We were out of town on the day it began. Two weeks ago today. We were at the campground where we park our camper year-round. And it was the day we were there closing up for the winter season. It was a brisk day, cloudy, with a forecast for some small bits of snow late in the afternoon.
However, the forecast was changing. There was a chance for more than "small bits'. Now they were talking maybe 6 inches or so where we live. That is unheard of for an October snow. Frankly, any snow in October is unusual.
And we knew it might be a bit more than we anticipated when the snow began while we were still at the camper. It wasn't "late afternoon". It was barely noon! We finished and up and started for home. A typical drive of about one hour.
Double that. A long, slow drive as heavy snow covered the roads. So of course, we got home as quickly as possible - a decision that would haunt us later.
It snowed all afternoon. It snowed all night. And we woke up on Sunday to a beautiful day, blue sky, and about 9 inches of snow on the ground. So now I would at least have to shovel cause the kids would be coming the next day for Halloween. All the little ghoulies and goblins hunting for Snickers and Sour Patch Kids. But it was early morning...so I settled in to watch some pregame shows for the football games that afternoon.
And promptly at 10AM...under clear skies...our power went out.
The Patriots weren't playing till 4PM, so I figured it would be back by then. I bundled up a bit and went to shovel. And the reality started to hit. It was heavy, wet snow. HEAVY. Looking up and down our street, trees were down. Branches were down. A large tree in our front yard had split almost in half and was blocking the sidewalk and part of the road.
I shoveled. We shoveled. I moved branches. I cut branches that were too big to move into smaller pieces so I could move them. The neighbors even came to help clear the branch blocking part of the street. We all thought it was a pain in the ass to deal with such an early snow this way...but we just didn't know what was coming.
There was no power for football. Or dinner. Or hot water for showers. Or heat...as the nighttime temps fell below freezing and we huddled around our fireplace. And by the time we awoke on Monday, the forecast for getting power back was....the next Sunday!!!
And that was when it returned. We got power back 174.5 hours after it went off.
We became like nomads. Getting up every morning and planning our day around three things - getting food, getting showers, finding an electrical outlet to charge our phones. And we weren't alone. Hundreds of folks piled into the high school for showers and charging. Every restaurant had power strips at every outlet and they would take your phones and charge them in the kitchen when all the other outlets were full. Starbucks had coffee...but no working registers. So they just gave the coffee away for free.
And every night, we huddled in the dark near the fireplace. Played games. Talked. Read with our little battery powered reading light.
It was a LONG week. L - O - N - G.
And then it ended. And oddly, there are a few things we found that we missed. We missed the long dark nights of just sitting and talking. We missed playing family games to pass the time. Perhaps we'll do more of that in the future.
But I can go the rest of my days without showering in the high school locker room again...or begging for a table by an outlet at a restaurant.