Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Surveying some of Sandy's damage, October 31, 2012.
First, the disclaimer. I know we were incredibly lucky. I know there are so many people who have it worse than we do. We are lucky the structure of our home was unscathed and that no major trees came down. We have our lives, for goodness sake. Some people were not so fortunate.
But. We are on our tenth day without power. Without heat or electricity. Did I mention there is a nor'easter forecasted for this afternoon? The kicker with that? The workers who are scrambling to reinstate power to those who are still without, will have to stop once the storm hits. Not to mention the possibility that people who have power might lose it again. I think if that happened, I would just drive myself straight to the closest mental hospital. I mean, really.
Even during the day, the house doesn't seem all that light.
I want to cry. I'm wondering around in a perpetual fog and feel stretched so thin that it's as though if I stood side ways I'd be transparent. I'm not sleeping well. I lie awake and think of those cold little babies in their seven layers. My spirit feels like it's being slowly crushed. I know this is irrational but the prospect that the power will come back is starting to feel out of reach, impossible. When I hear of friends getting their power restored, I am thrilled for them and don't begrudge them their power, but I am envious. I don't think: Why them? I think, Why not them AND Us?
Erin was able to download a movie on the iPad (she had to do it in the city, our signal at home is too weak right now) the other day and it was as if the heavens had parted. By the way, according to Leo and Ellie The Secret of the Wings is not to be missed.
One bright spot in all of this: I will admit that I sort of love not having a TV (that is of course until the kids go to bed and I want to watch My Shows--Oh wait, there's another bright spot! Think of all the TV I have saved up to watch! Weee!.) Without a television, the kids are forced to be creative. They draw, they play "Animal Hospital" and "Fix the Toys"--you should have seen Ellie making casts out of white printer paper, for all the stuffed animals. They come up with complicated scenarios: "Leo!" Ellie calls, "Let's play Fairies!" And we all know about Leo's love of dress-up. There has been plenty of that.
The only reason we are able to stay in the house is that our neighbor (who inexplicably, has power--that's another kicker, most of the houses on our street have power restored) offered to plug in an extension cord to his outlet, so we're stringing one to our electric fireplace. Of course we're not able to keep that overnight (hello, fire hazard), so it is getting very cold in our bedrooms. The daytime temperature in the house hovers around fifty-eight degrees. We wear many, many layers.
Thankfully, our gas stove works (we turn on the gas and then light it with a match). We plowed through our supply of frozen pizza in the first few days. And yes, in case you were wondering, you can heat pizza on the stovetop (see above).
Some good news? The kids finally went back to school yesterday after missing seven days. As you can imagine, we were all thrilled. I usually pack their lunches (which they prefer) but since we are dealing with some rather extraordinary circumstances, had counted on them having school lunch until life goes back to normal. Food has been tricky, we have a cooler packed with ice (which at this point seems silly--I could just save the trouble and store the food outside in the freezing temperatures.) I've been doing a little shopping every day but am certainly not in my usual Bento lunch box form.
So you can imagine my disappointment when I got the email from the school district yesterday afternoon saying there would be no school lunch available today.
In the end, I was able to cobble together two passable lunches. I think I will always remember Election Night 2012 as the one in which I listened to the returns on the radio and packed lunches by candle light, while I dined on Cheese Nips and wine. Try not to be jealous.
Last night Poor Erin got caught in hours of traffic coming home. Why? Because there was a downed wire on the turnpike. Of course there was. It feels like the End Of Days around here lately. Like, if it can go wrong, it will.
I keep thinking how easy life will feel once we get power back. But I did not need this reminder of how wonderful modern conveniences are (I already loved my dish washer and practically want to make out with my extra large HE washer and dryer). That reminds me. The laundry that has accumulated? Oh my goodness. It is epic.
"Why do we have to go to school?" Ellie asked this morning. "There's no power."
I explained to her that while we still don't have power, her school does. "It will be warm at school! And there will be lights!" I practically cheered. Lights and heat! Imagine the novelty.
"But why don't WE have power?" she asked.
Yes, it could be so much worse.
But I'm still waiting for it to get better.
I called our town mayor today. I call the electric company every day. I wish I had a good answer. If you'll forgive the pun, I feel so incredibly powerless.