Daily Archives: June 7, 2008

And as if THAT wasn’t enough stress

On Wednesday, I made a big shopping trip to Costco.  I’d just gotten home and put the fridge & freezer items away when our promised thunderstorm came rolling in, announced by dark clouds and the power going out.  It was fast and furious.  And while we didn’t get the tornadoes that other folks experienced, it was a doozy of a storm.  I’ve never been in a storm with that much lightning and thunder coming on top of one another.  I’d tell you how many inches of rain we received but I couldn’t watch the news.  Because, uh, the power was out. 
The boys were VERY late in getting home from school.  What I didn’t know until later was they were all in “severe weather [tornado] drill’ mode.  My youngest had already been loaded onto a school bus, so they had to unload, and then crouch in the school hallway with foreheads touching the floor.  Luckily, the school authorities set up an emergency announcement system long before all of this, and I received updates on my cell phone telling me the schools had delayed release times due to the storm. 
Before the kids are even all at home, SuperDad calls to tell me he is stuck at work and will just sleep there.  His commuter train line has trees across the track. 

Thursday is field trip day.  I take H-J to school early (after I figure out how to open the garage door without electricity…the things I learn!!) for a field trip that ends up cancelled.  Destination site sustained over a million dollars in damage due to the storm.   Off I go to join SnakeMaster’s class for his field trip.  Destination site also had storm damage (we saw WHY we were supposed to be careful walking under trees:  branches ripped from trunk and laying across damaged branches, 30 feet in the air) .  We can’t see everything on the list, but at least their power comes on while we are there, so we can use the bathrooms! 

Back at home, our power is still out.  SuperDad calls, desperately looking for a ride home so he doesn’t have to sleep in his office for the 2nd night in a row.  (See this post)   I hurry to the library to get driving directions, then drive away with the youngest, as soon as his brother gets home from school.  I call my DH to tell him I’m on the way.  For good or bad, my planned air-conditioned trip into the city to pick up my husband is cancelled; the other guy’s wife was able to make the trip, and sooner than I could.  I’d feel worse about our miserably hot house, but the other guy’s family?  They have more land, they have goats, and they are on well water…well water needs electricty to pump…no electricity means no water.  They have to haul water from the creek for their goats.  Suddenly, I am terribly grateful for cold showers and flushing toilets!  (Esp. cold showers…it is 90 degrees and about 90% humidity)

I’m also grateful for a propane grill, where I can save $20 worth of salmon by wrapping it in foil, grilling it, and eating it for supper.  A neighbor has a generator, so we move some food over to her fridge & freezer, because despite tying the doors shut (no one is allowed to open them), the fridge and freezer are no longer keeping food cold enough. 

By Friday morning, I have given up on getting power back before Saturday evening (the promised deadline).   We are just about out of clean clothes, so I take a friend up on offer to do laundry at her house and I also beg fridge and freezer space.  My zero-degree freezer is now reading 35 degrees, so it is time to move it or lose it!  It takes me an hour to load everything into the van.  I leave at 10am. 

At 3pm, I walk in the door with SnakeMaster.  Something is different.   Oh, hey!!  The power is on!!  WHOOOT!!!!!    I check the blinking clocks and discover that it came on at…10:30 a.m.
So if I had hung in there for just a little longer, I wouldn’t have been spending gas and energy moving everything.  I decide not to growl at myself about that. 
I wait for all 4 boys to get home from school.  I celebrate with each one as he discovers the wonderful news.  EB goes to the basement to play Nintendo.  He comes right back up to tell me there is water all over the floor.  It’s the water heater.  Smart EB turns off the water valve to the water heater and starts using the ShopVac to suck up the lake.  I call SuperDad, who reminds me to also turn off the circuit breaker to the water heater.  Meanwhile, MM (who sleeps in the basement) discovers the carpet is very wet along the wall in his room, because yes, water has seeped under the wall & under the carpet into his room.  MM takes pity on me and feeds me bites of his chocolate bar. 
I need to go pick up our food from other houses, now that we have power.  Also now that we have work to do and can’t leave the house.  So, EB mans the shop-vac, sucking up water in the workshop and MM sucks up water in his room with the steam cleaner (so thankful I asked for one for Christmas 5 years ago!); I start the dehumidifier and take SnakeMaster & H-J with me to to pick up final load of laundry and the fridge and freezer food from friend’s house. 

