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Storm Parties - 12/16/08

Winter in New England struck with a frenzy Thursday the 11th with what would turn out to be a devastating ice storm. 320,000 people in New Hampshire alone lost power with 89,000 in the greater Portsmouth region.

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Even as I write this 12/20 getting caught up with entries, there are many who still have not had power restored. My power went out Friday morning around 2:00am and didn't come back on until Monday mid afternoon. I woke up Friday morning to a very cold, dark condo. Didn't even shave; no hot water. Just headed off to work expecting that the power would be back on later that day. It wasn't - I kept calling to see if my regular answering machine would pick up.

Fortunately for us all, the temperatures remained above freezing. Otherwise, things could have been much worse with so many without power. Regardless, it brought a real sense of our dependence on electricity just for basic survival, and what many around the world experienced as a way of life. Very sobering, and a sort of helpless feeling.

After work Friday, I was going to meet up at the mall with a friend from work who wanted to go home first. Traffic was so bad, and the malls so congested that I just called it off and drove past the malls and went home.

I got a fire going and brought the temperature up to around 50F degrees, but I couldn't do anything in the dark. Well, I had a small oil lantern that I could have read by, but didn't want to waste the oil. At this point, I wasn't real confident that the power was going to be coming on very soon at all: the radio stations were full of warnings that it could be up to a week before that would happen for many due to the severity of this particular storm.

But I was getting hungry. I decided to drive down to The Asia restaurant in Newington because I noticed when I had driven past earlier that they had power. Of course, everyone in the world was there so I just figured I'd go into the bar and grab a quick bite. But I heard that because of all of the people, they weren't serving anything off of the menu; only the buffet for $14.95 or something really stupid like that. Colin had done the buffet by mistake a couple of weeks before and was horrified that the only thing different was that they had roast beef and some other stuff. And that's worth $14.95? I don't think so. Out into the cold I went.

So, I just went back to the mall to grab a bite to eat at the Food Court. There wasn't much else: the whole of downtown Dover and much of Portsmouth was blacked out. Talk about a mob scene... elbow to elbow everywhere. After eating, I just went home and to bed.

We all thought power would be restored by Saturday afternoon, but that wasn't the case. I got a fire going in the fireplace, and just read most of the day, finishing The Great Gatsby which I had never read and always wanted to. But then it started to get dark, and I had no desire to sit there anymore. I jumped into the car, grabbed a hamburger on the way, and caught the early showing of The Day The Earth Stood Still. It was okay, but not worth $9; maybe a $3.50 DVD rental and a couple of beers would be okay, but what else was there to do?

After the movie got out, it was only about 10:00pm, so I wandered over to Applebee's in Newington; the one up at the circle in Dover still had no power. I had a couple of beers and something to eat. Should have had the beers before the movie...

Sunday morning I picked Colin up, and took him shopping for a winter coat. Marissa came along as adult female supervision, and it was a good thing she did as her input into the jacket that he finally decided on was great as well as she had me get him a couple of pull-over hooded sweat shirts to wear.

After getting back to my place, Colin and Marissa insisted that we go get a Christmas tree. Marissa's boyfriend Gary joined up with us, and they all took me out to get a Christmas tree. After they decorated the tree, it was getting dark and no one was keen on hanging around in the dark and the cold, so I took them out to dinner at Applebee's in Newington.

Marissa and Gary weren't interested in a movie after dinner, so Colin and I went by ourselves. I had been interested in all the hype about Twilight and so we went to that. And - very surprisingly - not only did I enjoy it, but it was okay with Colin as well. Regardless, it had been a great day and great party with them all.

And finally, I found out Monday afternoon around 3:00pm that the power was back on at my place. Finally! It was getting a little cold at night sleeping in a 42F degree room.

So, things go smooth through the week until Friday 12/19 we get clobbered with a fast moving snow storm that burred us in about 8 inches of snow by late Friday night. I left work at 3:00pm and it had just started to snow about a half hour before. But already it was accumulating, and the cold iced the windshield something fierce all the way home. Driving Rt. 236 and then across to Dover on Rt. 101 is bad enough, but under those conditions very dangerous. I was glad to get home.

Actually, before going home I stopped off up at Hollywood Video to pick up the movie for later that night. This storm was not going to stop 6 of us from getting together and having dinner down at the Olive Garden in Newington, and then coming back to my condo for the movie of the night, 10,000 B.C. - a total bust, in my humble opinion. But that's really immaterial. We all had a great time sharing a snowy winter storm together.

The snow kept up all day Saturday and into the night making the trip up to the Williams family Christmas party in North Berwick, ME interesting.

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Colin with his Christmas present jacket from me surveying the tree that he, Marissa, and Gary had just finished decorating. He said he needed the jacket "now" because it was so cold. It was! At least the fireplace kept the downstairs at around 50F degrees.

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Rick surprised Linda with this nice snow day Christmas gift at the Olive Garden Friday night 12/19. She had some small gifts for us as well. Much better, Linda, than the Backgammon Trash Talk we were expecting, and have become so accustomed to...

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The hearty Storm Party group Friday 12/19 at the Olive Garden restaurant.

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Jim and Chris settling in for the movie of the night, 10,000 B.C. - a total bust, in my humble opinion. But on a snowy, blowing night it was fine. Chris was a little under the weather, and so she and I shared a wee nip of Jack Daniels - Doctor Jack as I refer to it. Very medicinal, I hear...

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Linda has resigned herself that it was a little too late for backgammon. I think Rick is relieved... he just wants to get on with the movie before it dawns on her that maybe, just maybe, there might be time for a game or two...

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Linda and Rick heading out into the storm after the movie.

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Yup, it was coming down so hard that the snow blasted back the flash at the camera. Both Rick and Linda have big trucks with 4-wheel drive so they were all set. Where's the snow plow crew in all this? The whole project is a mess. I had been out shoveling twice earlier in the day, and then again on Saturday morning until they finally came and dug us out.

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