Friday, September 16, 2011

Thursday - written 9/1

Day 5

8:22am You guessed it...still no power or restoration update.

8:33am Out to get coffee. Trees are out of the road but they left the one hanging on the top of the pole in the lines. The trees in the lines down the other way are gone as well...maybe just maybe we will get power back today.

9:00am Bakery is open! :) Doughnuts and coffee for breakfast. Small coffee but hey, it's coffee. I'll definitely need more later. Got to fill the water jugs on the way home.

11:10am Kids are antsy and things are running out of battery life. No more DS, no more portable DVD player. Can't get in the shed to get the bikes or scooters because the old CB antenna is hanging and leaning on a bent bolt. Maybe some coloring...
pencil shavings
Talked to mom who told us that according to the electric companies web site map 65% of our town is still without power. The good news is that gas shipments should be back to normal tomorrow.

11:34am And the frustration is unbearable. A call to the electric company and the first selectman gives us bad news.....the restoration schedule that the electric company was suppose to have done for this morning is not done and will not be done till some time tomorrow. Because we were so far behind in the ticketing process, (remember for some reason the ticket kept disappearing,) we will now not have power till next Wednesday. That's 6 more days with no power. Hubby's about to completely loose it. He has a deadline. All his work is on his computer. Even if we got power back today he would still be pushing to make the deadline.

12:16pm Hubby called the company he's working for. There is no possible way they can extend his deadline. He has to send everything back done or not...he will only get paid for what is done (which is only about half if that.) He hopes that this will not effect any future employment with this company. I feel bad and wish there was something I could do to help. It hurts knowing that we are losing money and he is losing work for things that are beyond our control :( (heartbroken, frustrated, depressed and angry don't even scratch the surface of how I feel.) 5:00pm Went out and bought soup and sandwiches for dinner. MMMMM... can't wait to dig into that. Holding off on eating till the older child gets home from group. Looks like it might rain outside which would stink because we can't run the generator in the rain. According to the new message on the electric companies phone we should have power back by Monday 8:30 pm. but I'm not keeping my hopes up. I've all but given up on getting power back before Wednesday. It's suppose to rain this weekend so we'll have to figure out something for the generator. I'm thinking we put it on one of the folded metal tables (leaving it folded up so it's off the ground.) Then put another metal table open over it with a plastic table cloth over that to help keep it dry, leaving the ends open for exhaust of course. We'll see what we come up with. Got a DSi car charger so we can charge the kids DSi's so they have something to do. They are starting to get on each others nerves and fighting has ensued, hopefully the charged DSi's will fix some of that.

6:15pm I LOVE MY SOUP AND SANDWICH!!!!! <3 Yummy tortellini zucchini soup and turkey sandwich, so good I almost forgot I didn't have power.

7:30pm The first selectman called us and said that the electric companies phone message is wrong and that we will have power back tomorrow. They are all meeting tomorrow at 4:00am to dispatch crews and we should have the whole town back up by tomorrow night sometime. On a side are a riot. I was informed that boys have nipples and girls have boobies which made the little one laugh incredibly hard.

10:00pm Tired of being tired and wanting to sleep by 10:00pm :( Day 5
Day 5 2

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Wednesday - written 8/31

9:16am Still no power a call to the electric company yields that we will not get power back till late next week. The crews that the first selectman said were in town are not anywhere near town. We have no crews currently working in town. The tree that's hanging in the wires up the road is still there 4 days later because the electric company claims no one ever reported it. Two of their own crew trucks have driven right by it and we've been calling the electric company 2-3 time per day. It's kind of hard to tell them what is wrong when you get an automated system all the time with no option on talking to a live person, though we've reported the outage via the automated system days ago. We just talked to a person 2 days ago...what the heck happened to that ticket we put in then for the tree on the lines. Very frustrating.

9:54am Wal-Mart is open on back up power and we can now get drinking water from there.

11:28am Got a Call back from the first selectman who gave us some good news. He met with the electric company today and notified them of the trees on both ends of our road. He said that they would get to cleaning that up later today and we should have power restored tomorrow or the next day. The kiddos won't start school till next Tuesday now from all of this.

