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We Survived Irene

Sorry, no recipes today. We live in the area affected by Hurricane Irene and just had our power restored. I’ll be back tomorrow with food and photos.

Early Sunday morning at about 4:30 a.m. our power went out with a jolt — or that’s what it felt like when I suddenly awoke to the silence of my house. It was dark, eerily so, and I could hear the first pitter-patters of driving rain strike our home. The familiar hum of my powered home was gone.

I got up, feeling my way to the kitchen to find the cardboard box where I stored all our flashlights and batteries for the storm. Then, flashlight in hand, I went to all the windows, checking the locks and closing the few that were still open. Though the power was out, I truly believed it would be a short-term thing. I was just worried about the wind.

I’d fallen asleep watching Sweet Home Alabama, one of my favorite movies, and hadn’t filled the bathtub with flushing water – a just-in-case measure should power go out. But, I didn’t think it would be an issue. Like my neighbors, I thought I had time.

That night, I couldn’t sleep. As the wind followed the rain, I was disturbed by every sound, fearing a tree might fall on our home or a window might shatter. Three hours later, I heard a loud crack outside, and sat up to see that a large tree had fallen in our front yard … and it missed the house completely. I thank God for that.

All morning Sunday, I watched and waited for the storm to end. I expected it to get worse, but it never did. And even as I stood outside with my dogs (they had to go out, after all), I could tell that the winds weren’t nearly as strong as we’d been warned. And that, I thought, would mean that aside from a tree down, everything would return to normal fast.

However, despite the milder winds than expected, my homestate of Connecticut and several other New England states – including Rhode Island and Massachusetts – weren’t left unscathed. The winds knocked out power across Connecticut, leaving more than 825,000 in the dark. And in many areas, like mine where wells are prevalent, people are without running water too.

But there are even more dire situations too. Homes were washed out to sea on the shoreline, and roads left impassable. Schools have delayed opening by a week, hoping that power and normalcy can be returned by then. At this point, many just don’t know.

In Vermont, the situation is even worse — people are stranded in 13 towns because of continued flooding. And highways across the state have buckled and fallen away. Can you imagine?

When I started writing this tonight, it was by flashlight on my netbook, using my husband’s cell phone as a wireless hotspot. It was the first time in days that I have been online, aside from using my BlackBerry. I missed work deadlines without power. As a freelancer, no work means no pay. The hotspot was a blessing.

But the bigger blessing came while I was in the editing phase of this post. I felt that little jolt again and looking up to see my ceiling fan start to turn for the first time in days … after 66 hours without electricity, we finally have it again. I couldn’t be more grateful.

Still, we were without power long enough that we lost all the food in our fridge and much of that in our freezers. And today, after days without water, my kids and I bathed using water from the fire department in a bucket outside. Despite all this, we have been among the lucky ones. My whole family — spread across five Connecticut towns — is healthy and okay.

Please remember my New England brethren who haven’t yet gotten their power back. Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene has forced many to live without conveniences that we usually take for granted, like being able to wash our hands in the kitchen sink and flush our toilets without lugging water from far away places. It’s staggering to suddenly be without modern conveniences for days. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to be living so rustically. I feel for those in New England who are enduring worse. The media coverage of Irene may be fading, but the troubles aren’t yet. Keep them in your thoughts and prayers, please.


Wednesday 31st of August 2011

It sounds like things were difficult, but it's nice to hear your recognition for being "lucky" through all that. You have some amazing perspective.


Wednesday 31st of August 2011

hope all your family, friends and bloogers are well....thinking of you all from europe