On Tuesday, August 4, 2020, we got hit with tropical storm/hurricane Isaias, resulting in the longest I’ve gone without power since my kids were born (it’s a lot harder when you have littles relying on you!). Knowing I wouldn’t have internet for the foreseeable future, I kept a diary on Microsoft Word (how archaic!). I decided not to go back and edit these entries to keep them as real and raw as possible, and to be honest I don’t think this post is going to draw a lot of interest. But sometimes I think life’s ordinary challenges end up being the most reflective opportunities for growth, so for that I think it’s worth it.
Disclaimer. This isn’t a pity party! I know there are people who have and will experience far worse than a week long power outage in the middle of summer. I’m always one to count my blessings, and this is no different. It’s just my own emotional rollercoaster put into words for me to remember and to reflect on.
Tuesday, August 4, 2020
Day 1. Oblivious. Luca’s camp is canceled for the day, even though all weather forecasts told us it isn’t going to hit bad until between 2:00pm and 10:00pm. We know we are getting the “wind” side of the storm, and not the “rain” side. When the tornado warning comes through at 3:11pm, telling us to seek shelter, we bring all the Goldfish and Smartfood and iPads downstairs into the basement with our flashlights and make a treat out of it. The boys have fun with it; we keep it really lighthearted and even bring a bottle of wine down for the adults. In Dominic’s words, a TOMATO is coming! By 4:00pm, the “tomato” warning is over even though the winds are still pretty bad. We get word from our neighbors that a massive tree branch is down across our shared driveway, so the boys put on their rain boots and plow through the debris to check it out. Afterwards, I hop on the grill to prep burgers and dogs since we now have no power, while dad heads over to help the neighbors chainsaw the tree up. Bedtime goes smoothly, then for whatever reason I down a bottle of wine…I think for two reasons: (1) my mom-tuition knows we are kind of in for it the next few days, even though my real brain refuses to accept it, and (2) UTI symptoms start (sorry, if TMI, then stop reading now, but this is unfiltered) and hell no I’m not going to deal with this through a hurricane during a pandemic. I am going to mind-over-matter the sh*t out of this UTI.
Wednesday, August 5, 2020
Day 2. Dumbfounded. We awake to still no power, and the first obstacle is explaining to my creatures of habit that they can’t have their morning milk or watch youTube kids. A few protests but overall they take it pretty well. Here goes being totally unplugged for the foreseeable future. It being Wednesday and a workday and Mike having just started a new job this week, he HAS to go into the office. Surprisingly, camp is open so while Mike treks into work I trek to camp. A normally 20 minute drive takes me 1 hour and 20 minutes, of which I pass (I’d say) between 10 and 20 downed trees/telephone wires. Luca’s camp is only a few miles away. Damn. I guess it is A LOT worse than we thought. We make our way home, and Dominic, Tessa, and I decide to go for a walk since there is nothing better to do. We turn out of our driveway and manage around the corner to be stopped by a massive tree across the road with power wires strewn all over the place. Like a tangled-up delicate necklace. In shock, we head over to our brother and sister-in-laws for dinner and showers, since somehow they are the only house in their entire vicinity to not lose power. Meanwhile, UTI symptoms still lurk despite my best out-of-sight-out-of-mind attempts. We drink more to stave off reality one more time.
Thursday, August 6, 2020
Day 3. Hopeful. At this point we realize we are probably in it for the long haul. So Mike wakes up extra early and literally goes to the stream behind our house to fill coolers with water. We have well water, so no power means no water. He heads to work, I to camp. Once home with Tessa napping, Dominic and I decide to help Daddy out. We head outside to clean the yard. For every adult tool, we have a little one to match. First we pick up sticks and branches, then we rake, then we wheel-barrow, then we sweep. Three hours later with the baby still sleeping, this mom is feeling like superwoman because not only do we do a whole lot of cleaning but my Dommy is such a champ the whole time. We get Luca from camp and wait for Daddy to get home. After realizing I forgot to eat lunch, we whip up a pretty darn good dinner using just our grill – steak and baked potatoes with fresh cukes and tomatoes from the garden. And while at work, Mike is able to see on Facebook that our area of town is on track for lights on by 11pm. Hallelujah! Wine to celebrate! We go to bed feeling realllly hopeful.
