Everyone along the coast in Connecticut was affected by Hurricane Irene. Our area, the Wildemere Beach area of Milford was devastated – but not as much as other towns. Still it was something to see waves crashing over people’s homes at the end of my street. I have no pictures. If you can believe that. Not one pic. I just couldn’t fathom what was happening in front of my eyes. There was a rip current on Broadway. Gas grills were floating by. Our area was under
evacuation. But I stayed. My parents were under mandatory evacuation but my father stayed. My brother stayed with him.
My mother and all the family pets came to my house. My mother couldn’t handle it so she slept over and then went back to her house at 7am – her garage had 3’ of water in it and on her street the water was up to her mailbox at the end of driveway by 11am. It was a little overwhelming. I stayed inside and my power went out at 7am on Sunday. It came back on Wednesday at 7pm and I want to share with you what I learned when I
- During the daylight hours get candles. And just remember those candles need matches or a lighter to get light. That’s critical.
- Get over it. You don’t have power. It’s not coming on anytime soon. You’re in for the duration. Think 5-7 days duration. This shit isn’t gettin’ light up for a while. It was a hurricane downgraded to a tropical storm. You’re in the dark for a while.
- Get a book
- Get a headlamp – it’s a stupid looking. But your hands are free and that’s critical in the dark
- Call a friend who has power and use their shower. Don’t let yourself go just because you don’t have power. We’re not pilgrims. We have deodorant. We have products. Wash your hair. If you don’t have a friend go to your gym and if you don’t have either – sit in the dark and re-examine your life. When the lights go on maybe you’ll decide on having one or the other
- If you have access to a shower – pack a backpack with the essentials; towel, toothbrush, toothpaste, hair products, lotion, nail clippers (yup nails still grow in the dark), some lip gloss and of course some eyeliner. The power’s out – no reason to look like a quaker even if you are living like one
- Be in your house before dark to situate yourself – get your candles ready, find your headlamp, locate the matches. Make sure you know where things are before darkness falls
- Once you’re situated – go outside – talk to your neighbors, go to a restaurant, go old school and talk to someone face to face. It’s weird I know. But it’s something to do and it’s actually enriching and fun.
- Don’t complain. There’s no point. You don’t have power. You’re not going to die. You just can’t facebook, tweet, surf the net, watch basketball wives or check weather.com. It’s power – you’ll survive without it
- Realize that when you walk into the bathroom – even if it is day six of no power YOU WILL STILL FLIP ON THE LIGHT SWITCH. You’re not stupid. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Everyone does it.
I actually had fun with the storm. Every night I didn’t have power I walked on the beach with Joe and the dog. We came up with creative ways to cook. I light my gas stove burner with a match – it was dangerous and exciting. I got to spend time with my mother, father and brother. I got to use a chainsaw and let’s face it – that was the freakin’ highlight of the power outage. Chainsaws are powerful. They are loud and exciting and dangerous and fun. There’s something about the element of being able to cut off your own leg that keeps you focused. We stacked wood. I started the generator on Day 3 by myself and it was a proud moment. I cooked every night. We ate by candlelight. I
don’t have television to begin with so I wasn’t really missing much to be honest. If we are keeping it real – my Sunday was pretty much the same – I mean
there were 60mph winds swirling around my house but I was on the couch with the dog reading a book. I even took two
naps. My mother called me and woke me up during one to tell me that we were in the eye of the storm.
There is a lot of devastation. Homes are lost. Possessions were swept out to sea that can’t be replaced. It’s brutal. Mother nature wanted to remind us that the ocean and her winds are extremely powerful. We all can see that. We can all pause and appreciate the power of the sea and the power of mother nature and not take it for granted and respect it. Maybe we can all slow down and not go plug into facebook and twitter and
go outside after work and still continue to talk to your neighbors. It could happen.
Maybe I can change my line of work and start working for a tree service. I wasn’t bad with that chainsaw. I mean – my left arm is still
sore. But it could happen.
Let’s stay positive.
Let’s focus on the positive. Yes,
there was devastation, yes there were homes lost, yes we didn’t have power for
days on end. But we all commiserated, we talked to our neighbors, we got out of our little shells, we engaged with each other. Maybe mother nature was also reminding us that we are social creatures.