Thanks to guys from Woburn, Mass., we got our power back on the afternoon of Sunday, Nov. 4. As for our own utility, I sighted my first LIPA trucks on Nov. 7 (the first day of the northeaster) heading up Three Mile Harbor Road — 10 days after the superstorm hit and two hours after we’d been rendered powerless again.
Lulled by the euphoria of having uninterrupted lights, heat, and hot water for two and a half days, I had been ripping through The New York Times crossword puzzle and was planning on refilling the two-person Jacuzzi we never use except in such situations or when we need to wash the window screens, when there was an ominous flicker, and then, as can happen when you’re long-married and well-attuned to one another, simultaneous exclamations of “Oh, shit!”
Bill Leland, our neighbor, who has lived in Tiffany Estates in south-central Springs since the early 1970s, deserves the credit for getting our thickly populated neighborhood’s lights back on in the first instance. A tree that fell onto the wires in front of a house at the intersection of Oak Ledge and Harbor View soon after the hurricane began was the culprit. Everyone knew it, including LIPA, though because the utility’s antiquated maps have us down as a “light-density area” (which may have been the case some 40 years ago), we were told, in effect, to cool it for six to 10 more days.
When, at about the same time, I ran into Dom Annacone at Damark’s Deli and told him what LIPA had reportedly said, he, who had just had his power restored in Settlers Landing, replied, “If you’re considered a light-density area, then I live in a desert — there are only a few houses on my street. . . . This is what happens when you’re dealing with a monopoly.”
But, thank goodness, Bill Leland, whose son Danny thinks the time has come to have our own utility here, as Greenport does, was not so easily put off: He sought out the foreman of the Massachusetts State Electric crew, which was working in Clearwater that Saturday, and persuasively made his case for “the 80 to 90 houses” in our neighborhood that were, despite the fact that the problem was in plain sight and could be easily remedied, still languishing.
I would like to say that the branches of palm trees were strewn before them as their trucks pulled in; instead, they were greeted by sandwiches made by Ryann Zaykowski Brennan. “Hosanna! Hosanna!” I imagined us crying as the Woburn guys went to work.
On the bright side, the storm had given us a chance to pass some time with our hard-working, resourceful, and friendly neighbors.
Mary brought flowers over to Bill Leland the next day, and she’s thinking of having everyone over for a pot-luck party when this all blows over. That’s the good news.