Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Dear Diary ~ Hurricane Irene...

Saturday, Aug. 27th I closed Three Lights Sanctuary because we and everybody else in the coastal states were making the last preparations for Hurricane Irene that had just made landfall in North Carolina. Everyone was doing last minute grocery shopping so we took my sign and welcome mat in and took the air conditioner out of the window and closed the blinds. So one weekend lost due to the storm.

We continued to watch Irene's progress and knew we were in her sights with gusty winds overnight and heaviest winds and rain between 8am and 6pm on Sunday. Irene was forecast to make another landfall around NYC as a CAT 1 hurricane. What we didn't know was that shortly after 7:30am on Sunday the power went out! We pretty much expected to lose our electricity due to downed trees here and there, but no one around here expected to be without it for days! See, it's now Tuesday morning, Aug. 30th and we have not had power restored as of yet.

We have a weather radio and were aware that we could listen to our local news station so we would know what conditions were around the state. It was comforting to hear the voices of our news team that are with us via TV daily at noon and from 5:00-6:30pm. We knew what damage was being caused and what to expect in rainfall amounts and winds. We had tropical force sustained winds all day and night on Sunday. They diminished around 10pm. Rainfall was only a maximum of 4" in our area.

I have a police scanner and received a lot of information about what was going on in our town, and it was then that we knew Irene was doing a lot of damage with trees and limbs falling across power lines and snapping utility poles! Almost every street in town was reported to have trees down and blocking them to traffic, which even though no one should have been out driving, but there are always people who do. It was much worse than we had anticipated.

No one could tell us how long it would take to have power restored to the over 300,000 customers state-wide. Workers from around the country are here working 24 hours a day fixing wires so we can resume our normal activities and people can reopen their businesses and go back to work.

Today, Aug. 30th - School was supposed to start today for most kids in the state but no electricity - no school. Nothing is open in our town except a Lil General store and the pharmacy. My husband didn't have his first cup of coffee until Monday afternoon when he decided to try Lil General because we heard it was open. The bar in George's Restaurant was open down the street in town, so some were gathering for a "hurricane party" to pass the time! I made a few phone calls to see what was open in MA so we could get our lottery tickets for the week as we have to buy them on Mondays. We found a supermarket in Uxbridge, MA that was open, so Tom made a trip with an empty cooler and he brought back 3 bags of ice (that's all they would allow) and a few more items that I could keep cool overnight like soy milk and juice so I could have cereal when I wanted to.

Some good news is that our telephone works. Tom was able to go to work this morning as they never lost power in northern MA, so he's back to his normal routine and can have his coffee all day and hot soup for lunch! I have my canned fruit, pumpkin nut bread that I made Saturday and I have peanut butter and crackers, pickles and beets, and my sliced cheese that I have in the cooler, so I'll have a cheese sandwich and beets for supper with a can of V8 juice! Yum. It could be worse. This is a good lesson for all of us who live in southern New England - even a minimal tropical storm can cause power outages for days and up to a week. We were on the east and windiest side of Irene and were feeling the effects. The only damage to our property was several dead branches downed and many smaller ones and a shingle blew off one of our sheds.

At 7:15 this morning I was outside in the wet grass picking up branches and I must say I did a good job. I made a pile next to the house and shrubs near the maple trees they came from and am still waiting to hear from a tree service I called so they could do the cleanup for us. That was yesterday and he hasn't come by to assess the job yet. They never come when they say they will, so I started the job myself.

I've been feeding the 3 cats in our half-basement using a flashlight because even with the windows it's dark where I fill their food dishes. It gets dark after 6:30pm and we sit in the living room and listen to music and our local news - wow...I really miss my TV! I know there are many in the world with less, but we're not used to being without electricity and lack of water usage - can't shower, lost our last "flush" this morning so have to dump water down the "john" every once in a while as needed. So we're "roughing it." Not that bad...just an inconvenience. Rumor has it that we may have our power back on Thursday. I will look forward to my first shower. The key is to have the grocery stores open and restocked with fresh food so what we buy can be heated and cooked. If the food isn't fresh it'll just be canned soup and beans and maybe pasta for a while, but that will seem like "heaven" to me. :) Tonight we should be able to listen to the baseball game on the radio - the Yankees are in town if they could get here - I assume the airport is letting flights in now but I don't know for a fact. We'll find out.

The days are long because I can't run errands. The post office, bank, and grocery stores are all closed. I could read but I'm too preoccupied with the situation to read. I prefer to write and think. I miss my computer and my Facebook friends - can't wait to get back to posting on my and their walls. :) My last post was that I'd be back as soon as possible in case we lost power, but I had no idea at the time it would be several days. I'm thinking I'll be able to open Three Lights Sanctuary on Saturday - it's Labor Day weekend besides. Next Monday Tom will have the holiday off and I was thinking about going to Foxwoods, so we'll wait and see when things get back to normal and then decide to take a ride to play the slots or stay home.

It's 12:10pm on Tuesday and I am listening to our local news on the radio. An optimistic report: they found the trouble in the feed from National Grid that supplies Pascoag Electric in our town and they think Pascoag and Harrisville will have their (our) power back TODAY!! Yay!!! That would be a lot of prayers answered. :) And so I will wait - if this happens and we get our power back today I will only have a few more words to add to this post. Waiting eagerly!

Tuesday, Aug. 30th, 3:55pm. Yes - miraculously, our power came back on. Hallelujah!

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