Boston had a big storm. There is two feet of snow on the streets there. But Boston did not lose their electricity.
Duxbury, my town 35 miles south of Boston, had the same big storm, with the same amount of snow. But Duxbury has many trees, and the wind of Blizzard Nemo knocked many of them down all over our yards, with the result that on Friday night, February 9, at 9 p.m., we lost our electricity.
Since Friday night, I have been camping out in my house, sleeping in a sleeping bag on the floor near the woodstove. There are no lights, no television, no telephone, no Internet, no heat, and I am trying to keep my water pipes from freezing by stoking the fire around the clock, heading out to the garage at midnight, 3 a.m., 5 a.m., whenever the wood pile gets down. Thankfully, my husband likes to split wood, so there is plenty of that. I know the people of Storm Sandy had it worse, much worse, although I have heard from neighbors, that in the next town from here, Marshfield, Massachusetts, on Friday night people saw waves crashing over houses, and a refrigerator in the middle of the street. One house, they said, was split in half. I empathize with those people of New York and hope they're safe and warm by now.
At least I still have a standing house, but it is very cold inside. This morning my beautiful hibiscus plant, which I have kept warm through many a winter by keeping it in my bathroom inside the house during winter's cold, gave up the ghost. It had 15 buds on it, ready to bloom, but they just couldn't make it in this cold, and never quite finished blooming. Goodbye, hibiscus.
Granted, a plant is a plant, and at the coffee shop down the street where I walked, because they have power back, a man came in and Lynn, the proprietor, asked whether he had found his dog yet.
"Yes," he replied. "They found her washed up in the marsh. She drowned in the storm, poor thing."
What's frustrating is that on Sunday night at 9 p.m., I saw my next door neighbor's house light up, and the house across the street, and the one behind me. Hooray, I thought, the electricity is coming back tonight!"
No such luck. They stopped at my house, and now it's Tuesday morning. Yesterday I walked up the street where I saw an NStar truck working to restore electricity to houses around the block. "Are you coming our way next?" I asked. "Yes," the driver answered.
Turns out he was lying. NStar Electric, where we have paid our bill religiously, says they work around the clock during these emergencies. The Duxbury Fire Department tells me that NStar goes home at 10 p.m. This morning, at 6 a.m, as I walked back to the coffee shop, I saw three NStar trucks in the parking lot of the inn where my husband suggested I sleep last night, as they have heat. I said no because I have to watch those pipes and keep the fire going. I wonder when NStar will wake up and continue their work.
Now I must throw all the food from my freezer out. I know, food can be replaced, people and dogs cannot. I know I am very lucky even to have a house, and firewood, and good health, so I'm trying not to complain. But it was hard watching my neighbor, who said she had just taken a hot bath, changed her clothes, and cooked dinner. Of course she offered all of those things to me, but I don't want to impose unless I am truly in trouble. But it is not fun sleeping in the same clothes I had on on Friday night, eating from whatever cans are left in the cupboard (sort of like Cormac McCarthy's novel "The Road," no?) and watching the thermometer carefully to see if those pipes are still unfrozen.
I think about all the weather tragedies that seem to happen more and more often, and wonder what we should be doing for better preparation. Many trees are down in town; I also have an enormous branch down in the backyard which, thankfully, did not fall on anyone or come through the roof of my house, which could happen easily in the next storm.
I can do this. I am a strong person, bred in Michigan where women work hard and live through storms. I can go to the floor in my sleeping bag at 6 p.m. when it gets dark, and stay there until 6 a.m. when it gets light, getting up reguarly to get more wood.
I just don't want to anymore.