1:44pm Out and about...picked up some cat food and something for the kids to do. Saw a few crews from Michigan working a few towns over. The electric company has now changed their message again to say that they have 900 crews working today. They have restored power to about 500,000 customers and have about 300,000 customers still with out power. They plan on having restoration done by Saturday evening and full restoration done by next Wednesday. So...What's the difference between the restoration (Saturday) and the full restoration (next Wednesday)? Does that mean if I don't get power back by Saturday I'm screwed? :(

1:50pm Some street lights up the road are on!!! Keeping my fingers crossed....Tree still in road....No power :( (I want to cry) One can only hope that since they have restored power to the next street over that we will have power back soon.

3:30pm Another call to the electric company...again they are saying that there is no ticket or work order in for the trees on our road. What the heck keeps happening to them? Didn't we just call and go though the same damn thing this morning? We've reported this problem to 5 different reps and the first selectman who reported it to the electric company as well. Tree cutting crews drove by it again. (I understand that they can't touch the crap that's touching the lines because they don't know if the lines are live or not, but take the rest of the crap out of the road so we don't have to go off roading to get by it.) Left another message for the first selectman telling him about the no work order and how there are still no crews working in our area according to the electric company. Hopefully we will hear something soon.

10:05pm Friends of ours were kind enough to allow us to use their showers and into their home stinking and all. For them I am extremely grateful. That goes down as one of the best showers ever. I am clean!! Well at least for the day and I feel better. We took them out to dinner which was fun. It's been forever since we've done anything like that. It was nice to sit and chat and have fun, to forget about the problems for a bit. I can never repay them for opening their home to us and letting us shower. <3
Kids are in bed - generator has been restarted and oh yeah the electric company has been called way shape or form did they attempt to fix the tree in the road. They told us that we need to make accommodations by staying in a hotel or with family, eating out for food but they're not going to pay for it and we don't have the money. They told us that they tree in the lines on our road wasn't a priority or a danger. That we need to wait our turn in line like everyone else...(well everyone else in town just about got power today.) The first selectman told us that the tree would at least be taken care of today...grr.. another call to him and he's not happy with the fact that it wasn't taken care of today like he was told by them and told us to call him tomorrow morning. Sigh. Well at least I'm clean and the kiddos are clean and we had a good day.

10:35pm You know what's bad...Walking into the bathroom closing the door behind you and flipping the switch, expecting that light will come even after four days of no power. Then having to run back out grab a flash light. Wondering if by the time we get power back if I'll end up just walking into the bathroom with the flash light.

line down broken pole

Friday, September 9, 2011

Tuesday - written 8/30

road closed
3:08am I'm freaking out! The fear and paronoia are setting in.....It's not hard to tell who's without power and there are a lot of messed up people out there. We've recently had an increase in crime around here, even the quiet part of town, armed robbery, break ins and theft. How long till that really picks up? Not hard to get in when you know people are without power and running generators. I guess the neighbors were smart for taking the time to practice shooting the day before all this happened.

4:31am You don't realize just how dark it is till there is no light. Oh and apparently yelling that you would like to speak to a human at the automated phone recording that the electric company has works out pretty good. Hubby actually got a person, not that they were any sort of help. All they could tell us was that the whole town is out of power and that the crews will be back out to work in a few hours. Ummm...A FEW HOURS??? Hold on a second, half the darn state is without power, why the hell aren't you people working 24/7 till it's freaking fixed? Also there is no estimate of when we will see power back. :(

5:22am I can only doze off for a few minutes at a time. It's so quiet every noise wakes me up :S

7:04amI swear I hear lots of trucks...maybe power...I want to wake hubby up to go into town to see if they actually got power back yesterday and if so stop and get coffee and danish. Real coffee, yummm. To early to wake him though. I haven't slept since I last wrote, I got sucked into another book.

12:28pm Well I did manage to get a few hours of sleep. Woke up at 9:00 and headed out to town. Unfortunately the bakery wasn't open. The gas station had gas though we had to wait 10 min in line to put some gas in the car. Funny how prices are going though the roof. We drove to the next town over to a bagel shop for having to go though the days without my numerous cups of coffee. We also stopped by the school to fill up the jugs again with water. Came home picked up some more of the yard. Called the cable company to find out when we'd get phone back. They were kind enough to tell us that we will not get cable, phone or internet back until after we have power restored. They said that the electric company has not given them a time line on when that will be and that we are considered a triage area :( Poor hubby's going batty with no power. He has a deadline in two weeks and now he's 4 days behind.

