Saturday, February 7, 2009

Surviving the Ice Storm and Power Outage

Preparation Day - Monday, January 24th, 2009

The great ice storm of 2009 has been predicted. We felt pretty prepared. But not wanting to deal the dirty dishes and laundry without power, I did some extra prep work. All the laundry was washed and then I hit the Flippin Wal-Mart. Man was it busy! I guess people weren't as prepared as they wanted to be. I just grabbed some disposable eatery and extra drinking water.
Around dark is when the sleet began to fall. It looked pretty cool because it didn't melt on the ground. Before bed we hiked up the heat to make sure we were toasty when we lost power.

Day 1 (without Power) - Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

I woke up around 8:30 am, just in time to watch the power go off. I looked outside to see that the sleet had turned to freezing ice over night, and everything was covered with 'at least' a quarter of an inch of ice. We made preparations for our power outage by: covering the deep freeze with blankets to keep it cold, and our bodies with more layers to keep them warm. The day was fairly pleasant inside the house, but outside it was still raining freezing rain. Hubby and I talked and laughed a lot. We played card games, talked and dreamt about our future house and plans to cover this type of event. We listened to our emergency radio for weather and news updates, and also some music. It was quite an enjoyable day with no distratctions and nothing to worry about (at least nothing we could do anything about). By dark we decided to bake some potatoes in the oven to help heat up the house. After dinner, I loaded all the blankets from the house onto the bed (except the ones from the freezer), and we snuggled up in more layers and watched a movie on the lap top computer, via battery back-up.
****To explain: We have several battery back-ups for our computers for when the power does go out, we have time to shut off the computers safely and save any information we hadn't already. They are available at the Staples for those that wish to invest in one.**** We figured they last a while, and a movie a night after dark was a good use of the batteries.

Day 2 - Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

Still no power, and 44 degrees, inside, when we woke up. Burrrr! We turned on the radio to find some updates, and maybe a weather report. Good news came; the storm was over and it was going to be sunny, still freezing, but at least sunny. Rooting around the fridge, we found that it would be freezer food for meals. The best was finding a whole bad of rodes rolls that where defrosted. Yum, our favorite, we cooked all 36 and ate them for several days. It was 'nice' outside so I ventured out to assess the damage.
The first thing I noticed, besides all the ice, and the new snow that covered it, was the trees breaking. It sounded like gun shots. It was neat and scary all at the same time. I took lots of pictures, so you'll have to bear with me.

We had some trees on the lines that we were worried about, so we kept our eye on them.

All the trees were either bend over, or the tops broke off. It was sad to see the trees all so beat up.
We also walked out to the mail box and it looked like a ghost town on the road. The sky was gray and everything was frozen. It looked like a war zone outside.Through all that, nature still produced some beauty within the disaster.

Hubby decided that since we had lots of snow, we didn't want to waste our drinking water on flushing toilets, so he pulled out the turkey fryer. That was awesome! It wasn't exactly necessary, but it was good skill to practice. By this time I had on at least five layers (I'm not exaggerating). We had to keep warm so we bundled up and tried to keep busy without sweating. Our land line also began to work, so we were able to call our families and let them know how we were. Hubby's Dad called us while Hubby was outside melting snow, so I took a message. My poor family didn't even know what we were going through. After melting snow, and learning that the power wasn't going to be on for at least a week or probably more, Hubby's Dad got a generator and made plans to drive it down from Chicago on Thursday. We were very excited, not only for the generator, but for his short visit.

Day 3 - Thursday, January 29th, 2009

We woke up to 36 degrees in the house. We were very excited that a generator was on it's way. I didn't think I could fit any more layers onto my body. To give you a visual. I had on a pair of long johns (top and bottom), two pairs of PJ pants, and a pair of jeans, on top I also had a tank top, two long sleeved shirts, a fleece sweat shirt, and my jacket when outside, plus a scarf, hat, and gloves. We also ventured out of the house to access the damage to the rest of town. We made it all the way to the Flippin Wal-Mart and back. At the Wal-Mart, they were out of Orange Juice, Eggs, Water, and Chips. It was an interesting find. After we got home, Alan was there with the blessed generator. The boys worked on getting it up and going, and then moved on to getting trees and branches off the lines. I just took pictures. I just love how great they work together to get things done.

The boys filling up the generator with gas. The teamwork to get a tree off the lines and cut down.

Everything began to melt. It was neat to see the trees halfway melted for a few days.
While it was still light outside, the guys cleared as much as they could. Most was left until all the ice melted so they didn't have to cut down anything that would spring back up.

The generator that was our life line for our power outage.

Day 4 - Friday, January 30th, 2009

Still no power. No surprise there. We spent some time in town, and more time cleaning up. I mostly watched and took pictures. I'm pretty helpless while Hubby and his Dad are working together.This is the sad tree that is beginning to spring back up.

Day 5 - Saturday, January 31st, 2009

Still no power. We decided to venture out today and visit our friends and make sure they had enough of what they needed.

