BUT, for most of that time– we had no power. Zilch. Nada. Even days into the little event, I still found myself walking into rooms and involuntarily flipping light switches. They didn’t come on, of course.
In the hours that preceded good ole’ Winter Storm Pax.. we heard words like… “Catastrophic.” “Historical.” “Unprecedented.” “Dangerous.”
I mean, really. Who wouldn’t be a little concerned? But as I grew up in Jacksonville… where we hardly ever GOT the hurricanes which “were heading straight for us at an alarming speed–” I did not believe them. In fact, I was in complete denial and so expected to be disillusioned by our weather personnel, that it wasn’t until the night before at 9:00PM that I freaked out a little and asked Lance to go get some bread.
And boy am I glad he did. Because we (and mostly ALL of our town) lost complete and total power for at least a few days. Ours was out for 3 1/2 days. At first it was fun (because we expected it to come right back in a few hours– certainly in 24 hours… I see now that we were amateurs.) We camped out in front of the fireplace and my sweet husband built us a little “wood-fired grill” in our fireplace and we roasted hotdogs and cooked baked potatoes. We ate by candlelight and it was all very fun. Then we dragged mattresses in and every SINGLE blanket that we owned (because the temperature inside the house was falling rapidly) and bundled up, and had a slumber party. It was a few days of no heat, no lights, no TV, no internet, nothing but each other. It was simple and sweet and nice… and cold. Because here’s the thing about no heat and kids– They don’t get it. They won’t sit still under a blanket with you– they won’t even keep their socks on most of the time. We’re chasing them around putting layers on them, and they’re ransacking the house like every other day, all the while peeling their layers off. So funny.
The next day, the ice began to melt. And that was really a neat experience. The ice had been so heavy on trees and branches that many of them fell or broke during the night. But once the sun really came out brightly, it was as if the houses and trees just shook themselves and the snow and ice began to fall off in huge amounts. It felt as though they were all.. alive in a Narnia kind of way. Kind of like a cat stretching in the sun. Lance was outside grilling for lunch and he had to sit in the back of his truck so he wouldn’t get pounds and pounds of ice falling on his head. Later that day, we realized the roads were safe and it might be a few days before we had power so we packed up and escaped to family living a couple hours away. THAT was nice. Warm shower, warm beds, warm food, and warm hugs from family we always miss. It was a real treat.
So here’s what I learned. (Not that I am an expert. I think we’ve established that already by my disbelief in the news reports.)
- I’m not sure why people buy bread and milk at a time like this. Bread and peanut butter, yes. But when you lose power, you also lose the ability to keep milk cold. We actually did put our milk outside to keep it cold in the ice. Speaking of, grab some bags of ice and coolers and you can keep your food for a couple days like that. I wish we would have done that.. but again—> skeptic.
- Fireplaces are SO amazing. And plenty of Firewood. And charcoal if you have a grill. If you don’t use your fireplace often, get it inspected every few years and make sure you know how to operate it.
- Keep your Freezer closed. When the power goes out, you actually have a couple days on stuff in the freezer– just don’t open it too much.
- Charge your phones and keep them fully charged for as long as possible. Ours were charged but we still ended up charging them in our cars– which was kinda nice. I was the sacrificial soul who volunteered to sit out there with our phones, the nice HEATER and a copy of The Antelope in the Living Room: The Real Story of Two People Sharing One Life— which let me just say.. HILARIOUS. I knew it would be, but reading it there in my car with the rare joy of warm hands and a handful of peanut butter M&M’s that I smuggled outside in jacket pocket– bliss, I tell ya. If you haven’t picked up a copy yet, I highly suggest you do. Whether or not you’ve been married a long time, this book will remind you just how funny we all are in marriage.
- For the Love, consider buying a generator. Yes, you might never need it, but you just MIGHT. It’s funny, not three days prior, I actually “Pinned” something on Pinterest about disaster preparedness. Did I read it? No. Did I do what it suggested? No. Pinning does not equal doing. One can tell that by the amount of crafts I have pinned and the amount of crafts I have ACTUALLY done. Not equal, my friends, not at all.
- Lastly, try hard NOT to be too frustrated. For two reasons, 1.) it does NOT help. Power will get restored when at all possible, and in our case, Georgia Power (and surrounding visiting companies) were working LONG hours, with little to no sleep, in extreme temperatures to repair a CITY full of damage. I think 3 1/2 days is pretty reasonable. But then, while I say that– I am currently, warm. And last week, I was.. well, not. 2.) Your attitude rubs off on everyone around you. After the first 15 hours, I was getting rather ornery. And impatient. And frustrated. And cold. And at one point, I noticed– the kids were just fine. Sure, they had little red noses and cold hands– but they were SO enjoying us all being together– it was like a huge party for them.
P.S. I’m hoping that the News Network’s usage of the word, “Historical” means we won’t EVER see this again– and 30 years from now, Lance and I will say– “Hey, remember that time we lost power for almost 4 days and we lived like Pioneers?” Not as in, the Pioneer Woman, of course– because that would just be cool. More like, Ma & Pa Ingalls. Charles and Caroline- to be exact. And I’ll say, “Yes, tis but a distant memory. A memory filled with snuggling our little kiddos (who will by this time, likely have kids of their own.) and the faint sounds of chainsaws breaking through fallen trees in the distance.” Ahhh. Yes, historical. That’s my hope.
Really though, we are SO thankful for God’s protection and amazing provision during last week.