2:18pm It's been fun. Called the town hall "in town" to see where the emergency facilities were so we could get water and showers and such. HA! When the "town" got power back yesterday they closed the shelter. WTF? Our town is completely without power. Gah! Just because the "in town" people have power they close the shelter. What about the 3000+ other households in this god forsaken town that don't have power. We all pay taxes, we are part of this "town" just because people are not staying at the shelter and "in town" has power doesn't mean that the facilities are unneeded by the rest. (In case you were wondering there are many sections to the town. We all share the same zip code and all pay taxes to the same town hall and we all use the same school, buses, etc. We basically make up one big town.) Talking to the first selectman gets us no where. Seems he's just happy "in town" has power back one. He couldn't offer any insight into anything. This is all getting very frustrating. It's hot and humid...I'm stinky and sticky and all I want is a damn shower :\

2:44pm Going out to use the phone upgrade, hopefully to get a smart phone with internet so we can see what the hell is going on out there in the world. :)

7:00pm No go with the phone. I just can't seem to justify the 30 extra dollars a month at the moment. Things are not looking very good. The electric company still will not give us estimates on when we'll be back up and running. They said on the news that they plan to have everyone fully restored by next Wednesday. O.O Umm...Yeah. On top of that the state set rations on gas to where the gas stations are only going to get deliveries of 3,000 gallons per delivery. So if they only get deliveries every other day that's 3,000 gallons every other day. (I see riots at the gas pumps happening in the future if that doesn't change.) The gas station "in town" ran out of gas by late afternoon and they aren't expecting a delivery until late tomorrow or Thursday. Wer'e down to about 6 gallons of gas for the generator. We've been averaging about 2 gallons a day, so that's enough gas for the generator till Friday maybe Saturday if we push it. We are down to 6 gallons of drinking water. No way that's going to get us though to next Wednesday and we don't have much gas in the cars either.

8:10pm Whoohoo! A friend of ours had power back and says that we can use their shower and fill up with water there. Finally a little goo news.
working by candle light

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Day After Irene - written 8/29

8:40am We still have no power. The trash men woke me up. I guess that's good, at least they can make it through the roads. I slept like crap. No a/c to control the temperature. It was so humid. I'd get cold and cover up, get hot then toss the covers off. It was back and forth like that all night. I think I figured out a way to check the freezer, we'll find out later. It's amazing how much water you use especially to flush the toilets. One 5 gallon jug is only enough to flush a toilet two times. We've already gone through 8 gallons of water, that leaves us with one 5 gallon jug of toilet water.

9:30am Call to the electric company recording says a week or longer without power. We don't have anywhere near enough water to go that long. Going to head out to see if the local public campgrounds have water, or we'll just fill them in the pond for toilet water. :(

9:48am Oldest child still has program. She'll get to go somewhere where there's power. Hopefully she'll get to eat something there too.

11:00am Found water at the schools outdoor high pressured spout. :) We went down in town and they will have power tonight but because we don't live "in town" we don't have public utilities and there for won't have power for the week or longer. My thought is: What the hell do I pay taxes to the "town" for then? I don't get anything out of it. I pay the same if not more than the people that live "in town" do and I don't get a darn thing from utilities, no public trash, sewer or water, no staffed fire department or police. All we get is a crappy school system. :( (sorry I'm done venting for now) Good parents found us a generator :) We won't loose everything :) 4:12pm Wow, just wow! What a day it's been. We cleaned up some of the front yard till my parents came with the generator. It won't run the well pump :( but at least it will run the fridge and the chest freezer. Dad and I went out to get gas and new gas cans. Ha. That was funny. We found a 5 gallon kerosene can, which we spray painted red so we could use it for gas, and a 2 gallon gas can. Then the fun started...trying to find gas. Every gas station we went to had signs on the pump that read "Sorry no gas." no gas
We finally found two stations a ways up the highway that had gas. The lines for the pumps were so long that there were cars out in the roads. One station next to us was actually getting a shipment as the gas station we were in line for was getting signs read to to put on the pumps. We were luck though and managed to get gas before they did run out. Back home the generator is up and running. We saved the food! No water, but we saved the food!!! (can you tell I'm happy about that?) Good thing to for the generator because the freezer was up to 39°F this morning.

