It goes without saying that when you go to sleep without electricity and wake up to the sound of your neighbor's generator running nonstop outside your kitchen window, it's not going to be a great day. But up and down my block, and around eastern Massachusetts, one's outlook depends on just where the thunderstorms and near-hurricane-force winds were the worst.
Even on my block, there are wildly different takes on a work from home day when no one can really work.
Chris and Kristen Heller are pretty happy with the way things turned out. The two of them were in their backyard painting the doors for their kitchen cabinets.
"When you can’t work because there’s no WiFi, you get your stuff done, you get your honey-do list done," said Kristen. "I’ve got no internet, so can’t go to any Zoom meetings," Chris chuckled.
The Hellers have their portable Coleman Powermate Pulse 1850 generator running and hooked up to their fridge, so there’s no fear of food spoiling. Kristen laughed and said that whatever happens today, at least the beer will stay cold.
The schools are closed in Holliston, where more than 2000 households lost power at the peak, even for those who were supposed to go into the building, because the remote students can’t do their learning without the internet. You might think that a day off from school would be a good thing for my son Eli — whose cohort was supposed to go into school today — but for him it's an unmitigated disaster.
"This is the worst day off of school ever," he said. "It’s like having a concussion, because you get to miss school, but you can’t watch TV."
You shouldn't feel too sorry for him. It’s a beautiful fall day and he should be outside playing, like some of the other neighborhood kids.
A few houses from where my son sat moaning on the couch, Melissa Traverse was watching her two young kids and another two from the neighborhood ride their bikes in the street. She also thought the day could turn out to be a disaster.
"I just started a new job this week, and the boys have no school," Traverse said. "I have my computer hooked up to my hotspot, and I think I’ll work until my laptop dies and then I’ll figure out what to do next. Meanwhile, these kids are on their own. What could go wrong?"
Traverse is chuckling, but she knows that this is mostly just inconvenient for many of us who work from home. The weather overnight was truly disastrous in places. The Holliston Police Department said there are numerous roads in town that are still impassable, and officers have been deployed to direct traffic and keep people away from downed powerlines while Eversource tries to repair the damage. And reports show it's much the same all over the MetroWest area.
Then there are people for whom the storm was truly a disaster. Nancy Usher, from Canton, is one of those people.
"I was driving home and my son called me and said, 'There’s a terrible storm and a tree fell on the house.' And I said, 'Oh my goodness, are you okay?' And he said, 'We were almost killed!' And I said, 'What! It fell on the house?' And he said, 'It's through the ceiling?' And he sent me pictures, and I told him get downstairs right now with the dog.
The picture is truly “ghoulish,” as Usher put it, like fingers reaching down from the sky to grab the dog and the couch in the family's living room.
"I was kinda joking around saying I took the Halloween decorations too far this year," she said. "It was crazy. It looked like these were spears — these branches were spears puncturing the roof in different spots."
Usher said a neighbor in Canton owns a tree company and helped get the spears out of her house. But the holes remain. Usher said she’s thankful that no one was hurt, and that the weather’s nice today — since she has several holes in her roof. Right now, she’s waiting for word from her insurance company, and hoping there’s no rain in the forecast any time soon.