Thanks to all of you amazing wimmin for your thoughts, prayers and encouragement, much appreciated. I’m posting from a Kinko’s about 30 miles from my house.
We are still without power, water, internet, although we have phone service now (thank the goddess for the old-fashioned, non-electric phones). It’s been four days now– this will be our fifth night without power or running water. We have it much better than some– we have plenty of dry, seasoned wood, and our woodstove heats the entire house very well, even though the temperatures got down into the 20s last night. We are hauling water from the stream to flush toilets, for cleaning and bathing, and for the animals. All of the local stores are without drinking water, which is the main reason I drove into town, that’s something we can’t do without.
We are using up what is in the refrigerator, cooking on our Coleman stoves, and we are heating water and keeping food warm on the top of our woodstove. We’re using candles and lanterns for light. We have a great generator and two full propane tanks, but we can’t get the generator started; we need a new battery and then we have to figure out how to wire it, so we’re thinking we might haul it into the hardware store. If we could get that going, then we’d at least have (cold!) , but drinkable, water. (We have a private well which runs on an electric pump). It’s been gratifying realizing the house can be kept warm with wood alone; wood we have plenty of. People are having a really hard time finding wood for their fireplaces and woodstoves — all the stores are out. There are hundreds of people who have gotten carbon monoxide poisoning because they’ve tried to use barbecues or generators in their homes to keep warm, and several have died. My oldest son and his family are on out in Bellevue, which was very hard hit. There is still no power there, or very little, including to gas stations. People have lined up for blocks and police have had to come to keep order. A huge tree fell on my son and his family’s apartment complex and they were evacuated the first night. They have a useless, for-looks-only fireplace; he said last night he has spent about $150 just for wood so far!
I don’t mind this at all, although I miss blogging and all of my internet places and friends. I always wanted to live this way, connected to the land, from the land, and I moved to the land 16 years ago with this dream in mind. I had scheduled this week as vacation time from work so I’m home with my kids. We’ve already read nine chapters of Watership Down by candlelight– what an amazing book that is, something I never realized before. It is all about power, about animal rights, about male violence, the brutalization of the earth under male heterosupremacy. It’s about the way male power works and the way dominance heirarchies work. I am really enjoying reading this with the children! I can’t believe how good an out-loud reader my 8-year-old Maggie is! She reads fluently, with passion and expression, though this is very much an adult novel, tiny print, long, written by an English author, too, so the words are a little different from American words. The kids have been drawing pictures of the storm, of the things we have seen. Naomi (who is 15) has taken a bunch of photos for the school paper– she is so an instinctive journalist. We’ve got shots of all of the many, many trees hanging off of the power lines and one shot of a tree split straight down the middle all the way to the ground. It looks as though it might have been hit by lightning, although there was no charring or signs that it had been burned.
I don’t know when we will get power back. Our electricity is supplied by a small, rural co-op and the word is, we might be without power throughout the week. Before we can get power again, crews have to remove the huge evergreen hanging over and across the lines at the top of our long private driveway. These lines supply power to about 15 homes– we are hoping that will make it more likely to get us some attention than if it were just our house affected (something which is the case for many out here where it is so sparsely populated0. We are just one of hundreds of thousands of families without power; it takes time to get all of those tree-cutters out there, all the crews out, on this sprawling, wooded, rural peninsula. I’m just very happy we were reasonably well-prepared and know how to live without what most people view as the essentials of life. I am loving the quiet, the peace, the hot chocolate, the coffee, reading all the books I don’t read because I’m on the internet! Today we are going to make clove oranges. :) I like getting up when the sun rises and going to sleep when the sun has set. I love the beautiful, brilliant stars I can see through the huge windows in the sunroom where the woodstove is. It’s been clear the past couple of nights. Orion has been spectacular!
But yeah, definitely missing the internet anyway, I won’t lie!
When I posted from work last Friday, I turned the comments to “moderate” because during the Britney Spears debacle, I’d approved a few posts for people I’m not sure I wanted posting while I couldn’t moderate. I’m going to reset it so that all of you who have had posts approved at least once will be able to post without moderation, keep the good discussions going. If someone manages to get through and troll, please ignore them until I’m up and running on the internet again, hopefully soon!
The politics of all of this are very interesting. The scuttlebutt is, emergency crews are favoring the shopping malls and giving residences short shrift. People are all upset because their neighbors have power and they don’t. The hard thing is, the grid itself was badly damaged. Before crews can work on houses, they had to fix the grid itself, the main distribution lines. This isn’t even Katrina. It’s not even The. Earthquake. which we all talk about here in the Northwest that will come someday. We are so dependent on a very fragile, earth-hating, earth-destroying infrastructure. Under the reign of Men, our beautiful earth which we all must share, has been so abused, destroyed. In times like this we have a chance to realize how significant that destruction has been. I’ve got plenty of good writing to do about this.
I’ll be back!