No More Power… for a long while (part one)
At work we thought the snow coming down was an amusing anomaly especially since it was 70 degrees a few days earlier and it’s only October. That’s very early for snow, even in Buffalo. It never occurred to me that this was the beginning of an unforgettable event in my life.
The ride home from work on October twelfth was kind of messy but manageable. I listened to a book on CD and took my time while I watched the landscape being painted bright white. I’m one of the oddballs that like to drive in snow. I get an adrenaline rush when the tires disobey a direct order and the vehicle slides in the opposite direction I intended it to go. As long as everyone gets out unscathed I thrive on those moments. I happily pulled in my driveway about 30 minutes later than usual. I found out the next day that I was one of the lucky ones because many people were stranded on the thruway for ten, twelve or fourteen hours that night.
The first indication that things could get dicey was the huge branch that blocked my next-door neighbor’s driveway. Sometimes it takes me a while to catch on to the severity of a situation so I just pulled the monstrous tree limb to the side with my Herculean strength. I just thought to myself that a big piece of a big tree fell. What’s the big deal? No harm, no foul.
I had one task on my mind while I walked in the house; I wanted a hug from my daughter because she just got back from the hospital (see Tough Girl). She ran to me and squeezed me even tighter than I squeezed her. She was okay and that made me okay. My wife
and I already decided that we’re going to get winter coats for the kids this night because everyone will get them real soon because of the early snowfall. We had no idea that most people and stores weren’t going to have power for quite a while because none of this was predicted by any of the local weather forecasters. If they did think it might happen they kept it to themselves. I wish I had a job with that big of an allowable margin of error.
The ride to the store got a little crazy when we hit the section of Williamsville that was already without power. I started to think to myself how absurd this was for us to put ourselves in the middle of the storm, but we continued on with the hope that the store still had its electricity working. It did and we immediately found winter gear for the kiddies. It was easy because we practically had the store to ourselves. The only customers in the store besides us were one other family until a stunned woman wandered in and grabbed my arm.
“I need to know where I am,” she said.
The fear in her eyes showed that she comprehended the ferocity of the storm much sooner than my wife and me or that she’s just a wimp.
The clerk hurried her out of the store and we got back to the business at hand; buying winter wear and
little big girl underpants (she picked them out herself). We headed home with a satisfied feeling and no idea what challenges we were about to face.
The gas tank was kind of low but I drove right past a few gas stations because the boy started to fuss… a lot. It was past his bedtime and he knew that I couldn’t reach him from the driver’s seat (ha, ha!). We also needed milk for the house but decided to buy it closer to home. When we got to the store near our house we could barely see it because of the snow and the lack of lighting. By now the power was off in our area, too.
It looked like broken branches were everywhere when we pulled into our development. Little did we know that this was only the beginning.