The resulting winds from the convergence of a hurricane with a tornado took out power in our county a week ago last Tuesday. Over 800,000 accounts in Connecticut were without electricity and internet. A block and a half from here a brick wall collapsed through a neighboring roof, disturbing gas lines too. We were grateful to be relatively unscathed.
(A lot of people think that because we have solar power, we are off the grid, but we do not yet have a solar battery. They are still large and expensive, but improving quickly– we are not self-sufficient. We require a hook up to the grid in order to use the power that our solar generates.)
As we entered our eighth day without power, we finally got it back. Meanwhile, I was able to continue blogging at a limited capacity from my phone. Most of my practice clients never even knew we didn’t have power, while I had to be more strategic when we talked with family on our phones. We refused the temptation to check our two freezers, and worked on eating everything we could out of our refrigerator, in particular a tray of fresh salmon and things grown in the garden. Thank goodness for our outdoor grill; in the photo below you can see James making eggs on it for breakfast.
Initially it felt a bit like vacation, being so unplugged. I read books and painted. James and I had some long, meandering conversations. We studied, and played games by candlelight. Nothing like the power out during a pandemic to finally get some time to chat with one’s husband! In an attempt to have more fun, we discovered in our own game cupboard a perfect two-person game that we had never played. We really liked it; it is called Abalone. You might want to give it a try; you can get it here.
Our two socially distanced dinner parties for last week, both for extended family, were spontaneously flipped and rescheduled with us as guest instead of hosts. We had a picnic in a park with our Texas cousin who had just come east to start her PhD in Microbiology at Yale; lucky her, she got to move in during a hurricane/tornado/pandemic. Also, my sister-in-law and family had us over to New York for hot showers, device charging, and scallops.
And we have the best friends. A friend from church had us over for a beautiful meal (photo below: herbed cucumber watermelon salad and cold salmon with dill sauce) and more device recharging. As the week of no power proceeded, it got hotter and muggier, until Monday was rather miserable (see friend’s photo of their thermometer over 100ºF). We finally called up another friend and invited ourselves to sleep in her air-conditioned guest room, since she already had her power restored. That was totally the right call; she was tremendously gracious about it, and we were blessed with a good night’s sleep. Then the following morning (yesterday) we thankfully had our power back.
The biggest loss were our peaches. (Remember how glorious there were? See here!) Lots came down during the storm. Those that were left we couldn’t process and freeze to use the rest of the year the way we usually do. So we invited over several sets of friends to pick some and take them home. We’ve already had whatever homegrown peach galette we’re going to have this year. This is disappointing, as we enjoy making many more for guests. However, we had fun sharing more directly too.
One more day, and we would have lost the important contents of our freezer, so we were really glad to get electricity back when we did. Those “pucks” of homemade concoctions we make and freeze for use all year, had to be reformed again into muffin tins and refrozen, so as not to be big frozen masses. A couple frozen soups that thawed (see here and here), we just plan on eating in the next few days. I can’t remember when our refrigerator has been so empty (see photo below). We cleaned out our upright freezer in the basement, as well as the refrigerator and freezer in the kitchen, and scrubbed down everything for a fresh start.
What an experience like this does, is help you not take the basic functionality of life for granted. We are right now hugely grateful for all the creature comforts we assume will be at our fingertips on any given day. In the last photo below, check out what my oldest sister’s grandchild has to say!