8:05pm Put the kids to bed. I have to say that my parents are great and I don't know what I would do with out them. Not only did they get the wonderful generator but they gave us money to go get dinner. :) We drove south to the actual shore (about 15 minutes away.) It surprisingly didn't look to bad where we were. Stopped at Five Guys so we wisely used moms money to fill to the brim on burgers, bacon cheese hot dogs, and fries; because who knows when the next hot food we'll have will be.
bird on dock
Rainbow in clouds
8:54pm OMG! I've just seen the biggest fail known to man. The electric company has a text for update thing so I text it with the zip code. The idea is you get a text back with the updates on outages in your area and information about the outage such as restoration times.........ummm....yeah. I got the following text back: "There are no power outages reported in your area." Are you freaking kidding me!? We've only reported it like hundred billion times. Like I'm sitting in the dark with candles and a generator for the fun of it. fail text

Monday, September 5, 2011

Day Irene Hits - written 8/28

I thought it was going to go really well. Before I fell asleep last night we lost cable but it came back on as I briefly woke up and heard the television back on. This apparently did not last long, as I awoke at 6:34am with no power. Wonderful. At least the kids were still asleep. I took a walk around the inside of the house, no noticeable damage to the house that I could see. I grabbed my daughters radio so we could get some sort of news. Okay tornado watch - they tell us on the radio to look to the sky - sure let me go stand outside in the middle of the hurricane to see if anything is coming...nah I think I'll pass. New reports those without power can be without it for up to five days. Ummm...I don't think the fridge and freezers will stall that long and I don't know what to do. I can't afford to replace two freezers and the fridge. We have a ton of CSA chickens, about 10 in all, and it sucks thinking about loosing all of it.

10:00am The winds outside are so strong you can actually see the wind with all the rain and tree debris it's carrying. We've been hearing trees falling all morning. At last count we've lost 4 trees and an old CB antenna. The kids are finally up and complaining that they have nothing to do. Kids these days don't know how to live without technology. The older child has mental problems and doesn't understand the situation. She insists on playing the Wii (Can you tell they've never been without power before?) and was wondering why all the leaves and branches were in the yard, amazed by the amount of them. I tell them to color, draw, do word find books or puzzle books, play dolls, and read. They have plenty to do but they come back with the "that's boring." They should have grown up when I did.

12:30pm Peanut butter and fluff for lunch. Thinking that the eye must be past us by now but the winds are still strong. We went outside to take a few pictures and still hear trees falling. Hubby said that it looks like a tree sneezed on us with all the bit of leaves and branches ever where. Silly hubby. We did see an electric company car drive by, maybe we will get power back sooner than can only hope. Kids are holding up. It's been about 8 hours since we lost power.

1:00pm Flipped on the radio quickly to check on things.. Good new: The closest city to us just got power back, which is good because if we need anything we know where to go. Bad news: Our electric company has over half it's customers with out power. :(

4:30pm Going out for a drive to see where there is power.

7:10pm Back from our drive. It really doesn't look good. Up the road trees on lines and down the road trees on lines. I took some pictures of some of the things we saw. Tree across a bridge = bridge closed, down lines sparking. There are trees and lines down every where. The closest place we found with power is about twenty minutes away. One of the grocery stores in the city was open so we stopped in an bought 5 bags of ice. Dinner was breakfast sandwiches from a Dunkin Doughnuts we found with power. Got home an put everything we wanted to keep from the fridge into coolers with the ice. The kids are afraid to go to bed without nightlight so I gave them each two glow bracelets I found an a book light. The news now says a week or so until they expect to get power back to everyone...I wish I knew what to do. There are 650,000 customers with out power.

Branch on lines up the road
Branch on lines other road
7:40pm It's starting to get dark. We lit some candles and shut off the lantern, we don't want to run the batteries out...We're usually up till 1 am, that's 4-5 more hours...I might go insane from the boredom.