It was sad to see the damage other places as well as our own area.
Everything is still melting, and getting very wet and muddy. Duke loves playing outside and getting dirty. Even the chickens finally decided to come out and enjoy the sunshine.

Day 6 - Sunday, February 1st, 2009

No power, or church. Everyone was still out of power and it looked like it would still be at least a week, if not more. We spent some time outside enjoying the sunshine, and played some board games with the little boys we take with us to church. It was a pleasant day.

Day 7 - Monday, February 2nd, 2009

The frustration finally kicked in. Hubby had to get work done, but the internet was being flaking on the generator, and we believe that the telephone company was running on a generator as well, also making it flaking on their end.

Day 8 - Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

Same stuff different day. Trying to cope without out power, and spending a lot of time outside enjoying the sunshine, but still a little too cold. Hubby did some cleaning up, and got the rest of the driveway cleared so we could use it.

Day 9 - Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

I needed a break and was craving some sewing time. I headed into Mountain Home to hang out with some girl friends, Tamara and Leslie, and do some chatting (a lot of this), and some sewing (a little of this). It was nice to have a break from the no power thing. Hubby stayed home and tried to get some work done. The bad news came that we'd probably not see our power on until at least the 11th, that sent me over the edge.

Day 10 - Thursday, February 5th, 2009

Woke up with no power, and now a sore throat. I think it was a stress induced cold, and boy am I miserable. I mostly stayed in bed trying to sleep off my illness. Hubby carried on and got things done as he could.

Day 11 - Friday, February 6th, 2009

Surprise, still no power. Hubby had to run to Harrison (the opposite direction from Mountain Home) to pick up something for his Dad. I went along because I didn't want to be left alone at home without power. And I love spending time with Hubby. We decided to press our luck with the Wal-Mart there, and found seed potatoes, and onions. Hubby was very excited and looked like a kid in a candy store. We'd been anticipating the arrival of these wonderful gardening supplies, and had no luck with either the Flippin or Mountain Home Wal-Marts. Hubby also got some more cleaning up done. I went back to bed to fight my fever.

The moon wasn't quite full, but it gave off enough light that there were shadows on the ground, and the sad tree that was been way over is beginning to get straighter.
Around 5:30ish, we had the power guys drive up and tell Hubby that we should expect power back on that night. Around 10, we pretty much gave up on that idea. I didn't get my hopes up because I didn't know how reliable they could be with how much they had to do.

Day 12 - Saturday, February 7th, 2009

Things were finally really starting to dry up, and it was in the mid-sixties. Hubby decided that it was a good day for clean up. He got a lot of tree limbs cut down and chipped. And he also worked on getting the garden torn apart to get it prepared for expansion and new crops for this year. I tried to help, but I mostly just watched and took some pictures.
I was also feeding the chicken scratch grain. And marveled at how big Delicious is. He is so huge that he has broken two of the boards off the ramp. I got a picture of him the the coop, and his is as big as the door way, it it's about 18+ inches across. After working all morning, Brent came inside for a nap, and I just played the Wii and drank lots of fluids.

Around 5:30ish, Hubby decided to go and check on the generator and refuel it. As he was out there he noticed that the neighbors light on the power pole was on. This could only mean one thing: WE FINALLY HAVE POWER!!!!!! I heard Hubby shut off the generator, and then the lights came on. I jumped up and ran outside to ask: "Does this mean what I think it means?!?! Do we have power now?" We were so excited. Hubby came in and turned on the hot water heater. I turned on as many lights as I could. I even asked Hubbyt if we should do a happy dance. The one thing we did though, was thank our Heavenly Father for the blessing of having the power back.

When something like this happens you realize how many things you take for granted in your daily lives. I now have a new appreciation for hot water from the tap. Having to take the time and energy to boil water was hard, but now I'm grateful for being able to turn the facet handle and have hot water. We've been asked by several people if there is anything that we would do differently: and our answer is no. Let me explain: We are commanded to be prepared. To have a 72-Hour Kit, to have a years supply of long-term food storage, and a 3-month supply of every day food storage, and at least a 2-week supply of drinkable water. We have a strong testimony that if you are prepared you will be able to weather any storm or power outage. I am grateful for the trails that this whole ordeal has brought us, because it reinforced the urgency to be prepared. I am also grateful to all the people that were there to support us, whether emotionally and mentally, and physically. All the help and support was and is appreciated.

So for those of you who don't have at least a 3-month supply of food and 2-weeks of drinking water, get in gear, you'll appreciate it when you need it.


The Jordan's said...

It sounds like you had a ruff time, but that you where prepared for it, and that you made the best of what was given to you! I admire you and your husbands strenght! Thank you for the advice on the prepration, I know that I will strive to be better prepared for things like this!!!

Jolley's said...

Wow, I've always said if there was ever an emergency you guys would be the first people I'd like to live by! I've been thinking of you guys being stuck in the storm and am so glad to hear that you guys were prepared and were able to tuff it out, even though it sounds absolutely miserable! You are great examples!

Brett, Kate and Austin said...

I gotta see that "Happy Dance" hahahah!