Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Finally! A 'Normal,' Post-Irene Day

Let me first say that we’re lucky that we didn’t sustain damage to our house or to any of the members of the Picket Fence Post family in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene.

That being said, a couple trees in our yard were knocked down by high winds, one of which busted the safety netting around the kids’ trampoline, another broke the top of a section of our backyard fence. The combination of the saturated ground and the heavy winds pushed one smaller tree in our front yard over to the side and The Spouse used rope and my SUV to pull it kind of upright after wedging two rocks around the tree trunk’s base. (That tree has begun lilting toward the ground again.)

But the biggest issue for us was the fact that we lost power, phone and internet for over two days, as did most folks in our town, and thousands in our state.

For one evening, not having power can be novel, like a pioneer type of adventure where you eat by candlelight, play Scrabble with an assist from a lantern, read out loud with a battery-operated book light and listen to the crackling battery-powered radio. But by the time you’ve already done one full day and evening without power, by day two, any pioneer charm you might've tried to appreciate is gone and being without modern conveniences is just damned annoying, particularly because I couldn’t do my work from home, we had no hot water, the kitchen sink was clogged with food (the garbage disposal hadn’t been run) and there were hundreds of dollars of groceries rotting in our barely cool refrigerator.

I was not expecting that the power would be out for so long given that in my area we'd only experienced as a tropical storm. (During previous epic snowstorms and even during Hurricane Bob 20 years ago, I’d never experienced losing power for more than a few hours.) We were okay for one day without power, but not for more than that. As I was throwing out thawed out meat from our freezer that we hadn't been able to cook, I started thinking with envy about the friend -- whom I’d moronically mocked when he told me he’d purchased a gasoline-powered generator – and realized that he was the smart one.

Luckily The Spouse and I were able to use our Blackberries, which we could charge in our cars so we could communicate with others and post wry comments to Twitter and Facebook. We could also go out for meals and for coffee, though it was very challenging trying to drive around on local roads because so many of them were blocked or re-routed. (I was very jealous that my husband showered with hot water at work on Monday AND got access to the internet.)

As for the Picket Fence Post children, specifically The Youngest Boy, those two days without power, phone and internet seemed very, V-E-R-Y long. We discovered that The Youngest Boy is insanely screen addicted. He greeted me in my bedroom in the morning whining that he couldn’t play video games or watch TV, as though he was the only one who was being inconvenienced. The whining persisted even though he knew there was nothing that could be done about it, and even when all the neighborhood kids got together and played soccer, epic games of Monopoly and various games outdoors and seemingly had a good time.

“I want to make some toast,” he said on the second morning without power.

“Can’t. No power,” I replied.

“Arghhh!” Then the kid refused to eat breakfast because there was nothing he said he wanted to eat unless it was a) hot or b) refrigerated. This was problematic because this child starts losing his mind if he doesn’t get something to eat every three hours, so I insisted that he eat a peanut butter and Nutella sandwich and drink a juice pouch or two because my patience was waning and I didn’t want to deal with a losing-his-mind 10-year-old.

This morning was the first “normal” morning in several days. We have all our utilities back (though I still had to, reluctantly, toss more food out for fear we’d be poisoned). The three kids returned to school and I could return to working while listening to news in the background and drinking a freshly brewed cup of coffee (or several). The things we take for granted . . .

1 comment:

  1. SO much more than a picket fence, indeed! It's wonderful and I know you will all love it and the security that it gives as it hugs the property around your house. You deserve every single dream come true, my friend. :)

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