Over seven hours without electric power starting around 3 in the wee hours this morning. First the good news: We'd planned to catch reruns of what Thad McCotter called Obama's "ShamWow Summit," but no electricity, no C-SPAN. We hear tell the much ballyhooed proceedings ended Republicans=1, Obama=0. Even CNN's David Gergen and Gloria Borger had to admit it. Thank you all who watched so we didn't have to.
And now the bad news. Restively wakeful in the hour of the wolf before dawn, "when the sleepless are haunted by their deepest fear, when ghosts and demons are most powerful" and "all you can see is the troubles and the problems and the ways that your life should've gone but didn't," we were deprived of our usual 24/7 opiate, the ironically soothing background noise that television with remote provides. Added to that, when Tiny came to bite our nose and claw our face at her usual breakfast time, it was still too dark for us to see well enough to administer her insulin shot on schedule. Finally, and perhaps most devastating, with no access to the internet, our endorphin levels dipped dangerously low.
On the cell phone once it was light, we suffered through the tinny Musak and automated messages from NStar assuring us how much they cared about us and were finally informed that yes, much of Chelsea was without electric power — a casualty of high winds after midnight — and no, they couldn't say when the power would be restored. When the affable, professional NStar team finally arrived a couple of hours later in a caravan of three spiffy white vehicles, they stopped just a few yards from our house and set up their orange cones to warn oncoming traffic to proceed with caution. We strolled over to see what was what. Pointing upwards, their diagnostics man showed us the source of the outage, a disconnected transformer atop the telephone pole in front of our next-door neighbor's house. They went right to work, stabilizing the truck with jacks and lifting our hero in the cherry picker high amongst the tortured branches of a venerable Silver Maple. We went back inside for a moment to see if power had been restored, but not yet. Then back outside, where one of the team was walking towards us, gesturing thumbs up. We shouted "My hero," but he said no, the guy in the cherry picker is the hero. We returned thumbs up and hurried back inside, where the computer studio and kitchen were alive with the music of our social-networking sphere.
Update: Out of contact with the outside world, we'd missed the bigger picture:
Power failures were severe and widespread, ranging from more than 330,000 in New Hampshire, to over 200,000 in Connecticut and New York and more than 100,000 in Maine and Massachusetts at the storm's peak.
The highest wind reported was 91 mph off Portsmouth, N.H. - well above hurricane force of 74 mph. Gusts also hit 60 mph or more from the mountains of West Virginia to New York's Long Island and Massachusetts.
An ill wind.