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Lights back on at Chez Sparks



Oh, yes there is an outside world. I had almost forgotten and it has only been just short of three days.


I finished up after blogging to all of you and went to bed. Knew I was in for a ride. As I said, worst to be expected here in CT was between 2am and 2pm. First tree went down at 2:19am. You go Weather Channel! Right outside our BR window at the corner of the house where all our power comes in and the same tree, thank you, that caused the fence problem two weeks ago. That tree was scheduled to be pruned, now is on the hit list! I could see the power lines down, but had power in the house, but cable, internet and TV were out. Made a pot of coffee, Bruce called me back to bed about 4am and dear man, rubbed my back for almost an hour before I went back to sleep.


Up to the howling wind about 6am. Newspaper came, which was remarkable. Now the tree took the power lines and cable lines down, but the conduit on the house ripped off a bit but stayed connected. All my workmen said later it was like nothing they had ever seen. Now all you Caregivers can just appreciate a stroke victim without TV, phone or computer. Bruce was a trooper through all of this with the neurotic one. Never a complaint, always a thank you Ethyl, I know you are doing the best you can for us. I called our power company and the police at 3am to inform them of the downed LIVE wires. Saw a policeman at about 3pm and road was finally cordoned off after dark. In the meantime, kids are riding their bikes, we have our dog walkers, runners. Very scary. Did my best to let all the neighbors know.


Radio said eye going through at 2pm and then Irene should be out by 5pm. Wind continued until well after 9pm and at 8:30pm, huge branch fell onto our deck. I finally fell asleep out of pure exhaustion from the stress at about 10pm.


Contactor came yesterday to assess damage and hoped to take tree off deck. He can not touch the power lines, only a group contracted by our power company of course. But he said that it could be a long haul. Company could turn power off, I would need electrician to put conduit back then power company would assess and turn power back on. Only then could I call cable company to reconnect. And he could not get the tree off the deck, we would need the guys with the big equipment.


Connecticut was very severely hit. Our coastal areas were devastated. Over 1 million in the state without power. Irene impacted us at our astronomical high tide and with VT and NH letting their dams open-Connecticut River, all our rivers of course were affected. Tonight all of them are feet above flood level.


Now, I am the only one on the street with a problem, so went to bed at 9pm very depressed and much at odds. I knew Bruce would adjust and we did get out for a drive. Did some errands that did not have to be done, but were able to tour the neighborhoods to see the damage. At 10pm Bruce taps me on the shoulder and says "Ethyl, the doorbell is ringing!" Up I get, figuring it is a neighbor or friend checking in. It is a local Electrical Company. There are three trucks and 6 twenty-year olds standing in my yard saying they are going to fix my power. I said I can't get an electrician out here at this hour. They said Ma'am (I hate being a Ma'am-lol) when we leave you will still have power. All these trucks have huge floodlights, but these kids used high-powered flashlights-lol. A supervisor arrived about a half hour later, but the kids had it under control. They never cut or chain-sawed the tree, just pushed it around to free the lines. We talked a bit. They were all exhausted of course. Said they had to get the OT when it was offered. Had one more house after mine and then off for a beer and some sleep before 4am shift. Two had come in from out-of-state just for the work.

Yes I will be sending a letter of thanks to their company and to the power company.


Cable company arrived at 10am. I had sent Bruce off with Jen to the pool awaiting the contractors. Had three hours in my house alone, something that has not happened in over a year. It was a true blessing. I did some major cleaning. Lawn man arrived and we worked together. My yard, other than two downed trees looks beautiful, not like a hurricane went through at all. He and the Cableman were both terrific. Amazing how people pull together. Neither one of these men had power nor any chance of power until about Thursday or Friday, yet there they were helping me. I think my fortune was in that it was one house affected, lines were live and it was an easy fix based on the rest of the devastation the state was in. Was able to take down the police barriers and the "crime scene" tape at 11am. May save the tape for later use-lol!


