Giving Thanks, For …

Today is the day nearly every Westporter is supposed to have power.

Of course, we are all supposed to wear masks, maintain social distance, and walk facing traffic too. So I’m not holding my breath.

But as someone who did get the juice back Saturday afternoon, I know the feeling of flipping a switch, and watching lights actually come on.

Not to mention the joy of a hot shower, a cold freezer, a phone that shows 4 bars and a computer that connects to the internet.

A crew from Canada connects us to the world. (Photo/Doerte Inett)

Of all of those things, I think that last one — being able to send emails, read the news, and post to “06880” without a jury-rigged tin cup and wire — is the most important to me. It may say something about my values, or life in Westport in 2020, but of all the things I can’t live without, connectivity tops the list.

What about you? What did you miss most in the long days after Isaias? What was the first thing you did after all those lights, appliances and things you never realized need electricity clicked on?

What did you learn — about yourself, your family and your town — over the past week?

Click “Comments” to share. It’s easy, now that we are back to normal.

Or as normal as things get, in this year we will never forget.

21 responses to “Giving Thanks, For …

  1. I learned that my neighbors enjoyed pitching in to help everyone . We have away a old generator we had in the garage , which broke the first day Oy . My next door neighbor got her power before us snd threw us an extension cord so we could stop the generator ! We all had coffee together and had TIME to talk to each other. I learned to slow down and look at people really and to not judge but to help .

  2. When life pitches you a curve, one of the good things to come out of that unexpected moment recognizing how much we take for granted. Who would have expected a mishandled, crippling pandemic, the president’s deficiencies resulting in a crippled economy, the lack of face-to-face social intercourse, en masse religious services re-enforcing the warmth and passion that they generate. You name it, when it’s suddenly not there, you step back and begin to appreciate everything just a little bit more. Sadly it only lasts for a short time, like the news cycle. We tend to forget the textural lessons life teaches. And then, sadly, we’re back to taking for granted so many things that make our lives meaningful and precious. Being the eternal optimist, I prey that this reset will last, but I’m also a realist. So to help my optimistic side, let’s all make an effort to retain the community spirit we saw all over town, of people helping people and let that momentum move us in the right direction for November. By the way Dan, you hit the nail on the head with the hot shower.

  3. Dan, with you, the connectivity…and to think we wouldn’t have missed this in 1976 as it didn’t exist! (Well, besides WMMM and The Westport News and dialing a 226 or 227…)

  4. I’ll let you know when we get power back! Hazelnut Road, last after Sandy, last after Isaias. Hey, at least we’re best at being last, that’s something, right?

  5. Our power came on yesterday – where to begin? Hot water showers, AC, watering my vegetable and herb garden with a hose instead of carrying water from the house, and having the ability to open the fridge and find edible food! Bliss! I feel badly for those in Westport still out. Thank you for your blog – you are my primary source of Westport news.

  6. I learned to make sure that when there is a hurricane predicted for the area to make advance reservations at a hotel in another town.

  7. I learned that as of wed. 920am, 9 hours after “deadline”, we still do not have power.. No down poles.. no catastrophes.. just a few down wires on our street that eversource does not deem important enough to bring the last 5 houses in the neighborhood Into the 21st century. Otherwise we have our health and all is well

  8. I missed being able to shower. Using my neighbors lawn sprinkler just doesn’t cut it.

    I missed being able to flick on the light switch to go to the bathroom. It’s not fun Reenacting “Zero Dark Thirty,” trying time find your way to the toilet in pitch black darkness.

    I missed not sweating just from sitting and standing.

    Silence. The humming of the generators, I thought I was going to go Jack Nicholson “Shining” crazy from the sounds!

  9. I wrote an open letter to our representatives seeking support, answers and explanations. This is, I guess the well deserved, answer I got (no apologies, no excuses, no help, but telling me I’m on a path of “righteous outrage”. It is me who has to explanation: how dare I daring to hold our politicians to account. Decide for yourself:

    From: “Rep. Steinberg, Jonathan”
    Date: August 11, 2020 at 8:30:25 PM EDT
    To: Arpad
    Subject: Re: Power outage Day 8 — an Open Letter to My Representatives

    
    You know nothing about me, Arpad, or my work on the Energy and Technology Committee. I know you’re upsetv/ and I agree with your outrage.

    But if you’re really interested in finding out what I stand for and what I will do, give me a call: 203-722-7477.

    On Aug 11, 2020 1:05 PM, Arpad wrote:
    An Open Letter to My Representatives:

    My name is Arpad Krizsan. I live, and operate a small advisory firm, at in Westport Connecticut.

    It is Tuesday 8/11 and STILL no power on the entire road even though power has almost completely been restored to the neighborhood.

    My street has had no obstructions preventing Eversource to access the road since Wednesday last week. However, they have left wires hanging and lying across several resident’s lawns and driveways.

