Sunday, December 21, 2008
4:30 AM I awaken, look at the clock. Where's the clock? Why isn't the nightlight on? Why can't I see the clock? Oh no. The power's off.
4:32 AM I shake Romie. He moans. "Honey," I say. "The power's off."
4:33 AM "Honey? Did you hear me? The power's off."
You woke me up just to tell me the power's off??
"Uh, yeah. I thought you'd want to know."
4:35 AM Romie gets up to go to the bathroom and announces that it's about 4:30 and the power is off. I notice how cold the room is.
4:37 AM Romie crawls back into bed and proceeds to be uncharacteristically chatty. I moan in response until finally I shush him and tell him to let me go back to sleep. He complains that I woke him up and he can't go back to sleep so I shouldn't be allowed to either.
12:00 PM Romie shakes me awake and asks if I'm going to sleep all day. I then hear the clock downstairs strike 12:00. Wow. I think to myself that it's no wonder people who have hypothermia want to sleep.
12:05 PM I contemplate crawling out of my nice warm cocoon. Romie opens the blinds and implores me to look at the pretty, glittery, ice-covered trees. He thinks I should bundle up and go outside to take pictures. I give him "the look."
12:12 PM I crawl out of bed, put on my fuzzy microfiber robe, go downstairs and wrap up in a blanket on the couch. Romie joins me at the other end. Baby joins the snuggling and helps keep us warm. Where are the other cats when you need them?
2:48 PM Why isn't the power back on yet?
4:30 PM We bundle up and go outside. 35 mph winds with gusts to 45 mph. Wind chill is -30° F. We do this not because we're crazy, but because we agreed to take care of the neighbor's chickens. Why can't they be our next-door neighbors instead of three houses away?
4:40 PM The chicken's water is frozen solid, but there are 15 eggs. We check the house and it's 34° F. We start the gas stove to warm the house up a little. House reaches 43°. Turn the stove off and go back home.
5:45 PM There's a knock at the back door. It's the next-door neighbor we invited over to keep warm in our 55° basement. Talk of food ensues and Romie and The Neighbor take off to get pizza. I snuggle up with the kitties by candlelight, listening to the battery-operated radio playing Christmas carols.
6:45 PM Pizza arrives and we chow down. If we had electricity, I would have heated mine up in the microwave because it's already cold, but beggars can't be choosers.
7:00 PM Romie mentions perhaps we need to bring the houseplants downstairs so they don't freeze. I know the cold is starting to affect my brain, since I never even gave this a thought. We start to haul them down and this means that all 175+ houseplants are crammed into every available space in the basement with us. It feels like a botanical conservatory.
8:12 PM I take the flashlight upstairs to go to the bathroom. Romie brings water from the sump hole to put in the back of the toilet so we can flush it. I decide to check the thermometer to see what the state of affairs is now.
9:30 PM After stimulating conversation about past ice storms, the declining morals of the country, and just when the power might come back on, we all settle down for a cold winter's nap. I never go to bed this early unless I'm sick.
10:00 PM Since Romie is on the longer couch and I'm on the shorter loveseat and can't stretch out, I go upstairs to our bed. I pull the covers over my head and it's only cold for about ten minutes.
Monday, December 22, 2008
6:30 AM Romie wakes me up because he's going to work and can't believe I've slept in the frigid bedroom all night. He's afraid I'll freeze to death while he's at work and tells me he doesn't want to come home to a dead wife. Oh brother.
9:30 AM I awaken to the sound of my cell phone ringing. It's The Neighbor. He had gone to work and they sent him home. With a generator. His house is 60° and he has TV. He says, "Why don't you come over?"
9:35 AM I knock on The Neighbor's door. TV! A warm spot! I plop myself down with a cold Diet Pepsi Max, which I'd brought from home, along with some bagels. The Bonnie Hunt Show is on TV.
10:00 AM Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? is on TV.
11:00 AM The View is on TV. Why isn't the power on yet?
11:15 AM The Neighbor and I go down to The Chicken Neighbor's house and light the stove again. We wait until the temperature goes from 33° to 40° and then we go back to his house to get warm again.
12:00 PM The noon news says 44,000 customers are without power and it may be four more days until it's all restored. Dang.
12:20 PM Romie calls from work to check on things and I give him the latest news on the power outage. He's instantly depressed. But at least he doesn't have a dead wife, I tell him.
2:30 PM Okay, this is getting old, but at least I now have a place to stay warm. I go back home to check on the cats. They're doing fine and aren't even down in the warmer basement. I check on the outside cats, which are in the garage and the pool house. I clean the litter. Some of it is frozen to the bottom of the litter box and I have to chip it away. Geesh.
4:20 PM Romie gets home and we go back down to The Chicken Neighbor's to take care of the chickens. Fourteen eggs this time. My thumbnail fractures from the cold when I bump it on the door and I don't have long nails. Ow.
4:30 PM Romie calls his mother, who has been using his brother's generator, and finds out she has her power back. He calls his brother to ask if we can use his generator then. Sure! Romie leaves to go get generator while I stay at The Chicken Neighbor's house. I start the gas stove in the house again and wait about half an hour until it reaches 40°, when I turn it off and walk home.
6:15 PM Romie and his brother return with the generator and proceed to work on hooking it up.
7:00 PM The generator is running and the basement is now heating up a bit.
7:40 PM Romie's cell phone rings. It's The Neighbor To the North calling to say the power is back on.
7:40:30 PM My cell phone rings. It's The Neighbor Who Spent the Night calling to say the power is back on.
In the end, we were without power about 41 hours total. The house reached its coldest at 31° and you could see your breath. The basement was better, with 50° being the lowest it got.
My thanks and gratitude to those workers that had to be out in that frigid weather with dangerous wind chills of -30° to restore power to so many. God bless them.
Today, we had more dangerous icing and a thunderstorm, all in the same day. And tomorrow, just five days after our power was restored, we are to have a high of 62°, rain, and possible flooding. It's as if Mother Nature had some weather days left over and needs to use them before the year is up.