I was about to create a new post on “Night #12 No Power,” when thankfully the power came back on. On top of no electricity or heat, we had just been hit with a Nor’easter, dumping inches of snow back on the ground and so the kids had a two hour delay before they could go to school. I trekked into NYC to get to work and my husband stayed home, preparing to sit in the cold and wait hours in line for gas, since he now had the time. After getting both kids to school, he came home and started shoveling the snow on our walkway when a man in a car came by and said “go in your house.” My husband looked at him warily and asked, “is everything ok?” The man smiled and said “go turn on your lights.” There had been some LIPA trucks on our block that morning, but he didn’t have any trust it meant much. My husband ran into the house and flicked the switch. I could barely understand him on the phone when he called me seconds later to tell me because he was so excited.
Since he’s not the kind of guy to just sit still, he actually filled my car with gas and then spent the day cleaning the house so when I came in that evening it would feel like home. He brought all the mattresses we had dragged in front of the fireplace back upstairs and made all the beds. He put things away we had simply dumped on the floor because we couldn’t see at night. He cleaned up all the wood chips scattered across the floor from the logs we had dragged in. He vacuumed the entire house. And, even though I asked him if the house was getting warmer, I found out later he had lied to me saying “not yet, but it’s coming on now.” Apparently a part on our boiler busted and he called the plumber while I was at work and somehow had someone come right in and fix it. He told me later, “you coming home and not having heat was not an option.” He picked me up from the train, we went to my sister-in-law in another town, grabbed all our things as we had stayed there the previous few nights, and came home. I walked through the door and welled up. To say he was my hero does not give him the credit he deserves.
So now you’d expect everything to go back to normal, right? The kids came home from school and immediately the television went on, wii games were played, the computer went on and they glued themselves to every piece of technology they had been missing. The house slowly warmed up and we put a container of milk in the fridge.
It’s now the next morning and the kids are doing what they usually do on a Saturday, watching TV and playing on the computer. My husband bought bagels and made coffee. It’s beautiful outside, warming up finally and I’m on my computer. But I’m finding I’m aimless. I’m nervous and scared and unsure, worried about the lights staying on. I’m worried for our friends on Long Island, those in my very town who have spent another cold night without heat. I’m worried for our infrastructure. It’s only November and the idea of a winter of this uncertainty is intolerable. I’m worried about how this is going to affect my children the next time my lights flicker. My daughter seems to be okay, back to ordering her brother around and my son, who has asperger’s, will slowly get back to his routine. These past 12 days were tough on him, but he seems happy this morning and “giving it right back to his sister.” So, things are slowly coming back to normal. Except I guess my bar for normal has been set pretty low right now.
I’m going to do a few things to make myself feel even more prepared. I’m ordering a cord of firewood for my house. I’m getting the chimney flue professionally cleaned. I’m going to Home Depot or Lowe’s and buying lanterns, stocking up on new candles, handwarmers and going to purchase some really good sleeping bags. I’m thinking the kind that people who camp out in sub-zero weather use.
So, for us, things will slowly feel better, day by day, but I don’t want to forget there is still suffering going on around me. We are trying to pay it forward, open our house to folks in need and asking our kid’s friends to spend the night to stay out of the cold.
I guess, unfortunately, dysfunction is the new normal these days. Let’s hope it ends quicker than later.