State of Emergency

Thursday, Dec. 11 – It was a drizzly, icy day. Nothing horrible, just not a day to enjoy the great outdoors. I worked in my studio all day and headed up to the house to make dinner around 5:30. The ground was crunchy with the ice and it was beginning to rain harder. I turned on the TV to watch the evening news as I folded the last bit of laundry. That was when the first hint of trouble struck. The satellite dish wasn’t working because of the ice. By 7:30 the power had gone out. It came back briefly but went out again at 11:00. Still, with New England weather, such things are not unexpected. The wood stove was going nicely and we went to bed anticipating that the power would be back on in the morning. That was 6 days ago and we are still waiting.

Day 1
The morning views were of downed trees and branches and a thorough coating of ice everywhere. It was too dangerous to go outside because of the regular crashing down of limbs and whole trees. I stood staring out the slider doors watching. First you would hear a crack and then the thud of whatever had succumbed to the weight of the ice, hitting the ground. Unfortunately my camera was in my studio.

Later in the afternoon when it seemed to have quieted down some, we went down to the studio so I could begin taking pictures. After looking at all the trees that had fallen in the yard we headed to the road to see what that was like. We had thought of going for a ride to get some things, seeing all the trees hanging off the wires and branches in the road we weren’t so sure about that idea. We did venture out to find no one had power anywhere and the end of our road was blocked off. We turned around and headed down a dirt road to get to the highway. The devastation was everywhere.

Day 2
It was beginning to sink in that power would be out for a while so you start to make plans for the long haul. Since the wood stove was keeping us all set with heat, food was the next concern. The fridge was no longer very cold, but it was cold outside! I packed everything up, and threw out all those things that had mysteriously passed their expiration dates. The meat in the freezer went into a box, a plastic bag and a plastic bin and out into the yard. The rest went into a cooler that we brought up from the flooded basement. Yea, the sump pump that was suppose to prevent that was out along with everything else.

While I was dealing with the domestic front Rick went to Keene, where they had power and Home Depot. He looked for items like a generator, knowing that would be hard to find, and something to get the water out of the basement. No luck, a few items purchased but a big no go on clearing the water out. He did however get a case of wine.

Day 3
It was sunny and cold on Sunday, but the sun room helped heat the house as it was designed to do. The wood stove wouldn’t have to do all the work today. It was cold enough to keep the ice clinging to the trees, despite the sunshine.

Another call to Home Depot proved fruitful. Come in and get a number, a shipment of 200 will be here in the afternoon. A friend in Keene went and got us number 34! Rick left around 12:30 to wait for the truck to deliver the generators to Home Depot. At 6, when the truck had not yet arrived, all 200 customers were sent home with the promise that it would be there tomorrow.

Day 4
It was unseasonably warm, up into the 50’s. We set out early on the 30 minute drive to go get our generator. After getting it, we headed home after breakfast and a download at Panera Bread. Too many days without checking email is dangerous.

The first order of business was to get the water out of the basement. Rick hooked the sump pump up to the generator and the water started pouring out. The warm weather melted the ice on the trees and made the yard look a lot less threatening. Rick continued to work at getting the rest of the essentials hooked up to the generator. After a call to a friend at work, he received some further instructions on the best way to get power into the house. It was getting dark and there were still a few more step to complete the hook-up. The basement was free of water though. Finishing the generator was put off until morning.

Day 5
A couple more parts at the hardware store, which today had electricity, another 5 gallons of gas, and we would be all set. Indeed, it was up and running on Tuesday. Figuring out which circuits to put on and which to shut down was part of that process as well.

With so much progress made on the power front, it was time to look at the damage a little more closely. It was also time to turn the fallen spruce into a Christmas tree. Clearing the branches off the roof of the studio revealed a hole that a branch had punctured through the shingles.

By now the dinner menu was determined by what needed to cooked because it had begun to thaw. The garage had become my walk-in refrigerator, the problem being that nice warm Day 3. Absent that nothing would have thawed. This night it was chicken, I breaded and fried it and popped it in the oven. The stove was gas so that was always available. I breaded it to use the eggs. The other item that needed using were mushrooms, so I sauteed them in some lemon and a little Emmerills Orange Poppy marinade and had a lovely sauce for the chicken. The California blend vegetables were a nice touch too. A little Savingon Blanc and candlelight completed the meal.

That evening we even ran the dish washer, which had been waiting to run since the power had gone off.

Day 6
Rick resumed working from his home office. He had thought about going into his office in MA, but because snow was in the forecast, and because I was a little tentative about being alone in the dark with the generator as my only friend. Things actually approached normal today. I said approached. I got caught up on some cleaning and setup my laptop with my camera, since my other computer draws too much current.

With Internet access restored I’ve been checking Public Service of NH’s web site for updates. They still don’t have an estimated date for Peterborough to be completed. Most other places do. So we’ll see what tomorrow brings. If there’s no power still by this time tomorrow, it will be a week without power. I have had better weeks, but to be sure I’ve had worse!


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