Sunday, August 16, 2020

"Diary of a Powerless Homeowner"

By Jerry Zezima

Hearst Connecticut Media Group

Since I am always in the dark, mainly because I’m lightheaded, the recent storm didn’t throw shade at me. But it left my house in the dark, too. For six days. So I got a pen and a flashlight and kept a diary because, unfortunately, I was powerless to do anything else.

Tuesday: Tropical Storm Isaias breezes in and knocks out the electricity at 12:30 p.m.

“How could the power go out?” I ask my wife, Sue. “It’s just drizzling.”

The power comes back on at 2 p.m.

“What a wimp of a storm,” I say.

Isaias must have heard me because half an hour later he blows through with a vengeance and knocks out the power again.

The storm leaves twigs and branches all over our property. Sue and I go outside after dinner (chicken salad — yum!) to clean up the front yard and see Corrie, our next-door neighbor, who says the power isn’t supposed to come back on until Thursday.

I call the power company but can’t get through.

“They must be out, too,” I chortle.

Darkness descends. I light candles and nearly burn off my fingertips. My phone is almost out of juice, so I get in my air-conditioned (thank God!) car and drive around while charging it. When I arrive back home, it feels like a sauna.

“Let’s wear towels!” I tell Sue.

She frowns. I grab a flashlight and try to read a book. It’s one of mine. I get drowsy.

We go to bed but can’t sleep. Sue gets up and goes into another room, possibly because I forgot to brush my teeth. I’ll do it in the morning.

Wednesday: I finally get through to the power company. A recording tells me there is no information about our outage but that crews are “working hard” to restore electricity, which should be back up by Friday.

I wonder how many times I can flick the bathroom light switch before remembering that we have no power.

I spend the entire day cleaning the backyard. I smell to the high heavens. So does some of our food, which Sue throws out.

Thursday: I finally take a shower. The water is so cold it could induce cardiac arrest in a walrus.

Power update: It should be back up by Saturday. I drive around after dark to charge my phone again and notice that every house in the neighborhood but mine and several others in a two-block area are illuminated like Times Square on New Year’s Eve.

Friday: Sue and I drive to the home of our younger daughter, Lauren, and her husband, Guillaume, who have power. Our granddaughters Chloe and Lilly are happy we are staying over.

Sue and I sleep in the air-conditioned living room on an air mattress that Lauren’s friend Tara kindly lets us use. It’s the best rest we’ve had all week.

Saturday: I play with the girls outside, first on the swings, then in their inflatable pool. Afterward, I have a beer that, unlike the brew in our house, is actually cold.

Power update: They’re shooting for Sunday. I’d like to shoot them.

Sunday: Sue and I thank Lauren and Guillaume for their hospitality and drive home. We arrive at 2:45 p.m. and find that there’s still no electricity. As Sue throws out the rest of the food, I call the power company and speak with Patti, who apologizes and says, “There are no words.”

“There are plenty of words,” I tell her. “But I can’t repeat them over the phone.”

Then, at 6:09 p.m., the house alarm starts blaring.

“We have power!” I squeal.

“Finally!” Sue exults.

I flick the bathroom switch. The light goes on. I’m not in the dark after all.

Copyright 2020 by Jerry Zezima

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