February 9-11 had to be the worst winter weekend of my 23 years on God’s green earth. I had just brought my 8 wk-old puppy Milo home, after convincing my landlords (who are also the 1st family in the 2 family house I rent from) to let me have one at my apartment. The forecasters had been predicting a “pretty serious nor’easter” all week, but being a New England native my whole life I just figured it would be just a wind chill and few flurries.
Mid-morning that Friday, my boss called me to advise me not to come into the office for the day and that it would just be coded as a scheduled emergency. My job never ever closes, like ever. My mom (who lives a smooth 8 minutes driving time from me) kept calling and advising me to fill my tub with water and make sure I had non-perishable items and tons of drinking water. I assumed she was being dramatic because she also advises that my sister use SPF 60 S sunscreen in the summer (note: we’re brown).
Well apparently Janine was right for once in her entire life. I stocked up on snacks so I wasn’t too stressed, but half-way through my Friday night lifetime movie special the lights started to flicker. My laptop and phone chargers kept turning on and off, as well as my cable boxes and TVs. I kept telling myself “this too shall pass, it’s just a little wind”. I was on the phone with my aunt in Maryland at the time who kept trying to console me and say that NY was getting it worse. At approximately 8:45 p.m. ET, my whole electronic world came crashing down. My iphone and computer were at about 98%, so you know how that goes. I ran down the flight of stairs to confirm my neighbors were also in these dire straits. They advised that I bring my stuff for the night down to their house and we all use our body heat and survival skills to get through the night.
Hesitantly, I went I brought all my down comforters to their basement. If you’ve ever been to a Portuguese house, you’ll understand that they use the furnished basement and set up a living room and dining room while the first living room and dining room set are strictly for decoration with plastic covers. I had to bring all of my new puppy’s toys and huge-ass wire kennel, as well as his food and bowl down way too many flights of stairs as well. Let’s just talk about how my neighbors are a bit older than my parents (prob 50s), and have their 30 yr old daughter and 2 yr old granddaughter living with them. The daughter has lupus, which is an autoimmune disease and they treat her like it’s something disabling her brain. My younger sister also has lupus so I know how living with it is, but it’s just strange and they behave around her as though she’s still a kid. Anyway, as soon as I got down there everyone was planning sleeping arrangements. They have 2 bedrooms in the basement, so they all said they would sleep in their respective rooms and that I should make myself comfortable. 10 minutes later, apparently they thought that seemed unfriendly or something, so they said it would be best if I slept in their daughter’s room with her and her toddler in the king-sized bed. I am entirely too grown for such nonsense, but because it was so cold upstairs in my apartment, I thought that I should oblige since they were the hosts. Meanwhile all of these discussions are occurring IN THE DARK. I also had my puppy in my arms, squirming around in confusion the whole time.
Reluctantly, I went into the room of my neighbor’s daughter (let’s call her Sarah) with my dog who I had yet to potty train outside of pee pads. Once we got in there, I’m on my phone tweeting as the battery is draining and making plans for my impending doom and funeral via imessage. Sarah wouldn’t shut the hell up! She kept asking what I liked to do for fun, and saying that we should club together…bitch what?! This isn’t America’s Next Top Best Friend! Her daughter was over in her crib singing the damn theme song to “Caillou”. It was probably only 10:30 pm at this point. I’ve never wanted trazadone more than that night. Every 10 minutes, I’d feel myself dozing off and then I’d feel my dog trying to commit suicide at the foot of the bed while Sarah kept asking why I was so quiet. This happened until about 1 am. I must have fallen asleep around then because the next thing I remember is hearing a door creak open, and my landlord greeting us with “good morning”, as though the power was back.
Once my landlord (Lisa-Sarah’s mom) shined the flashlight in our eyes to wake up, I assumed it had to be mid-morning and maybe the 12 inches of snow had started to melt. NO, luckily I had some juice left in my phone battery and it was approx. 7 am. Brothers and sisters, what business do we have being up at 7 am with no electricity?! And why didn’t I pack any Xanax? Lisa then screamed about 5 minutes later in horror. Apparently my dog Milo had pooped under the toddler’s crib. Couldn’t really be mad at him since it was a completely new environment and he had to go while I was sleeping. From 7 am-12 pm, it was an ongoing cycle of Lisa and her husband John sealing off all of the entry ways to the basement living room and boiling water on the gas stovetop (electric oven tho) to produce steam and heat, and asking ME to help shovel the mile long driveway with 2 feet of snow as I kept dozing off. At the same time as this going on, my dog’s in his kennel and the toddler is poking stuff in his face, trying to eat his food and drink his water while calling him “woof”. Also, my neighbors had their two-foot antenna radio on playing the news like it was the 40s all over again; they kept reporting how 85% of the state was without power and things would take at least a week to restore. I wanted to toss the radio into the damn blizzard. I got so sick of hearing all of it, I went out and attempted to shovel for like an hour to count towards my daily workout (there’s a first time for everything).
Mid-day I remembered that my grandparents (whose street is adjacent to mine) were without power as well and started to cry because I couldn’t imagine how cold they were. I had my mickey mouse onesie pajamas on, and my plaid rainboots. I called my aunt a town over, and blessed be she never lost electricity! I channeled Will Smith in that end-of-the-world movie and temple ran the 2 blocks down to my grandparents’ house and told them to pack their things, I would shovel their walkway and be back to pick them up and drive to my aunt’s house to get some warmth and sleep there. Like something out of a Hallmark film, my grandparents’ neighbors saw me shoveling in my getup and came by with their snowblowers to help me. My grandpa comes out, being the stubborn Scorpio he is and goes “it’s okay, you can stop now. we made it through last night without power, we’ll be fine another night”. Meanwhile my grandma had this tired look in her eyes, and I knew she didn’t agree with him. I obviously ignored him and kept cleaning everything off. Once I was done there, I tried channeling all of my stress into energy back at the ranch to clean my own car out of the igloo to drive it down to my grandparents’. I get back to the basement and Sarah’s daughter has my dog out, squealing because he peed on her. Umm no one told you to take him out, sis! I was over this group completely. Lisa started raising her voice at me because the dog had an accident on her basement couch (again, they asked for this with that demon toddler). Somehow it was about 5 pm at this point, and I’m shoveling my car out and getting discouraged at how much I had left to cover. But I didn’t wanna let my grandparents down and see them suffer. About an hr later into my slaving in the driveway, my landlord pops out of the back door of the house “the lights are back!”. When I tell y’all I did a praise dance….
I charged up the iphone and called my grandma to make sure things were good on their end, which they were. Then, my neighbors had the NERVE to ask if I wanted to stay for dinner….like no Milo and I will go up and enjoy our healthy choice meals by ourselves in the comfort of our own apartment. Sarah begged me to come play monopoly and drink moscato with her. A smooth 30 minutes into the game, Lisa comes in and tells Sarah that she’s had enough and she didn’t clean up after the baby, so she needed to go to bed (30 damn years old). I was free of the fuckery, finally.
A lesson; always have a back-up generator. Or just don’t move to New England.