Three days after Tropical Storm Isabel left the state, Marylanders continued to cope with the inconvenience of life without electricity and running water as they inched back to normality in fits and starts. A Monkton woman resorted to taking showers at a gym. A Roland Park teen-ager battled e-mail withdrawal. A woman at a Baltimore laundromat hoped to wash enough clean clothes to make it through the week. A look back at the first Sunday after Isabel:
Considering the record flooding in Fells Point that had residents canoeing through city streets, Christina Radice said she was relatively lucky. Her apartment in the 1500 block of Lancaster St. was not damaged by water, and she didn't lose electricity like many of her neighbors.
But her 1997 Geo Prism, which she had left parked on Lancaster Street before Isabel struck Thursday, didn't fare as well. The sand-colored car was completely submerged by early Friday.
While Radice was away, the car was towed out of the water to a "No Stopping" zone. When she returned yesterday, there was $27 ticket on the windshield.
"Talk about insult to injury," she said.
Richard Dixon stood in his back yard yesterday about lunchtime, gazing over golf clubs, appliances and shoes -- lots of wet shoes. These were just belongings from the garage of his home in the 2100 block of Park Beach Drive, where Isabel's winds drove the Bush River through his home.
Dixon walked through the garage, where black Magic Marker was used to ink a line about 4 feet off the floor marking the depth of Isabel's visit. Little else remained but a couple of floor fans, provided by friend and neighbor Chuck Mezan to dry out the mess.
Noting how good things looked, Dixon joked ruefully. "We'll have to ask people to wipe their feet when they come in the garage."
Some families were still roughing it in Roland Park, living in candlelight while neighbors across the street had their power restored.
In the 4200 block of Wickford Road, the Melia family of four -- two adults, two daughters -- piled into their car yesterday morning to search for a camping stove after three days of making do with their charcoal grill.
Jim Melia, a 39-year-old teacher, said they didn't really mind the darkness that remained long after Isabel had left.
His wife, Susan, said, "Living with candlelight is really kind of neat, a simple life. I started reading my two summer vacation books."
On nearby Overhill Road, a Gilman School senior, Jeffrey Seibert, 18, said his family was managing without power -- except for one thing.
"The hardest part is not checking e-mail," Seibert said. Feeling cut off from the buzz of teen-age circles is something that he did not know he would miss.
Jim Fackler, a pediatrician raking his lawn yesterday morning on the 400 block of Overhill Road, said his house lost power, but he didn't much mind.
"No power, no complaints," the doctor said.
To flush or not to flush. That was the question for many residents in rural communities in northern Baltimore County, where power outages from Isabel rendered their water pumps useless. Many residents there were dealing with a double dose of inconvenience.
"When you're on a well and you're out of power, you can't flush your john or take a shower," rhymed Catherine Klein, 50, of Monkton, who was walking into Graul's Market in Hereford yesterday. "It becomes a real survival game."
Her household's power returned Saturday, but it proved short-lived. By yesterday afternoon, the power had gone out again, forcing the Klein family back to newly developed bathroom routines.
Walking out of Graul's with two large bags of ice and two gallons of water, Sparks resident Mike McLelland compared his three days without water and power to camping.
"We're using a lot of bottled water," McLelland said, noting his family has used at least 10 gallons to flush the toilet, cook and wash up since Thursday night. "And the grill is coming in handy to cook ground beef and hot dogs."
Loy Waters was at St. George's Episcopal Church on the Perryman peninsula yesterday, feeling grateful and swapping hurricane horror stories.
The resident of Swan Creek was without power, phone or cable, but as far as the cable goes, she really can't complain about the service.
When it went out about 5:30 p.m. Thursday, she reported the television outage and figured that was that. Then about 8:30, someone "knocked on the door in the middle of the hurricane," she said. And there were the cable repairmen -- "three of them, grinning from ear to ear in yellow slickers," she said because they had indeed fixed the cable.
"I think they had not had any calls yet, and they were looking for a little adventure," she said, laughing. "I offered them food and drink, and they said no."
They rode off into the night, and she and her husband, Bob, got to watch a movie before bed. But when they woke up, the line was out again -- along with their electricity. "Will they please come back?" she said.