we are grateful

Ok, so where were we?

By 3pm Thursday, the fire was out, our water system was secured and everyone had gone home. We went down to the house and stared at each other. We hadn’t eaten. Friends had offered to have us over for dinner or bring dinner to us but all we really wanted was a turkey sandwich and to go to bed. At 7pm, we did just that.

4 am Friday we were up. Neither of us was sleeping so there was really no point in staying in bed. I made blueberry muffins and cookies by candlelight. There was very little power left in our batteries and what there was, was needed to power our fridge. So a romantic candle-lit breakfast of a bowl of porridge and coffee, was made on the stove, old school.

7 am Friday, we returned to the work site and continued to separate metal scraps in the dark. At 8 am our neighbor arrived in the excavator. What a welcome sight he was. After 42 years of operating an excavator he has real skills and watching what he could do was amazing. The building was 32×16 feet long with the generator room adding an additional 8 x6 feet. We had imagined chopping the 32 foot beams up with a chainsaw to burn but that excavator could pick up them up and crush them to go on the fire. E and I and the dogs just stayed out of his way and watched in awe. By 2 pm Friday there was a nice burn pile going, a separate huge pile of metal and no sign at all of the building.

The on-going problem was trying to find a backup generator which would power our batteries. Another neighbour was here by then with her 2 kw generator but there was no way to connect it properly to our battery bank. They were incompatible. Another neighbour, offered his, but it also was incompatible. So again, Friday, we sat by candlelight, with a bowl of soup from the freezer, warmed on the fire. Back into bed at 8pm. This time, I was smart though and took my first little happy pill to get some sleep.

4 am Saturday morning, it was pouring rain and I mean just pouring. We made our coffee on the stove and had a bowl of porridge. But we had both had a good sleep and were really feeling good. There was going to be a fire department debrief at 10 which E was going to go to and I was planning on working at the site tidying. But at 8 am the excavator operator showed up again to continue clearing the site. He told me by the end of the day I wouldn’t think there had ever been a building there and he was right. He went to the meeting with E and then came back and worked until he was satisfied at 2pm.

After the fire meeting more neighbors offered us their 7500 watt generator to try, and then brought it over. It required a 30 amp 4 prong plug to connect to our system so I put out a call to the island facebook group, and two neighbours showed up almost immediately with the necessary item. The generator had not been run in a year and, despite our best efforts, it was going to continue not running. We were getting late into the afternoon by now and we had to try something else before we ran out of power in the house. Two more neighbours had come over to help with the power issues and one of them thought we might be able to use the other 2K portable generator by dialing down the AC input on our inverter/charger to 15 amps and cutting the lead off an extension cord to plug into the generator output. This actually produced current at the inverter end but, alas, no charging of the batteries. The system probably was wired to accept only a 30 amp input. So the call went out again and we managed, finally, to borrow a 6500 watt generator and hook it up to the house system. We were now up and running, charging at +100 amps, just as the batteries were showing 45%.

You might have guessed that E wrote this last paragraph cause I am the least qualified on the island to discuss power. While all of the battery issues were dealt with I was on the phone trying to figure out logistics and to source a new generator. Again, with the support of some very good friends, we are picking our new generator up on Tuesday.

Two huge construction bags were left with us on Saturday. They hold 3 cubic yards of materials with a 3000 lb load weight. Sunday morning at 7, E and I started to pile all the metal into the bags. Around 11, Three neighbours arrived to help. I gathered random downed branches and debris and burned them on the site where our usual burn pile sits. If nothing else it gave us somewhere to warm ourselves because, although it wasn’t raining, the north wind was hitting us straight on and it was cold. The two bags were full and we needed another so a call went out and in minutes another neighbour arrived with another one.

The bags were all full and tarped up by 2. Everyone had gone so we came down to our house, opened a bottle of wine and started to make lists. I cope with stress by making lists. Lists of what we urgently need, what we will eventually need, who has helped, who has lent us stuff, what we lost and of course the longest list of all, for what

we are grateful

2 thoughts on “we are grateful

  1. OMG! I’ve been out of town a few days, and had no idea you were experiencing such a stressful event! So glad that you had so much help, and everyone seemed to know exactly what to do~not an easy task!

    Take Care!



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