8 Days Without Power Makes One … Thankful

The ice storm hit last Saturday night. Our power went out Sunday morning about 10 am, and came back on this morning about the same time. I have never lived without electricity for that long of a time, at least not voluntarily. There is the occasional camping trip, but you prepare for those things. You expect to be roughing it for a few days and then happily return to your home filled with electrical appliances. There just isn’t any place in my mind that prepared me to live in my own home for 8 days without electricity. Who believes weathermen anyway? When they say Prepare for the major ice storm that rivals the one we had in January, do we believe them? Well, we should.

So, with the power going out Sunday morning, I was going to go to work with Mike. It would be warm there. Nope, his power was out too. We went over to his mom’s for a few hours and then her power went out. We finally went home and snuggled in, figuring it would be on soon. Not so fast there Hoss….

Monday morning we woke up to no power. And a third night with no sleep. Saturday night while the freezing rain fell, it thundered and lightninged all night long. Sunday night, the tree’s broke and fell. The branch would snap, sounding like a rifle shot and then the branch would crash to the ground, breaking and the ice shattering. The branches were falling in the yard, across the street, on the house, on the next block…everywhere. You could hear them. There was no sleep. Monday night, the ice started melting. You’d think that would be a good thing! It’d melt enough to fall off the trees and shatter on the ground. Sounded like glass breaking all night. It would melt enough to slide off the bowed branch, which would then become this catapult-like creature and it would fling ice at the house. It was like having a load of bricks and gravel thrown at your house all night. Yeah, there was no sleep.

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This was the first night and we still had power. See that light behind the tree? And those branches are normally UP! They are so loaded with Ice, they are covering the back gate.

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This ‘bush’ is probably about 20 ft tall, and it’s nearly touching the ground.

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This is the next day, on the opposite side of that 20 ft bush.

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So, Monday morning there was still no power at Mike’s work. We were going to go to Traci’s, she had power. Just as we were leaving for her house, they called. The power was out. I’m telling you, by this time it was downright scary.ย  We decided to go to Lowes and see what they had in the way of generators or any kind of heating device. Incidentally, the week before, the thermostat in my car had died and the plan was to get it fixed on Sunday… the day we lost power. So much for that! But it also meant we were driving a car with no heater. Well, you know what? It was Still warmer in the car in the it was outside!

We get to Lowes and just everybody in town is there. I have to hand it to the Lowe’s employee’s. Nicest people, kind, patient, helpful. They were pulling out pallet’s of propane heaters, gas cans, extension cords, ice melt… They were On The Job! We asked about generators. They were out, but they were getting in 240 of them in the afternoon. You had to put your name on a list. Which we did, right away. We were #72. They wrote down our cell #’s and told us, “We’ll call you when they arrive, but if you don’t answer, we call the next person.” Ok… we would be vigilant!

So… with nothing to do and it being too cold to go home, we went to the mall. It was open and warm. There are a lot of sitting area’s there, we staked out a couch and tried to act like we were having a good time. Mike had sucked it up and taken a shower before we left, but I just wasn’t that brave, so I felt awful and my hair was just all over the place. I realized I had on my Warm Sweatshirt… yes, Warm, but stained. So… I felt just wonderful. There were a lot of people at the mall, not shopping, just trying to stay warm.

On top of that, we were about crazed over our cell phones. You know all the times you’re holding your phone and a message pop’s up and says, “1 missed call” and it never made a peep? We left to drive around and survey damage. The pictures coming up are just in front of our house, but it was like this and worse, on every single street. Many streets were blocked because of downed tree’s or power lines. It was like driving through the widest tornado path ever.

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This is a tree directly in front of our house. There are more it’s branches on the ground, than on the tree. The branch would snap, and fall. When it hit the ground, it wouldn’t fall over, it just stood right where it fell. It was the weirdest thing.

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We finally decided to to Lowe’s and hang around until the truck got there. We just couldn’t miss out on getting the generator. With Traci’s power out, that meant we needed a warm place for not just us adults, but 3 kids and 1 two month old baby. After much investigation at Lowes we finally found out the truck would arrive within the hour. We got our generator and went home. And boy is that thing heavy! Before we picked up the generator, we’d gone to get 20 gallons of gas for it.

You think driving is expensive at $3 a gallon? Try driving your house on it! Holy Moly!

So begins, Life on a Generator. Got it home, Mike and Chris got it put together. On reading the directions, it cautions against putting it inside a building, close to anything flammable and out in the wet weather. Ok, genius, where are we supposed to put the darned thing? I wish I’d gotten a picture of this, but Mike and Chris rigged up the slip ‘n slide to be over the generator, secured on one side by the plastic turtle pool and on the other side by some barbell weights. Hey..it kept the weather off!

We have two space heaters, we close off all the house except for the living room and dining room. Get the heaters going and make room in the dining room for mattresses. Everybody gets here, unpacks their sleeping bags, pillows, coats and books and the baby’s stuff and oh my! We were a lot of people in a small space. But it didn’t matter, we were warm and dry and that’s all that counted. Everyone we knew had lost power. We plugged in our little TV for some local news and found that 56,000 people in our county were without power. Just in our county.

