Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My Storm Diary

I have been so slacking off on here, I am going to do a fast-forward version of the recent past.  Golly, I haven't even posted anything about Christmas!  Oh, dear.  Well, I guess I best just jump back in.

So for over a week we were impacted by beautiful, cold, scary, dangerous, slippery, icy, (did I say beautiful?) weather.  I love to be snowed in.  I really do.  But I have realized that it is a lot more fun to be snowed in WITH power.  Now we did not suffer.  We have our gas fireplace to keep that room warm.  We have gas hot water for hot showers.  We can flush our toilets, unlike some.  We could cook some limited food.  We could drive to places with unlimited food.  And we had some fun family and friend time.  Here's the progression:

Saturday, January 14:

The snowfall begins!  We get so excited about a snow event around here.  You can see it in the eyes of my children...

On this evening, we were in Centralia for one of Alex's concerts.  By the time the concert ended, snow was beginning to pile up and it was a slippery drive home.

Oh, but the concert!  This young man had the joy of playing the contra bassoon!!  Oh, yes, that deserves two exclamation marks if you are one who is excited about such things, which he is.  The other bassoonist in this symphony played with the Seattle Symphony for 30 years, and texted Alex the week before the concert and asked him if he'd like to play his contra for this concert.  He thought about it for about .00001 seconds and then texted back a big "YES!".  They met a half-hour before rehearsals started so Alex could get a quick lesson on the differences in the instruments, and away he went.  He had a blast playing on that for the day.  And, no, Alex, we are not buying a contra bassoon.  But he does look awfully handsome posing with this beauty:

Sunday, January 15:

The snow fell overnight, enough to bundle up and roll up some snowballs and a big snowman.  I wish I snapped a picture of that snowman.  They put sticks all around the top of the head, to be the "hair", and it looked just like Kramer from Seinfeld when they were done.  We went to the grocery store on this evening and "stocked up" just in case the big storm came rolling in.

Monday, January 16:

A scheduled day off school, perfect for playing in the new-fallen snow!  Friends came over and began the steady process of playing in the snow, coming in wet to warm up, drinking hot cocoa and eating.  Rinse and repeat.  And repeat.  And repeat.  The "stocking up" I did the evening before?  I meant it to stock us for more than one day.

Notice my sweet weeping pussy-willow tree behind the kids?  Stay tuned.

Alex was suppose to play in a Martin Luther King event at Washington Center.  Music had been written specifically for this event for an octet.  The event was cancelled due to the weather...very disappointing.

Tuesday, January 17:

School closed!  More snow fun!  Time to leisurely drink my coffee and stare at the beautiful snow!  More wet clothes, more snow fun, more cocoa drinking, more eating.  And repeat.  Repeat.  Repeat.

Wednesday, January 18:

Holy cow!  It REALLY snowed overnight!  We ended up with 14 inches of beautifully insulating snow, turning our world into a winter wonderland.  Snowed in for real now.  School closed again, even Brad's office was closed to patients.  He worked from home while the kids played and played and played.  And I leisurely drank my coffee, did laundry and laundry and laundry, enjoyed watching all the beauty.

And then in the middle of the night???  Poof, flash, BANG!, and then total silence.  No power.  We snuggled deeper into the covers and looked forward to the power coming back on in a matter of hours.  Little did we know...

Thursday, January 19:

Powerless.  Schools closed throughout Western Washington.  Brad had to creep his way, slowly through the icy streets, to get to his office.  They had power, fortunately, so patient treatment could resume.  Lots of work for an IT guy during a week of power surges and phone outages.  We missed him and wanted him home to enjoy the snow.  He left work at 5:00 and said he would bring home dinner to our powerless home.  He made it home at 7:45.  Yeah, apparently when most of the county is out of power everyone has the same need to flock to the few businesses that have power.  A burger and fries has never tasted so good as it did sitting on a big blanket in the middle of the floor by candlelight, with the gas fireplace blazing away.

We played "Words With Friends" the old-fashioned way.  (Scrabble).  Lots of games.  Lots of reading.  LOTS of sitting and staring out the window for me.  I found myself being very much like a cat.  I just got absorbed in the beauty of this, and watching the quiet world was so peaceful.

The kids bickered a lot, got snippy with each other.  Everyone felt a bit out of sorts.

Friday, January 20:

Powerless.  Schools still closed.  Brad off to work.  First thing in the morning, I layed down the law with the kids.  There would be no bickering on this day.  We would all be in too close of quarters to have any of that going on.  And they really settled in nicely.  I spent the morning taking down the Christmas tree (I know, it's a long story).  Alex brought in a big box of Legos and the kids played with Legos for HOURS.  Oh, a sweet flashback indeed.  They were so funny, and we laughed and had a great day.  Brad gave up at work and came home about 3:00.