Friday, August 7, 2020
Day 4. Hopeless. Wake up at 4am with UTI symptoms so bad I sleep on the bathroom floor in fetal position covered by a towel till 6am, and still no power. Bummed and exhausted, but realizing this was inevitable, we have to figure out what to do with the two extra freezers full of breast milk that were now 3 days into defrosting. Mike’s argument is to just throw it out (?!?!?!?!), since Tessa won’t take a bottle anyway. My argument is HELLO SHE STARTS DAYCARE IN TWO WEEKS WHETHER SHE LIKES THE BOTTLE OR NOT. So, we make plans to drive the freezers 40 minutes away to my parents’ house who have power, but luck is on our side. Turns out the in-laws regained power overnight, 1 mile down the road. We load the freezers, the kids, and whatever food and gear we scramble together into the car to house-squat at Nana and Papa’s for the time being. And this is when the waterworks start. I think the stress and anxiety (and going on day 4 of no coffee) is finally getting to me. Plus, naptime isn’t going well and Dominic tore through the toys here in an hour, leaving us 4 hours till camp pick up with nothing to do on a rainy-ish morning. We throw rocks down the drain and walk to the end of the road to watch cars and trucks go by – I’m pretty sure people driving by are puzzled and maybe even concerned? Unkempt, unshowered woman with a baby and a toddler sitting on the curb on the side of a busy road? Just us, no need to worry! Not to mention my UTI is now roaring but with no cell phone service I can’t even call my doctor to have him order meds. I cry off and on all day, while Mike calls my urogynocologist (yes they exist and yes I have one…that’s what baby 3 will do to ya) and beg for meds, only for them to deny unless I go for a urine test but QUEST WON’T LET YOU IN WITH ANYONE BECAUSE OF COVID AND I HAD 3 KIDS TO TOTE AROUND. I think the doctor feels bad because the nurse calls him back a little while later asking me to call if I could so the nurse could talk to me – NO I CAN’T CALL I HAVE NO POWER AND NO SERVICE. I call back while picking Luca up from camp and finally get her to agree to call in meds if I promise to give a urine sample the next morning (Saturday). Needless to say, I forget to eat lunch again, and hubby shows up after work to Nana’s and Papa’s with a variety pack of hard seltzers, a bottle of wine, a few pizzas, his Xbox, and Trolls World Tour so the kids can finally watch something and give us a good 20 minutes of FREEDOM for the first time in 4 days. Dang, what a day. And thank god it’s the weekend, because I think today is definitely my rock bottom.
Saturday, August 8, 2020
Day 5. Grateful. It’s amazing what a good night’s sleep, coffee, and antibiotics does for me. I feel like a new woman. And by 9:30am the tree around the corner from us is finally cleared, leaving just the mess of wires. A good sign. But Eversource released the estimates by town and we’re not scheduled to be back on the grid until 6pm Monday. And we still only have cell service for what seems like a few hours in the evening so we spend most of the morning off the grid completely. Breathe, just breathe. Decide to get out of the house so the whole family goes to the lake for the afternoon. Even though the amenities here are also without power, crews have the snack shack up and running with generators and the weather is beautiful. Things finally feel a little normal, even though they are far from it. Gets me thinking, of course. Healthy and safe kiddos, in-law’s down the road to escape to if needed, no tree damage to the house or property, mango hard seltzers, ruffles cheddar and sour cream chips…you know counting my silver linings.
Sunday, August 9, 2020
Day 6. Apathetic. We do our normal wake up run back to the house to grab clothes and any needed items for the day and to check on the power situation. And today it’s same old…no power. So we hit the lake again and meet up with some friends, and we immediately notice all the amenities at the lake have power again. You’d think it’d ignite some hope, but for whatever reason I’m just over it today – maybe just emotionally drained – so I feel like I’m not really feeling at all. Head back to Nana and Papa’s to make an early Sunday dinner, and we stop at home to grab some food items we need. We’ve gotten in the habit of driving down the road to check on the tree and wire situation, so we do what we normally do…TWO LONELY LINEMEN WORKING ON THE WIRES!!!! Mike yells, “You’re my hero!!” out the window as we drive by, and sure enough a few hours later we have power. By this point, the kids are in bed so we decide to just stick here for one more night and migrate home in the morning.
Monday, August 10, 2020
Day 7. Mixed emotions. You’d think I’d be elated that power’s back on and we’re headed home, which I am! But I’m also extremely overwhelmed. Nana and Papa’s house is a mess and we’ve been living out of my car with essential items packed in re-useable shopping bags. I pack up what I can, leaving the mess to return to and clean after bedtime tonight. I get Luca off to camp and get home. We walk in the door and I’m excited to be home but I’m gob smacked in the face with a war zone of a mess. I don’t really remember leaving the house because everything is such a daze, but apparently we left it torn apart. Everything from dirty dishes in the sink, rotten fridge, stinky garbage, cluttered playroom, laundry. And still no cable or internet so I do the best I can to call into two work meetings despite looking like I got hit by a bus. I just can’t keep up. Dominic and Tessa take a killer afternoon nap and internet finally comes back on. And ultimately I come to realize that while this whole Isaias saga is over, it’s still going to take me a few days to catch up and return to normal. I gotta learn to cut myself a break sometimes. And judging from the pictures I snapped each day, I don’t think my kids ever even picked up on the stress and anxiety of this whole thing, just the excitement of the TOMATO warning, real life flashlight using, and the big-bed sleepover at Nana and Papa’s condo. Pizza for dinner because we just survived a tomato and its aftermath (and really because I haven’t restocked the fridge yet).