Mike didn’t go back to work until Friday, when they got power there. Traci got power back on Tuesday and so everyone went back there. But we stayed at home. They didn’t need two more bodies over there to find a sleeping place for. We were cozy here.

It’s quite interesting living on a generator. You learn a lot about the watts your electrical doo-dahs need to function. One watt over the alloted amount, and it all turns off! Downstairs we could run 1 lamp, 1 heater, and the TV. Every few hours we’d plug in the refriderator. At the beginning, we used the crock pot. We made some beef stew that was really good, but it gets old fast. Finally, the rest of the house became much too cold to do anything in, and we stayed in the living room. We’d take one extension cord upstairs and plug in the electric blanket about 20 minutes before we went to bed.ย  Then, we could turn on the TV up there and turn off everything down here. It was a whole ‘nuther story to take showers. Take a heater up to the bathroom about 20 minutes before desiring said shower. Turn downstairs heater to low.

We were very lucky, we still had water, and we still had hot water. Neither things seemed to be affected by the loss of electricity. We were also able to spend these days, at home, and not in a shelter. We could sleep in our own bed and not in a room full of strangers. If we’d had to go to a shelter, we would have been very thankful for that. There is no complaining here.

Electrical crews came from other counties and states and worked 24/7 to get power back on. There was a deadline. Friday we were expecting a snow storm for 2 days and then the temps were expected to drop drastically.

The snow storm was smaller than expected, thank you Lord. The temps did drop tho. This morning, we were in the living room, heater on, under all our layered clothing and wool blankets and we were still cold. We were both at about the end of our rope, tho thankful, really just sick to death of this. I just closed my eyes and went to another place. Just couldn’t take it anymore. Praying for the electricity to come back on.

I’m not sure what happened first… the living room light came on and my eyes flew open or the other way around. But oh boy, were we happy!!!!! I had already told Mike I was going to work with him so now he said, “I guess that means you’re not coming to work with me?” ๐Ÿ™‚ I said, “No, I’m going to stay here and wash clothes!” (we are just about out of clean clothes)

It was quite an experience, and I’m so glad it’s over.

Thank you for all the comments and suggestions, my goodness… you are all creative! I have the one I”m going to use, but the power went out before I could wrap it up.

Those of you who won the Prep Tools, I wasn’t able to mail anything last week, but I’ll be getting things out this week.

I’m back… ๐Ÿ™‚

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12 Responses to “8 Days Without Power Makes One … Thankful”

  1. Eileen Says:

    Wow! I went 3 days without power once and thought that was bad but EIGHT. I’m so glad you have power back and that you are comfy and cozy again. What a marathon!

  2. dede Says:

    Welcome back to dull old real life! Feels good, right? You will never forget your adventure, but I bet it’s better as a memory. …Thankful
    for sure. Christmas will be that much sweeter.

  3. Amy Hodge Says:

    I’ve seen a really bad ice storm like that a couple of times before. It’s very scary! And I’ve never been without electricity for that long. Good job keeping it all together!

  4. Amy Says:

    I feel your pain. We went without power for 6 days in blistering hot July and 7 days in freezing icing snowing December…and I can vouch that winter is far better. You can store your food outside and not have to loose all of it. It is easier to get warm than cool off. I have many photos of our powerless adventures from last year looking much like your and trust me I hope to never do it again. Each time the lights flicker I start to cry now. It is miserable and I am a modern girl who needs her electricity. The saddest part about both times we lost was the absolute scrutiny the electric company and the employess (some even died trying to gain power for people) got thrown at them. Like you said…they come from miles around to help and work 24/7 to make repairs, but I guess people thought they should have stopped it before it happened…you know cuz they are God or something. Glad to hear you made it through, was wondering where you went off to!

  5. Janice Says:

    What a week you’ve had!!! My goodness. So glad to hear you’ve got your power back on and things can start getting back to normal for you.

  6. Katie Says:

    Oh my goodness! What an ordeal.

  7. June Says:

    Oh my, what a story! I’m so glad that you now have electricity and can warm up as well as get on with your life. In case it happens again, you now have a backup plan with the generator.

  8. Barbara Says:

    Oh, it sounds so cold. Were your water pipes ok? No freezing there?
    Barbara

  9. Stephanie Says:

    That was the most terrible story I have heard in a long time, what a relief for you that you were all safe and sound in the end.

  10. Diane Says:

    Oh Karen! (((((HUGS))))) after the fact.

    Your pictures and story are so vivid – Wow. There’s nothing like being without that makes being with all the more appreciated. I’m glad you all came through it well. Poor trees.

  11. Katrina Says:

    Your ice-storm pictures remind me of the ice-storm that we had up here in 1999 in North Eastern Ontario Canada. Except, we had a ton of snow on the ground too so heating was a major problem. Candles helped and lots of Trivial Pursuit! I’m glad that you got through it ok!

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