    We received a communication from Eversource that states that the damage is caused by customer owned equipment. A complete falsehood, we can document. A tree fell onto the main wire, which is still hanging. Also, the coverage map only shows my house without power, yet the entire road is without power, where three elderly women live alone exposed to the heat and discomfort.

    This has passed the point of unacceptability in terms of Eversource’s responsiveness and communication, Westport town’s useless communications and complete lack of advocacy, and with every state representative watching us suffer in this heat.

    We have thrown away hundreds of dollars worth of food, and due to the lack of cell and data coverage I’m unable to run my operations and my wife is unable to work from her home office. This is not just causing damage, but in addition to the COVID crisis, the lack of guaranteeing and providing basic infrastructure destroys our livelihood.

    You have ALL failed us!

    You, Mr Marpe for not having properly prepared for the storm, even tough it we were warned more then a week ahead bye NOAA that the Storm might cross our part of CT, you have not harnessed public works properly to clear areas and you have NOT used your resources to make Eversource accountable.

    You, Messieurs, Steinberg and Lamont, for granting Eversource monopoly powers, allowing them to increase rates at exorbitant rates, and not provide proper oversight or put in the controls necessary. Also, for not doing more to support and facilitate cheap and affordable alternative energy sources, such as solar panels etc. to make us self-sufficient. For not managing our tax dollars and making sure the infrastructure is up to par, which is also true for the Federal Government.

    There are so many weaknesses exposed during this emergency that it’s no wonder people are fleeing this town and state. We want to be reimbursed for the costs associated with his debacle and get assurances that this won’t happen again. Do your job!

    I also would like a personal response to hear your position and look forward to hearing from you.

    Sincerely,

    • Bill Boyd SHS '66

      You’re lucky a tree didn’t fall on your house or take your roof off…then you would have a real reason to be whimpering.

    • Dermot Meuchner

      It’s always useful to see who the politicians take money from. From them the only thing you will hear is doublespeak, the outrage they profess is nothing but patronizing gibberish,” look what I’ve done”,so be prepared to weather another eight days without any services at all and rejoice that our representatives are outraged and will stop at nothing to get to the bottom of this.

  10. To say that it’s just a tree, or some time without power or a disruption in an already disrupted schedule. Most of the damage can be repaired. People survived.

  11. I learned 3 simple things. Just need to be better prepared
    1. Invest in a generator.. it is a life changer
    2.Have enough fuel and food for a week..at least
    3.Have cash
    4. Make it a point to meet your new neighbors before such events.

  12. Traffic lights!! How exhilarating to run an errand without the fear and harrowing uncertainty of self-absorbed non-stoppers and menacing mammoth trucks!

  13. Connectivity.

  14. Jen Rago McCarthy

    We still don’t have cable/WiFi from Optimum.
    Each tine I call the answer is the same. Thank you for your patience, we will restore service as soon as possible. Mostly, I get a recording, then I get hung up on. Our power was restored Sunday night. We, foolishly, thought we’d get cable/WiFi then, too. All the people who have to work from home because of Covid, now can’t work from home.
    It is all so frustrating!!

  15. If I we’re a young lawyer, I would contact 5000 or more Westporters who were victims of Eversource’s response,andlaunch a civil suit. Their defense would probably be “Act of God”. but I wouldn’t care.I would just want to expose their practices to every community that must use them as their power source. I hope that happens. I lost everything that can power up, all things mentioned in above letters and your comments. Even my chair lift didn’t work and that was the worst. Now I have to take out a loan to invest in a generator, becaus this is going to repeat in any strong storm. All in all you summed it up on the spot.

  16. I learned I need to keep more Gatorade & granola bars in stock for all the workers! I also learned all the money we’ve spent maintaining & pruning our trees is money well spent. Thank you, Tom Kashetta of TK Trees! We were also very grateful for all the tree crews…
    We were NOT pleased how ill-prepared and under staffed Eversource was, keeping countless tree crews waiting for hours on end at numerous sites due to their mismanagement & lack of preparation.

  17. I learned that the town assumes that the majority of the residents have generators. This is NOT the case. The Fire marshal said on 90.3 on Monday, and I quote “As of this morning, it appears that only 30% of us are left without power and on generators.”

  18. Internet! No question at all, loss of the internet was more burdensome than loss of light, air conditioning, music, warm showers, etc. Nothing drove my family and me crazier than losing the internet.

    It scares me badly to realize how dependent on all this stuff, but especially the internet, many of us have allowed ourselves to become. It’s starting to feel like more of a curse than a blessing. If we ever get hit with something worse than a small tropical storm, maybe six months of cold turnkey would do us all some good.

  19. Eversource might consider bringing in out of state workers prior to a storm arrival if the storm path is predicted to hit southern CT.
    The repair crews will begin repairs as soon the storm passes. If the storm takes a different path then Eversource can pay expenses for out of state crews and send them back to wherever they came from.

    They way it stands now is everybody waits for days before the repair crews show up.

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