Man, it’s chilly this morning. I heard the strong winds last night. I’ll bet the power is off. No real surprise there. When you live around this many trees, it is almost a given that after a storm, someone has lost their power. This time, it was our turn. But, we are made of pretty sturdy stock up here. You live in Maine, you gotta be ready for this.
I roll out of bed and run to the bathroom to get things moving, so to speak and, after I flush the toilet, I remember that the water pump does not work. Bummer. Need to get dressed and go start the generator. After flipping the switch to the closet, and it remains dark, I grope around for some jeans and a sweatshirt and head downstairs. I drag the generator out onto the driveway and check the fuel. It says 1/4 tank. Not a problem. I have two 5 gallon gas cans at the ready for just such an emergency. However, it seems one is empty and the other is almost. I use up what I have left and crank up the generator. Once it is running, we have power to our furnace, refrigerator, water pump, several lights and assorted outlets throughout the house. My wife says we are lucky. I say it is all part of being a Mainer.
I prepare to leave and get the gas cans filled. Note to self: You can push that button all you want, and the garage door is not going to go up. Of course not. I knew that. So I pull the release handle and raise the door manually and find it won’t stay up by itself. Fortunately, I have an extendable pole and it is in the garage, somewhere. I wish to hell I had some light so I could see what I am doing. Ah, there it is. Once installed, I am able to escape, pleased by my quick thinking.
When I return home, my wife says “the water is just a trickle”. Then I remember I flushed the toilet and we ran the water to make coffee. I will have to restart the pump. I have had this happen before and a pump guy showed me how to do it, about 7 years ago. I grab a flashlight and retreat to the basement. As I recall, I take the cover off that little thingy there and there is a little bar that you push to make the points contact and you hold it until they pop open by themselves. Yes, after a few tries, it works. We now have water. I jump on the computer to see how bad the storm was, but of course, the computer in not on one of the outlets that are now powered. So again, I rely on my extensive survival instincts and drag a long orange extension cord through the bonus room and into our master bath, plugging it in next to the sink. Problem solved, once again due to my Yankee ingenuity.
So, how much of my town is in the dark. A few keystrokes and I find it is ‘all of it’. Further investigation reveals that it is actually about two thirds of the state, far worse then the ice storm of the 90’s where people lost their power for over three weeks. First I panic, then I rationalize. It is a lot harder to repair power lines in ice and snow and surely technology has improved since then. We’re going to be OK. A few hours without power is a small price to pay for the privilege of living here. A little inconvenience, but nothing a Mainer can’t handle. We’ll just hunker down and since the TV is on one of the good outlets, we can still entertain ourselves. Hmmm, I’m not getting a picture. Oh no, the cable is out. Now what? My wife reminds me that we have a small TV in her sewing room that will work enough to get the three local channels so I go down and get it and set it up in the living room. Not exactly ideal. It is an eight inch screen. From where I sit, I can tell it is on only because I hear noise. It is like watching a radio.
Power is still out. Time to start the generator again. It ran about 16 hours yesterday. Today I will shut it down for a while during the afternoon and we will sit there in the dim light of day and concentrate on our cell phones and tablets. In my case, it will be my tablet because yesterday I plugged my cell phone into a, yep, outlet that did not work. I check the power companies website and find that they have estimates of when power will be returned, right down to specific streets. Let’s see. There we are. We should have power back before 10 P.M. Saturday!!! Saturday!!! That’s four days from now. What are we supposed to do in the interim. Just put our life on hold. Sit around singing Kumbaya? I don’t think these guys are really trying. My wife suggests that I do something constructive and get the butane portable camp stove out of the basement and she will cook me an epicurean feast of fried Spam and left over mashed potatoes and gravy. It sure beats cheese and crackers. The one bright spot of my day comes when I discover that the Amazon fire stick on the TV will allow us to watch Netflix. Well, I guess this isn’t so bad after all, if you are prepared, like I am. It’s all in remaining rational and thinking things through.
Damn, another chilly morning. I can hear the neighbors generator running. When the hell are we going to get our power back? Doesn’t anyone know we are stuck out here? I know that recovery will take some time, but damn, they have had two days. They must be getting close. I crank up the generator, again, and throw the two now empty gas cans in the car and check the computer for any updates. They now say we should be up and running by 5 P.M. Friday. Thanks a lot. I’m beginning to feel like I’m living in Puerto Rico. I wonder if there is a local telephone number for FEMA. I mean, I am a reasonable man, but this is getting serious.
Still no power. I am considering painting an SOS on my lawn. I keep hearing that there are over 1800 repairmen working overtime and that they are coming in from several other states and Quebec. So, where are they. I don’t see any trucks. I don’t hear any activity. Probably all down in the high rent districts. My wife reminds me that those neighborhoods all have permanently installed whole house generators. They probably don’t even know the power is off. All I know is, I’m still in the dark and it’s getting a little old. I went looking for my gray sweatshirt this morning and found it in the clothes hamper where I threw it, oh, I don’t know, last Sunday because Mondays are wash days. But not this week. Oh no. We can’t even do that. Instead they would have us walking around in dirty clothes. They don’t care. Not their problem. Well, it is mine and this is becoming a hardship. I’m getting tired of just sitting here waiting. I wonder if the Red Cross can help. Maybe I’ll finish up the Spam with some eggs and watch Netflix.
About 6:30 my wife says she thinks we have power because the clocks on the range and the microwave are blinking. Well, hallelujah, they finally came through. And none too soon. After all I have been through, I finally see the light. Sometimes I guess it pays to be patient and reasonable through these things. Oh, I may get a little peckish from time to time, but I don’t really let it bother me. I just take one day at time, like any old Mainer would.
My wife just told me the cable is still out. What the hell are those guys doing. They have had four days to fix this. Now they are messing with me. Just because they are the only cable company in town doesn’t mean I have to stand for this. There’s always Dish. I could drop them like a hot horseshoe. It’s a good thing I’m not the kind of guy to complain and just suffer in silence. We Mainers are like that.