Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Power Again! Hooray! Thank You!

We had a moment of false hope on day 9 when the utility truck arrived on our road and started working on our pole. I was certain that this was going to be the day for the restoration. Apparently when the trees came crashing across the lines, the insulators on many of the transformers were torn off. Alas our poor transformer suffered this fate and the crew removed it and drove off. This was a dark day for Ginny and I, knowing that current was running along our street and illuminating our neighbor's Christmas trees. Day 10 brought some unwelcome heavy snow which hampered the work crews progress. The temperature plummeted and we decided to move our sleeping quarters to the first floor. In the coldest days the basement was a comfortable 69 degrees (wood stove), the living room was 57 degrees (the floor was 63 degrees) and the second floor was 52 degrees (acceptable with a down comforter). Day 11 was bright but very cold and when the crew arrived with our new transformer, it was just getting dark. This picture was taken at 3:54 PM, it was 15 degrees and windy. The crews were working almost around the clock. I don't think you could pay me enough to climb into a bucket and hover 30 feet in the air in that type of weather. A number of these folks are going to miss Christmas with their families. I was chatting with the crew and one worker told me that he sent his wife some roses. As I write this the crews are still working on the wires. It is Christmas Eve the temperature is 25 degrees and we are getting .... (can you guess?) sleet with a chance of freezing rain. These guys deserve our thanks.

Friday, December 19, 2008

New Ipswich Ice Storm - Neighbors Helping (Part 1)

I'd like to publically thank Lars and Amy Somero for providing free showers and laundry services to the citizens of New Ipswich at a Redfield Homes model home.

I've heard many stories about folks hooking up generators, offering hot showers, cooking meals and checking up on each other. It's encouraging news.

Unfortuately there have been some robberies and scam artists claiming to expedite power restoration, and door to door generator salesmen selling $800 generators at a huge markup.

It seems that any disaster brings out the best and worse of human behavior. I know that I am thanking the power crews. I hope they will be able to return to their families by Christmas. They are here from all over the east coast and Canada.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mom has power but....

All our neighbors had power as of 6:30PM on Wed... but not us.. apparently there are five "issues" on the line and they are working on it. So we are shoveling snow and showering at mom's. Also sweeping water in her basement (underground stream that sump pump didn't get with power off) and doing laundry. Ah.. 6 days into this is getting old.

Ice can be hazardous! The welded lawn sculpture that Jesse made "the gardener" was speared from behind by a branch through the shoulder and out the front of his chest! Yikes.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

New Boston Ice Storm "Recovery" Continues

We’re in a serious weather event – ice storm w. major power outages, but we have no idea about what is going on since we don’t have communications access. I took Mom around for my Saturday errands. Fortunately they did have power where I was scheduled for my haircut…nice to get a shampoo. And then I went to the gym for a shower. When we got back to town we went to the elementary school to check out the first run of our “emergency shelter” situation. Since they needed a midnight to 6AM shift “supervisor” we volunteered. [Mom felt she wanted an “adventure” Actually Mom is the one who could stay up all night reading her Jodi Picoult book.. I slept. Weird to sleep in the gym where I taught 22 years ago! ]
In town, we do have two couples who have been trained in CERT Community Emergency Response Training – a national program for community members to be prepared in event of emergencies. They have been putting in 12+ hours a day shifts.

Picture of Mom w. walkie talkie (is it still called that?) At "base 100" direct line to fire chief.

Lots and lots of food was donated but not that many people sleeping over. But in the AM folks came in for some thawing time and hot foot. I do think there is a stigma to the term “shelter”.. maybe “relief station” or “comfort zone” would be more welcoming.

The national guard, 2-trucks full, showed up since the fire station generator died.. their duty was to trim trees.. they reported that we are one of the towns worst hit.. too many trees down, although they said most people on those roads were out with their own chain saws clearing branches. The local firemen chatted with them, the general conversation being complaints about public service utility not efficient enough with tree trimming. It sounded more like competition over who is the better team. The national guard group is a parallel to a teacher on a field trip- the group (19-20 yr olds?)getting directions about going to the bathroom and get some food and don’t get overheated b/c then you will be chilled outside.

So , in addition to catching up on my knitting and handcrafts I am strategizing how to get a shower and do we have school or not.. etc. etc.

Our house is toasty. We have the gas lights that are keeping an even temperature. We have not yet fired up the woodstove (not too much wood). Our new gas heaters have an electric thermostat and fan, so they are not a help. The lights are really the answer for us now. We can cook because we have the gas stove.

Brad & I went to the Apple store and played with new toys and got caught up on email. I heard on radio no school in Amherst,,, but went anyway b/c we are technically a different district and they always name us separately .. but no actually no school.. so I had a nice 6AM chat w. custodians and a little quiet work time.

Time to go gather water!