(Thank God it's over. I have power this bright cool Monday morning. However, yesterday was a tiring challenge.)
Storm Diary; Sunday February 18th
I heard it in the night. The security system I don’t use makes noises when the power goes off.
I did not want to get up. I did not want to deal with the generator. I couldn’t remember where the choke was or how it worked. I just wanted to sleep the whole power failure away. But I couldn’t.
I got up and lit the fire. Heat, the first essential, was in place. Then I lit all my candles and fed the pets and after eating, Sheba wanted out so I opened the door and HOLY F-CK! There was a foot of dry powdery snow on the ground.
|Click on the photo to enlarge therm all.|
It was beautiful but I was pissed; I hate converting to generator power — crawling around moving all the plugs knowing I have to put them all back later. And wrapping all the power cord junctions outside in plastic so they don’t short out.
I filled the generator with gas and got it going and then I powered up the fridge and the water pump. After that, I plugged in a lamp — it was 5:00 am — and the lamp was dim. So I went out to the generator and made it run faster. I have to learn what a choke does. But when I moved it: Voilà, I had real power.
I came in and powered up my computer and the router. Oh my God it felt good to be able to be connected to the Internet and to be able to e-write.
Then I powered up the TV and again, voilà: The powerfully handsome Alexandre Despatis was talking just to me. The Olympics were back and I was happy.
Then I relaxed. I got a Diet Coke and sat down to write this post. Oh my God it feels good to write this and to hear the music I love as I wrote; this blog is my therapy.
By then, the sun was up and the beauty of the landscape really hit me. So did the need to unburden my Rhododendron and feed the birds.
I blew out the candles and realized how smart I was to get the generator. I’m warm and I have electricity and — and this is different than the city — I can flush my toilets and get cold water (that I can heat on the barbeque). It makes a power failure easy to endure.
And here I was sure winter was over, out in my t-shirt yesterday and planning to go to the nursery today. What a huge change in season and my plans.
At 8:30, the Shaw went down. No more Olympics or Internet. I refilled the generator and started to worry about having to go into town for more gas to keep it going. This was a big storm. Sometimes the power is off for days. (I see myself down the line, unable to do all this and simply waiting it out with New Yorkers by the fire, eating nuts and chocolate.)
At 8:45, sunshine started spurting through the clouds and lit up the trees. It’s absolutely stunning when the sun shines. Photos do not do it justice. There is a deciduous tree out in the back that is beautiful (see above); it's as beautiful as anything I have ever seen in the snow. It’s amazing to me to be able to step outside into such beauty. I just open the door and I am in it… and then, in the hot tub — I mean, let’s go for it.
That’s when I learned something interesting. I swept the snow off the cover and discovered it was rather full of urine. I think rats and/or raccoons sit on it at night on cold nights to absorb the heat and leave me souvenirs. But hot tubs to the sound of a generator ain’t so great so I changed my mind.
Today is my fifth day (Sunday) without Cipralex. In spite of that I’ve gotten this far with no seizure and my speech (which is how I can assess my overall stress “level”) is good. This is my third big power failure and the best I’ve ever coped.
At 10:00 I checked the gas gage and knew I had to go to the village for more gas and, if possible, a larger gas container. I am dreading it; I’ve never driven this car in snow. But then I’ve persevered through a lot of things since moving here I hated the thought of doing, so off I go….
Drum roll. I did it. The snow was so deep on Violet Crescent, the car was scraping its entire width through the snow. I had trouble getting onto North Road but once I did, it was clear all the way to the gas station.
The clerk at the Co-Op said, “It’s bad.”
She’s a long-time resident and she said the entire island is out. I saw trees leaning over the road, held up by the hydro wires. But when the sun came out, it was absolutely stunning because it was also lightly snowing.
I have enough gas for the day and I will turn it off tonight when I go to bed. My hands hurt partly from arthritis and partly from the fall and they stink of gas even though I’ve washed them repeatedly.
Sheba loves the snow, but it mats in her hair and then she comes in and soaks every place she stops. Sigh. The cats tend the fire.
By 11:30 I was ready for lunch so I swept the snow off the barbeque. We really did get a true foot of snow. My BBQ is a deluxe model; it has a burner for boiling water as well as the grill.
I’m in sweat pants and wearing galoshes. I have oven mitts on because the utensils are so bloody cold, but I have a nice warm meal. I am not a vegetarian; I had a perfectly done sirloin steak because I can. I covered it with spices I ground myself and the smell as the steak hit the grill was divine.
After lunch it was time to fill all the wood storage containers in the house. (It’s easier by far in daylight.) Then it was time to refill the generator before a well-deserved nap.
Then Sheba and I went into the studio. I lit the fire and popped in one of my favourite DVDs and got cozy on the couch to watch it. I need a new DVD. This one sucks, but it was better than nothing. I enjoyed my afternoon but oh, the noise of the generator in the otherwise silent paradise of Pinecone Park, is a pain!
Where is the Turn On Internet button? Where is the Melt Snow button?
By 4:30 I was looking forward to turning off the generator and going to bed, hoping that overnight the power would return. It won’t; it’s Sunday night for God’s sake. But maybe tomorrow; God I hope so.
At 5:00 the sun shone into my office area and drew me outside. The sky was deep blue and the cumulus clouds, bright and white. Everything was bright because of the snow; hardly any of it has fallen off the trees today. Charged by the beauty, I did it. Mr. Sissy is no more.
I am Odin. I was walking around naked and barefoot in the snow today in order to cover the tank when I got out. (I have no neighbours.) I walked in galoshes and a towel to the generator to check the gas level.
It stays light now, until six. Happy hour was donuts.
I had delicious, defrosted chicken pie for dinner and I heated it in the microwave. I cooked broccoli on the BBQ. Sheba and I watched some more movies after dinner and we went to bed early.
The best part of the day was the hot tub; I’m also going to really enjoy turning off the generator later tonight. If the power doesn’t come back on before I go into the village for gas tomorrow, I’m going to get more extension cords so I can move the generator into the tiny fourth building on my property. Then I won’t hear it as loudly in the house.
I am going to bed speaking well and comfortable with the whole power failure experience. With each one, my “alternate power” management improves. As is said, “I’ve ccome a long way, baby.” And I got here without help from the Welcome Wagon (Ellie was sick) or any information whatsoever from the previous owner.
Tomorrow I may have to go through all this again. My car stinks of gas. I will not be forgetting this storm for quite a while. I took Sheba out for a walk in the snowlight before bed to ensure I get a good long undisturbed sleep.
I can hardly wait to pull the sheets up over me in my nice cool and cozy bedroom with Sheba beside me on the floor, Fred sharing her bed, Ethel on the bed with me and little urinators huddled on the cover of my warm tub.
If it snows again like it did last night I’ll be looking for the Self Destruct button. Good night; it’s been fun.