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Desperate Family On Fifth Day Without Cable
AMESBURY, Mass. (CAP) - In a desperate situation reminiscent of the suffering after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, at least one family is entering its fifth day of hardship in the wake of last week's Northeast ice storms.
"At first we thought we'd just make the best of it - we figured, how long could it be?" said Sarah Ianelli. "But today, when I saw my daughter staring at the television and whimpering at the time that Hannah Montana is usually on, I just broke down in tears."
The family lost cable the night of the storm and has been without TV since. Her children - Emily, 9, and Mark, 7 - have tried to occupy themselves with their Nintendo DS, Wii game system, iPods and hundreds of DVDs, but to no avail.
When she's not staring at the blank screen, Sarah reports, Emily is curled up in a ball on the couch; Mark has begun to act out by bouncing himself off walls and furniture and screaming "Poop! Poop!" at the top of his lungs.
"More than usual, I mean," said Sarah.
As for her husband, Jeff, "He was okay until Sunday rolled around," Sarah said. "Then at 1pm, when the game would have been starting, he just wandered off into the snow. I could see him by the edge of the property, tearing his clothes and screaming into the air.
"The screaming..." she trailed off, shaking her head. "My God, the screaming..."
Calls to Comcast, the Ianellis' cable company, have apparently fallen on deaf ears. "We are doing our best to deal with all outages in a timely fashion," said company spokeswoman Melissa Carlisle. "But the Ianellis' hookup is particularly difficult, in that it involves wires and poles and stuff.
"We ask all of our customers to bear with us, and if they have any questions they can contact our call center in Newfoundland, if they have phone service, which they probably don't," she added. "Also, please don't switch to satellite. I can't give you a good reason why, but just don't."
Meanwhile, the Ianellis continue their somber vigil, but it's been difficult. The family reports at one point trying to receive a signal over an old "rabbit ears" antenna, but only being able to get the CW network. "We figured it was better just to have no TV," Sarah Ianelli said.
As for other activities, "Whenever we try to play a board game, we just wind up screaming at each other," said Sarah. "And the kids are bored with all their old DVDs. Why didn't I sign up for Netflix when I had the chance?" Then she broke down into disconsolate sobbing.
"Where is the government?" asked Jeff Ianelli, now wearing a burlap sack and five-day beard. "How can they turn their back on their own people? How?" Then he too began sobbing.
Still, both Sarah and Jeff admitted later, after regaining their composure, that things aren't as bad as they could be. "I know there are people in New Hampshire who've been without power all this time, so I guess that's worse," noted Jeff.
In fact, more than 14,000 households are still without power throughout New England, and surveys show that of those, more than 40 percent have begun resorting to cannibalism.
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