P.S. It’s Winter in Maine

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P.S. It’s Winter in Maine

It’s the middle of March and this winter will definitely leave with a bang! (It’s Wednesday, March 14, 2018, as I write this.)


From the conversations I overheard up here recently, everyone thought spring was here to stay. It had warmed up a bit, the snow was almost completely melted last week, and bikers and joggers were out on the streets. I wondered about that logic silently as the “groundhog had predicted 6 more weeks of winter, and Maine boasts about 60” of snow every year until about May.” This being our first winter here and not knowing A THING about how the seasons truly play out up here, I followed that old quote,


“Better to be thought a fool than open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.”


Nor’easter/blizzard Skylar blasted us last night (Tuesday), is continuing for the remainder of today, and will trickle off tomorrow. (I have no idea if Skylar is a Nor’easter or blizzard because I really don’t know the difference between the two. Are they the terms interchangeable? A Nor’easter comes from the Atlantic, but are they always blizzards, or does a blizzard only come from the west, south, or north!?!)


Rob shovelled twice last night already, and we shovelled again this morning…all in all, we accumulated a little over 2’ of snow so far. We made it through last night without losing power, despite some ominous wind-blowing.


Good thing we still have power, since we aren’t exactly prepared!


When we first decided to move here, we were told we probably wouldn’t need a generator because the power doesn’t go out much. Once we got here, that story quickly changed. Reluctantly, we bought a generator because well…you don’t want to be in sub-zero temps with no power.


We also have a well that supplies our house and human/feline bodies with water. This is a completely foreign yet semi-exciting thing for us because neither of us has had that before. I’m from a metropolitan area in the south and only discovered natural springs when I went to college in the mountains of NC. Rob’s from suburban areas, so this whole well water adventure is new to us.


Our well water tastes great, doesn’t need a filter, relies on surface water, and is pretty Eco-friendly. Here in Maine, there’s plenty of surface water with the snow and rain, so we probably won’t run too low on pressure anytime soon.


Wells are usually strategically placed on the lower part of an incline so the surface water runs down into the pump…gravity comes in handy for yet another reason! The mineral content of well water varies greatly but we figure our land isn’t too polluted and has a decent mineral content (especially sulfur!). Maine is known to be one of the best places to live for clean air.


Then it happened…


About 10:15 this morning, our power went out without warning. No crazy winds, no warning, no loud pop or snap. We just heard complete silence. No refrigerator hum, no heater, no white noise from lights or appliances running in the background. It’s quiet here already…this was almost eerie.


We waited until 12:45 to turn on the generator and plug in the heater. The snow is still falling fairly rapidly and will continue to do so for another 5-6 hours. There’s no need to wait any longer and “see if the power will come right back on.” We no longer live next to a power grid like we did on Long Island and let’s face it…isn’t that why we bought the generator!?!

Yes, there’s an umbrella over the generator…city-dwelling-suburbanites here…are generators snow-proof!?! We have no idea!


The running generator literally makes our house the loudest it’s been since moving here 3 months ago, which the cats are visibly not happy about. For us humans, that sole source of power is a welcome purr!


Thank goddess our landlord takes care of ploughing our horseshoe driveway. They’ve had the trucks here twice already and if we need to get out now, we’d STILL have to shovel from the garage to the street.


Suffice it to say, we do need to go out. (Karma for all those times we joked about people not being prepared for the impending storm, I suspect. Karma sucks when you’re on the wrong end of it!)


Misstep #1…We forgot to get our long extension cord when Rob was on Long Island last month and have also forgotten to buy one since he’s been back. As a cosmic joke, we have (1)*long enough* power cord that will alternate between the electric tape for the water pipes under the house, our heat pump, and the fridge. I feel like we’re on candid camera today—but we at least have the generator!


The electric tape on the water pipes keep them warm in the winter and eliminates freezing issues. With the weather as warm as it’s been (consistently in the mid-upper 30’s and lower 40’s), we’ll last longer without that tape being plugged in than we would have in December. Had our power gone out then, we’d have had to locate the plug ASAP, due to -20 temps for quite some time.


When we go to get gas we’ll obviously need to get an extension cord long enough to reach the tape from the generator—Lowe’s is bound to be open, despite the immense snowfall. Surely, they have a generator, and aren’t without power today!


Misstep #2…a fun fact for you just in case like us, you’re not acquainted with wells. They require electricity for the pump to pull water. So regardless of us previously being advised to fill a bathtub with water before each blizzard and us mentioning it Tuesday night before bed, we didn’t fill the tub, our water bottles, nor do we have any backup gallons of water.


I haven’t even had to leave a faucet on overnight for almost 2 months because it’s been “so warm.” (After 20-below, you know how warm 40 feels!) We completely forgot how to manage winter and water pipes.


Needless to say, the only water in our pipes until the power comes on is what was in there this morning. And I’m damn sure leaving it there so the pipes don’t freeze.


Without enough spare water, we can’t cook foods like rice or pasta. So, it’s leftovers or dishes that require no water, such as salads. Totally fine since perishable items need to be eaten first. We also don’t have water to wash our hands or utensils or dishes for a bit. Not totally fine.


