Monday, September 5, 2011

screeching into home plate...

Summer's end came screeching to a hault in a very interesting way this year. It all started the day Kenny and I returned from Burlington two weeks ago. I arrived at school to find out one of my former students (of last year) suffered a traumatic brian injury. I am still having a hard time dealing with it. Then our well started to give us trouble and we spent the better part of that week without water. We finally get the well up and running on Friday just in time for storm prep. I spent the next two days filling containers with water and cleaning in prep for what would be the week from double hockey sticks.
On the storm prep front, there was not a D battery to be found ANYWHERE within a 75 mile radius three days prior to Irene's arrival. On the night before the storm Kenny cooked a few things that would be able to be eaten without prep, bbq chicken, and Pizza. We had a hurricane party of sorts, eating home made Lingucia  pizza,  drank bronx cocktails and shoju and then we waited. We made sure we showered before turning in so when the power went out we would not feel yukky right away and we filled the tub so that we would have water for flushing for a few days. By 10:30 that night we were filling a bit stood up, it wasn't even raining. Our thought in the morning was that wasn't that bad until we realized that trees, big huge trees were blocking roads all over the place. Kenny and I decided to explore the damage with mtn bikes only to find that my bike had an issue with the rear brake, I was now in a funk. We went for a 2hr walk, but it wasn't the same.
In the afternoon we gathered at Dan and Mary's with Chris and Kaoru for a communal dinner. These types of gatherings are always a joy, and despite not having power, we ate and drank well. This sustenance would prove an essential for surviving the week as our power would not be restored until Wednesday night. In that time we would have to find a means to keeping food cold (not many places had ice and dry-ice that the power company promised became a phantom cause), find gas (we had to travel miles because at one point 95% of our town and 95% of three of the neighboring towns had no power, procure a generator to buy or borrow (thanks Jon and Samantha), and figure out how to resupply our dwindling water, not to mention wash dishes, do laundry and other daily tasks. Not to mention there was the thought that school would be starting under these conditions, thankfully that did not come to fruition. However, we have now used 4 snow days of six possible and we have yet to get the year going. In all of this we realized we dodged the bullet big time. A house that we had wanted to buy in Keene slid down the mountain side, the Guy Park Mansion lost most of its historic collection because walls blew out and whole towns in VT and the Catskills were washed off the planet. Our little hovel was a bit water-logged but nothing that serious (thought it was still a really expensive two weeks to say the least).
In the past few days I have met some incredible people via twitter as we tweeted a war with NYSEG, then there was this couple from the Blazer who shared war stories and baseball (all important Yankee/Red Sox battle) of course there was libations and food too. I even got a guy who never eats salad, to start because the salad I ordered looked SO good after a week of being forced to eat junk. He ordered one too. I have reconnected with old friends, checked in on dear friends who fared far worse than us, and started to do a bit of fall cleaning and gathered stuff to donate to a town in VT (canned goods, gently used shoes, clothes, blankets, jackets, tools). I have managed to finally come to grips with fall being upon us, I am now ready to get back into some kind of routine.
Kenny and I spent the weekend doing what the governor asked, we traveled, though gas, a sandwich and the occasional pint was really the only money we invested. We went upstate and mountain biked with Rich and Alison (of course it was right down the street from my mom's house, giving us new options for things to do while there), and after a pint and a sandwich headed to Dan and Mary's cabin in Lake Luzerne. They live on the Hudson and I was so sure that things would be trashed there only to find that that area weathered the storm quite well and high water and a swift current seemed to be the only remnants. I find this interesting because not to far to the east (15 miles) was devastated, and not too far to the west (15 miles) was trashed as well.
We were on the road and home by 1PM yesterday. We did a bit of yard work, took care of some laundry, rested a bit, syphoned the gas out of the generator, and made plans to meet Jon to return the generator which of course involved mountain biking and beer. We spent an hour in Stewart Bufferzone (state forest preserve) being eaten alive (forgot bug spray) and tooling in and out of single track and double track. This was a fascinating place and I cannot wait to visit again. It was land that was condemned in 1971 by the government, NOT because there was anything wrong with it but because the government wanted it for a super sonic easement for Stewart Airforce base. 1200 people and 375 farms were dislocated. The preserve is a mish-mash of old farm roads, old paved roads, and single track trails in the woods. It was a really pretty place that beckons to be explored more thoroughly. Kenny managed on his third ride off road to do some breathtaking tricks, steep rock drop offs, wall traverses, and river crossings. One trick of note was this wall traverse (more of a rock garden) where the bike got hung up in the rocks and tossed him over the handlebars, he landed on his feet the bike went crashing to the ground. The cat couldn't have done this better. We would have like to have spent more time, but the bugs were really making things miserable because there was so much standing water in places. The slow pace of some of the technical riding seemed to make us a reunion dinner. We hit up the Golden Rail Ale House for some pints afterwards. They had cheap GOOD beer on tap but dressed the way we were in our biking clothing we stuck out like sore thumbs (akin to yuppies in a redneck bar). After a bit we stopped just down the street at Alexis where we split a Greek Salad with chicken on it.
Today included an early morning airport run to get Chris and some cleaning. There was this thought of getting out again on the bikes. Lets see what the weather is doing when we get back from shopping. More rain this week, severe weather even. Hopefully our power will hold out.

School tomorrow (finally).