Love City Chronicles | 6 Weeks without Power
Week 6 after Irma...
How does one live for 6 weeks with no power? This is something I am learning whether I have wanted to or not. My day begins early to fill my bucket for a sponge bath. I have rigged a hose from my cistern so I am able to get water a bit easier. It's COLD water! Not sure how I am surviving with the bucket bath, I am usually a 2-3 shower a day living here.
The bucket can provide water for my "bath", flush the toilet and rinse my clothes. We are living a kind of Little House on the Prairie and Gilligan's island combination.
My fear of all things mechanical has lessened. I have learned that five gallons of fuel is damn heavy💪. I have gotten used to no power. I panicked when the last bit of battery for my portable fan was dangerously close to extinction. I was ecstatic to score D batteries yesterday.I realize my body has climatized to the heat and no ceiling fans.
Everyone is a shade or two darker. The trees are just starting to recover so there has been little shade for the past 5 weeks. My eye lash extensions said bye bye about a week ago. Now it is au natural and base ball caps. Sun screen and mosquito repellent are the new perfume.
Grocery shopping is limited to what I can eat that day. I have a generator, however I am not able to run it all day so the fridge gets about 4 hours of power per day. I am proud to say, I no longer fear the generator or its fumes. The smell of gas still turns my stomach. I tried boiling gluten free pasta on my portable Weber Grill. Yuck! A glob of starchy mess that went right into the trash. Funny how all of our dietary needs carry such little weight right now.
I joined the D.I.R.T group - a non government - non profit funded by the Bloomberg Group. As I am now google-free, I am unable to elaborate further on who/what/where D.I.R.T. is. I can tell you they are organized and efficient. (Disaster Immediate Response Team)
My D.I.R.T team and I head out every day to access door to door. This has been effective to encourage those who have not filed with FEMA to do so. We are also able to uncover residents in need to medical care quicker. After two weeks of combing the island with 4 other ladies in the car, I feel like we are contestants on "Survivor, Island Style Edition".
I have mastered the art of disaster driving on tiny one lane island roads. This is a bit challenging with 4 backseat drivers. Our anthem is Jam Band and Nick Friday's "Inspection Lane" song. "Reverse, back up, back up, indicator left, indicator right... windshield wiper". We have clarified when reversing "Ok" in West Indian terms means STOP!!
We do a quick drive by Cruz Bay Landing or Longboard to pick up dinner meals around 3pm. The grocery store and gas station open at 9:30-4:00pm. Curfew is at 7:00pm during the week and 8:00pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It is pitch black by 7:00pm most evenings. Weekly happy hour provided by the Tap Room is greatly appreciated by everyone.
Love City Strong continues to provide communication and interaction with government and non government groups. This group of young, passionate St Johnian's continues to impress me.
One note which is being discussed - TESLA had reached out offering to power St John off the grid with TESLA batteries and roofing. I so hope this can happen!! We have an antiquated power system which is $300 million in debt. Take the hard working WAPA men and woman and allow them to be trained in new technology. They deserve this. The neighborhoods that have underground utilities are the ones who sustained less damage.
WHEN - not IF the next super storm hits St. John, we could be with power immediately after the storm.
My hope is that Hurricanes Irma and Maria give St. John the gift of moving into the 21st century with modern facilities. We can make this happen!!