Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Powerful, Powerless

After Monday morning's I-Don't-Want-To-Go-To-School situation, I really did not even want this week to continue. I do the drop-off and Mr. L-S does the pick up. I have begged him to trade with me, but with our jobs and schedules, it really makes more sense this way.

Monday night was a fine night and I remember very little before we all sat on Chuckles's bed and did hugs and kisses (oh, I know, I made ice cream cones for all of us to eat outside). Anyway, we were all in the bed doing good-nights when I heard one clap of thunder and saw the lights dim. Mr. L-S headed to shut the computer down and Chuckles and I continued with the evening routine. Less than a minute later, the power was out. Chuckles asked to have his night light put on. No dice. Then he wanted Daddy's flashlight. No-can-do. But, Daddy showed up less than a minute later with a PURPLE GLOW STICK. And you can keep it in your bed, blah blah blah. So that was fine. My husband mentions that our tree out front blew over. Really odd. It's not even raining.

Then, it starts raining. And lightning. Every 1 to 1.5 seconds the sky turns completly white. And the thunder. There was thunder.

We took showers by oil lamp. Incidentally, the bathroom was really hot during this. The heat from the lamp plus the steam from the shower and no exhaust fan. And I wouldn't leave the bathroom door open because Lisa The Cat has not yet learned about not going on the bathroom counter, nor do I think she knows fire can burn.

Early to bed, it was. At 2:30 am, I heard the high water alarm in our sump well going off. Since we have drain tile and a sump well, we have a sump pump to keep our basement from flooding. The alarm is set quite a bit higher than the float that turns the pump on. We were 1" from flooding the basement. Bailing with buckets ensued. Back to bed. Chuckles woke up "hot and sweaty". Got him some milk from the 'fridge (which was no longer as cold as it had been), stripped his jammies and brought him into our bed. Since it was still Electric Light Storm outside, I was actually more comfortable with him in our bed. I didn't want to take any chances about diving for cover and needing to get him from his room.

4 am, High Water Alarm. We go to bail the water and I see Chuckles wandering down stairs saying something about how I left him alone. OK, then. Back to bed. 5:30 am High Water Alarm and husband's work alarm. I ask him to wake me at 6:30 so I can get ready for work. 6:30 comes. I sit up and there is a purple glow stick in my hair. He still hasn't bailed the water. It's still lightning out but the rain seems to have stopped. We hook the sump pump up to my car battery (through an inverter to change DC to AC). Anyway, pump that out. Called day care - no answer. Called work - no answer. Wait. Eat. Call work again. Say that the power is out, day care may or may not be open (they aren't answering and the local radio station that does school closings is not broadcasting). Bossman says it was rough getting to work, let him know. OK.

Go on about the day. THink about logging in to work from home. I use a laptop, so no power needed. I can power the modem through my car, OK. Let's do it. Except the DSL is out and so is the land line phone (although cell phones are working). Chuckles gets up and we go about our day periodically pumping the water out.

By 10am, the water is off. We don't have a well, so I found this odd. I figured maybe the town didn't have back up generators for the pumping stations. (Turns out, this was half the reason.)

I chop the tree that fell into a million little pieces with an axe. It just felt so good to do that. I then pick up the branches that fell all over our yard and in the yards of some of the elderly neighbors. Some of the branches were blown out of the trees with such force that they were stuck into the ground (and sitting there upright) and had to be pulled out.

Come lunch time, I am tired of all this, getting hot, and ready to see if we can borrow a generator.

So, we head out to borrow a generator (and the air conditioning in the truck feels so good). As we drove, the destruction got greater and greater and greater and then stopped. It just ended. By the time we were at my in-laws', there was barely a notice of there having been a storm (execpt I noticed that there pool was about 3" higher).

We barely get home because so many of the roads are closed with high water and tree limbs. But we make it and hook up the generator. We hook up the pump, the freezer, and the 'fridge (and our nextdoor neighbor's fridge too). Yay for generators. Chuckles fell asleep in the car coming back (as per my plan). After an hour, my husband decided to go get gas for the generator since it had been running for a while and we didn't have much left. He came back 20 minutes later (it's less than a mile to the gas station) from the wrong direction. I guess pwoer was out the first few places he tried. Something about "losing a phase".

Meanwhile, I was sitting outside guarding the generator from roving bands of thieves who had flooding basements, warming refrigerators, and a gleam in their eye for trouble. Or I was just making sure it didn't burst into flames. Whatever. I was sitting on a chair in the grass in the shade and a bird mistook me for a statue and landed on me. I freaked right out screaming like a little girl.

I started planning dinner. Our water came back on. I called the town to find out whether we were under a boil order. "No," she said, "you'd be notified." Chuckles woke up. We had stuff I could fix on the grill (veggies, salad, salmon). I realized the dishwasher was full, had no idea when power would be back, better wash the dishes by hand. Told my husband I was hot, tired, and done with the day now so as soon as I cleaned up dinner, I was laying down. He moved the generator to the back yard and locked it up with a serious piece of chain. I did the dishes and then POOF, the power was back on. No flickering. Just on. We waited about 10 minutes to make sure it stuck. Phones on. Air conditioning. Sweet, sweet air conditioning. And it stayed. So, I curled up in front of the AC register and had a grand time. Mr. Long-Suffering turned off the generator, put all the extension cords away, moved the appliances back where they belonged. We had ice cream cones. I got Chuckles into a cool bath. I went to bed.

This morning, I found out I really was under a boil order and the reverse 9-1-1 notification would not matter since we had no phones. And Chuckles wanted to know if mommy and daddy could stay home again with no power. Sorry kidd-o. Mommy wants some AC.

We got 6" of rain overnight and had an F2 tornado less than a mile from our house. We're all OK. The End?

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