Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hurrican Irene Causes Dirty Hair, But Mystic Pizza Going Strong

No serious flooding here in Mystic (we got the wind more than the rain). Many trees/limbs down. We were lucky--our brook didn't cause a flood in our home or street (according to the neighbors, it did one year when the drain it flows into hadn't been continually cleared). I went out during the storm all morning long to keep the drain free of debris, wearing knee-high rubber boots so I could step into the stream and rip away vines, branches, etc. Perhaps stupidly, I walked Bailey during the storm and kept storm drains clear in the streets as well. I single-handedly saved Mystic from flooding--but since I was out alone, no one but Bailey knows!

Although I was a little scared watching the wind tear through the tall trees that surround our property (our windows are filthy now from being pelted with rain and dirt/leaves), I felt a lot safer than when Elizabeth and I were trapped in a train during Hurricane Floyd. Other than worrying how I was going to keep her head above the rising water and what she was going to eat since she could only swallow pureed food, we endured the terror of the NY woman screaming that the snack car had run of biscottis! That story was in my book, Anything But a Dog!, which the publisher just converted to an e-book in case you know anyone who might like to read the first chapter for free by clicking on the book’s image on Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005GRAE0I
Our oven is electric and we don't have a gas grill, so I have been boiling water in a tea kettle over a little flame. Traffic lights are out around here, so getting around is a little tricky!

The good news is that Mystic Pizza has a generator so we did have a hot meal on Sunday--with the rest of Mystic!
My daughter Jackie and her husband Paul's hurricane story in the D.C. was in preparation of it. Jackie had to compete with others in the nation's capitol for the last remaining flashlight--a toy Lego Man that shines light from his feet. Hunting everywhere for batteries, she finally found a kind store owner who broke up packages of them (and didn't overcharge) and asked each person who came up to his counter, "Now how many do you really need to get through the storm?" Jackie, sounding very much like the old lady in the movie, "It's a Wonderful Life," in the run on the bank scene, said "Two, please." The shop keeper couldn't believe that she fought her way through the crowds to get to that counter just to ask for two. I think of that when I'm tempted to camp out all day long at Starbucks so I can keep my laptop/cell phone charged and keep you all informed. I really should only take up an outlet at Starbucks for two hours max to the writing work I'm required to do for my clients.
Today, 8/30/11-- Day Three With No Power:
We are still hearing of the flooding in NJ/NY from Hurricane Irene and you perhaps are hearing how CT is having trouble getting power back on because of a shortage of linemen. We are still being told to count on "a week or more without power." My cell phone only works intermittently because if cell tower outages.
According to an announement from the governor, CT Light and Power "was still searching for available crews as far away as Seattle or British Columbia." So if you need a job, become a lineman!

I am back in Starbucks in Groton--the one is Mystic does have power, but it's smaller and doesn't have as many outlets. The people sitting around me drinking coffee and charging their laptops/cell phones look like they've been camping. Many are on well water so don't have any water at all. Others, like me, have water, but can't stand putting their heads under cold water. I still have shampoo on my scalp from the one and only time I tried that--I just couldn't remain under the water long enough to get all the soap out.

The night sky never looked better from our house. With a new moon and no lights from town, the stars are spectacular. Occasionally we see a faint glow in a driveway--a TV powered by the car battery. Family members gather in their car for their evening entertainment (and some are cooking with hotplates powered by their car battery). Jim and I curl up in bed with my Starbuck's charged laptop to watch our DVDs. Last night we finished the movie, The Mothman, because the night before that, my laptop ran out of power just at the climax (it's a scary movie about a creature who warns people of impending doom).

Yesterday I bought a folding stove at the Army Navy Store. It sits over a canned flame and takes forever to cook anything. Because I was working until 6:45 p.m., Jim had to start dinner by frying up some of our rapidly defrosting meat--in this case, turkey burgers. I took one bite and couldn't eat anymore--it tasted slimy from the frying pan (Jim thinks the flame made it taste funny, but I don't see how). Suggesting we just give it to Bailey, Jim was upset and said something like, "I slaved all night over this luke-warm flame and you're giving your meat to the dog?"
What I really wanted was good movie popcorn for dinner, so after giving my turkey burgers to Bailey, I talked Jim into seeing a movie at Olde Mistick Village Theater. It was comforting to sit with the other dirty heads in Mystic eating warm popcorn.

Although Olde Mistick Village, a colonial style outdoor shopping center, has power, downtown Mystic and the Mystic Seaport Museum do not. That means all of those businesses are missing out on the height of tourist season (except for Mystic Pizza with its generator still going strong). The drawbridge doesn't go up either, so boats are trapped. The Weather Channel was at the drawbridge Saturday, the day before the hurricane, to show all the boats that dock there during hurricanes. The mouth if Mystic River is protected from the storms over Long Island Sound by Fisher's Island--which is why the area was historically a major ship building district before iron clads became popular after the Civil War (it was impractical to ship iron to Mystic so ship-building gradually died out).

Anyway, Jim and I were in walking around Mystic when the Weather Channel camera crews came so I tried to look casual in front of the yachts and tall ships they were filming in case they wanted to interview me. One camera man moved his camera to get me out of his line of sight. I heard Mystic River was featured on national news, but I doubt I made it into the background. Maybe I'll get lucky and hear soon that I made it in as an extra in the Merryl Streep movie soon to be filmed here.

I bought a spray at the Hair Cuttery that is supposed to make your hair look like it's been washed. It's called something like "Dirty Little Secret." If you want to know whether it keeps my dirty little hair secret a secret, just check back on my blog at http://mysticpizzaseafarer.blogspot.com/2011/08/hurrican-irene-causes-dirty-hair-but.html

Day 5—No power: Dirty Hair Tackled by Government
Tuesday, Aug 31, 2011
Still no power, hot water, or working oven. The good news: we’re gathering nightly with our marginally showered friends by candle light to grill our rotting meat and slurp our soggy, previously frozen fruit (originally purchased for smoothies), calling it fruit compote.
Possible as a result of businesses complaining to the government that tourists won’t come back to Mystic if its residents looked filthy, we were ordered to take advantage of free showers. I’m not kidding, this was the newspaper headline: “Groton Respite Center Wants Region To Take Showers.”
Although I am learning how to take a cold shower without going into shock (by doing back bends in the stall so only my head goes under the spray), I’m dying to try one of those cold, lack-of privacy showers offered in a trailer just to have something new to write about—we’ll see.
Well, I must get going on my freelance writing work (the kind that actually pays) before I get kicked out of Starbucks for charging up my laptop/cell phone too long while sipping one cup of coffee all day. Right now I’m surrounded by some grumpy men who are complaining about our lack of lineman to get the power back on. Yesterday the radio played the old song,“The Wichita Lineman.” The mayor got on the air and told us to give “thumbs up” signs to all the bucket trucks that go by. I heard someone with a chain saw at 2 a.m. this morning working on getting the downed trees cleared. Maybe our power will be back on soon!
If only I were Amish or hardened campers like some of our friends—then this would be so much easier!

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