An Adventure With Nemo

Someone gave the name Nemo to the Blizzard of 2013.
I believe whoever he was frequented the Old Howard in Scully Square Boston as a youth and remembered
the hot dogs sold by Joe and Nemo outside the theater. To him, this was going to be a hot dog of a storm.

In Sandwich we were hoping to survive a break on the barrier beach that some were predicting may inundate
Rte 6A. The news outlets were sending reporters to Sandwich to feed the curious .The high winds were almost
sure to result in power outages.They eventually knocked out 70% of the town. And of course, the Gregorys
were among them.

It was Friday afternoon about 4 PM when the TV shut down. Luckily, we had a free standing gas stove in front
of a fireplace that could supply us with heat. In anticipation of the power loss, we ramped up the stove and the
thermostat . We turned off the stove at bedtime. It didn't feel safe with a burning stove going while we were in
bed in another room.

Saturday morning seemed like any other until I looked out an open door and saw nothing but bending tree
limbs , branches everywhere and blowing snow. The open door, because all the glass was covered with white.
When I looked at the thermometer in the room , the temperature was 62 degrees. Tonight we will sleep in
chairs in the room with the gas stove going and we should be OK.

The oxygen concentrator, which supplied the vital gas to Gloria, was standing useless without power.
Our attempts to supplement portable cylinders by contacting the supplier were fruitless due to their power
outage. We weren't too concerned because we had on hand two small portable cylinders and a larger one
with some in the tank. Gloria uses oxygen as needed and estimated our supply would last about 3 or 4 days.
I tried to open a small tank; not for use but in preparation if needed. Without detailed description of why I
failed, it occurred that the Fire Department must do this all the time .

My cell phone reached them and I toldthem my predicament. I expected to receive instructions over the phone
but I was told someone would arrive shortly. After a while , we heard knocking at the door and standing there
was a young female EMT covered with snow. She tried to drive her vehicle to the house but encountered
a downed tree at the street next to ours.

She continued on foot. Later, an account in the newspaper described that tree as the largest to fall in
Sandwich during the storm. She tried many of the same steps I did with the cylinder and then after a few
minutes the solution became obvious.
The questions came about our situation. After all, here we have two elderly people , with one on oxygen ....
and a limited supply, She told us about the downed tree , the lack of generator power at the station and the
predictions for an extended power outage. After she contacted the station, it was decided that we must go
to a shelter. At least at the shelter they will have heat, food and oxygen. When it was determined there was
no alternative, we packed and prepared while the EMT and a neighbor female EMT somehow arranged to
plow us out and get us into a vehicle.

We loaded the three oxygen cylinders, all the medications, sheets,
underwear and changes of clothes. We also had chargers for cell phone and computer tablet and lists of
phone numbers for Gloria's medical contacts. While in the van we turned left on 6 A instead of right which
would have taken us to Sandwich High School and the shelter.This is when we learned the high school lost
its generator and we were headed to the fire station to board a bus for the shelter at Falmouth High School.
The bus was small , able to hold eight and we were the only passengers. It was 4:00 P.M. and I estimated
we should be in Falmouth no later than 5:30 with time allowed for road conditions.

Little did I know. The driver told us we had to pick up passengers in town who were waiting for the bus.
He said we would have to be patient. A young tall National Guardsman boarded the bus and he proceeded to
make phone contact with another guardsman who was parked behind us in a large military vehicle, a Humvee.
This is when it occurred to me my ETA could be off a little. It proved to be 3 1/2 hours.

Our first pickup was on Rte 130 . When we turned right from Tupper Road we didn't get far before
encountering a problem ahead of us. The road was blocked by a downed limb. The bus driver made
arrangements with the guardsmen to use the Humvee for the pickup while we went to the next stop.
By the time we loaded the bus we had three blocked roads, two times we had to back down streets
and two times we tried to back into a driveway to turn around and ended up with spinning wheels.

Classrooms were nothing new to me after working nearly thirty years as a high school teacher.
The one night we spent in one as a guest of the Red Cross at Falmouth High School , will be forever
etched in my memory.The cots were canvas and about two inches above the floor. The single blanket
was so thin one could read a newspaper or, for me , a computer tablet through it. We retired with
sweaters and jackets The heat , what there was of it, was in the corridors and our door was closed ....
for privacy and security. A fellow refugee was connected to an oxygen concentrator that ran all night .
I've been in diesel trucks that made less noise. The lights in the room had to stay on because two
young women were playing a game on a computer. When I turned them off I was informed by the
care-taker that the lights couldn't be turned off until the women were ready to retire..which turned
out to be close to midnight. We had a choice of deviled ham or deviled chicken sandwiches. We
were so cold and miserable, filet mignon would have been refused.

The cell phone rang at 10 P.M. It was son Mike, who said he would pick us up in the morning and
bring us to his house in North Quincy.I glanced at the clock every 10 minutes all night and did my
best to keep Gloria's spirits from descending any further than they had since we got on the bus.

We could hardly wait to turn on the faucet in the shower. However, a short course in lavaratory
science was required to negotiate the valve options for side-stream pulses and steam capability.
We never felt so good as when we stepped out of the shower into the well-heated bath room.

Climbing into the bed between warm flannel sheets , covered by a substantial blanket and a fluffy
comforter, was so welcome, it wasn't until 9 A.M. when the room became visible.

Downton Abbey was on Sunday evening but it was recorded for us. We watched it Monday while
Mike and Sue were out earning a living to help support us in the manner we were gladly becoming
accustomed to. Beef stew, Bucatini with sausages and meatballs, paninis and assorted goodies
kept Sue busy in the kitchen .

We are definitely going to return to this version of the Dan'l Webster
Inn in Quincy. The word came from a neighbor Monday evening that power had been restored on
Gully Lane in Sandwich. Daughter Anne drove us home Tuesday morning. She also fed us and cleaned
the housewe left so abruptly the previous Saturday.The following week another storm hit.
It wasn't fierce enough to warrant a name like Nemo but I thought Joe would have been appropriate