Aug 26, 2011

Hurricanes, ice storms and more's Friii-day, people! Let me tell you, I've had summer-itis this week...that, "it's almost the end of summer so all I want to do is lay back and soak it up" feeling. That = not being super productive, which = I have no projects to show you today.

But, it looks like I'll be spending lots of time indoors this weekend, so I'll have plenty of time to keep myself busy. If you're on the East Coast, then you too are preparing for Hurricane Irene, which is headed our way very shortly. She's supposed to hit Maine on Sunday night, bringing lots of heavy rain and wind. Thankfully we don't live on the coast (I rarely say "thankfully" about that, since I would DIE for a cute little beach cottage), but we do live in a rural area, which means we could lose our power. Don't worry -- I've got my emergency radio and flashlights all ready to go!

The really bad thing about losing power in rural Maine is that no power means no well pump, which means no water at all....which means, I think, worst of all, no toilet flushing. I'll be filling up our downstairs bathtub and some buckets with water, so we can at least flush the old fashioned way!

Irene will be the first hurricane to hit Maine since Hurricane Bob in 1991, but I was too young to remember that. I do remember, however, what everyone in the Northeast knows as the Ice Storm of '98. It's the only major* natural disaster I've lived through (and I say major with an asterisk because the damage was nowhere near close to what earthquakes and tornadoes in other parts of the country or the world have caused, but in terms of what us Northeast folks have to live through, it was major for us).

It happened in January, after days of rain and freezing temperatures left everything coated with as much as three inches of ice in the Northeast U.S. and Canada. The ice was so thick and heavy that trees and power lines crumpled under the weight. In Maine, 80% of people lost their power, and for some people that meant power was out for two weeks. Lots of schools closed, and the ones that did have power opened as emergency shelters. Sadly, six people also died in Maine; in total, the storm killed 16 people in the U.S. and 28 in Canada.

Despite all the stats, though, it was actually really beautiful to look at. Everything was coated in ice and shimmered and glittered in the sun. I remember just how quiet and peaceful everything seemed too, without the sounds of traffic and TVs. We ventured outside to check out the damage, and all the trees just bent over completely to the ground, their branches actually frozen to the road. It was so slippery it was hard to walk, and every now and then you'd hear the sound of a branch cracking under the pressure and falling to the ground. One branch almost landed on our dog -- I remember seeing her walking away just as the branch fell, and thinking how crazy that was.

When you're a kid during something like this, it's kind of a cool adventure. It started on my birthday, and I remember being sad that the power kept flickering while I was trying to play my Nintendo, and my mom was trying to bake me a birthday cake. We were lucky that we only lost power for about three days, I think. I can't remember everything we did to pass the time, except we probably read and played games (and maybe I did some homework). In Maine in January, the sun goes down around 4 or 4:30, which means lots of hours without daylight.

Without power, we had no heat except for a propane space heater that we all huddled around to sleep at night. I remember just being bundled in sweatshirts and hats and blankets at night. And I remember my mom cooking whatever food she could on our grill outside, including heating water to make coffee and hot chocolate. It was definitely a memorable birthday!

I'm sure my parents were probably worried about our water pipes freezing and all the other damage to our house and yard, but as I remember it now, it was fun -- kind of like camping, but in your own house. Of course, I was 12, so I was actually probably complaining the whole time....Mom, what do you remember? :)

I don't have any pictures I took, because, well, it was 1998 and I'm pretty sure I didn't have a digital camera. But here are a couple I found online:


Even though I thought it was fun as a kid, I definitely would not like to see another ice storm of this magnitude in my lifetime! Just thinking about no showers for three days and having to worry about our pipes freezing, trees taking out our house, etc., gives me hives.

I don't think the hurricane will do any damage to us, except knock out our power, but it never hurts to be prepared for the worst anyways. I'm thankful we won't be taking the brunt like our neighbors to the south. I hope everyone on the East Coast stays safe this weekend!

I know the title of this post says there's "more," but really I think that's all. :) Have a great weekend, everyone! I'm hoping to make it to the flea market on Saturday before the storm comes, and I'm super pumped about it. Hopefully I'll have some fun finds to show you next week!

1 comment:

Kelley said...

Mindy we did have fun and you only complained about your birthday REALLY love your cake huh?! I think that we were lucky too and got our power back a lot faster than some others...they may not remember it as being much fun! :) Lets hope that everyone that is effected by Irene comes through safely.