Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Well, we're pretty much trapped in the nursing home. Yesterday morning we were woken by the sentry on duty to be told that a blizzard had come in, and snow was accumulating fast. Every one of us scrambled to get our supplies inside, bring in load after load of firewood.

It's still snowing as I write these words. Going on for more than a day, and so far about two and a half feet have dropped on us. It's that sticky, heavy snow that drifts up around buildings, and the one we're in is no different. Sure, we could get out, but why bother to do all that work? We can survive in here for a good while and wait out the storm and the insanely cold temperatures.

I just hate feeling useless, you know? When it was me staying back at the compound while others went out on missions or scouting trips, at least I had something to contribute. I had a job to do, projects to work on. Now all I have is this blog and simple duties here in our makeshift camp. The worst part of it is that we boarded up or blocked off most of the windows, and the few that we left accessible for visibility are now covered with huge snow drifts. I know logically that nothing too important is likely to be going on outside, but it still bugs me that we can't see anything.

One good thing to note is that Jess found a set of keys this morning, jammed up behind the desk at one of the nurse's stations. There are a lot of locked doors here, and not knowing what was behind any of them, we didn't have the urge to break any down or chop them apart, just in case we needed to block them quickly.

So, Jess and I went exploring with a few of our group. Most of the locked areas were sort of worthless to us- old storage areas and custodial supplies, that sort of thing. Two of them turned out to be awesome in huge ways. The first was the office of whoever the maintenance guy here was. It was packed with all sorts of tools and parts for various things, from electrical components to plumbing repair supplies. There were also a ton of how-to books on pretty much every sort of fix that might be needed in a place like this. Best of all, there was a detailed diagram of the nursing home itself, which showed that this place has a basement.

We hadn't seen a door with that written on it, but the map showed us where it was. We'd ignored that door because it actually said "Mechanical Room" on it, and since there was no power we skipped trying to open it beyond a simple jiggle of the handle. I guess we should have realized there was a level below us, because of the cistern we've been drinking from. The basement is full of things we can use, from fire axes and extinguishers to sealants and even a whole bunch of sterno. Also, there's an enormous master breaker box that is very clearly labeled, which gives us the ability to pick and choose exactly where and what would have power if there were some way to produce electricity.

This might be a good time to mention that we found a generator that apparently runs on propane, hooked up to a very large propane tank. If you're thinking that this news made us extremely happy, you are not at all mistaken.

So right now I'm sitting in a room with a bunch of other people, towels stuffed under the doors and the wall unit cranked up to max heat. We've got three rooms running on actual power right now, instead of switching on the main furnace, if it even runs on electricity. My laptop is plugged in and charging, and for the first time in a week or better, I'm actually warm and comfortable.

Still essentially trapped, but after I wrote the above the realization hit me that we've got it pretty good right now. I wonder if we can get the kitchen going...

Oh, and kicking myself for not thinking of looking for a generator before this. I used to work in one of these places, I know how they're meant to run and what backups most of them have. And after Gabrielle wrote about the generators at her hostpital, too...sometimes I'm slow, but I usually get there in the end.

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