A Mainer’s Visit From Hurricane Irene

Image: Sarah Pinault

In Maine we prepare for power outages in the winter, whether we get 12 inches of snow, or an ice storm that candy coats everything. We stock up on batteries, canned food and frozen goods. Yes, you heard me, frozen goods: if the power goes out we can throw it in the snow bank, nature’s freezer. It’s also a good place to store milk and baby food. Our house has a wood stove providing our primary heat from November on, so we bunker down next to that. We expect power outages in the winter; it’s the price we pay for living in Vacationland, and it’s not a steep one. Watching the weather the rest of the year, I admit to marveling at people who continue to live in places that are prone to hurricanes and earthquakes. But then, I suppose that is their accepted price for their home.

So when they plotted the path of Hurricane Irene and Maine was told to expect it, I admit to feeling more than a little bit cheated. We get the snow, we shouldn’t have to deal with this as well! Of course I forgot that the local news stations up here are always wrong (no offense, Mr Mannix). We stocked up on bottled water, checked our batteries, filled our freezer – forgetting we had no natural deep freeze outside – and settled in for the storm that never was.

Wind we had plenty of, rain we had some, but a hurricane? Not especially. We did lose power mid-morning on Sunday, so we lost our connection with the world. We didn’t know that the hurricane had petered out, changed course and in so many ways would no longer be wreaking the havoc expected. We hunkered down with the in-laws, whose public water hook up still allowed them access to a flushing toilet, unlike our well, and waited for the end to come. It didn’t, and so we went home, where my son discovered the joys of playing underneath a flashlight, and where power was restored within an hour of the candles being lit.

It was a nice refresher course for the coming winter, knowing what to keep on hand for a toddler, how many gallons of water you need in storage to manually flush a toilet in a socially acceptable way (2.5), and when to charge the iPhone so that the reading of Game of Thrones need not be interrupted.

I am no meteorologist, and have thoroughly enjoyed some of the detailed weather reports and links posted here on GeekMom, about both the hurricane and the recent earthquake. But expect it to be seasonable: that’s the weather report I live by. In Maine, if it’s winter, it will be cold and it will snow. The rest of the year is anybody’s guess!

The GeekMom blog is captained by Jenny Bristol and Corrina Lawson, and supported by a brilliant team of writers. Since launching in 2010, we’ve created a robust community of writers, readers, and media geeks, dedicated to the vision of creating a smart, savvy, social online experience for geek parents everywhere.