Monday, December 19, 2011

reverb11 day 19: blackout! (the generosity edition)

Today’s prompt asks: Tell us about a time this year that you were moved by the generosity of others.

At the end of October, my lovely state got bitch-slapped by a Nor’Easter that dumped 15 inches of snow in my area, and took down trees and powerlines that resulted in nearly the entire state being in the dark for a week or more. And it sucked. Lo, how it sucked. We are on a well, so when we lose power, we also lose water. So all of the sudden it’s like you're camping. Inside your 40-something-degree house. With the added twist that it wasn't even Halloween yet.

Well, we got the hell out of there. We haphazardly packed, forgetting chargers and dog food and lots of other important things, and ran. We got the hell out of there so fast that we were driving over someone’s lawn to avoid the live wires that were crossing either side of our road. We didn’t want to get somehow trapped. When Irene (the hurricane) hit in August, we stayed home during the three-day power outage, save for one night in a shady hotel. We didn’t want to do that again – this time, it was freezing! And also, forcing flushes in your toilet every time you go to the bathroom isn't as glamorous as it sounds. And also not being able to shower. Or brush your teeth. Etc.

We headed to my in-laws, who live down at the shore. Only 45 minutes away, but wow, what a difference. They had maaaaybe a dusting of snow on the ground. Much more importantly they had running water! Heat! Power! It was glorious.

They took us in for five days. (Our power was out for six, but of course we had to stay home that first day when the storm hit.) They have a smallish house, and it certainly was not an easy thing to have a whole family move in, but they offered with no questions asked. My in-laws both work full-time as well, so to have four adults who have to get to work in the morning, plus a four-year-old who thought she was on vacation, definitely created some hectic moments. But we managed.

My mother-in-law was great. She made sure to stock the house with food we liked, entertained Jane, even babysat her one night so Greg and I could go to the movies. She went with us around the neighborhood on Halloween so Jane could trick-or-treat (something most kids in my area had to forgo this year). In a way, it really WAS like being on vacation – except with an hour-commute any time I had to go to work or rehearsal or come up for more supplies.

That week inspired generosity in a lot of people. All over Facebook, people who had generators or – miraculously - actual power were offering up their homes to anyone who needed it. The people I knew who did have power had full houses of friends and family who were without – it was a crazy, dirty, cramped, sleepover party for the bulk of the week for so many people.

It was awesome to see people be so nice to each other. It was inspiring. The moment our power came back on (perhaps one of the happiest days of this year) (no, DEFINITELY one of the happiest days of the year) I put the offer up on Facebook for anyone to stop by, warm up, sleep over, take a shower – whatever.

And you can bet your ass we bought a generator right after that.


Brandeewine said...

I still marvel at how long the power was down. I take it for granted, right up until it goes down. Our air conditioner went down two summers ago. We only had one uncomfortable night. Thank goodness you do well with tour inlaws...I couldn't take more than a couple of hours with mine.

Shane said...

If anybody that is reading this comment is still without power from this storm, you are welcome to stay in my basement until your power comes back. It is a comfortable 55 degrees, and there is a sink down there with slightly dirty running water.

I know...I am incredibly generous. I can't help it.

Dwayne "The Train" said...

i don't cry, but this made my eyes wet: beaglefreedomproject.

#reverb11 in #tenwords

also, here’s my reply to yesterday’s prompt: boy *space* friend.