Thursday, July 3, 2014

Powerless

On more than one front people, really.

But, in this case, without power...electricity...nah-dah

See, on Monday evening we were hit with a DERECHO (aka - serious kick ass storm).

We were at friends enjoying dinner when the first line of storms hit.  And they hit hard...and then let up.  And, I was thinking "Yep, totally over-predicted THAT for ratings."  We left to head home around 8:30pm.  I had the boys with me while Dave went to a friend's house to hang out for a bit.  We all readied ourselves for bed with showers and what-nots when I received an Emergency Alert on my phone that there was a tornado warning in the area.  Again, I didn't think anything about it.  I get these alerts for flooding all the time and we are no where near a river or creek or any other kind of water where we would personally be effected.  So, I put the boys to bed and then headed downstairs to turn on the TV to check in on the weather.

Black
White
and beeping

The Emergency Alert system took over all the channels on the TV and there was in fact a tornado warning for our area.  The second line of storms was about to hit.  Once the screen cleared I switched to the weather channel, which was covering the hurricanes near Florida, but I watched the scrawl at the bottom for local updates.  Then, again...Black, White and beeping.  But, this time, the tornado sirens started to go off a few blocks away.  I opened the back door and head a freight train coming.  Now, I live by train tracks so this is nothing weird.  But, there was no light to accompany that sound.

Do you know what a tornado sounds like?

I ran up the stairs and woke the boys up, told them to get dressed, put on shoes and head for the downstairs bathroom.  To go, go, GO!
I grabbed Will from his crib ran down the stairs, grabbed my purse from the ledge, and dragged the dog into the bathroom with us.  Then, the rain started to hit the house and the wind picked up.
I told the boys to get into the bathtub.  I handed Will to Cody and ran back out of the bathroom to grab blankets to cover them with.  There is a window in the bathroom, I figured if we were going to get hit that the window would break and send glass everywhere.  I needed something to cover the kids.

So, we sat there.

Cody and Chris in the bathtub
Me and Will on the toilet
Slayer on the floor between us

Will cried
And I talked to the boys.  And said that as long as the lights stay on we are okay.  They are probably going to flicker, but that is okay.  We are going to be okay.  Do you know why I had you put your shoes on?  In case a tornado hits we need to be able to walk around outside after it clears and there is going to be a lot of stuff on the ground.  We need to keep our feet safe.  Do you know what a tornado sounds like?  It sounds like a freight train coming down the tracks.  The storm is going to be heavy and then there will be a calm and then it will get heavy again.  We stay in here until the sirens stop, and then just a little longer to make sure it's okay.

The whole time I'm texting Dave to stay where he is.  Not to leave.  That we are in the downstairs bathroom.
Do you know what sucks?  Sitting in the bathroom with your kids during a storm with tornado sirens going off.  It's terrifying.  Because really, what in the hell am I going to do?  Why in the hell did we buy a house without a basement?  

The storm hit, the power went out, there was a calm and then the winds shook the house and then, then it was done.

We sat in the bathroom a little longer.  I checked my phone for updates.  And like clockwork, the tornado warning was lifted at 10:40pm.

We had to use the flashlight on my phone to make our way around the house.  I put Chris and Cody back to bed and then Will back in his crib.  I had to sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star a few more times to get him to nod off, but, eventually he did, gripping his puppy.
Slayer on the other hand was not happy, not one bit.  She laid on the landing of the staircase in protection mode.
I walked the house for a few minutes.  Made sure all of the windows were okay.  Opened the back and front doors to see if I could see anything, and I couldn't.  It was pitch dark out.

Cody was woken up by a leak in his ceiling.  The horizontal rain must have worked it's way in under the shingles and water was dripping on his bed.  It stopped after an hour.  Water also came in through one of Will's windows.  We are going to have both looked at this upcoming week.

I honestly expected that power would be restored by the time I woke up on Tuesday.  By 5:30am we were still without power.  By 6:45am I received word that Dave's work was shut down due to no power.  Cody, he still had summer school.  The area just to the west of us had power.  It seems like everything east didn't.

By 1pm I was getting irritated.  I just wanted a time frame.  ComEd was saying that it was assessing the situation.  By 4pm reports were stating that it could take up to 3 days to get power back up because of the widespread outages and damage.  I felt better knowing that.  At least we had a time frame now.  I hate uncertainty.

We were actually quite fortunate, really.  We had no significant damage to our home or property.  We had the inconvenience of being without electricity, (coffee maker, microwave, washer, dryer, vacuum, electric start stove top...) but the fridge was staying cool and we figured at the very least we could move staples to the deep freezer and load it up with ice.  We were at the tail end of our grocery run, so there were not a lot of perishable items anyway.  We were charging our phones through our vehicles.  We were able to get updates and stay connected.

We decided to go out to dinner and pick up some extra flashlights on our way home.  We had planned to pick up ice, but forgot.  Not a big deal as Dave needed to charge his phone and said he'd drive to the furthest gas station to get ice and then come back.  Charged phone in hand.

As we came into town (1/2 of which had power, our 1/2 did not), we noticed houses that originally didn't have power having lights on.  And as we turned down our street we could see our mail box, the street light was on.  And when we came into the house, we saw this

In the 21 hours that we did not have power at our home this was assembled

In the additional time that Dave's work was shut down for not having power restored, this was started

Because the fans weren't spinning, this became quite apparent and needed to be dealt with

And just to break it all up, I lead Chris's Cub Scout Den on an 8 mile bike ride

*No photo of that.  I was busy trying to catch my breath.*

Once I was able to get a time table of approximate return I felt a lot better.  Glorified camping I could deal with.  Actually, what I dislike about camping (bugs, not having my bed, or other normal conveniences) were available.  Plus, the weather was really nice and the AC wasn't needed.
Will's diapers were in the washer when the power went out, they needed to be line dried.  Slayer is shedding right now, note the tumble weed tufts of hair accumulating on my carpeting.  That standing water was as bad as we had it.



Once our power came back up I sent word out via Facebook that whoever was still without power could come on by if they needed to.  I was quite fortunate to be offered the use of a generator, which when I thought about it, we really didn't need, but it was nice to be offered.  It's nice to have friends like that, ya know.  

You know what, I really wouldn't have been able to make it during frontier times.  At least not with the knowledge of modern day technology.  Though, something like being on Frontier House seems appealing to me, there is no way in hell I'm up for that.  Actually, maybe I could do it.  I mean there is a set time frame...but, 6 months, that ain't no 21 hours.        

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