Ah yes! We have a little bit in a bottle I keep in the kitchen to water the plants, a full bottle I keep by the bed, our teapot has some from making coffee this morning, and well…that little bit left in the pipes. We didn’t even get to shower yet because we were working all morning.


I can’t shower or drink water or herbal teas. We can’t flush the toilet unless we get more water. Lesson learned!


Lucky for us, we’ve watched enough survival movies to know how to sustain ourselves with what we have on hand for food and how to ration, prepare it, use it in the correct perishable order, etc. I’m pretty sure we don’t need to resort to cannibalism for quite a bit!

We hooked up a hot plate to the generator, charged our phones and Rob’s vape machine about 1:30 pm. With any luck, the power will be on soon. That leads me to…


Misstep #3…We have no idea where the electrical tape plug is…it’s behind a house panel, we don’t know exactly which panel, and we had to shovel to where the landlord advised us it was while on the phone with us this morning. I feel like I’m in a gothic horror movie looking for a button that unlocks a secret passageway. More cosmic joking.


Surely, by the time we need to go to Lowe’s, we’ll know how long of an extension cord we need, because we’ll have found the electric tape plug…


Due to daylight savings, we’ll have a few hours before dark and below-freezing temps require us to find that electrical tape plug outside. The generator will last 8 hours or so on a tank of gas and the gas is full, never having been used before. We have a little gas left in the can but let’s not push our luck with any more missteps.

We have the hot plate to make tea, coffee, and food…it’s kind of like camping for me.


I’m pretty laid back in stressful situations like this, which is pretty ironic. I panic about giving a workshop on video, but this just feels familiar in some way. We didn’t have a lot when I was growing up and I went camping a lot. I was an only child in Florida, who lived with a lot of rainy days of reading and colouring. I also grew up with a lot of frequent hurricanes that caused a loss of power for days on end.


Rob and I are two creative, resourceful, intelligent individuals who despite being completely unprepared in this instance, do run our lives with a great deal of logic. We have a generator that will allow us to cook, keep our house heated, plug in the electric tape (once we find it), charge our phones for emergencies, and we can read by candlelight (heaven knows we have plenty of candles around for our normal daily ambience!). I can plug in my iPad and laptop, so I can write and work on some projects.


Mind you, we can’t get the iPad or laptop online until the power comes on, but our phones will connect to the great satellite system out there.


It’ll be as it was when we had dial-up in the 90’s, though…s-l-o-w… 


The plan: when we go out later, we’ll get water to drink, wash dishes and hands, and flush toilets as needed. Rob had a brilliant idea of gathering up snow and heating it for washing dishes and whatever else we needed until then. Hell, we can always drink it, too. We had just commented this morning whilst shovelling about how there was a blue hue to our snow because of the purity of it.

The water and air are so pure, there’s a blue hue to our snow…that’s not a colour-corrected photo!

We’ll be a little inconvenienced for a little while and we weren’t fully prepared. But it also wasn’t a complete disaster, it’s completely temporary, I’m stuck with my favourite person in the world and our beautiful furry children, and we won’t be this unprepared next time!


I believe the lessons learned in trying situations are some of the best lessons we ever get in life. It’s just a matter of learning from them and using those lessons to cope with future stressors that are so critical. 


In times like these, I realize how grateful I am for my past and all the lessons I’ve learned. When you stop in the face of a stressful situation, there’s always a way to make it work, even if it’s not ideal. As a brilliant therapist once told me about my (then) all-consuming panic attacks, “What’s the worst that could happen? Will you die? Probably not.”


We didn’t perish. After finding the electric tape, getting water and an extension cord, the power came back on at 6:30. We now have plenty of water on hand for next time! The cosmic joke continues…


(As does the snow, as I sit here finishing this on Thursday…)

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7 thoughts on “P.S. It’s Winter in Maine”

  1. Oh my gosh! I’m glad the power came back on. This blog was hysterical. I could practically hear you giggling. You & Rob rock. You did so much better than I ever would!

  2. I want more!!!!!!!!!! such an enjoyable read!! 🙂
    The pictures are awesome and cant believe the blue hue its so beautiful! thank you so much for sending this.
    enjoy the snowy days and coziness inside of your lovely home…ps your makeshift lunch looks scrumptious!
    Regarding the vote:
    I Like the cats with the knife and fork the best!

    1. Thank you for the vote! We’re still in the process of tallying them and will let all of you know which logo wins. I’m so excited to gather all the feedback!

      I’m glad you enjoyed the read, too. It’d be a while since I shared what’s been going on (it all plateaued a bit, but the Universe made sure to give us some pizazz lol!). I couldn’t believe that blue-we were completely blown away by seeing it! Of course with near-sub zero temps again, it’s all frozen and the hue isn’t as obvious. That makeshift lunch was truly delicious, and not far from the norm of what we eat, admittedly. It’s a lucky gift to be able to pull out our usual repertoire in times like these, rather than rely on eating canned foods and drinking snow, I suppose! 😉 <3

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