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Sunday, February 9, 2014

2/9/14: The Importance of Individual Initiative in an Ice Storm

It's Sunday.. We're back..

Power came back Friday evening and here we are up and running once more

During dramatic and traumatic events such as an ice storm knocking power out for days when the outside temp is below freezing, you learn a lot about yourself..

You also learn even more about others.
We've gone through experiences like this before so even though it was still admittedly a great challenge at times, things went much smoother than it could have.

So we wish to share for the purposes of being informative, what it was like over the last few days being in an ice storm so massive in sweep and scope that as of noon Sunday there's still about 100,000 people powerless..

Prior to Wednesday morning, Feb 5th, the weather forecasters locally and nationally kept saying to expect the east coast to get snow with our locality to expect 2-4 inches..

Ehh..  shoveled before.. prepared to shovel again..  What ya' gonna' do?
Except instead it rained and formed ice and more ice..and coated everything, especially the trees and its limbs already covered with inches of snow from a previous 12in snowfall only 2 days prior...

And then gravity took over..

Trees bent over.. branches cracked and fell like toothpicks

And in a blink of an eye, power is gone and you just know deep down that it will take time to restore..

You assume the best, prepare for the worst and start making preparations..
Gather the flashlights and candles.. locate the batteries.. put all the non-perishables together in one spot-- the soup and ravioli cans and tuna packets..

Then its about making sure you're warm because that outside freeze is going to cause that toasty warm house to drop big-time..

We had a portable propane heater so Mission #1 once it was safe to drive was to scour up and down as far as realistic to collect canisters.

Safety driving was the operative term of the day.. most traffic lights were out and few police to navigate so just a lot of impromptu 4-way stops along the way.  The smaller roads were worse..  Blocked due to fallen trees
 We came back with quite a few canisters and felt good about things except we didn't take a few factors into consideration:

1) A small propane heater can keep a small bedroom comfy when the temp is 45deg out but when its 19deg, its a major struggle..

2) A propane heater requires a window opened a crack to let out the CO2 but when the wind is gusting 20mph in all directions and opening the sill actually allows in more brutal temp, then the purpose is defeated.

So its now Thursday morning.. the house temp is 44 degrees and the feeling upon waking up is like a massive achy hangover without the initial 'fun' of getting' blitzed first..

We decided very quickly to stay at a hotel during that miserable night..
 After many calls, we got a reservation at the one and only hotel within 30miles with a room opening;  a perk of not being located right off a major highway thus the adage holding true for others in need of shelter:  'Out of Sight, Out of Mind'

We expected to be there a week based on all information given to us and the devastation seen of broken power lines and tree limbs all over the place so we frantically packed accordingly while bundled up snug..

This included throwing all the perishables inside the fridge and freezer into the trash..  Oh, that was painful, especially on the ole' pocketbook..

Good quality food now inedible and when it comes to something like whether to throw away or not, we remember what salmonella is like and the decision becomes quite easy..
So we get to the motel at noon.. Problem is check in wouldn't be till 4p..

Ugh!!    How to fill four hours when dead tired??

So rather than waste it, first thing was we spent time at the local library so we could charge up all the devices which were drained and used their internet to make some contact with the outside world..

Never seen a local library so packed with people.. If only people wanted to read books as badly as they wanted electrical outlets, what a truly educated nation we'd be..

Finally its 4p.. we check in..  Crash into a deep sleep, later shower and just feel normalized...
Friday morning we went back to the house.. power still out so it was freezing but we had no choice. Didn't want a situation where the pipes burst..

Some advised us to let a small drip of water flow from every faucet 24/7 to prevent freezing but just something about letting water run when not home didn't sit well so we ran it for a few hours while there...

Its funny how brutal cold (or stifling heat in summer) can make one's home.. something you love and feel a bond with a most unbearable place to sit in and want to get out as quick as your feet will take you..

Finally by evening we got word power was restored..  Yay!
We rushed over, turned on the heat and cleaned up the house a bit..  It took two hours for the inside temp to get from 40 to 63 degrees which where we set things for the night since we still had a motel room to check out of the next day

Saturday is checkout, we pick up a small amount of refrigerated goods on the way home and then pretty much all is normal again..  Almost as if nothing ever happened

But as we said at the beginning, we learned a lot about ourselves through the ordeal and even more about others..

We learned or rather re-affirmed who is truly there for us in major bind and which friends and family really care..
And we learned from lack of an effort to make any contact, who couldn't have given a fuck...

And we learned or re-affirmed which neighbors were sincerely nice and helpful, which were pleasant due to the nature of emergency and which are and will always be rat-bastards till their dying breath..

And we learned or re-affirmed the importance of individual initiative..

No one was going to magically come to the rescue and deliver us propane or feed us or provide us a place to sleep..
Those in emergencies who sit and wait and hope end up sitting and waiting and rotting..

And perishing.

And now its Sunday.. we're in our home.. Still brutal cold out but warm and toasty inside and just patiently waiting for our next shoveling..  Most likely this evening..

Or next post will be sometime tomorrow or Tuesday at latest..