Zombie Apocalypse Connecticut Black Out

By now you probably have experienced (or heard) what happened in Connecticut with the black out, power outage, people fighting for gas, flooding the stores, deaths by carbon monoxide, hypothermia, and chaos the upcoming days before Halloween, during, and after.  It felt like the Zombie Apocalypse had arrived and somehow days later I almost ended up making new Facebook friend(s), all from a surge protector.

I was in the middle of scanning papers to electronic pdf’s on Saturday, (Halloween weekend) when suddenly the power went out unexpectedly.  It had already snowed more than what we thought and we also thought the news reporters on the radio were totally exaggerating when they said to expect power outages for a few days and falling trees.

That night I kept hearing scary snap, crackle, pop and boom. I noticed a large snow covered object on my neighbor’s yard.  It turns out it was a very large and mysterious set of tree branch, that had fallen on the power lines and partly into the road.  I say mysterious, because it didn’t look like my neighbor’s tree in the front yard, or maybe it was the top part. I have no idea where it came from.

Next morning, still no power.  Because of that tree, the plow couldn’t plow snow thoroughly and we had to shovel a couple feet more of very heavy wet snow.  It was very brutal and I was ready to collapse.  On top of that, no landline (my parents have and old phone that doesn’t use electricity), and mostly no cell phone signal.  We were completely cut off from the world.  This would be the worse time to get robbed for the houses with thousands of dollars of equipment, who depend on an alarm system to protect them.

We had used up the rest of our hot water that day, so Monday morning, I found myself pouring cold water on myself to take a shower, just to be somewhat clean for work.   Driving to work was beyond belief.  Giantic branches and collapsed trees in people’s yards and in the roads, everywhere.  It was like a hurricane or tornado hit the state– or a zombie apocalypse.  It was the most eerie experience, no traffic lights, most of the way, and stop signs in place in some large intersections.  The roads just seem dead without all the business lights and closed businesses.  Speaking of work, they were totally unaffected, but the good news was that there was heat and hot water at work, so everyone took advantage of that.

My dad got a generator for the sake of us not freezing to death, having warm cooked meals and saving our food.  We only used it a few hours at a time, and not for the water boiler. We still boiled water, and mixed it with cold water to have our individual European style baths aka.. well, minus the water sharing.

Not having internet was disabling and unproductive, but I we’re fortunate not starving or freezing to death.  There were plenty of shelters around that opened up in schools for hot showers, warmth, food, etc.  We listened to the radio via battery, and kept hearing news every few hours of people freezing to death, hospitalization or dying from carbon monoxide poisoning from incorrectly placing the generators indoors.

My parents needed to buy more gas the next day and spent 2 hours waiting for gas.  They told me the chaos of people cutting each other. News spread of fights and police patrolling the stations to reduce mayhem.  I knew it was time for me to get gas soon so that I can continue to go to work, but I found myself no luck after work, with gas stations running out of gas, or closed.

I finally tried driving to another town that was partly lit up, and there were no lines at the station with the most expensive gas. I decided not to take any chance with mayhem and paid a bit more for gas and as I was pumping, I was still in disbelief, that gas existed.  On the way back it was bumper to bumper traffic with no traffic lights and people were aggressive as ever, stepping on gas, cutting people and not allowing people to go, when the intersections are supposed to be treated as a multi-way stop sign. I was so glad to come home alive, but the air smelled like gasoline form all the generators and I was coughing up a storm.

I was apartment hunting that week. Unfortunately, the rent rate fluctuates based on the market, so though it dropped down when the power outage first happened, it was slowly rising, so I wanted to lock in rates, asap, but ironically couldn’t see the apartments because of the power outage.

Wednesday despite Connecticut Light & Power’s site, giving a “Server too Busy” error when I attempted to check the power outage status by cities, after work I heard by then that part of my city was lit up, and decided to drop by a grocery store with grab warm food (bagel & chicken) from a chain fast food restaurant inside, then head over to a coffee shop to finally use real internet, and not my limited 200mb data plan off my mobile.  It was PACKED.  I ended up sitting with a bunch of strangers, college students, who kindly brought surge protectors to share the power.  I thought that was one of the most thoughtful things ever, was absolutely grateful, and ended up having brief conversations with them in between cramming, catching up with email and research.

Thursday, I figured it would be a less busy day to do my back breaks on my car before the winter.  I ended up spending over miserable $300 because I had some additional “needed” routine maintenance.. they also quoted me additional (several)  routine work of over $1k. That is months of food money for me and I am going to end up spending more on maintenance than my car. Anyways, by the time I got home, power was restored and I felt some relief.  Well, my lungs sounded really bad at that point from all the gasoline in the air, like it was ready to collapse.  When I took deep breaths, it was struggling for air. I waited it out, it took days to “recover.”  Other people didn’t get power or water until Sunday night or even later, and CT was still in a state of emergency I think until a few days ago or even now.

Even though I had power back, Connecticut was still in the apocalyptic state.  Sounds of chainsaws cutting trees, everywhere. I was able to see my current apartment on Saturday, but I wasn’t able to reach CL&P to transfer electricity service. I attempted to go through their online system, which then said it could not be processed online, to call, when I called, the automated message kept hearing my name spelling wrong, and then forwarded me to a “representative” which then gave an auto answering machine saying the office was closed because of the efforts to restore power.  It wasn’t until later I reached them.

Then internet was another story.  A technician is needed to get internet service activated (DSL is no longer supported in this building), but because Connecticut was/is in the state of emergency, the earliest to get a technician was December 27th. That’s 2 months without internet.  So if you’re looking to starting a service, do it asap.

In desperation, I bought the Virgin Mobile USB broadband adapter.. trying to hold off as long as possible in purchasing a limited 30day plan.   I kept calling internet provider everyday to check on status and finally was able to move it up to December 3rd.  Regardless, that was still almost 3 weeks away. I finally gave in the other day to purchasing the 30 day plan, and disabled images on my browser, except when necessary, and browsing as mobile, whenever I can.

So here I am, using limited internet that claims “unlimited” but will actually slow down your speed significantly after 2.5gb use of of data.  So avoid the streaming media (not good news for web designers/video producers), and avoid sites that continuously runs scripts in the background an eat up your data.  The estimation of hours it takes to spend x amount of MB is inaccurate if you’re a heavy internet user.

I feel like I should do a count down like new years and throw an internet party that day, opening a bottle of champagne when i get intent.  “Everybody.. bring your laptops..”  3.. 2.. 1..  Happy Internet day!!!

So still feeling some of the aftermath’s of zombie apocalypse. But I have power now, warm water, and heat, so that is good news.  What was your experience?

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