New England Nor’easter

House, Snow, Buried, Winter, December

Me being a New Englander having moved to Massachusetts from Chicago some 25 years before I can truthfully say I have been accustomed to the arctic temperatures winters consistently bring. However, it was on that one February day I had been sensing there was something which was not likely to be ordinary about this one specific nor’easter. I was up late last night watching and listening to the most recent weather reports and they were calling a standard nor’easter. That is if anything is ordinary about a nor’easter but that is what they were telling people.

With that information I started gathering up as much firewood as possible believing that a normal nor’easter caused it to power outages and heavy snow. I guess in the back of my head I thought maybe this one simply could be somewhat more interesting. With that thought I was able to make one final run to my local store to stock up a few of the basic supplies to tide me over just in case this storm could last a bit longer. In case the power went out with the warmth outside side was a rosy 18 levels I could utilize my makeshift outside cabinet as a temporary freezer to maintain my perishables from spoiling.

Around 6 o’clock the snow was actually starting to actually come down. The heavy winds were blowing the snow flat and drifts were piling up along side the home. By the lights were flickering and that intended with this heavy snow and winds now at gale force the electricity would soon go out. There was only one problem, once the power goes out the toilet will not flush due to the septic system is tied to the electrical panel. I recall as a child our summer house before it was attached to the cities sewer lines the outhouse was only a few yards away and at night it had been an adventure to say the least merely to go use the restroom. It wasn’t just in the summertime that we used that home but as children on cold winter nights when my family decided to get off the bunkhouse we slept in during the summers now served us as a winter oasis when my family decided to escape. Having a space heater it supplied heat and some relaxation on these winter nights. It was at the time of year rather than trudging out to the cold of night into the outhouse that the fantastic old urine pot served us well. That’s how people more than a 200 years ago went into the restroom in the middle of the night. There’s an old custom connected with pee pots but that’s another story.

Now convinced I had made all of the necessary preparations for the long siege of the nor’easter I put some wood chips in my wood stove and much more logs in the fireplace just in case that if the power does go out the home will keep a somewhat cozy temperature. I’m often confused by the new houses which are going up now. So many do not have fireplaces and if they do the fireplace is in a wall on the side of the house so the warmth from the fireplace extends mainly outside rather than radiant heat for the inside. In my home the fireplace is at the middle of the house, so what radiant heat there’s spreads evenly throughout the entire home. Centuries ago houses always had pest control animal removal at the middle of the house and frequently had them in each room of the home. Back then that was their sole source of warmth and for cooking. Now, I often use the wood stove to keep a pot of coffee on and use the fireplace which has bread nooks to keep food warm once the power is outside which in New England occurs when ever there’s a nor’easter. Something an in ground pool or a jacuzzi can not do.

With candles lit and the fire going I had been content to wait out this storm . Fortunately I have my computer billed so I checked the latest weather forecast. Now, they were stating another low pressure system is on a collision course with this nor’easter bringing with it the possibility for that perfect storm situation. Putting my sleeping bag on the living room rug before the fireplace I was just going to settle in for a winter’s rest once I hear outside cries for support. Jumping up to look out the window but the window has been covered over so that I ran upstairs into the hall window and saw what appeared to be headlights piercing through snow drifts. A girls was standing on top of her buried car waving for support. I kept thinking what possessed this women to drive in this sport just to get caught in snow drifts that coated her vehicle.

Now you would think that more individuals would have the ability to respond but my home was the only one that appeared to be inhabited, by me. The other homes where my neighbors remain have packed up and moved into some safe haven to wait out this storm. Thinking quickly I grabbed my parka and snow shoes tying a rope into the bottom of the up stairs hall window. I was able to slip down my roof and using the rope for a life line trudged about 100 feet to where she was standing atop her vehicle. The wind was howling as the snow was making visibility very hard but just as I was going to say hello the wind blew her off balance right in my arms. Caught off balance I knew we needed to return into the house and up into the second floor window because the first floor was inaccessible before we were trapped outside.

After about ten minutes using hand over hand pulling along the rope for a lifeline we managed to make to both sides of my property. As I stared at the upstairs window at which my rope was tied to I was able to scale and open the window so I could correct my toes to bend over and grab her arm as she placed here foot against the wall she was able to climb up my rope with my help and low and behold she slid into the window emptied landing on the ground. Instantly I closed the shutters and the window just as a burst of gale force winds brushed against your home. Now, safe inside she introduce herself as Alice stating she had been on her way to satisfy her husband who only arrived in Boston having served a six month tour of duty as a merchant marine. She left her home thinking she could beat the storm and make into the port before the storm struck.

With the power out the only way to communicate was through my computer that I had installed a wifi device to create my entire house a hotspot only in the event of a power outage. As I started cooking popcorn in the fireplace Alice got a response from her husband where he was able to find a room at the Long Wharf Marriott before the storm passes. For 2 days we exchanged stories and was able to be very comfortable. The power was restored sometime the next morning. On the next morning after the storm hit I was able to dig our her vehicle and by 10 o’clock Alice was on her way to meet up with her husband. I can honestly say that nor’easter of the February will be one for the record books and permanently recalled for me rescuing a damsel in distress.

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