SuperDad arrives home and gets right to work here.  I feel esp. bad about that since he has to work all weekend at his job, but such is life.    Many wet items must leave the basement and go outside.  They’ll get even wetter overnight (the dew-point is higher than the overnight temps) but at least they aren’t mildew-ing in the basement, and the sun will be shining most of Saturday.
I pick up the remaining food from the next-door neighbor (the one with the generator).  I use that food to make tacos, which we eat at 8:30pm.  It’s getting dark, but at least we have power!  [There goes THAT excuse for not cleaning the kitchen!]

Now I need to get off the computer and make it look like I’ve done something useful today…for one thing, laundry!  We went through a few towels in mopping up water…
The boys need to catch up on all the homework they couldn’t do in the dark the past few nights.  
I should make a nice homemade applecrisp for SuperDad to come home to this evening, to make up for all the work he also has to come home to.  Yes, there is still much to do in the basement.

I’m VERY thankful for electricity and A/C on his hot, humid weekend.

UPDATE:  The power went out again on Saturday evening for 2 hours.  I nearly cried.  Outside temperature:  90+ degrees.  Temperature in the upstairs bedrooms:  80+ degrees.  SuperDad went to sleep in the basement. 

It’s been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon…

This is the post I was getting ready to publish when the power went out on Wednesday afternoon.  At that time, I thought it was the craziest my life would get this week.  I was wrong.
I live just outside a cute little town of 600 people.  There’s a restaurant (of sorts) on each end, a natural foods merchantile, an independent (used) car lot, an elementary school, a couple of churches, a post office, postage stampand an old-fashioned general store. 
Since there are days when I feel like talking to “real” people, I pay my water bill in person at Town Hall. 
I figure it saves me 43-cents in postage. 

Town hall isn’t a fancy place; really it’s just one of three storefronts all in a row in one building.  Not exactly a historical landmark.  At least I sure hope not, as you shall soon see…
Anyhoo, Tuesday was the day I paid my water bill.  Town Hall closes at 4:30pm, and at 4:15pm, I was trying to find a parking spot.  This post, this parking spot

Main Street is the business route of the local highway, and it gets kind of busy around then.  There are no stop lights to regulate the flow of traffic, and there are only a few parking spaces. 


I was trying to park in this    <– space, next to the closest metal pole – which is right in front of Town Hall.   There was a car in the space immediately behind this spot, which meant I had to try to back up into a skinny spot right next to passing traffic.    As I  S-L-O-W-L-Y  backed up, I heard a metal scraping sound.  I stopped.  I couldn’t see what happened, but I knew it wasn’t good.  I found a different parking spot and looked at the back of my minivan.car scrape


Not terrible, but NOT GOOD. 
Then I went to look at whatever had made that mark, because from the sound I heard, I figured it had to be worse.  It was. 


This pole had been pushed off its metal cylindrical base and was hanging from the roofline like a stalagtite 4 inches above the sidewalk.  The metal cylindrical base is 6 inches tall.  This was NOT GOOD. 

I went in to pay my bill and confess to the clerk (who had just observed this all happening out the front window).  Being a small town, they call in a maintenance guy AND the mayor.  Hello, Mr. Mayor, how nice to meet you.  There is talk of insurance.  There is talk of a new roof.  A point is made that they already have my contact information (after all, I did just pay my water bill).  The maintenance guy disappears and returns driving a front loader, which he uses to lift up the corner of the porch roof so the mayor can guide the post back onto its base. 

When SuperDad came home last night, I met him in the garage, told him my tale of woe and pointed out the minor damage to my minivan.  For the next 15 minutes, I was subjected to ridicule about my misadventure as the story developed into “your mother drove into Town Hall today.”  SnakeMaster was with me during the incident, but he enjoyed turning it into a fish story as well.  Darn kid.  I’m going to hear about this for the next 10 years.   
So after supper?  I went back to take a little photo proof. 

From this pic you can see the fresh damage to the roof (mine) and some older damage (someone else…it wasn’t the first time someone has hit that post with a vehicle). 

You can also see the very sorry state of the entire roof.  Yeah, like I want my insurance to foot the bill for it to be replaced! 

Sorry you can’t see what the post looked like when it was off its base, but I didn’t have the camera with me when I paid my water bill seeing as how I don’t usually need pictures for my insurance company.

The end.  I hope.