This is the day the lack of vacuuming drove me nuts.  I vacuum everyday.  It's one of those instantaneously gratifying jobs that just feels necessary.  And in taking down the Christmas tree, I had made a huge mess with artificial fir needles.  And I was powerless to clean them from my carpet.  Pun intended.  I even tried to sweep the carpet, but to no avail.

And Alex began to master the art of cooking on a single propane burner.  He first used it to boil water in the tea kettle so I could have something close to coffee and they could have their dwindling supply of hot cocoa.  Then he made Cream of Wheat, which I adore so much.  I don't know if I have ever talked about it here, but Cream of Wheat is one of my very favorite foods.  I've become very affectionate with it during my recent health chaos.  It's one of the only foods that I could reliably eat.  Anyway, Alex, in an effort to make the water boil faster, added too much salt to the water, so it turned out nearly inedible although he loved it.  Of course he did.  Then he progressed to frozen chicken patties.  Then stir-fried peppers and onions.  Then he attempted to "cook" frozen cookie dough in a frying pan.  They were more like fried cookies, and not good at all, but I love him for trying!

a valiant cookie effort!

And, oh, did it get icy and icky.  Overnight, so many trees and branches just couldn't take the weight of the snow.  And throw in a little wind to the mix...oh, what a mess:

Yeah, we have a bit of clean-up to do.

And this is my beloved weeping pussy-willow tree from an earlier picture. Everything else in this corner sprang back up after the weight of the snow was gone, but not Ms. Pussy-Willow.  Brad has straightened her and we'll stake her up and see if she can survive.  She even has tiny little pussy-willows defiantly opening on her branches.  Fingers crossed.

On this day, Brenna jumped at an invitation to go stay with a friend whose power had been restored.  We were a bit envious of the warm dinner and warm house and movie-watching and warm bed.  Alex and Beth had a bit of boredom settle in once darkness descended on the house.  Games no longer held any appeal.  So they decided to sit in the van with the portable DVD player plugged in and watch a little Tom and Jerry.  Yeah, this is how the Carlsons find entertainment in a power outage:

We went to bed a bit chilly.  Warm and cozy under the covers, but you could feel the stinging cold on the tip of your nose.  The house hit 52 degrees.

Saturday, January 21:

The great warm-up began.  Rain moved in.  Cold, cold, cold and windy.  But the snow was falling off the trees in BIG chunks.  No playing out in the snow today, too dangerous with all the falling ice and snow.  And then, behold:

So thankful for these crews.  What a job this week has brought them!  I was giddy with hope and joy when I saw this truck out there.  And then they left.  I became a little discouraged, but still knowing we had it easy compared to some.  Brad and the kids packed up some video games and a movie and headed off to Brad's office to pass a couple hours.  I ventured out for the first time and went to get my haircut.  And, of course, I returned from my haircut to what???  POWER!!!!  Oh, was I a happy girl.  I didn't even go further than the entryway.  I set my purse down right there, got the vacuum cleaner and began vacuuming my house.  And then I started the laundry.  Oh, the glorious sound of a washing machine, a dryer, a vacuum.  I was not meant to live like Laura Ingalls.  No I was not.

Monday, January 23:

Back to school, with a 2-hour delay.  Our building?  NO HEAT, no phones.  The heat was restored just after noon, and it slowly warmed.  The phones will be out awhile, waiting on some part that blew out when the power came on.   Still a couple rooms in our building with no heat, so the portable heaters are keeping us warmed.  I thought it was kind of nice to have an altered day for the first day back, ease back in, let the kids get their excitement out.  I lost track of how many kids said, "We had a huge storm last week!"  "We got a lot of snow!"  "Did you know we lost power????"  It was all breaking news to them.

I work with two people who just go their power back on, bless them.  They have generators, but still.  Bless 'em.

Today was the first day we could let the kids outside, in a limited area.  Snow sliding off the roof kept them totally in Monday and Tuesday.  A partially fallen backstop, massive tree limbs down, and a lot of snow now keeps them limited to a small area.  The natives are getting restless.  The energy is building.  They are like race horses loaded into the chute before a race.  Antsy and ready to go.

Now just the clean-up is left.  This weekend will bring lots of outdoor bonding time for this family, especially as we try to limit Brad.  Oh, yeah...Tuesday he messed up his shoulder shoveling snow at work.  Speaking of a race horse loaded into a chute...yeah, he doesn't easily take it easy.

Oh, my.  I think I need to go ice my fingers after typing all those words.  That's a bit too much for one post.  But ah, it feels good to get just a regular 'ole post on here!

1 comment:

  1. oh how I love this. I think the picture of them in the van, you vaccuming daily (as I do), and setting the law down, cracked me up! Way to be Laura for just a moment....great recap Leanne!