The Irene Disruption: Day 4

Stephen Orel, working by candlelight in Millburn.

Mista Barista came home yesterday with a borrowed generator from work, and very proudly cranked it up, plugged in some extension cords, and brought several lamps from the living room to the kitchen, where I was cooking chicken breasts on the gas stove. I’d just tossed almost everything from the freezer and fridge, but the chicken, which had been in the freezer, was refrigerator cold. I practically did a Snoopy dance — cooking on the stove with real electric lights in the kitchen — and then 20 minutes later, electricity came back to our street for real.

“Woohoo — just got power!” I wrote on Facebook. Quickly the FB  “likes” piled up — 24 so far — but a friend of mine on Grove Street in Montclair said sadly, “I am still being told Sunday.”

Now that I have become one of the powered, in some ways the hurricane begins to feel over. Yes, I still have to call an electrician and a tree guy, PSE&G and either the phone company or Comcast (second drooping cable). I have an empty refrigerator. But it’s like overnight I moved from a developing country to a developed one.

When I went over to a friend’s house on Sunday afternoon to use power and cadge internet, and she was lazing around like it was a regular old weekend, I was insanely jealous. She was living in a five-star hotel, and didn’t even know it!

Gwen Orel, who covers theater for us, filed this to us last night at 6:30 p.m. The photo at the top of the piece is of her brother Stephen Orel working on his laptop by candlelight.

I write this from the Millburn library, which has wifi and power, because in South Mountain we still don’t have power. It’s Day 3, and the town says it will be Sunday or Monday for some people. The town looks messy, as we all brought our garbage to the curb, but they only picked up the kitchen garbage. They will be picking up the wet garbage and debris but cannot say when, so we’re to bring it out and have it ready.

Empty candle aisle at Target. Photo by Stephen Orel

My brother came down from the city Friday night and could not go back until this morning, Tuesday. This picture of him working on a laptop and aircard, by candlelight, says it all. It’s Victorian, but not. I also like this picture of us huddled in the living room, with cat.At Target there has been a run on candles and batteries. And cars happily just drive right around police barricades. A few big oaks came down, one on Undercliff, one on South Mountain. But most stayed safe, and I hope they do not use this as an attempt to cut our trees down again.

We had water in the basement but that was it. Our trees are fine. The cover blew off our grill, but the lawn chairs didn’t even topple.

The tree man resting on the oak in front of my house yesterday afternoon was so exhausted he didn’t seem to notice, or mind, that there’s a big scary deadish branch on it. Nobody on my street will even park under it, let alone sleep under it.

Meanwhile, for those still without power — and fighting the good fight to preserve food — Debbie at Alpine Ice in Bloomfield just called me to say she’s getting some dry ice in around 11 a.m. today. Here’s the number to call before you go down: 973.748-1313.

Click here to sign up for Baristanet's free daily emails and news alerts.