Saturday, December 13, 2008


The power went out at 11:00 p.m. (Thursday) My husband wakes me to tell me so. No matter, I’m warm under the blankets and my radio alarm has battery back-up. During the night I wake off and on to the sound of limbs snapping in the woods surrounding the house. Some sound like the crack of rifle shot, the echo reverberating through the night. The rain is steady, fierce and persistent. I roll over, curl into a ball and go back to sleep.

Morning rolls around and I open my eyes to detect a bit of daylight at the window. The power is still out. I walk to the kitchen to see what time it is on the battery operated wall clock. It’s 6:45 a.m. Damn! The battery must be dead in the radio. I have an appointment at 8:00 and then I have to get to work. We look out the window to an incredible sight. The tree limbs are doubled in half and hanging in the roadway. A tree is down in the yard and has taken the neighbor’s power line with it.

I make do with bottled water to wash and brush my teeth. I forego the make-up for today. I stir a teaspoon of instant coffee into the cup and poor some hot water over it. Thank goodness for the propane stove. Out in the drive, it smells like a Christmas tree lot. The scent of pine from so many snapped limbs is actually heady. Andy and I pick our way out of the property around limb after limb and make it to the main road. I am detoured numerous times before I get to the dentist. Closed. No power here either. Every intersection is manned by police as the traffic signals are all out too.

I get to the office and a handful of folks are there waiting for me. For some reason they believe I have the authority to close the office. Wrong! I get the OK from senior management and secure the place. No power here, no phones nothing. I listen to the news on the radio as I head back home. The entire southern part of the state is now in a state of emergency. No fooling. I didn’t need the radio for that. I make my way back home. There are more cars on the road now. Everyone is heading back home because no one has power at work. You can’t even buy a cup of coffee anywhere.

Back at home I drag out the kerosene space heater. This thing is a hazard! But I light the thing and close the doors to all non essential rooms to confine the heat. I change my clothes and put on layers. I head outside and find three five gallon buckets. At the pond, I fill them with water and drag each one into the house. Then I take a bucket to each bathroom and flush. I leave the third by the door for backup. I may get more as the temperature is due to drop. I will need a sledgehammer to get more water when that happens.

I putt around looking for a missing radio. I want the one that takes the AA batteries. I can’t find it. I have the one that takes C’s but I don’t have extra C batteries. I can stock a bomb shelter with the AA though. I keep looking. Still no AA radio. Damn again. I try to call Andy, just in case he finds a store open that has a generator or something, where he can buy C batteries. The cell reception is bad. Everyone is using their cell phones too.

I put on my coat, boots and gloves and go back outside again. With camera in hand, I take some photos of the limbs, trees and icicles. This will make a great story! Oh, crap…no computer. I hate writing long hand. Oh, the laptop has a battery. I’ll write fast. I go back in and put something for lunch on top of the space heater. It will be nice and hot just about noon. I make a big pot of tea, have a cup and put the rest on the space heater too.

Suddenly there is a tremendous thundering coming from outside. The sun has just begun to poke through the breaking cloud cover. The rays, though weak this time of year, are just strong enough to start a waterfall like cascade of ice to begin slipping from a gazillion branches in the woods. The sound is deafening! I grab the camera again. This time I try to capture the event with the video feature. As I’m filming a branch snaps and crashes inches from my head. Gee that would have made an interesting video, but still, I’m glad it didn’t happen. I’m a bit more cautious and head on up to the main road.

As I get closer the mailboxes, I hear voices. All the neighbors are out and about too. There is no staying inside when nature is holding a spectacle right at your door that is for sure. We all chat for a bit. I’m feeling a bit envious of their generators. I can hear the steady rumble of them up and down the street. My envy subsides, when the neighbors begin to discuss where they might possibly be able to buy gas. All the stations can’t sell any as they do not have power for the pumps. Well, I have the kerosene heater, and when that runs out, I guess I’ll do another no no and light the burners on the propane kitchen stove.

I head back home, eat my nice hot stew and wash it down with hot tea. We are in for the long haul I imagine. Now let my write. The battery is still strong on the laptop. When that dies, I may be in for withdrawal. Pen and paper do not comfort me as they once did. I’ll save the batteries in the radio for tonight. It gets dark early too, so it will be a long one. During the day I feel alone without news from the radio or TV, yet every person in Southern NH is in the same boat. We are in isolation, yet not alone. What a paradox.

(Saturday update. Still no power. Posted from remote location.)

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