It's Monday. I haven't had power in the house for four days. National Grid says that power should be restored to my neighborhood by Wednesday evening at the earliest. For the third straight night, I sleep under every cover I can find in the house, to make sure that someone is inside the house and taking care of things. I wake up and I'm colder than the rear end of the fifth man on the four-man bobsled team.
Before I leave for work, I turn on the water faucets to make sure they run. I make sure each toilet in the house flushes. I don't want the pipes to freeze. It's supposed to get into the 50-degree mark tonight, maybe I'll open a window and let the cold air out.
Last night I came home and my side of the street was pitch black. No street lights. Nothing. If and when the power goes back on, I'll have to throw out all the spoiled food - virtually everything in the fridges and freezers.
My wife and her father are in a motel downtown. I want them to stay there and stay warm. I'm willing to take the cold in the house if for no other reason than to protect my home.
I've been through these cold snaps before. I survived the Blizzard of '87. I survived the Blizzard of '78. I also survived those days when, as a kid, I lived in a mobile home trailer park. The wind would rattle through all that galvanized steel that most people call a mobile home. My mother would try to jigger the faulty radiating heating unit to get more heat in the house, and after a while the whole house would smell of kerosene. On the occasions when the heat actually did work, I would take the vent grid off the floor of my bedroom and stick my feet in the vent pipe, so that I could receive just a little more warmth on my toes.
That trailer burned down in I think 1979. Supposedly it was an electrical short that tore through the entire trailer and burned it to the ground in moments. I'm not sad to see it go. That trailer gave me a lot of horrible memories. It still does today.
And even though I'm freezing in my bed thinking about when National Grid's going to get my house back to the 21st century, I realize that even in the coldest night, I've got it better than I had as a kid.