Okay, back to the present. You've heard about the pine trees, right? The four pine trees that snapped off in front of our very eyes almost two weeks ago? Those pine trees? Here they are:
And here they are today, after endless hours of sawing and lopping and raking and moving and dumping, oh my:
My husband did most of the work. I was trying to salvage food in the first few days, and then I was able to pitch in with the clean-up effort. As he trimmed branches, I loaded them into the truck, then he drove them to our pond (about a quarter mile away) and dumped them there. (We decided it was better for one person to divest the pickup truck of its load after we nearly decapitated one another throwing limbs on the pile.) We're going to have one helluva bonfire this fall!
I tried to find things to be grateful for during our nine electric-less days:
- a good family friend who was able to take my mother-in-law into her home until MIL's lights came back on.
- that my mother-in-law's house had water. (And I'm completely puzzled as to how city water supplies keep running without electricity. Must look into that.)
- a smartphone and a car charger.
- Virginia Mahan, our retiring Delegate to the state legislature, who is continuing to provide updates for restoration of service.
- Faith for pointing out that we had power, we just didn't have electricity. What a great distinction; she really boosted my spirits.
- I don't need a hair dryer to style my hair.
- I didn't give myself a manicure Friday, June 29, the day this all began. I had gone to town and almost bought nail polish, but decided, in the end, that I didn't need it.
- our propane-powered grill and the old aluminum coffeepot I kept in the garage. I'd always thought that coffeepot was too good to toss. AND I WAS RIGHT!
- a garden that began producing tomatoes and zucchini and onions just when we needed them.
- my sobriety, for I surely would have cracked open a couple cases of cold beers to beat the heat, back in the day.
- our local volunteer fire department, which began distributing drinking water and ice after it became evident that we were in this for the long haul.
- my husband, who kept his sense of humor and encouraged me to not cancel my trip to NC to spend time with my family.
- gasoline. It was impossible to get the first couple days, and then one gas station began operating on a generator. We were allowed to buy $25 worth of gas. Even after all the local stations opened up again, they ran out of gas on the 4th of July.
- disposable tableware and antiseptic wipes. With apologies to Mother Earth.
- a carpet sweeper and a broom. I felt rather Amish, cleaning my floors the old-fashioned way!
We've decided a generator wouldn't have helped all that much (our water pump is on a separate meter, several hundred yards from the house, so we would need two generators and two fuel supplies and, well, it just gets to be pretty impractical after a while). We would have saved about a hundred bucks worth of food, but it would have cost many hundreds of bucks to buy and operate a generator for nine days.
We could have packed everything up, including the dog, and gone somewhere, but I think staying was the right thing to do. We cleared as much as we could of the trees, we learned what we were capable of and we're making plans to make the next outage (and there will be a next one) safer and more comfortable.
In the end, it was one of those one-day-at-a-time experiences, magnified a thousand times. And we did it.