It’s kind of hard to live blog a storm when you don’t have any electricity…so here is our Irene retrospective…or at least the start of it.
As you may have heard, I’m homeless. I’m crashing in my aunt’s spare room while I wait for my money pit to be finished. But I made a deal with my cousin to ride out the storm with her and Nana…mostly because I had visions of my cousin chasing runaway lawn furniture in the rain and wind while Nana tried to insist she could help.
I brought my Roku box over and we hunkered down to watch some movies and old episodes of Sons of Anarchy. Rather foolishly we continued to mock the near hysteria of people who were buying cases of water (Nana included) despite having city water, and who stocked up on gallons of milk (that they would have no way of keeping cold in the case of an emergency). I kept reminding everyone that we live in-land it all seemed silly to me.
We went to bed around midnight and I woke up to the sound of the fan going off when the power cut out. Apparently it did that a few times but I sleep like a log most of the time. We woke up to no electricity in the morning and after eating breakfast, and clipping coupons for a few hours, my cousin and I passed out on the couches after being hypnotized by the swaying trees outside the window. Later that night we all sat around playing Mexican Train Dominoes by lantern light.
We were dismayed and surprised to see we still didn’t have power in the morning. Growing up we almost never lost power at Nana’s for very long because she lived a stone’s throw from a chicken hatchery. Can’t lose those precious eggs!! Now, though, the baby chickens are gone and so no one cares about us. Still, considering she lives on a busy street that runs between two of the busiest streets in town you’d think she’d get power back pretty quickly. The intersection-situation at one end of the road is turning into anarchy! Anarchy I tell you! WTF CL&P? Is restoring power to the street lights on one of the busiest roads in all of Glastonbury not a priority to you?
I’m about 12 hours away from just playing bumper cars in the intersection to get that shit on the “Must Do” list, because I can only listen to Nana insist, “You can go, I’ll be fine” so many times before I lose it.
In order to restore my sanity, I have retreated to the Starbucks in Barnes & Noble at Buckland Mall. My aunt has power and internet, so I worked there for much of there afternoon before returning to Nana’s to run an extension cord from the car’s cigarette light to power her nebulizer. But as the AP can tell you, I don’t deal well with being around people for multiple days in a row and I just needed to retreat to the anonymity of a public space where no one will talk to me.
Update 8/31: Yesterday morning when I woke u pat Nana’s and there was still no power I called my mother and asked her to come over and steal Nana’s food. The ridiculously large amount of food she keeps stockpiled was threatening to thaw and something had to be done. My mom one-upped me though, and borrowed the neighbor’s generator, and started playing musical freezers. She even managed to get everything our of the fridge on the front porch and unplug it.
Wouldn’t you know that just as soon as my mom had caught me up to speed on how to run the damn generator and we’d worked out a plan where we all traded off generator re-filling duties, the power came back on…but only in half of the house. In the kitchen you could turn the overhead light on but not the one over the stove. The fans came on upstairs but the dining room lights still didn’t work. So my mom flipped all the circuit breakers, and …well…it didn’t help. So we started calling all the electricians we knew to ask WTF was going on.
We managed to get in touch with my aunt’s husband in Philadelphia and he said it was possible and we should call the electric company…but then a small miracle happened. The rest of the power came on and spared us from having to sit on the phone for hours with CL&P. Nearly as soon as we’d packed up the generator and plugged things back into the wall, I was out of there.
I headed to my mom’s to investigate my brother’s internet situation, and decide if AT&T was good enough for my new home office needs. AI did that in about 7 minutes and then spent a few hours drinking Pimm’s Cups on the front stoop where my mom told me about her hood’s reaction to getting power back. Basically the whole neighborhood was outside at dusk since no one could see in their houses.(Frankly my mom lives in one the few neighborhoods left in America where people still know each other and talk to each other.) When the power came on a collective “Whoop” went through the neighborhood, and the few people who had been inside their homes came running out to celebrate with everyone else. Now that’s a nice Irene story.
I had no idea what to do about Irene. I hate over-preparing and then looking like a jackass, but we bought a couple jugs of water and charged a bunch of batteries anyway. The Betrothed originally had plans to camp in Acadia for a friend’s bachelor weekend from Saturday to Monday, but the group decided to go to Southern Vermont Friday to Sunday. One of their reasons was because they didn’t want to leave their women to ride out the storm alone. I scoffed at this– I mean, I lived alone before and my parents and other friends aren’t far. The idea of needing a man to help me through was almost insulting, although I did appreciate the chivalry.
I had plans for Saturday night, but after much debating, we decided to postpone and I spent most of the day doing wedding crap and cleaning. In the afternoon, The Betrothed texted that they had decided to come back that night…which is probably good since most of Vermont wound up under water from the sounds of it. We spent most of Saturday night with The Betrothed trolling the various news channels for weather news. I find this extremely boring.
Sunday morning, we woke up to the power going on and off, and on and off. The Betrothed hopped in the shower and the power went out for good. Dumbass that I am, I decided to take a shower, forgetting that no power means no hot water. That was one effing icy experience. The rest of the day passed with me keeping busy, doing more wedding crap, and more cleaning, finally finishing War and Peace, and cutting coupons. I think I would have made a decent pioneer. The Betrothed, on the other hand, seemed excessively bored and tired. I had to force him to play a game of Rummy with me and finally yelled at him for not being fun. At this point, he seemed to be tired of eating cold food (I had made a great tuna mac too!), so we ventured to West Beat for food…because they seemed to have power on.
