Monday, August 29, 2011
Like Living at Plimouth Plantation???? Well Maybe Just a Little
Tropical Storm Irene came through New England on Sunday. I won't call it Hurricane Irene because by the time it got here it had been downgraded to a tropical storm. Of course the local newscasts just couldn't let it go and continued in the Hurricane Irene mode. Even though it was a lot less in wind speed God knows what could happen and perhaps, just perhaps, New England would have it's own Irwin Allen version of a made for New England disaster flick. For those that don't know about Irwin Allen he was successful at creating a series of B movies that evoked disaster and science fiction combined. (i.e. The Towering Inferno, Earthquake, The Poseidon Adventure etc). So here we were minding our own business just watching the trees bend perpendicular to the ground and rain coming sideways when the lights started to flicker. A few minutes later came some small brown outs and at 11AM came the proverbial no power scenario. Just like that Irwin Allen movie in an instant we went from 21st Century to as my wife dubbed it Living at Plimouth Plantation! In technicolor!
For those not from New England, Plimouth Plantation is located near Plymouth MA and is a recreation of Plimouth Village (in Old English is was spelled Plimouth with an i) the original settlement that the Pilgrims constructed back in 1620 when there was no electricity running water etc.
We visited Plimouth Plantation in the middle of summer some years ago. The residents are in character and costume and if you ask where the nearest Starbucks or McDonalds is you get this "deer in the headlights" look feigning that they don't know what you are talking about. Get the picture? Well at our visit back then it was a sweltering hot day and the "man of the house" did what males did back then working the fields, chopping wood and sweating profusely. The "woman of the house" was making soap or candles or slaughtering a chicken or whatever. This would be a great place for environmental wackos to visit who claim they want to get off the grid and live just like the so called Good Old Days but that is a story for another time. Suffice it to say that when we stepped into a smokey Pilgrim home (open hearth fire all natural get that environmental wackos?) between the smell of smoke and body odor and candle tallow or whatever was cooking in the pot you were thankful you were not born a Pilgrim.
So in my wife's mind we had morphed back to Plimouth Plantation and all because we had lost power. Trying to be a good sport I said something like ..."It's not that bad"or some other silly set of words like "it could be worse." About 30 minutes into no power I started to realize that TV was gone as was the Internet and of course my laptop had about 3 hours of battery power at best. Being an eternal optimist I said: "Don't worry in a couple of hours power will be back." Of course I knew it was a lie because the wind had gotten nastier and the trees looked like they were stuck in an aerobics marathon with all the gyrations they were doing. A few hours came and went and the storm radio (I did have batteries) informed us that 350,000 people were without power. Now I realized this was not a short term thing. I commanded that we not open the fridge or freezer since we didn't want to break the "seal" somehow I thought that this magical seal would keep my perishables from melting away. So of course now we were scrounging for dry type foods our first entry into Plimouth Plantation. Hooray for peanut butter and crackers. Now I know Pilgrim families didn't have peanut butter but I am sure that the "woman of the house churned some cream they got from Bossy into butter. So in a way we were half way there. (No we did not churn the peanuts but hey we had to open the jar and peel back the seal thing by candlelight doesn't that count for something?)
Fast forward a few hours. Viv is now giving me the time countdown as to how many hours we have been without power. Out of boredom she is lighting every candle in the house. The radio is turned off you can only listen to storm news for so long and at one point they were replaying the interview with the power company from three hours ago. Talk about filler! Dinner was next we resurrected a can of minestrone soup and I had to use a flicker clicker to light the gas cook top. I am telling you we were morphing back to Plimoth Plantation by the minute. Post supper (soup, bread and butter, and Laughing Cow cheese wedges) we sat and just looked at each other - no laptop, no Facebook, no Skype the world was really coming to an end! By 9PM we really became like the Pilgrims and went to bed. OK so we did read our Kindles by battery powered lanterns but hey substitute the Kindle with Pilgrims Progress and use a oil lamp and it was just the same.
Morning came, still no power and that meant no coffee so I trekked out through the wilderness of downed tress and foliage seeking a Dunkin Donuts with power. My search led me to the Auburn area where I waited in line forever to get coffee and then found a Price Chopper where I purchase 35 pounds of ice so I could try to save some of our fridge items. Plimouth Plantation ws slowly but surely consuming us.
Misery continued until 1PM - 26 hours and 37 minutes by Vivian's reckoning since we had lost power. Magically a National Grid truck pulled into the complex. The Pilgrims never had a National Grid truck pull up to their shanty village! A smile came to our faces. Rescue from Plimouth Plantation was at hand. In a few minutes we were transported like through The Time Tunnel (another Irwin Allen movie) back to the 21st century. The Internet came back, as did TiVo even Charter Cable was working and to make it even better the AC kicked on. Life was good again. We had made it we had escaped from Plimouth Plantation!