Friday, December 26, 2008

I Heart Electricity

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.


Kit Aerie-el said...

Oh, what a miserable 41 hours to go through! So glad you have power back (but probably not nearly as glad as you are:)!
The photos are beautiful and expressive.

Kylee Baumle said...

Aerie-el ~ Welcome to Our Little Acre! :-)

So many others had it worse than we did, with their power being off for much longer. This proved one thing - we are so dependent on electricity for our comfortable life. We thought of our Amish friends who manage very nicely without it, but we've been used to having it all our lives.

We are indeed happy to have it back!

Anonymous said...

Funny...I made a similar post on my blog about the ice storm we just had. It sure makes you thankful for electricity.
I hope the rest of the winter treats us better.
Take care!

Kylee Baumle said...

Hi, Dwayne. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Good luck with your blog!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Glad to hear you are thawed out now. What an ordeal. It is a funny thought that winter had bad weather to use up before the end of the year. I hope the worst is over for you.

Unknown said...

Brr. I don't envy you. Cats never seem to be around when you want them, do they? Luckily our basement has two bedrooms so we'd be in pretty good shape down there for sleeping, son has a pull out. Was the basement heated by the natural heat of the earth then?

I sure hope that doesn't happen to us. It's freezing rain and I'm going to take Peanut to the doctor today. I hope the roads aren't too horrible.

beckie said...

Kylee, isn't it miserable to be without power and heat! We were off only 11 hours and I was ready to go buy a generator. Luckily we have a fireplace and hubby kept it going so we at least stayed warm inthe living room. And we are on town water so no problems there. Guess we didn't have it too bad after all. :0

Just be careful after this warm front passes. With all the rain, the roads and walks are going to be very icy again.

min hus said...

Ugh. My power was off for like three days this summer after the windstorm. I start to go stir crazy after a few hours in the dark. Although it's much worse when it goes out in winter of course. Glad you're back on the grid. :)

Now I'm off to finish all the unfinished fall gardening chores. It's 60 and dry in Columbus!

Connie said...

That was a well-written and entertaining saga of your experience without power. :-)
So glad you are warm again!! We are getting dumped on with snow again, and rain is in the we may have some similar ice problems. And it is only December....makes you wonder what January will bring!

Wayne Stratz said...

I am reading this and thinking, "hmmm wonder it got cold enough to kill fungus gnats."

IlonaGarden said...

Oh Kylee! Very tough before Christmas...but you snapped some beautiful photos. Loved your pictures :)

MyMaracas said...

We had the same weather here in Indiana, but you got a better story and cooler pictures out of it. Great post!

Robin's Nesting Place said...

This is crazy weather isn't it! We've had some terrible accidents here due to the ice. It's really bad when the fire trucks and snow plows run off the icy roads.

Cute about mother nature having weather days to use up! Glad you got your power back.

Dana S. Whitney said...

Thanks for the narrative. Gave me a swift kick in the pity pot! Glad you had a basement that was a haven for cats and plants.. and impressed that you honored your sacrificial promise to the chicken-neighbors! You are welcome to visit us in Texas... Lows here are rarely below freezing...but watch out for summer when the lows are in the 80's!

Marsha, Marsha, Marsha said... did the doorbell ring when The Neighbor came over??? Is yours battery operated?

Jan said...

Geez certainly went through an adventure! I'm so glad you got through it all. I suppose you could just keep your refrigerator door open so your food would stay cold/frozen, since the power was out and it wouldn't be as cold inside the fridge!!!

We are having 68 degree weather here today, and still haven't had any snow. While I feel bad for what you guys are going through, I would like just a 'little' snow for the holidays;/

Be well, and warm. Jan

Kylee Baumle said...

Lisa ~ Definitely thawed out. It was 64 degrees here yesterday! The power went off again last night and we were bailing water into 5-gallon buckets for an hour until Romie's brother brought the generator back. We're buying our own!

Cinj ~ Yes, the basement was kept at that temperature by the natural temperature of the earth. In the summer, it rarely rises above the low 60s or so, so it's nice to go down there to keep cool then!

Beckie ~ We have a fireplace in the basement, but with the wind howling the way it was and no way to turn on the blower, Romie was reluctant to start it. He said it would suck all the cold air in. We've actually had quite a bit of dialogue about the pros and cons of doing that. And we just kept thinking the power would come back on any minute anyway.

We're under a flood watch now, due to the melting snow, ice, and heavy rains. As I told Lisa, the power went out again and we were bailing water out of the sump hole as fast as it was coming in! At 1:30 in the morning! FUN!

Liisa said...

Brrr... I got cold just reading this. Seems that there is crazy weather all over the place. Glad to hear that all is well. I love the "sparkly trees" photo.

Rose said...

Oh my, Kylee! And how was your Christmas??

Ice storms are the worst; I remember spending several days without power in past years. At first the peace and quiet seems rather nice, but after a few hours and colder temperatures, it does get old.

We were without power for only an hour Tuesday night, thank goodness, just enough time for a board game. I'm glad you got yours back on before Christmas. Days like these certainly make us appreciate electricity, and I agree that the workers out in the cold deserve a lot of gratitude!

