Thursday, February 25, 2016
How to Survive Winter in Maine
"No internet takes you back to 1990; no heat takes you back to 1890," said my husband as he fired up the woodstove. Then he left for his warm office.
In desperation, I figured out how to use my cell phone as a hotspot from my laptop so that I could work by the other hotspot for my feet. With the boiler down, there wasn't hot water for a shower. I pulled on extra layers and sheepskin boots. It was below freezing outside and in the fifties inside. I did at least have stacked wood, electricity and a working phone to call the repair men.
It could be worse: Our first winter in Maine, we lost power for a week. When we had looked at houses to buy or to rent, most had woodstoves. A big city girl myself, I had wondered why. An open fireplace seemed more aesthetically pleasing and less dangerous around little kids. We had a baby and an inquisitive three-year-old, who took a warning as an invitation. Still, we held onto that woodstove, and it kept our house in the 60s and the pipes from freezing during the ice storm. We cooked on the stove top and boiled water to bathe. My husband became very good at splitting logs. Neighbors with heat opened their doors to those without. It showed us the strength of community in our small town in Maine.
A friend in Germany, who saw my plight on Facebook, suggested Airbnb for my cozy house to fund the repairs. We were amused that my city friends wanted to join me by the fire. My neighbors invited me to their warm homes out of pity. A woodstove is more charming when it's a luxury, not a necessity. Nonetheless, friends are always welcome!
Remember this story when you dream of working from home in New England. Still, I wouldn't trade my lifestyle for another. I adore my woodstove and my generous neighbors. This is life in Maine, now and then.