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  • Writer's pictureSensei Jay

April Showers Bring…. Black Outs

April 14, 2020

I have been emailing back and forth with many of you and happy to chat with anyone else who wishes, just send an email to the dojo or my work email – I miss you all and while I have been mostly telling of the fun adventures in Maine, I was recently corresponding with Vanessa and shared my last few days with her. So, I’d tell you as well:

I am in Swanville, a small town almost three hours into Maine from the New Hampshire border. Rachel, Zachary, Jacob and I have been quarantined up here. Zachary is tele-teaching his 8th grade class, Jacob is taking his classes from the University of Hartford online and thru Zoom, and Rachel is doing marketing from here -- all on an awfully slow DSL internet service. We must coordinate as we can only have one Zoom call at the same time.

We had 14" of wet, heavy snow Thursday – all day. It was beautiful, but as a result of this mid-April snowstorm, 99% of the tine town of Swanville lost power (909 homes out of 919 – what did those ten houses know) and over half of Maine was blacked out. We usually heat our house with wood stoves, so heat was not an issue. Candles and a propane lamp lite the night. We do not have a generator (something I will take care of) and our water is from a well, soooooo without power -- no water. I am not talking about the cute Little House on the Prairie handpump well, we are talking the 12” wide, 570’ deep well with a big 208V electric pump at the bottom. We gathered snow in large lobster pots (yes, we are in Maine), some of which I boiled to make it potable. While that was taken care of, there was no showering and we had to melt water on the stove to fill the toilet tank to flush. There was no way to wash things normally. I would use snow outside like when I used to go hiking in the winter to clean the cooking pans. I made a big pot of chili that we could eat for a few days from what was on hand.

Our neighbor brought over a 5-gallon jug of drinking water (they have a generator thus running water) and also lent us a battery to charge our phones. Channeling my old Jewish woodsmen heritage (I know, that was a stretch)I made an igloo fridge on the back porch. A quick trip to the local grocery (also without electricity) we got food. If we opened the fridge, all the food would spoil. So, we had limited food and kept it cool using ingenuity and nature.

Luckily, I had just gotten gas and chain oil to cut up the trees and all the broken branches blocking the driveway. Working in over a foot of snow with a chainsaw is not fun but we had to clear it before the plow guy got here so he could plow, and we could use our driveway. Sunday, Zachary and I spent half a day cutting down some of the trees that fell. It was pouring today but we still have another 4-5 hours of work to finish cutting up what is blocking things. There is always tomorrow.

We did get power back after two long days and the first shower was great. Of course, my wife had first dibs but with all the exercise (water is heavy), we all really needed it.

I wish I had a better internet here. I will send a couple of pictures, but I will have to send them out overnight so it will not freeze everyone else out. You are welcome to check out our Maine Instagram, @roundhousebelfast for photos my wife posts as well.

Life goes on and the huge rain washed away my outdoor fridge at last. We only had to throw out a little food from the inside fridge. We now have a lot of firewood for next winter (even though we are burning some every night).

I miss you guys and look forward to getting back to dojo life. Everyone stay healthy, practice and upload of video of you doing a technique on FB to share.

--Sensei Jay

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