Friday, January 30, 2009

Ice Storm Disaster in Paducah, Day 4

[Update: Read the latest from Jackson Purchase here. Most customers remain without service and they estimate it will be mid next week before all service is restored. This has not been widely reported on the radio which is the primary source of information for those suffering the effects of the storm.]

I awoke this morning with only one clear thought in my head: My Mom and stepdad, who live next door, cannot take another single day of being this cold. Whatever it takes, I told myself, they must be warm before dark.

Thus motivated, I threw back the covers, woke the dogs, and began another morning of performing my ablutions in teeth-chattering cold. Fortunately, I am still experiencing what I've come to think of as Splendor in the Bath otherwise known as hot water. I showered in steam so thick I could barely see and was applying make-up and moisturizer at my kitchen table by the light of the actual sun, when my Mom came over with good news. Our neighbor, Mr. Coleman, was bringing them a kerosene heater. Before too long it was delivered and, as of my last phone call, they are feeling warmth in their house for the first time since Tuesday. I am giddy with relief. And indebted forever to the generous Mr. & Mrs. Coleman. A couple of menches, the both of them.

I have managed to lay my hands on some cash, which seems the only sure way of ensuring goods and services in this disaster area.

We still know nothing of when power might be restored. Our electric company, Jackson Purchase Electric, is not talking to the press. We are thus left with no clue of how long this will go on. At some point, one starts to think of just driving away from it all, but with so little information on which to base a decision, one continually wavers between escaping and riding it out. With each day that passes you think surely power will be restored, then when it isn't, you think, surely tomorrow, and on in an endless loop.

My cell phone began to show signs of life last night by receiving all the voice mail messages that had been left for me during the period of total disconnection. Today, I have managed to make a few cell phone calls on it, but am still unable to reach relatives in Carlisle County.

For reasons beyond my comprehension, headquarters of the "rescue" operation is located at the fire station in Reidland. FEMA is not here. Raise your hand if you're surprised.

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