Sunday, December 14, 2008

Fun Monday -Random Acts of Kindness

Mommy Wizdom came up with what turned out to be a very timely topic this week for Fun Monday.  Her challenge to us:
Your job this week is to go out and perform a random act of kindness. Now, before you freak out, please read on. This is actually really easy!! This act may be for someone you know or for a perfect stranger. It can be big or small, it'll all up to you. Obviously, it should be something within your means. For instance, don't go out and buy your next door neighbor a car and then complain to me that you can't make your mortgage payment, ok?

So let me start by explaining that I live in Southern NH.  Yes, the place where a federal state of emergency has been declared.  In case you haven't heard, we were hit with a major ice storm in the early hours of Friday morning, which left 300,000+ homes and businesses without power.  To put that in  perspective, the total population of NH is only 1.3M.  The RECORD number of power failures in NH in past storms was a measly 94,000.  In our town of 17,000 people, there were still 4,500 houses without power as of Saturday night.  

The local chapter of the American Red Cross  has had a tough couple of years, between back to back floods in 2006-07, record snowfall last winter, and in 2008 a couple of large apartment complex fires that displaced a number of families, the most recent just a week ago destroying 28 apartments.  Now the Red Cross is operating a number of shelters throughout the state, as there are no hotel rooms to be found even for those who can afford a hotel.  

On Friday morning, the extent of the damage from the ice storm became clear as the only reliable source of information was the internet - our local TV and radio were off the air/operating on emergency generators with very low signals.  We were very lucky, we never lost power and by mid-afternoon what little ice had accumulated on our trees had melted.  The Red Cross set up an emergency shelter at the school next door to my house.  A local nursing home was forced to evacuate their residents to this shelter, a school bus was found to transport them.  Diva and I spent the morning baking cookies and took them up to the shelter.  The volunteers there were so happy, as the NH Food Bank was furnishing meals, but sweets were in short supply.  

On Saturday, Diva's BFF revealed they were calling as far south as CT looking for a generator, and even if they could find one, would be lucky to find an electrician to come install it for them.  With temps heading down into single digits for the second night, they were afraid their pipes would freeze.  Kilowatt loaded our generator (which we thankfully did not need) and his tools into the car and was off again.   An hour later their house was slowly heating back up.  The local utility warns it could be a week or more before all power is restored, and we have another storm forecast for Wednesday into Thursday this week.  

We finished out the week with a run across town -- a couple of posts ago I lamented the loss of my 16 year old waterbed mattress, obviously Christmas wasn't a real convenient time to buy a new mattress. Well, we are fortunate enough that we could afford that mattress, and picked up a new one for my daughter also so we could move hers to the guest room. That left us with a spare bed - the Red Cross was able to put us in touch with a local organization called Beauty 4 Ashes who takes gently used furniture and distributes it to those in need. When I called the woman was very apologetic that they didn't have a truck available to come pick the bed up - no problem, with two SUV's we deliver! Since their storage unit is near Goodwill, let's see what we can find to take there on the way.  Double benefit - my house gets cleaned too!

Want to see what things look like up here?  The best source is local news station WMUR.  Today as I was driving across town what was most notable was that there were large areas with no visible impact from the storm, where just a few hundred yards away were large areas of devastation.  One road had no ice or visible damage on the left, but on the right all the trees still had a thick coating of ice.  I'll leave you with this photo, taken about a mile from my house.  Notice that you can see a line on the mountain where the ice begins....


14 comments:

IamwhoIam said...

Nice to know some thing get some good use. Man want an ice storm

mommywiz said...

Wow, you sure have your hands full over there!

That is so awesome that you guys are so giving of yourselves.

I hope nature lets up on you soon!

What a beautiful photo...

Thanks for participating this week.

MommyWizdom

karisma said...

Oh my I hope it warms up for you soon! I can't get by with out my warm sun!

Hootin' Anni said...

Giving, that is what this week's theme is all about. And you and your section of the country are true givers!! Be safe, hope everything will be back to normal real soon.

[ps...I'd be lost without my waterbed!]

{i}Post said...

Yikes! It must have felt good knowing you were able to help a family in need with the bed! Hope things get back to normal there as soon as possible!

Janis said...

How can something so beautiful (your photo)be so destructive at the same time. Hope things are improving by the minute for your town. Thanks to Angels like yourself, some people had cookies and a warm bed.

The Church Lady said...

Wow - I had no idea about the ice storm. That is an amazing photo. Ice can be so damaging, but so beautiful at the same time! Hope you all thaw out soon!

Sayre said...

Wow! We were talking this morning about natural disasters. For us, hurricanes are an inconvenience. If you're well prepared and lose power, you might be uncomfortable for a while, but unless you're stupid, you're never in any real danger. (WELL PREPARED, people)

However, losing power in an ice storm with temperatures so low can be life threatening in and of itself.

Bless you for bringing a little sweetness and light into the Red Cross people's lives!

Gattina said...

I heard and saw about this disaster on TV ! In these times of need, there is suddenly a solidarity between the people and they help each other which in normal times doesn't exist !

Heather said...

Wow! You sound as though you've been extremely busy doing kind deeds for all sorts of people! I hope your area and state get cleaned up fast and that everyone will be able to return to their homes with minimal damage. You and your family sound like kind souls.

Ari_1965 said...

Lovely photo.

Faye said...

If I'm ever caught in an ice storm I want you all for neighbors. Actually, we're supposed to have a rather severe wintry mixture in the morning--ice, snow, sleet. We southerners have this happen so infrequently that we forget how to drive in it.

So could you give us a report on the new water mattress--I'm in the market. And here's hoping your power stays on and that you don't get hit with a double whammy the end of this week.

Alison said...

it warms my heart to hear about communities coming together to help each other in a crisis. I hope your community gets back to normal soon.

hulagirlatheart said...

Great RAKs. Love the photo. I've been thiking about you, wondering if you were hit by the power outages and ice. We got snow, sleet and freezing rain here but not too bad.