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.