8:37pm The boredom in the dark is so bad the hubby's changing lyrics to songs so they are about how we have no electricity.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Day before Irene - writen 8/27

The outer bands of the hurricane are just touching where we are even though the eye is still by the Carolinas. So what's there to do today...well there's making Italian squash and canning it. I need to do this before all my veggies go bad. What's Italian squash? It's a whole bunch of things thrown into a pot and cooked down to almost stew.

Italian Squash
Zucchini - 3 sliced cut in half if the rounds are to big
Yellow Squash - 4 cut same as the zucchini (I use more of these because I like them better :P )
Onion - 1
Garlic - 2 normal cloves or I used 1 elephant garlic clove because it was about equal to 2 normal cloves.
Green or Red Bell Pepper - 1 which ever you prefer
Tons of tomatoes - I think I used about 20 - peeled seeded and chopped
Bazil - 1 sprig
Italian Seasoning, Salt and Pepper to taste

Saute onion and garlic in a little olive oil till the onion is translucent. Add everything else and cook it until the squash is tender. Season to taste. It comes out like a stew and it's yummy.

I made a giant pot of this and ended up canning 7 jars and eating a small bowl. Once those were in the jars we sat outside between the rain bands shucking corn, 10 ears total. I took the corn off the cob and put it into 3 freezer containers.
With the food making out of the way we then had to finish getting ready for the storm. We filled three 5 gallon jugs with tap water and a gallon jug for a total of 23 gallons of water. We have been told that if we loose power it could be for a few days.

As we go into the night time the hurricane is approaching. Rain and wind is picking up. We've had to shovel the water from the walk a few times now. So far things are looking okay as far as the flooding goes. Time to move the kiddos downstairs on the couches and head to bed.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Preparation - Written on 8/26

Preparation: The first phase before any big storm hits, is getting ready and being prepared. For us this took us two whole days of running around and digging. Digging? Yep digging. We have a few flooding problems. :S

Problem 1: A mole dug up under one of the window wells to the basement windows.
Solution: Replace the window well with a new larger (going deeper into ground) composite window well. For this we dug out the old metal one and then had to dig down about arms lenght to get the new one into the ground. We put all the dirt back.
Result: Sore body and still flooding. :(
Solution 2: A 40 lb. bag of dirt to regrade the land around the window well. Amazing how it never seems that the dirt you dug out is enough to put back.
Result 2: So far so good.

Problem 2: Run off from the roof has warn a small ditch in the flower bed where the river rock is and it causes flooding in that part of the yard.
Solution: Two days before the hurricane starts put in a french drain- more digging. This we kind of just did with no real rhyme or reason as to how it's suppose to be done. We dug a trench about 1 foot wide by 18-24 inches deep and 25 feet in length. (This made me really just want to go out and buy a small back hoe. I'm sure I could find other uses for it too.) For those who don't know New England, especially my yard, has very rocky soil. That combined with tree roots made this an especially tough and long day.
Result: Praying it works.

Problem 3: (Geesh, I know. I think this is the last one.) It's kind of the same as problem 2. Run off from the roof on the concrete walkway foods the walk and it will come up over the box of the house and into the basement.
Solution: Short term- (10) 40lb. bags of top soil. (Hey, it's cheaper than play sand and sand bags.)
Long term - Lay some new cement down to regrade the walk away from the house.
Result: Short term - Praying it holds back all the water we're suppose to get. So far we've been shoveling the pooling water out into the yard. :S

That's it. So outside of digging and dirt bagging (hehe, because we used dirt bags instead of sand bags.) It took us 3 stores to find batteries. We got 2 packs of D's that were the last ones anywhere. Bought 7 gallons of drinking water and some canned goods to eat if we loose power. House dirt bagged

Friday, September 2, 2011

Hurricane Irene Journaled

I lost power six days ago and finally got power back about 2 hours ago.  The hurricane knocked out power to half of Connecticut and it's taken forever to get power back. To deal with the loss of power and to keep myself from completely going insane from it I journal-ed about our experiences. I will be taking time over the next week or so to post my journal here and share this experience with you, from the getting ready and preparation phases, to during the storm, following the storm, the aftermath and what I learned and took from this whole ordeal, along with pictures of the aftermath.  I will share my frustrations and laughter with you.