Driving through The Beat looked pretty good — lights were on, things looked clear and the river didn’t seem much higher than after a snowy winter. West Beat was a little different. There were downed trees and power lines and through our detours found some very cute streets. You can read about our food adventure later. When we returned home, I realized that the lights on the highway were on and lo and behold, we had power! I took a nice hot shower and have been pitying those without every since. If power doesn’t return to Glastonbury by tomorrow, my papa and stepmother will be over to de-stankify. I’ve offered a couple of others to come use our hot water as well…we’ll see if we wind up with any takers.
Best of luck and a whole pile of pity to those of you with no power…it sounds like it could be a while!!
Remember the olden times…several days ago…in the pre-Irene media driven hysteria, when the newscasters were all, “People need to take this storm seriously! Don’t panic….but be generally panicked.” Well darlings, I had no intention of bothering myself with such things like hurricane preparedness. Oh sure, I took an uneventful trip to the Stop and Shop where I witnessed a normally full shelves of bread completely empty but I didn’t bear witness to the mass hysteria that emptied the shelves. More striking to me was the peanut butter….it was all gone, except for one sad jar of SoyNut Butter left spinning on the shelf, which I found hilarious. I purchased an obligatory one or two gallons of water, a peach tea flavored bottle of Mio, a bag of Tostitos, and a frozen Pizza. Other than that, I wasn’t taping up my windows or any of that mess. My hatches went largely un-battened.
Just after sunset Saturday, in defiance of Gov. Malloy’s requests that we stay off the roads, I set out for a party at my friend’s house in Middletown. What was supposed to be their End of Summer party became a relatively delightful hurricane party…well until about hour two of hurricane discussion. What the hell is it about a severe weather event that turns a room full of otherwise fun gay men into a room full of meteorologists? (For that matter, what is it about meteorology that attracts gay men?) I was frantically searching for any other topic of discussion but it kept coming back to that bitch Irene. I mean we had a god damned earthquake this week…..
After an otherwise fun party I headed back to Glastonbury around 3 a.m. in what I think was probably the height of the tropical rain. I kept it relatively slow on the highway because I quickly learned that you could not see the huge puddles of standing water. Arriving home safe, and not being blown off the Putnam Bridge into the Connecticut River as I had feared, I quickly cooked my Frozen Pizza before heading to bed (because I love cold pizza, ok). Also, turns out as someone at the party had explained to me while you can count on your gas range working when the power is out, the oven apparently not so much. So I’m glad I cooked my pizza in advance, because I surely would have burned the house down trying to figure out how to cook it on the gas range.
I woke up Sunday sometime around 8 a.m. when the power cut out and my air conditioner died. The wind was simply amazing. I likened it to flying in a jet (because I’m very jet-set darlings) when they wind up the engines for take off, and you think they’re at full throttle, but then it winds up even further… yea, it was like that. A little scary. I could hear trees going down, but I couldn’t see them, because I was ever so slightly hung-over and opening my eyes hurt.
Sunday was a day full of sleeping and it was really quite fantastic so, I didn’t much mind the power outage. With an apparently large hot water tank (either that or a really effective pilot light) I was able to enjoy a hot shower, though short as to conserve. I made a pilgrimage out to a friend’s in Farmington where I was able to re-charge all of my iThings and cell phone.
Monday, day two without power, was a little less than ideal. But little baby jebus blessed me with another relatively hot shower. I was growing bored so I schlepped myself down to Foxwoods to mingle amongst the unshowered downtrodden gambling masses because, unlike most of the surrounding area, they had power. Well darlings, little baby jebus smiled on me again, and while I was waiting for a slot attendant to pay out a little jackpot, a man approached me to check it out and congratulated me. “Oh, good for you,” he said. I cocked my head and did a double take. “Um…..Mr. Woods?” I asked. He said, “Yes”. Darlings, the man I was speaking to was Rhode Island’s own James Woods! I chatted with him for a bit. We waxed poetic about gaming but I stopped short of following him to the bathroom to see if I could catch a glimpse of his allegedly giant penis….plus I didn’t have my phone with me. He was a really lovely guy and I could tell he was very excited to meet me.
Tuesday afternoon, darlings, I finally got my power back. Of course, it was a relatively busy morning for me so I didn’t much notice I was without it until I took a shower with the last of the luke warm water in the tank. I had to take my car in for service, and they have a lovely customer lounge with power outlets and the wi-fi’s so I was quite at home for the hour long service appointment which took 2 hours. I made the mistake of making the appointment and brought the car in half an hour before the entire service department apparently left for lunch.
Having not eaten all day I hit up the Glastonbury Whole Foods for a sandwich and some fancy iced-tea. Remember the pre-storm shopping frenzies? It was basically like that all over again. Glastonbury’s rich were flocking into the store to restock their fridges, which have been without fancy cheeses, milks of a fresh from cow or soy or almond nature for days.
I should also take a moment to acknowledge that there are still tens of thousands of people without power. And to you darlings, I feel for you….but not that much cause my power is back on.
Well darlings, it was a fun ride, full of boredom, famous people and W2-G forms. I’m off to celebrate my 30th birthday at the family compound in New Hampshire, more on that to come…. Ta!