Hurricane season is upon us, and, in particular, Hurricane Irene is heading our way. Usually, central Maine does not get the full force of hurricanes. They either go out to sea or are so weakened by the time they reach Maine that they are no more than a bad storm. Once in a while, however, one hits with full force and brings predictable results—flooding, downed power lines, trees crashing where you’d rather not have them crash. We had one such hurricane when we first moved to Winthrop about 26 years ago. We were without power for a week, and as we have a well, no power means no water. Let’s just say that until you have to haul your own water, you don’t have an appreciation of how much water you use in a day for drinking, for cooking, for washing, for going to the bathroom.
The great ice storm of 1998 gave us another lesson in hauling water. In the middle of January, we were without power for ten days. Luckily, our town has a public water spigot, and it became routine to wait in lines with our various buckets to get water. No, we did not while away the time pretending we were back in the pioneer days, having to haul our own water. We were thrilled when the power came back and we could flush toilets and take showers and get water from the faucet once more.
But the lessons of no water have stayed with us. In our basement, we have two huge covered buckets of water always at the ready to use for flushing the toilet. In our freezer we have plastic milk jugs full of frozen water, which we can use to keep things cold. Then, when the ice has melted, the water will be perfectly good to drink. To this I have added 8 two-litter bottles of water—more ice and more drinking water.
All in all, a hurricane is not as bad as an ice storm. Hurricanes usually come when the days are still relatively long and warm. If we lose our power because of Hurricane Irene, then my husband, Clif, and I will take to the patio even more than we usually do. We have a grill with a side burner, which will allow us to cook our dinners with a minimum of fuss and bother. If we wear jackets, then we can linger on the patio until quite late, with the citronella torches for light.
So when it comes to water, we are ready, and we are preparing in other ways, too. But today I read news that made me both hopeful and fearful. First, that Hurricane Irene “should peter out in Maine by Monday afternoon.” That sounds good. However, Irene’s predicted path takes it right over New York City, which is where our daughter Dee lives. (I sent her an email asking her if she wants to come home this weekend. She doesn’t.)
All I can say is I’m so grateful this didn’t happen last year, when our daughter Shannon got married, and I was diagnosed with breast cancer. That was plenty for one August. We didn’t need a hurricane to add to the excitement.