So only the trees left. The one on the deck is huge and if it shifts could take out our bedroom wall-nice thing to think about. Tree pro is contracted with a power company so not much chance of seeing him anytime soon. But I am amazingly calming down. Hope to get back to work tomorrow. Contractor will have to further secure the conduit to the house, but he is due for other stuff here so for now, not a priority. With this economy, I am happy to wait and let these people get a leg up and some stash put away while they can. So many major power line repairs are hampered by flooding and downed trees, power companies can not reach areas that need to be restored that affect so many. Tonight we are still at 500,000 without power. I have friends coming here from two towns over for water to flush their toilets, take a shower, recharge cell phones. They are gas-grilling everything in their freezers to avoid losing food. I had purchased water, so am glad to share that for drinking.


We now have Katia developing over Puerto Rico for another possible on-slaught. Eye to the weather people, please.


One thing I did notice, on a personal level, is how life now post-stroke has become the norm for me. All I seemed to focus on was getting back to normal-the post-stroke normal. Something I know and can handle. I go day to day worrying about Bruce's recovery, our future lives here, what is to come; only to be hit by Mother Nature and find out that I have accepted and have become comfortable with what we have and when that is disrupted, find myself stressed and anxious to get things back to an even keel. I remembered that feeling the first year post-stroke and now stroke seems to have taken a back seat, not the center of every day. A good thing, I think. An acceptance and willingness to move forward. I do not possess the reflection or insight into these things like our Sue does, but somehow I think she would be proud that her mentorings have proved successful.


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Guest lwisman


Glad to hear you are safe. What an awful storm to live through! I understand electric crews from all over the country (Chicago sent 30) descended on the east coast to get the electricity back up. It does take a while. One thing I learned when we had a storm (much, much simpler than yours) a few months ago is that they fix the downed lines last. Apparently they do the easiest first. Seems to me they would want to get the lines back up as they post a threat. But, maybe they are able to cut off electricity to those lines?


Take care of yourself. And say a prayer for Stroke Network members who are still having problems.



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I am glad you both are safe & things are being taken care by specialist in their field. I can so relate with you on your observation about post stroke acceptance. I feel the same way & love my everyday routine, who would have thought doing chores around house & exercises also I will look forward to, I guess that's when you know we are on even keel in our post stroke life & have reached acceptance. we were fortunate Irene didn't hit us badly though our neigbhouring town was flooded.





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Debbie, the main thing is that you and Bruce are safe. You are so organized, I didn't doubt that you would be prepared for Irene to come. I keep extra bottles of water just for toilet and cleaning as we have also had water main breaks. I don't know what I would do if we lost power during a heat wave. I guess we would go to one of the kids if they had power. I have had two friends who had extensive damage to their homes with trees falling during a storm. I do not regret having the big oak tree cut down last year as it was close to our bedroom.


I love Bruce's reward to you. :goodjob: :big_grin:


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Glad to hear you and Bruce were able to survive the wrath of Irene. Here in eastern NC we lost power at 8 am Sat and it was back on by 3 PM today - a hot shower will sure be good tonight. Sam was very agitated all week waiting for Irene, but with horses, dogs and new puppies and 3+ dozen chickens, leaving wasa not an option unless it was going to hit inland. He paced the house looking out den door at oak tree and living room door checking on pecan tree. Couple of shingles off, mother nature did some light pruning of small dead branches on pecan tree but we are none the worse for wear. When we planted these trees we made sure they are on the SE and SW side of the house so they won't fall on us. Hopefully, we can all get through Katia with the same resolve as we show tending our loved ones. As a note, Sam's garden arbor came through without a single scratch - lost the tall sunflowers though thumbsd.gif


I was down to my last 2.5 liters of water today, and I am ready to replace ice cream for Sam's dessert tomorrow. Hope the NE states can re-group quickly - winter will be here before we know it.



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Thank God you and Bruce made it through the storm holding your heads high. I think about 40-50 people didn't make it out the storm! And today more people are struggling to exist with the aftermath.


Not very many people or property owners in those states had the proper flood insurance. Same thing when Katrina came to New Orleans 6 years ago. I hope the next storms this season don't take any more lives.


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