Wednesday, March 3, 2010

White Katrina

On Friday 2-26 I woke up to a yard of snow and no power! A yard, horizontally AND vertically.

(click on pictures for larger view)

It took about three hours to dig myself out. I do have a snowblower :o) , but, it's electric :o( .

Next, I had to go check on my Mom, who will be 80 later this month and lives alone. I had been calling and calling her, and there was no answer. So off I drove.

Supermarket, closed. Everything on the main drag, closed. But I found a deli on the way that had a generator, and got her a cup of hot coffee, a loaf of bread, and a box of doughnuts. I would have gotten milk, but it was all gone. The guy on line in front of me had the last container.

downed line near my house.

Because my mom has a 260 foot long driveway, she has a contract with a plowing company. But when I got to my Mom's, there had been no plowing done.

It couldn't be plowed. There were too many downed trees.

In fact there were downed trees everywhere. That's what caused the power outages, not a major grid failure or anything. No yard with a tree was unscathed.

I parked at my Mom's neighbors' house across the street, and hiked to her front door. Parts of the hike were 4-foot drifts, so I arrived out of breath. I sat on her landing breathing heavily and unable to speak. All she could say (over and over) was "What's the matter? What's the matter? What's the matter? What's the matter?" And I couldn't reply, but I could think: "Shut up Already! I'm just trying to catch my breath!"

Curse You, Optimum Triple Play

Why didn't she answer her phone? It wasn't working because she has cable phone now. It's a bundle package with her computer and internet. I had forgotten. I thought she had decided against it. I had repeatedly told her that if the power went out, she would have no phone if she got that package. Well, my words came true. She was sorry now, but she never listens to me. For example, I'm a nurse. I told her not to take Lipitor, her cholesterol wasn't that high, but she had to get muscle weakness for herself before she told me that "her friend told her that she shouldn't take it because of that." Her "friend" isn't even a nurse. No one ever listens to me; especially her. But I'll stop my stomp down that angry road; don't get me going about my mother.


After I left her place, I saw the supermarket was open; they had acquired limited power with a generator. No lights, but the all-important cash registers were working. You could even pay by credit card.
I got some of those gigantic chocolate chip cookies; no problem is so big that chocolate chip cookies and ferrets can't mitigate it.
I didn't really need any other groceries; ironically, I had just gone grocery shopping the previous day. One of the things I had gotten was a hyacinth; I love to get one in the late winter to fill my house with the smell of spring. Though this particular hyacinth became, instead of a harbinger of joy, a mocking reminder of my discomfort.

As I drove away from the supermarket, I saw the jewelry store next to it had a big smash-hole through the door. Outside the jewelry store there were about five police cars, and the Indian owners of the store standing there looking very unhappy. Someone must have decided that with the electricity off, the alarm system would not be working! I guess I never realized how tempting those Swarovski Crystal creatures can really be. And this is where I get the title of this blog--only one day, and not even a natural disaster, and we have looting. People, get (legal) guns, that's all I can say.

"White Katrina," I know it's an exaggeration, but the name amused Grumpet so much that he blew yogurt through his nostrils, so I had to stick with it.

I spent the rest of the day shoveling the sidewalk, knocking snow off the gazebo, and making calls for my mom (trying to arrange for someone to clean her tree debris, and then notifying her plowing service about that). I had an early dinner with my next-door neighbor at a village eatery that cooked with gas (like the supermarket, though, also no lights).

Guess what I had? Aaaah, a cheeseburger and fries.

The Dorchester Motor Lodge

When I bought my house in 2003, I was assigned a phone number that I soon learned had previously belonged to the "Dorchester Motor Lodge." The phone calls gradually petered out until I would only get one or two around graduation time from parents of students at West Point. When I asked where they got that listing, I was told the Dorchester was on some list of alternate hotels for the extremely desperate; West Point is about an hour south of here.
Well, when I got home from my Mom's, without an answering machine to screen my calls, I started answering the phone whenever it would ring (who knows when my Mom's power would be restored, maybe it was her. She promised to call as soon as her phone was working again.) At this point I decided to call in to work; it was almost time to go in, and I still had snow removal to do (my gazebo was covered with snow, and despite the slats, it was bowing. I took a stick and spent two hours knocking snow off it).
I must have received about 25 calls over the next few days for people looking for a room at the Dorchester Motor Lodge. "That place has been closed for over eight years! Where did you get the number?" I asked. People told me -- and I later discovered it was true-- that "The Yellow Book" had inexplicably run that business and number again. The place was razed almost a decade ago to build a Circuit City! I'm going to have to deal with these calls all year now. And people often don't believe me, and call a second time. I am considering suing. Any lawyers out there, think I have a case?


I have a bird feeder in my front yard, and without cable or internet, I spent a lot of time peeking at them and trying to get their pictures. I will alternate more of this story with birdie pictures to keep your attention.

Anyway, I was exhausted after this long day. I went to bed when it got dark, around 6:30 pm as I remember, and slept until 7:30 am the next morning (Saturday).

On Saturday, there was actually a newspaper in my driveway--with yesterday's newspaper wrapped up inside it.

No yoga today, though. But the day had its own quest. Mom asked that when I came back, would I bring her other food. Not just any food--she had to have chinese food. "OK, if I find some."
I had breakfast at the village eatery where I'd been the previous evening (ham and cheese omelet--I knew it would be the highlight of my day, and it was. It was all downhill from there.)

There were still hardly any businesses open, though somehow, the supermarket had gotten lights. And a few other restaurants that cook with gas were open for business, including a few chinese restaurants! While I waited for my order, I looked through their phone book--the local Yellow Pages-- and confirmed the 2010 listing of the Dorchester Motor Lodge.
I got to my Mom's neighbors' house, filled up a knapsack with two gallon containers of water (Mom has a well, and so no water, since it comes up with an electric pump), and carried two buckets (so she could melt snow to use to flush the toilet), one filled with --of course--the chinese food, and the other with a thermos of hot coffee. When I entered her front door, there she sat in cozy comfort with heat, lights, and water. "Why didn't you call me and let me know that your power was restored??"
Guess what? even with power, her stupid cable phone still didn't work! Curse you, Optimum Triple Play!

Ferrets, of course

There is truth to the phrase, "Powered by ferrets." They certainly are what kept me going. Sitting in my house with the power out, cold and wearing three layers of clothes, including fingerless mittens, I was still smiling. Why? Look at this face.

"Look at me, Momma, I have fursonality!"
"Yes, you do, my little Milky-Duddy, in spades. Give me a little kiss, won't you?"
*>little lick<*

I played with the ferrets for a long while. This is what you do when you're at home with no power and three cats and four ferrets--you put a leash on the ferret and attach it to the cat and see who determines locomotion.

But still, I was so tired of being cold. It was getting really old, really fast.
On the other hand, camping was never so good.

Free ice for my soda, a flush toilet, a real bed, ferrets, cats, and all my books, all the stuff I really miss when I'm camping for real.

I heated up a frozen dinner on my camp stove, and used my battery operated air bubbler to put some air in the only tank I have with a fish.

I went to bed at 5 pm Saturday and slept till 5 am Sunday, when I had to get up to go to work to do a double shift. I was never so glad to be at work-- heat, microwaves, lights. Happily, when I came home, power had just been restored.


Roberta said...

You are too much Dawn. I just spent a good amount of time reading the Katrina Blog. I just love to read your blogs they are so creative, I love the time that you put into the pictures. Just great! You are very talented... YEA!

Molly said...

Dawn, you are so funny! I miss seeing you in class!