Unknown said...

Wow, Kylee... what an un-fun adventure you've been having thanks to Mother Nature!!!

So, any idea yet on the welfare of the plants? I'm assuming that since it only got down to 50 in the basement, they will all be fine (good thinking, Romie!) but I wasn't sure what kind of tropicals you have that might have balked even at that...

Muum said...

oh, that sounds tough. We had 20 inches of snow the week of Christmas, but didn't lose power. glad we have a generator. (but only two cats!-maybe we should get more LOL)
hope things even out for you and NW Ohio!

Benjamin Vogt said...

Holy cow! This sounds like my wife's Christmas of three years ago when she visited her parents over Christmas in... Ohio. You're tougher than me.

Shady Gardener said...

And don't we take so much for granted (electricity). I think we need to check on the never-used generator that came with our house when we moved here 6 years ago!!!
I'm so thankful you and Romie are both alright.

Kerri said...

I loved reading your icy tale! I'm sure it was hard to go through, but you made an adventure of it, as you do everything.
Your ice pictures are fanstatic! Thanks so much for sharing the icy beauty.
I forgot to say I love that photo of you and Romie on the Christmas post! :)

Kylee Baumle said...

min hus ~ I remember those winds. It was from a hurricane, if we're talking about the same time. Up here, some of the farmers lost some corn, because the winds were strong enough to knock it down.

Connie ~ Aw, I'm glad you enjoyed it! Yes, I wonder what the rest of the winter holds for us! Stay warm, my dear!

Wayne ~ I laughed right out loud when I read that! You does seem like there are fewer flying around! LOL.

Ilona ~ We survived. :-) Thank you!

MyMaracas ~ It does seem like there were an awful lot of people affected. I heard later that it was over 100,000 homes in our area (greater Ft. Wayne, IN area - we are just over the state line in Ohio) that were without power, not the 44,000 I told about in my post. That's a LOT of cold people!

Robin ~ Yes, it's nuts! I would like a little snow cover for the plants, but this ice junk is bad. And 68 degrees just five days later? Weird!

Knitting Painter Woman ~ It was an adventure! I've been to Texas twice - once in the spring and once in the summer. During the summer visit, my cousin and I went to a Cold Stone Creamery for ice cream cones. I said to her, "Let's sit outside and eat them." She started laughing and said, "Do you want to DRINK your ice cream?" She was right. It was just too hot!

Marsha ~ Oh silly me! You know, I never even gave that a thought when I wrote that. It just shows how we depend on so many things to be run by electricity, even the things we don't think about. He knocked at the door, as he always does, even when we have power. You're very astute, my dear! I've corrected it now. Thanks!

Jan ~ We didn't worry about opening the fridge. By the same token, we didn't put our pop cans in the refrigerator either. They stayed cold right on the counter!
Oh, I would have welcomed snow. It was just that darn ice and wind that was nasty!

Kylee Baumle said...

Liisa ~ Thank you! It's usually quite difficult to capture just how beautiful the icy trees and shrubs are. Everything looks sparkly, but unless you can get in just the right spot to catch the glint of the sun off the ice, it doesn't show like what you see.

Rose ~ Actually, our Christmas was wonderful! We were at my parents' house on Christmas Eve, then the girls and their spouses came on Saturday, the 27th, and we had our Christmas with them. Shortly after they left that night, our power went out AGAIN, and we were bailing water from the sump hole in the basement due to the warm temperatures that caused the ice to melt, plus lots of rain. We called Romie's brother and he brought his generator over (since no one else was using it at this time). I'm not sure we could have kept bailing much longer!

Kim ~ Well, about the plants... I'm now seeing signs of the effect of the cold on things like my Rex begonias. :-( They are dropping leaves like crazy. My 'Sophia' one, which was absolutely as gorgeous as I'd ever seen it, is breaking my heart. I suppose it will at least recover, but it just got too cold for them.

My coleus that I'm overwintering started dropping leaves a few days ago. It's in a very large clay pot and we just couldn't carry it downstairs, so we rolled it over to the top of the stairs to the basement and kept that door closed. (We have two stairways to our basement.) Still, I'm sure it got colder than it likes.

Right now, those are the things that seem to be affected.

Muum ~ 20 inches! Now I would have loved that! (If I didn't have to go out in it!) We are likely going to purchase a generator. I'd like to not have to do it now when they are priced at a premium. We have lived here in this house for over 31 years and this was the first time that a generator would have really been great for us to have. But when you need it, you need it!

Ben ~ It wasn't that bad, really. The worst part is not knowing when it will come back on again. Once you get past a few hours and you've heard the horror stories of others being without power for a week or more, then you get a little anxious!

Shady ~ Oh yes, we DO take electricity for granted! I truly do LOVE it. I wouldn't make a very good Amish woman!

Kylee Baumle said...

Kerri ~ Well, that's what life is - an adventure - isn't it? Some are just more fun that others! LOL!!

Thanks...I love that photo of us, too! :-)

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