrounded by cleaning crews. They were a welcome sight. Many crews were from out of state. I delivered a purchase to a customer in the south end of town on Sunday where electricity started coming back late Saturday. That was encouraging. There was a light at the end of the tunnel.
When returning from errands on Sunday, I found myself unable to get back to my own home because the crews were out in force making many roads impassable. I tried to go down one road only to find it blocked by a debris clearing crew about a quarter way down the road.
This cyclist apparently rode UP that same road through the slop and around the trucks.
I turned around and drove another route home, passed a crew working on that very large debris pile (earlier photo above), and found myself stuck between two more cleaning crews. I took this picture as the guys were waving at me to turn around and head back in the opposite direction from which I had come.
Eventually I made it home. The 20 minute ride home turned into a 45 minute adventure.
On Day 3 we were able to do a couple small loads of laundry. One machine at a time we ran the washer, then the dryer, and then repeated the process. I became more comfortable starting the burners on the stove with a lighter to boil water for tea. Eric plugged in a keyboard and played (while wearing headphones.) On Sunday we watched a DVD on the laptop. Though our access to electrical power was limited, we felt like we were living like kings.
By Day 4 (12/15) the novelty had started to wear off.
Via his iPhone, Eric was able to access the National Grid web site during the power outage. He could see how many people in our town and the surrounding communities were without power. It was curious to watch the numbers fluctuate up and down.
By Day 5 (12/16) it was rumored that our power would be back on by 11:00pm. That was later updated to 6:00pm. Once again we were surrounded by power crews. Per National Grid’s site, 50+ homes on our grid were on target to have power returned. Sometime between 4:30 and 5:00pm the lights came back on.
And there was much rejoicing!
Our art guild’s holiday potluck was scheduled for this night. Our host, Verjik, had power returned to her house on Monday night (how timely was that?) The potluck went on as planned. It was a great event as we toasted the holidays and the power crews.
While we are fortunate to have a generator that afforded us some sense of normalcy during the five days our power was out, 12 days after the ice storm hit 2,500 residents in Central Massachusetts are still without power. Some have generators, some are living in shelters, and others continue to live in their homes without heat or hot water. This past weekend we received almost two feet of snow over three days.
As we head into this holiday, be sure to count your blessings and give thanks for those things we too often take for granted. I know I am.