Monday, October 29, 2012

Water and Wind

While Hurricane Sandy is slamming the Mid-Atlantic states, we are preparing to get a small taste of it here. And I do mean a small taste. Yes, we will get some high winds and enough rain to cause flooding in some areas, and schools are closed as a precaution, but we're not expecting anything like what they are getting further south.

Our preparations consist mainly of making sure that anything outside that might blow away—lawn chairs, trash cans, kayaks—is secured, and that we are ready for the nearly inevitable power outage. At our house, the power goes for almost any weather event, and sometimes for no event at all.

For us, no electricity means no running water, so we fill the bathtubs with water to use in the toilet tank, and we fill pots with drinkable water. We also freeze jugs of water to help keep food cold while the refrigerator and freezer are not working.

No electricity also means no phone, since we don't have a landline and depend on our Internet connection for telephone service. We can still call out by taking a short trip north to catch a cell tower, but incoming calls are not going to happen while the power is out.

We're preparing for a fairly lengthy outage, because the lines that feed out house don't feed very many houses, and the power companies will need to make the repairs that affect the largest number of customers first.

And, of course, with no power there's no Internet connection, and so I can't upload anything new until the power comes out. I have set up a few pictures to get us through Thursday. I think we'll have power by Thursday. And, if need be, I can email from my phone if I go far enough to get a data connection (or perhaps a wireless Internet connection in Wolfeboro, where they generally lose power later and get it back sooner than we do).

Meanwhile, we'll stay dry and relatively warm in our house, light some candles and play some games and keep ourselves fed and occupied until it's all over.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Shaking It Up

About two hours ago, two big shock waves hit the house. Danny thought that a tree had hit the house. I was in the basement cutting trim boards, and I thought that maybe a truck had hit the house. But a quick run-through from bottom to top convinced me that we had experienced an earthquake.

The last time I was this surprised to be in an earthquake, I was a young adult sitting alone in my brother's house in Oakhurst, California, when an earthquake hit at Mammoth Mountain. Where I was sitting, it was very mild, and all I thought was: "This is weird, we're having an earthquake in Oakhurst." From that far away, it didn't even shake enough to send me running for a doorway.

My mother will remember the Mammoth Quake as well; she and her husband Cal were in their motor home, and the quake sent it rocking.

This was a lot more surprising, and a tiny bit more frightening because it wasn't immediately apparent to me what had happened, and I had two frightened children adding to the excitement. But once I was able to figure out what was going on, everyone calmed down very quickly. Karen called from Lowes—she had known right away what was going on—to confirm that it was, indeed, and earthquake in New England.

The epicenter was in Maine, about 25 miles from where I live, and the magnitude was a mere 4.5, which is what it felt like even 25 miles away. The quake was felt all over southern Maine and New Hampshire, and even into northern Massachusetts. Apparently, quakes are felt over a wider area here than in the West, according to the US Geological Survey (which has a fantastic earthquake site at

I've heard no reports of damage, even at the epicenter, although Karen said that a couple of brooms that were leaning in the appliance department did fall over. But here at the Brooks Bunch household, it didn't disturb a thing, not even the children, who are sleeping soundly. Although the dog is a little jumpier than usual.

I notice that I haven't updated this blog for about two months now, so I it would seem that there's a lot of catching up to do. And yet most of what's been happening here has pretty much been covered by the daily pictures. Life goes on each day, trying to get ourselves moving in the right direction, and mostly nothing terribly exciting happens.

Well, until we get a visit from my sister Christine, who's never been out to see us in the eleven years since we moved out here. That was very exciting, and a lot of fun. Unfortunately, her husband Ed got a cold and we only really got to spend about a third of the time with him, but there was still a lot of time to talk and catch up, along with some good eating thanks to Karen and Tom.

There was also William's 12th birthday, Danny's overnight camp-out on the night before William's birthday, the kids returning to school, of course, and me starting construction on a deck, finally.

Oh yes, and an earthquake.