DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

December 6, 2012

A generator brings new perspective to storms

A generator and perspective make all the difference

Londonderry Living
Kerri Stanley

---- — It was like déjà vu. Didn’t we go through a similar crazy weather pattern exactly one year ago?

Last year, the snow flew. This year, it was wind and rain. The irony of the whole thing for us was this: We had been researching generator options for our home long before Sandy’s name was even mentioned. Regardless of our decision, nothing would be in place before she arrived, so we would be left to deal with whatever damage she left this time around, with the likelihood of having no electricity for more than a couple of days. Again.

The kids were ever hopeful that school would be canceled. We, the parents, dreaded the possibility. Was it a little premature to cancel school on Sunday, when the worst of the storm wasn’t expected to hit us until late Monday afternoon? Maybe, maybe not.

But New Hampshire was taking Sandy seriously, and it didn’t come as a surprise at all when we got word that there would be no school on Monday. In the meantime, I made the usual preparations of ensuring the candles and flashlights were ready to go, wood stacked by the door for the fireplace, and simple meals were available. The boys would have to ensure their electronic gaming devices were fully charged.

I fully expected us to lose power sometime late Monday afternoon. So, until then, I wasn’t particularly eager to sit at home waiting for that to happen.

No, I was more than willing to go to work, despite the fact that I had been told I didn’t have to. I worked in Manchester at a church, and when Manchester schools closed, Manchester Catholic schools also closed, which meant we closed.

But on Monday morning, it was like any other rainy, windy day and certainly not bad enough that I couldn’t go and get the much needed work done, since I knew Tuesday would be worse and I would be stuck at home, without power, dealing with bored kids whose electronic devices had long since died.

So, I went to work, wary of the wind gradually picking up and blowing the branches of the large oak tree outside my office window. I fielded the many phone calls that came in from people inquiring about whether Mass was still on and if the food pantry was still open, as it is on Mondays.

My husband kept texting me, insisting I take advantage of the day off and go home. I compromised, said I would go at lunchtime and at least get a half-day’s work in.

I finished up what needed to get done at work and headed home in the afternoon, rotating loads of laundry in and out of the washing machine and dryer as quickly as I could before Sandy would inevitably shut down our power supply. She did, finally, at 8:15 p.m., when we heard the transformer go.

Tuesday proved to be a particularly long day, but we had come out of the storm pretty much unscathed, save for a yard full of fallen branches. The sun even succeeded in breaking through the clouds at one point.

If I was really feeling motivated, I could break out the rake and do some yard cleanup. After all, most other chores were limited, if not impossible to complete, if they involved the need for electricity.

The utility companies worked as quickly as they could to restore power to homes, and we were back on the grid sometime Wednesday morning, thankfully. The boys went off to school, while the husband and I went off to our jobs.

The refrigerator was replenished of what had to be thrown away that evening and, by Saturday, we were extremely grateful for the extra hour of sleep we would be given that night with daylight saving time beginning.

Things were pretty much back to normal. For us, anyway. It was amazing to realize how far from normal others were who had been hit so much harder by Sandy, particularly in New York and New Jersey.

Each time we are affected by Mother Nature, I am reminded of past storms, the duration of time we went without electricity, and all the memories brought on by each one.

To see the devastation others are facing makes our loss seem that much less traumatic. We still have our home. We avoided major flooding. No damage occurred from fallen trees to our property. To put it bluntly, we were extremely lucky. So what’s a couple of days without electricity?

Still, the trench has been dug on the north side of the house, ready for the generator to be installed. So, when the next storm hits and we lose power, and we feel only a hiccup when the power supply switches from one source to the other, I will still feel the gratitude at not having to wonder how much food I’ll be throwing away, or how many days we will be without power, and will certainly remember things could be far, far worse.

Things aren’t so bad here in little old Londonderry.

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Kerri Stanley is a resident of Londonderry, involved with several local organizations. Her column appears monthly in the Derry News.