JEFFERSON — Elsa Seeger, 82, had just taken a batch of oatmeal raisin cookies out of her oven Monday morning when the power in her house went out.

She planned to bring the cookies to her daughter’s nearby home for Christmas, with 20 people planning to gather. But until Tuesday afternoon, those plans looked doubtful.

With no electricity or phone service, Seeger and her husband, Robert, 86, expected to spend Christmas Eve eating “peanut butter and oleo” sandwiches, sitting in winter coats by their wood stove.

“I can’t take a shower or nothing. I’m a mess,” she said before the power came back on shortly after 3 p.m.

This week’s ice storm knocked out power to all of this Lincoln County town from Monday night into Tuesday, leaving the 1,765 Central Maine Power Co. customers in the dark. More than 1,000 remained without power at 9:40 p.m. Tuesday.

Before her power came back on Tuesday, Elsa Seeger made coffee on the top of the wood stove they bought at Lowe’s this fall. She also boiled water in aluminum cans and a tea kettle.

“I said, ‘We have to have a wood stove. We can’t go through another winter without one,’ ” she said. “We’re so lucky to have it. I can’t imagine this day without it.”

Seeger said they had a freezer full of food but no power to keep it cold for long. She didn’t dare to open the refrigerator for fear the food would spoil. She couldn’t bake anything, anyway, without power for the oven.

She made soup for her husband Tuesday morning by lighting the gas burner on the range with a lighter.

The Seegers spent a quiet day, waiting for the power to return. “When I’m nervous or upset, I drink coffee. I’m going to go through the whole pot today,” she said.

The Seegers had power from 4 to 7:30 p.m. Monday, until their TV made a loud pop and died. They were without power and telephone service.

The Seegers own six acres in Jefferson. Elsa Seeger said they are lucky to have their family nearby to check on them.

On Monday night, two dogs, Benji and Sadie, and a cat named Tiger snuggled under the covers with the Seegers, who have been married for 60 years.

She said she’s hardy, having grown up on a farm. She has done everything from hauling lobster traps to running a snack bar to working for Digital Equipment Corp. in Augusta. Her husband was a bookkeeper at a nearby cement plant for most of his career. The two had a farm in Friendship when they were first married.

“We can handle this,” Elsa Seeger said before the lights came on. “It’s just frustrating.”

Tuesday was also a little frustrating for Marie Gifford, manager of Moody’s Diner in Waldoboro, who had no power until she got home from work Tuesday afternoon.

She planned to host her son and grandson for Christmas. With a generator at home, she had heat, running water and lights, but it seemed too complicated to host Christmas with only a generator. She expected to be without power for at least two to three days, given the number of customers without electricity Tuesday across Lincoln County.

Getting her electricity back was “the perfect Christmas present,” she said.

The diner was packed Monday night and Tuesday morning, as customers came in to get warm, commiserate and get some hot food, Gifford said.

CMP called the diner Tuesday morning to make sure it had power and was operating safely, Gifford said.

“They always check on us. It’s pretty nice,” she said.

Morse’s Sauerkraut and European Deli in Waldoboro, which sells imported gourmet foods, was open Tuesday with the help of a generator for most of the day. The restaurant was closed, but the deli and store were powered by the generator until 3:30 p.m., when power finally returned.

With no Internet or telephone service, the store had to get creative and process credit cards the old-fashioned way – with carbon copy imprints. Cash, however, was king, said co-owner David Swetnam.

Laurie Ann Robbins of Waldoboro said she and her husband lost power Monday night. “We bedded down next to the fireplace last night, but today I had to get out of the house,” she said Tuesday.

She went to the Rite Aid in Damariscotta, saying, “I’m trying to be social, trying to be cheerful.”

The biggest problem was that, without power, the well water wouldn’t run into her house. “No water – that’s a bonding experience,” Robbins said.

“All I really want for Christmas is power,” she said.

Jessica Hall can be contacted at 791-6316 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: @JessicaHallPPH

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