We were among the lucky. We only lost electricity for about 36 hours, give or take a few. The power went out Sunday morning at some point, and came back around eleven something at night. We got our internet/cable/landline service back around noon the following day. No trees fell on our house – or the houses of family members. My parents and my sister and her family either lost power briefly or didn’t lose it at all.
Our water ran, our toilets flushed, and we watched the wind and rain from the safety of our home.
We ate from the fridge – a couple meals of eggplant parmesan and pasta I’d made on Saturday. And we cooked on either the little propane grill we take on camping trips or, on Monday, on the charcoal grill outside.
On the grill – tomatillos and jalapenos for salsa, and veggie burgers and stuffed clams from the freezer. The burgers and clams had started to soften on Monday, so we packed most of the burgers in ice and cooked up enough for a meal, plus the clams.
We were among the lucky. For us, it was kind of like camping, only with a solid roof and indoor plumbing. We cooked outside – something we do with or without the prompting of a hurricane – and ate from the garden and from food we already had kicking around.
The kids felt a few pangs of withdrawal once the power went out and they couldn’t watch tv or play Wii, but they adapted. Alex read a lot, Julia colored. We played board games. We had an hour of reading aloud before bedtime, all snuggled together on one bed, taking turns at the various British accents in the first Harry Potter book (Alex loves doing the accents, though listening to him, I’d swear Hogwarts was in Australia instead of England).
On Monday morning, Bill heated water on the grill and used our french press to make the coffee. We fried our eggs outside, too.
During the day, I did dishes and worked on a quilt – I actually prefer sewing by hand, so it was nice to be “forced” to do that instead of use the machine. Sure, the machine is faster, but there’s something peaceful and meditative about doing it the old-fashioned way.
Monday night we taught Alex to play Risk. At first it was Bill and Alex against me and Julia. But once she’d tired of playing with the horsies (the cavalry pieces), Julia quit the game and drew sea creatures by lantern light while Bill and Alex pretty much wiped me off the board. I haven’t played Risk in years – my strategizing was weak. Ah well. We ended the game while I still had a few infantrymen alive in China and Siam, and trooped upstairs for the nightly Harry Potter reading. Julia fell asleep. We put the kids to bed and fell asleep. I had a kitchen timer set because Bill had to go back to work the next morning.
I was deep in dreamland when suddenly Bill hissed “What’s that?”
I swam up to consciousness and squinted at my husband, who was half sitting up, staring at our bedroom door. I held my breath, listening, waiting to hear the footsteps or growl or whatever it was that had him on high alert.
“See that?” he said.
I couldn’t see anything. Just a band of light under the bedroom door. No movement.
“Did the kids leave the lantern on in the bathroom?” he demanded.
“No, it’s right here…” I answered.
And then the penny dropped.
A LIGHT WAS ON! WE HAD ELECTRICITY!
Just to make sure, I tried out the light next to my side of the bed. Yes!
Bill went back to sleep and I got up to go through the house and shut off all the lights that had been on when the power went out Sunday morning. I also plugged in my cell phone, which had died Monday evening.
Alex’s bedroom light was on, but he didn’t wake up. I quietly opened his door, switched the light off, and headed back to bed. From his room I heard, in his sleep-drenched voice, “I can’t see now!” and then silence. I love when they talk in their sleep.
Anyway, Tuesday morning we were nearly back to normal. Coffee from the coffee maker, eggs cooked on the stovetop. Internet back by lunchtime.
Like I said. Among the lucky ones.
Other families are still without power, without water. Some are without homes, as huge trees have fallen, pulling down wires and crushing roofs. And that’s just here, in Rhode Island. Other states are suffering far more than we are, and my heart goes out to people who have been flooded out of their homes.
Yesterday and today I puttered around doing laundry, dishes, and all the usual things I do around here. Tomorrow I’ll be canning more tomatoes in some form, making pesto, and I don’t know what else.
Back to normal is good.