Monday, October 16, 2006

I'm Back!

Oh my.

My poor area has been suffering since Thursday night. I've never told you where I live but I will now... I live in a lovely old suburb of Buffalo, NY and not only did 400,000 homes in Western New York lose their electricity last week, but hundreds of thousands of our huge, gorgeous trees were either damaged or destroyed. They came crashing down because they were at their height of autumn glory and the heavy, heavy snow clung to all the leaves which normally, later in winter, would have been gone. And when the trees and branches came down, they brought with them live electrical wires and telephone poles. Hundreds of streets looked as through a tornado had swept through them.

It's been wild. Tom and I were without electricity for exactly 72 hours... three whole days. See the picture above? That's where I spent most of those days, there in front of the candles trying to stay warm. Though fortunately, it never got what we back here call really cold outside. And too, we still had our hot water so we did the ol' fill-the-bathtub-with-hot-water-and-close-the-door trick so we had a place to go to if we did start to feel chilled.

Or rather, I should say I. For you see, beginning Friday morning Tom worked three of his 12-hour day shifts so mainly I was alone for the whole outage. (He'd come home tired and we'd both go to bed around 8:30.) Mostly, the first day was the hardest.... talk about technology withdrawal! I kept thinking, "Oh, if I could just read my email and take a peek at my blog just once! Just once!" And wanting to watch my dvd's and to read in good light...heh... And cringing at the sirens every hour and the chainsaws roaring and ripping apart brilliant orange tree limbs.

Earlier that morning I had to go out front with my black coat slipped over my robe and with a broom, push the snow off of our Japanese Maple which looked so sadly cattywampus-burdened. Fortunately I was able to save it, but our 30 - 40 year-old lilac bushes in the back, though I did take a broom to them, too, already had snapped in the middle bush.

The last two days felt better. The technology withdrawal eased, I didn't even care about the computer (well, I still cared about all of you) and I found the most delightful local news station on our battery-operated radio, one which had tons of phone-in talk shows where people could share their storm survival stories. The dj's were all a blessing, very good at what they did, and excellent at keeping people's eyes on the bright side and their hearts hopeful that help would soon be coming. Not to mention very informative as well as just keeping us all from feeling we were shivering inside our dark houses alone.

Basically, Tom and I had it easy. Our area didn't get as much snow, less than a foot, I think. Our basement never floods so we do not have a sump pump--tons of people now have flooded basements or have had to keep bailing the water from them every two hours. And if your basement floods, it knocks out the pilot light on your water heater which means you have no hot water, not to mention you can no longer walk around your basement after that, less you be electrocuted(!) And too, I'd just nearly completed the first phase of my winter pantry stock-up so we had tons of food and candles and batteries.

The driving bans are slowly being lifted, and although I've not left the house since last Thursday, part of me hesitates to go out today (Tom has the day off). Why? Because I don't want to see damaged or downed golden trees. Trees such as the ones I, just before the storm, added to my new blog here.

Please pray for our community... Power is being slowly restored, but a few lives were tragically lost, people are still suffering in their cold houses (and many elderly people are stuck in their upper level apartments because they cannot walk down stairs) and we've lost many of the trees which make our area the gorgeous place it is--especially in Autumn.

Want to see more about it? Go here and click on the link in the 4th paragraph. (You'll have to sit through a commercial first...). There will be two reports--be sure to wait for the second one if you'd like to see more film of the devastation (though it doesn't do it all justice).

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