Lessons from a storm
Thursday, November 03, 2011
Much of the northeast of the US got hit hard last weekend. While snow is not unheard of in October in New England, two feet is very unusual (my town got about a foot, but some towns got up to two feet). Heavy, wet snow knocked down tree branches, which knocked down power lines. Crews are still cleaning up the aftermath in some areas. Winter storms don’t even do the damage this autumn storm did.
I was lucky. My apartment lost power on Sunday only. Even without power, I had heat and was able to cook, as I have a gas stove with a heater on the side. Since I have an old-fashioned phone that plugs directly into the jack, I had phone service. I was able to recharge my cell phone in my car.
However, I wasn’t home much on Sunday. I worked from 9 am Saturday until 9 am Sunday (I was allowed to sleep, but didn’t get much), then went in again from 3 to 11:30. I work in a group home, with adults with developmental disabilities.
My workplace lost power – and heat – for about two and a half days. We made the best of it by bundling the clients up in layers of warm clothing and serving sandwiches and cereal. We already had a ton of individual juice boxes and soy milk boxes. I found out that town water does not require a pump, so we had water to flush toilets (how I couldn’t have known this before now is beyond me, as I’ve been on town water most of my adult life). The clients really should have been relocated, but there was no place for two of them to go (the other two spent time with their families).
I was glad I had gassed up the agency van on Friday, the day before the big storm. I had less than half a tank in my own car, though. I found an open gas station on Sunday afternoon so I could fill the tank “just in case,” and found they were accepting cash only. I found only $5 in my purse, so that’s what I put into the tank. I hoped it would get me through until I could fully gas up, and it did. I take for granted everyone will take credit or debit cards all the time – except sometimes they can’t. There were also few gas stations with electricity, so the ones that were open had long lines. Some ran out of gas.
It’s amazing how much we take for granted until it has been taken away.