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Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sandy - a Six Day Adventure

The power went off amid very high winds at 10:30 Monday night. We had a lot of rain in the Allentown area in Pennsylvania all day long. More than had been forecast. But once the hurricane hit New Jersey and started heading north and west, the winds got very hard.

When  the power goes off it gets dark. When the power goes off it gets cold too. So although I had power most of the day, I'm counting Monday as Day 1. Going to bed that night wasn't too bad. I had an extra blanket and my new electric blanket is heavier than the old one was, so I was OK. I just wore my heaviest pjs and a sweater and socks to bed.

Tuesday morning, Day 2, I continued to collect my emergency supplies. I had a fire starter. One of those gas ones that usually gets used for barbeque grills. And I have a gas stove. Last year I located one of those Melita one cup coffee units, and I had 5 filters. So I cut a slit in one of my Keurig cups, and put the coffee into the filter, and made coffee.

The problem with the fire starters is that they are intended for you to do it with two hands unless you are a very strong person. And I needed one hand to turn on the gas, but I did manage to get it on every morning with a lot of effort. I need to find a better way going forward.

We had a natural gas incident the previous week. That was also one day with no heat. We did have lights and they were done not long after dark. One advantage is that the UGI (gas company) repairman set up my fireplace so the remote would start it. I decided to see if it would work on Tuesday morning and it did. So I actually had some heat. The problem was that when the fireplace got too hot it would turn the heat off as a safety precaution.

Tuesday was when I discovered I had no phone service. The cell towers in my area were down for T-Mobil. That afternoon the rain stopped for a little while and I went across the street. There are 4 adults living in that house and I hoped one of them would have a phone that worked. They did, and I got a call out to my daughter that I was OK.

I took care of myself all of Tuesday including heating up a meal from the food that was defrosting in the freezer. Frankly the area had all kinds of road closures and I knew I needed to stay home. I own two lanterns and have several emergency lights that plug in. By the end of the night all the emergency lights had lost all their power and I was down to flashlights and the lanterns.

Wednesday morning, Day 3, I asked my neighbors to help me get my car out of the garage. I can close the door, but I can't open it without the garage door opener. Once the car was out I could get out of my immediate neighborhood. I had a doctor's appointment, but the doctor's doors were locked. It is very likely he didn't know his power was back on, or that he had taken the family to relatives because he had no power.

One of my neighbors came to see me on Wednesday and wanted to know why I hadn't come up to stay with her. Frankly it was warm enough in my house that being able to sleep in my own bed was a plus, but I accepted her invitation to a hot meal for supper. In fact I ate with her on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. She also took some of the stuff in my freezer to her house. So I lost some stuff, but not everything. I also got to make some phone calls to spread the news I was OK. My phone just wouldn't work and I gave up on it.

On Thursday, Day 4, I tried to find someplace to have a hot breakfast and ended up at McDonald's, where they were only taking cash, but at that point I had enough cash, so that was OK.

I also made two other stops. The Dollar Store where I got two LED candles and four LED tea lights. Don't laugh. The LED candles went on the floor against the wall and gave me night light level light between the living room and the front door. Two tea lights in the kitchen and two in the bathroom also provided night light level light. At $1 each they were a bargain because ALL of them lasted the rest of the week. I just might get more of them for the next time this happens.

The second stop was to Big Lots where I got a set of flannel sheets. The bed always was warm enough during the night, but when you first got in, it was cold. With the flannel sheets that was no longer true. It was another great buy. And I'm beginning to think I like flannel sheets for the entire winter.

Friday was Day 5. I knew a lot of people already had power so I took a chance and went to the library for their wifi. Their Internet connection kept throwing me out, so I couldn't do much, but did manage some emails to people who I knew were worrying about me.

I listened to radio quite a bit since it was my only way to get news. PPL, the electric company, said that 85% of their customer would have power by Friday night. I was all set up emotionally to be one of them and when it didn't happen, I was extremely disappointed. I learned later that they thought they had restored our power in the middle of the evening, but there was an additional problem they didn't know about.

I was back in the library on Saturday Morning, Day 6, when one of the other people there got a text from home telling him the power was on at his house. He lived very close to me so I took it for granted mine would be too. I went home and no, we didn't have power, so I went on to do a couple of errands. I'd run out of coffee filters, so I needed those. I bought some bananas and a muffin for breakfast for Sunday, went to Wendy's for lunch and then went home.

There were trucks on one of the streets on the way home, but no, my power was not on. I got on an extra sweater and got a blanket and just got into my recliner.

The power came back on at 1:16 on Saturday Afternoon, Day 6. Yes that is a weird time to remember, but I went directly to one of my clocks and set the time.

I've figured out a few things I need to do for the next time. I need a phone that works and I'm working on getting that. Not being able to make a call for 6 days was bad. I need more light sources for the long haul. At least one more large lantern and several smaller light sources so I'm not trying to live in a single pool of light. And I'm going to buy one pair of really warm pajamas.

Take care all

1 comment:

  1. I'm happy to hear you seem to have managed pretty well.