Saturday, December 13, 2008

Don't want to live like a refugee

LEOMINSTER -- With apologies to Tom Petty, the refugee life is already getting old, and we've only been out of our house for two nights...

We've moved out of my parents' place in Clinton and into my brother-in-law's home in Leominster. While half to three-quarters of Clinton are still out of power--including my parents' neighborhood--the southern part of Leominster is back on power and on-line. It was nice to take a warm was nicer to take a warm shower and have the room also be warm, instead of stepping out of the shower and into the cold.

Jackson has been holding up pretty well. He woke up in the night during the storm and was pretty worried while he laid with Michelle and I--every time another tree would snap or ice would fall he ask "What was that noise, Daddy?" Still, he was OK until we awoke Friday morning. He was very upset after he woke up...when I asked if he was afraid, he said "I'm afraid of the ice on the house."

He had heard Michelle and I talking about how the ice had knocked over some of our trees and when he looked outside and saw the ice covering the windows, I think he was afraid the same thing was going to happen to the house. We talked about it and I explained that the ice can be very pretty, but that sometimes it gets so heavy that the trees fall. Even so, I explained that the ice wouldn't hurt him and that he'd be OK. He calmed down and seemed to get it, but it was heartbreaking to hear him be so upset about it.

Even though it was cold last night, Jackson did pretty well because he was sleeping the bed he stays in when he has sleepovers at Mimi and Buppie's house. Tonight he had a much harder time going to bed because he's not in a place where he is familiar. We're trying to keep things as normal for him as we can, but it's hard. He probably would have done better at Mimi and Buppie's again tonight, but the temperature in the house was below 50 by dark and a night of dropping temperatures probably would not have been healthy.

Tomorrow, we're planning to do as much cleanup of yard debris as we can. We're also trying to plug away in setting up Sara's room. Even though we don't have power, we still need to get the room ready. We've only got six weeks to go, so she could come any time.

A couple of other notes from the last couple of days...

  • Gas has been scarce as most gas stations are without power. I believe there is no gas available in Lancaster at all. The one station in the center of Sterling has also been down, although there may be power there by this evening as the center of town has had power restored. There are only two stations open in Clinton. Even at 7:30 this morning, I had to wait in line for 20 minutes to fill up.

  • While the stations that were open were not gouging customers, they weren't being entirely benevolent. The stations in town that were closed had prices posted from $1.63 to $1.67 per gallon. At the two open stations, the price had been jacked up to $1.78. On the one hand, they probably could have stayed busy at $3.78...on the other hand, they didn't need to kick it up the 11 cents.

  • My sister-in-law waited two hours for gas Friday afternoon in Leominster at what she was told was the only station open on the route 2 corridor for miles in either direction. She said she was in line in front of a woman from Phillipston, who had been told by the state police that this station 35 miles away was the nearest station that had power.

  • A neighbor said things are so bad in the northern part of Sterling that the the National Guard has been called in to help remove trees and limbs from roads in that area.

  • Thankfully, help is on it's way. While I was on I-495 heading back from Marlborough, I passed a caravan of seven utility trucks from North Carolina.
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