Ice Storm

We awoke this morning to the news that today my son’s school was canceled due to an historic ice storm in New England…and then I called my university and found it was also closed for the day, thus leaving the semester forever unfinished.  No leave taking means no closure.  The last day of class is a very bad day to have a weather cancellation.

Ah, well, the students, no doubt, are rejoicing that they have extra time to complete their final portfolio essays, and I suppose it will not kill me to be unable to grade papers this weekend!

So my son and I were home today.  Hubster had to go to work, governor declared state of emergency or not, his office was open!  Anyway, son and mom have been housecleaning and ventured out to go to the grocery store, as we are a bit low on food.  So we went to our favorite local store where they sell a lot of organic foods.

When we arrived, we found that their power was out, and they were cleaning the fish and meat sections and tossing out a bunch of perishable food.  There were only a few lights on in the large store — eerie and more than a little weird to be let inside.  But they were selling food to those who made it to their store.  We got what we needed, including the last carton of buttermilk in all of Massachusetts, no doubt.  Thank goodness — since my quick bread recipe that I wanted to try out this afternoon calls for 3/4 cups of buttermilk.  Eeghads, what would I do without that ingredient?!

As we walked to the checkout counter through the frozen food aisle, I stopped to take this photo with my phone camera.  They had saran wrapped the doors all shut so nobody can buy the food from the freezers.  Think of the enormity of the waste and financial loss.  Yikes.

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In the parking lot, I started chatting with an elderly gentleman who works at the store as a bagger.  He was on his way home.  He first asked me if my power was out at home (so nice!)  Then he went on to explain that by law the store has to throw out perishable food if the refrigeration or freezer is shut off for three hours or more.  The store will lose tens of thousands of dollars, and it will take quite a while to restock. In fact, the Governor says none of the power in the whole state  is likely to be back on until at the earliest MONDAY.

What a terrible waste, I thought.  I mean, of course, there is the safety issue and all.  But if only someone from the store had decided at 2 hours and 45 minutes into the power outage that they should donate all the perishables to the local food pantry (which still DOES have power and does not have enough food)….  Alas, instead everything is being dumped into the county incinerator.

It was quite an eye-opener for my son.  He usually relishes storms, especially when they mean no school, but I think he is beginning to understand how interconnected everything is.  His school friend’s power is out and their sump pump is not working, so their basement is flooding.  Lows in the teens tonight will mean a chilly evening for that family.  I’ve called to offer them a place to stay with us, but I can’t reach them. Friends from church just sent out a plea on the church listserv asking to borrow anyone’s generator to run their sump pump because their basement, too, is under water.

As the sun begins to hang lower and lower in the sky, I can feel the temperature dropping.  We enjoyed about an hour of sunshine this afternoon, during which time the tres and bushes tried to shed as much of their ice encasements as possible.  The outdoors were blindingly bright, shimmering with falling ice, glittering in the sun. Now everything has turned gloomy again. High winds and low temps are expected tonight.  I can only hope enough ice melted earlier to keep us from joining the one million households in the northeast currently without power.

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5 Responses

  1. I hope you don’t lose power. That is sad about all the wasted food.

    They were calling for bad weather here but it didn’t happen. We were lucky I guess.

    Hang in there!

    Paul

  2. Yes, lucky! I’m bummed about missing my last day of school. Ah, well. Could be worse.

  3. 1) Brrrr. How does a Californian make it there?
    2) What a waste of food product. That makes me crazy!

  4. 1) LOL MY students think I’m insane: “HOW could you leave California to come HERE?” But I always say I love the snow. When we were kids it snowed, like, what, once? Snow is a miracle. Ice storms are a pain, but they come with the territory. 🙂

    2. Yes, I am churning that around in m head. I think I’ll have to have a talk with the store manager. If they had only thought about it before the three-hour deadline passed, all that food could have gone to the hungry. Maybe I can get the store to institute a new policy for such occasions (though I don’t know how often such things would happen). Might make me feel better though!

  5. That is an excellent idea to donate the food! Surely they can write it off on their taxes. If the store won’t do it, maybe ask your state legislator to look into. I’ve always admired New Hampshire for its pioneering spirit.

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