Saturday, October 29th was just one of those great days. Overcast but not over programmed, cold but not freezing, full but not stuffed. Somehow, the afternoon found my whole family napping so I found refuge in a terrific YA book my good friend, Heather, recommended to me. When the family awoke, we proceeded as planned: carving pumpkins into Jack-o-lanterns, eating a great crockpot dinner, donning PJs to settle in for a family movie night. When your kids are just 5 and 2, these sort of activities come as rare and special treats. We watched Wall-E, a perfect choice for a kindergartner who’s into robot talk and a preschooler into spaceships.
Outside, the clouds emptied their rain, the rain turned to snow and the temperature dropped to freezing. Unknowingly, while we sat warm and cozy inside, the earliest snow storm in North East history raged outside. If you’ve never experienced thunder snow, take my word, it’s surreal.
The poor trees, still heavy with leaves, carried the extra burden of thick, wet snow. Intermittently, we heard the thud of snowloads being dumped from branches; sometimes the thud of trees dumping the branches along with the snow. Lights flickered but the movie played on.
The kids got an extra late bedtime. At 9:03, we tucked them, cozy and warm, into their beds and turned off the lights. At 10:15, the storm took care of the rest of the lights—along with the heat and everything else that brings comfort and convenience to our lives. Our house went dark.
Sunday morning, October 30th left us with an overcast sun for our light and a gas stove for our breakfast needs. Day one without electricity was novel: preparing meals left the satisfaction of cooking over a camp fire; breaking out our camping gear, we wore miner’s lights, cranked self-winding lanterns, lit hurricane lamps; we even entertained company for a dinner by candle light. But bed that night was cold.
The outside temperatures had dipped to 22F and inside it was 48F. It was cold for DH and me, who share body heat under the same extra-full, down comforter; it was REALLY cold for our kids, who share a room but often no covers at all; and it was down right tragic for our tropical, pet Beta fish, Choo Choo, who shares nothing willingly with anyone.
At 1:30 a.m. something woke me up—perhaps the brain freeze that had settled in sometime around midnight–and I got up to check on the status of the kids’ covers. Looking out our front and rear windows revealed streetlights on both parallel streets, an ominous sign that our neighborhood had been restored but our street neglected. I could tell it was going to be a long, powerless haul.
Monday, October 31st: Halloween. We had to get up early to help our kindergartner into her costume for the kindergarten parade and party. The problem…no one wanted to get out of bed, not even a cold bed, because the alternative was far colder. Somehow we dressed, prepared a hot meal and got to school (which, though just down the hill, thankfully had its power restored earlier that morning).
The rest of Monday found my preschooler and I moving from one warm, power-full locale to the next. Our house hovered at a brisk 54F while somehow our neighbors across the street miraculously had retained heat in absence of power. We joined them for pre-trick-or-treating pizza, lit ghoulishly by candlelight and took refuge at another friend’s empty Newton apartment that night.
By Tuesday, the novelty of our situation had gone the way of our electricity. Our fish was farmed out to one neighbor’s home, our food to a friend’s refrigerator, my children to various warm locations. We taxied back and forth, relied heavily on the benevolence of others and prayed to the gods of power and light to grace us once more with both.
It was while dining at our good friend’s and neighbor’s up the street that the call came:
“Hey, your porch light is on!”
And so we returned to our abandoned home, to wet laundry in the cellar, unwashed dishes in the dishwasher, lukewarm food in the fridge and melted ice cream in the freezer. Our house’s temperature climbed steadily back to comfortable and we went to bed in our own rooms.
Yesterday marked the start of Nanowrimo, or in my case, PiBoIdMo—an electrifying month where writers everywhere attempt to keep their fires burning for thirty days straight—events I knew nothing about before my friendship sparked with Heather Kelly.
Yesterday also marked the 1st blogiversary of World Moms Blog, where I’ve been contributing and editing since January. A resource that has connected me to fellow writing moms across the globe.
There’s so much writing to do, food to reposes, pets to recover, laundry to wash, dishes to clean and sanity to restore. At least now I have a warm and well-lit desk where I can sit, paralyzed by the mounting tasks before me.
And so November begins….