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Power!

September 1, 2011
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Carla looks out the window as Hurricane Irene blasts our neighborhood with wind and rain.

The rain started Saturday, causing my friend’s wedding ceremony to be moved inside. It was very humid, but not windy at all, and the rain came and went through the day. We had a great time at the wedding and then picked up the kids from my mother in law’s house on the way home because we heard that Hurricane Irene was going to hit Connecticut early Sunday morning. It rained a lot during the night and winds began to pick up during the early morning hours. I got up early with Carla while Laggie slept late. Carla and I watched TV and I occasionally looked out the windows to see what was going on with the storm. It really wasn’t as windy as I expected and at times, the wind died down to almost nothing. In fact, I’m pretty sure that there have been stronger winds during some of the thunderstorms in recent years. I enjoyed watching TV for a while, knowing that pretty soon the power would go out. Sure enough at about 11:30am it did.

I have lived in Connecticut all of my life and I am used to the occasional power outage due to thunderstorms and snowstorms. I figured we would be without power for maybe the rest of the day until the storm moved away from the area. By 2 or 3pm, things has pretty much slowed down outside and there were lots of leaves all over the place. No real damage from what I could see out the window. Around 5pm, I couldn’t take sitting around the house anymore and went to go out to the gas station to fill up my car so I would have gas to drive to work for the week. I also bought some ice to keep our milk cold in a cooler. The main road had power and most of the businesses were open. I figured that was a good sign. After getting gas, I drove around the area for a bit looking to see if there were any trees down. I didn’t see any major damage to power lines. As I drove around, I also looked for signs of electricity in use in people’s houses. Some people had TVs and lights on. The street leading from the main road to my neighborhood had power, but not us.

We kept waiting for the power to come back on that night and it eventually got dark. Still no power. Not a big deal because I figured we could just go to bed and hopefully have power by the next morning. Luckily, we have the town water supply, a gas water heater and a gas stove, so we were still able to flush toilets, take hot showers and cook on the stove. Of course, the refrigerator was off, so we were sure to open and close it quickly if we needed something in it to preserve the cold air inside as much as possible.

Monday came and went with no power and we started to get concerned about the food in the fridge. We couldn’t find ice anywhere. Everyone was out of it. Things were starting to warm up too much in the freezer and we brought some of the stuff that was still pretty frozen to my mother in law’s because she had power. We also hung out there for a while and charged up the iPad and cellphones. By this time, I was constantly checking the outage map and statistics on CL&P’s website. Vernon had about 25% of customers without power at that time.

Tuesday came and went and about 15% of Vernon still had no power, including us. By Wednesday evening, it was down to about 7%, but we were still in that 7%. At this point, we were really starting to get sick of not having power.

At 5am this morning, after having trouble sleeping because it was hot an humid in the house, we heard the power click on and the light in the hallway went on. Finally! It was so nice to be back in business. Of course, one of the first things I did was go down to my office and turn the AT&T U-Verse box back on so we could have TV and wireless internet.

This has to be the longest period in my life that I have ever had to live without power. We normally take it for granted that the power is always on. It’s a bit alarming though that this somewhat weak hurricane was able to cripple the power grid so easily. As I write this, there are still just over 260,000 customers in CT with no power. In some towns, the majority of the town is still without power. I hope that everyone’s power is restored soon so we can all get back to our daily routines. I am definitely looking into options for generators at this point. I can’t imagine if we had a more catastrophic storm and lost power for several weeks or more.

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Carla and Laggie make the best of the situation by doing some coloring by lantern light.

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