Saturday, February 06, 2010
It’s a blizzard, a bona fide Nor’easter the likes of which no one around here ever remembers seeing.
The electricity went out around 3:30 AM. I woke up around 4:30, feeling a bit of a chill. When I looked at the clock something didn’t seem right, so I tried to turn on the light. That’s when I knew.
The realization of no electricity and no heat shook me hard and woke me out of that kind of early-morning quasi-sleep that promises, if you close your eyes and snuggle back down and think lovely thoughts, you can go back to sleep.
Wasn’t gonna happen. I jumped out of bed to check the water level in the Bay. That’s when I heard the first howl. Actually, it was more like a low moan – as if someone had been injured and was lying on the deck outside my window.
“UuuUUUuuuuhhhhhhh . . . . .OooooOOOOooooohhhhh”
Then came the thunder. Then, the lightening. How was it that I had slept through this?
I put on my silk long johns under my corduroy brown pants, two pairs of socks and my slippers, a white turtle neck, a gray sweater and then bulky knit sweater over it all and headed for the kitchen. Thermostat inside said 54 degrees. Outside – 36 degrees.
No coffee this morning (note to self: Get a small, French, drip coffee press next time you’re at Bed, Bath and Beyond to keep here), but a hot mug of tea would suffice nicely. I warmed up a blueberry muffin in the oven till it was piping hot and delighted to watch the smoke rise from the inside of the muffin as the butter melted.
Thank God for the gas stove in the kitchen and on the deck. At least I have a few sources of heat. I turned them both on, closed the doors to all the bedrooms, went out to the deck with my tea steaming happily in my mug and started to say Morning Prayer.
I didn’t use the iBCP on my iPhone as that seemed like a pretty silly waste of the battery – especially since I have a few BCPs lying around the cottage. I confess I was distracted in prayer by the cold and watching the Bay water rise steadily in cold, angry slaps against the railroad ties in the front yard.
Around 9:15 AM my neighbor, Larry, knocked on the door. “You okay in there?” he asked from behind his black hooded face cap, resplendent in his burnt orange jump suit. Larry is a locksmith and a peach of a guy. Always checks in on us during a storm. Came with 5 gallons of water during "Ernesto" a few years back. If you look up the term "good neighbor" in the pictorial dictionary, Larry's picture is there.
Around 10:15, I got all bundled up, my "loose gravel" shovel and broom in hand, ready to shovel out the car. I had forgotten my boots back in NJ, so I put on three socks and Ms. Conroy's boots and then covered them with plastic bags.
It worked pretty well until the first wind blast hit about the time my foot went into a deep drift. The wind literally blew me over onto my side. When I tried to get up, the snow sucked my foot out of the plastic-bag-wrapped sneaker and left my foot in the snow.
It was a rather inelegant moment. I was glad I didn't know if anyone was watching me from their window. I must have been quite a sight.
I managed to get all the snow dusted off Lucy True Bug's body and rag top and removed it all from the windshield and wipers. I shoveled out the tires and the sides of the car. Now I have to shovel myself out of the parking lot and through the mound the snow plow has created a few feet from the back of my car.
Larry said his daughter and he would help me. I'm going to need it. There's a lull right now in the snow, but it's still blowing hard. The snow is expected to return later this afternoon, bringing another couple of inches before it ends around 1 AM.
The electricity came back on around 12:30 - THANKS BE TO GOD!!!!! - as did the heat. It's now a toasty 70 degrees in here. Cable and WiFi are back. I fixed myself some eggs and toasted an English muffin for lunch.
Life is good with the basics.
Of course, there's still a state of emergency declared in Delaware. All the major roads are closed to "non-essential vehicles". As much as I adore Lucy True Bug, I think she qualifies for that undignified status. I won't be going anywhere anytime soon.
It's okay. I'm safe - and now warm. I've got food and drink (including bourbon) to last me a week, if I need it. I've got great neighbors and good health, along with family and friends to pray for me and keep track of me.
There's nothing quite like a major event like a blizzard, hurricane or earthquake, to help you get your priorities in order.
I think there's something in the howling of the wind that calls that out of us. And you know, that's not a bad thing. Not a bad thing at all.