… that really deserves a name. You know, like they name hurricanes. Greg + I discussed Genevieve, Margaret and Consuela, but none of them fit just right. So I’m just going to make it a proper noun by itself: The Ice Storm.
Oh, and my pictures are on my camera. They’ll have to come later, when I am at my own computer, with my own built-in card reader + folders in which I like to organize my photos. Yes, that’s right. I’m still not at my house, which has been dark and mostly cold since Wednesday morning. The gas logs are on, but we opted for my in-laws’ house, with has electricity and more recently Internet, phone and cable.
I’ve had my notebook (and camera!) by my side since Wednesday morning, when we realized it could be an interesting week …
8:56 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2009
I woke up at 3:27 because it sounded like a limb fell on our house. I knew it was 3:27 because my cell phone was on the table next to me; the alarm was missing its annoyingly red numbers. Turns out a limb didn’t fall on our house, but you know how everything is exaggerated in the middle of the night.
After checking things out, although I couldn’t see much because it was the middle of a night with no electricity, I returned to the warmth of my bed. Thanks to our gas logs, we slept comfortably all night. It’s still warm, at least right now.
I had dreams about limbs coming through the windows, which were exaggerations of the real crackling sounds I heard all night as limbs of all sizes fell to the ground, mostly in our neighbors’ yards. The largest one that fell came from one neighbor’s yard, over her privacy fence, across our driveway. Greg is currently sawing away, hoping to clear us a path.
But we aren’t sure what we’ll do. Greg’s parents have a gas-powered generator, but they live 15 miles away in the country that is northwest Tennessee. And we don’t have cell service, so we can’t call them.
We have some refrigerated food — remember the Christmas steak? — in a storage container on the back porch. If Mother Nature is going to dump this snow + ice, well, mostly ice, on us, the least she can do is keep our food from spoiling.
Candles + flashlights are close by, but the light reflecting off the snow is nice. Really, looking out the window is the best way to appreciate snow. Just ask Cate. She cried when I put her down in it. But, hey, she learned a new word: “snow.” And she thinks it’s entertaining to watch Daddy saw the tree.
It’s in moments like this — with no cell phone calls + texts, Facebook updates or e-mail messages — that life somehow becomes simpler and quieter.
10 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 28
Greg cleared the driveway. Now just to figure out what we’re doing.
Cate wants to watch a movie, but I had to tell her it was “broke,” the only way I can help a 20-month-old to interpret a power outage.
10:47 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 28
After making use of the path he cleared to check on the office, Greg reported; “It’s a mess out there. Maybe worse than the ice storm in Lexington.” He was referring to January 2003, when ice shut down Lexington, where we lived during our first year of marriage. I remember waking up that Sunday morning + showering by candlelight because our apartment bathroom didn’t have a window. Some of the city has power, so went to Applebee’s and then to a movie. Our power still wasn’t back on after our impromptu date, so we ended up at our friends’ house. But the lost power not long after we arrived. All four of us ended up at another couple’s house, where we and yet another couple, stayed a few nights. UK was shut down, so Greg didn’t have to go to his law school classes + nobody had to work. Except me. I worked in Richmond + the ice didn’t go south of the Kentucky River.
So, anyway, after reminiscing, Greg went back out, this time to check on some friends. He planned to tell them that we have gas logs that are heating one room really well while keeping other rooms from being completely chilled.
12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 28
It’s crazy to me that the only way to check on people is to get out. But, strangely enough, the roads aren’t that bad, unless, of course, you have to have a downed power line or tree in your path.
Greg’s aunt Jennifer came by because she had talked to Greg’s parents (thanks to her office landline at MSU) + they asked her to check on us. Then Jaclyn came by to touch base. It’s definitely an adventure right now, but it may get old if we really don’t have power for 3-5 days. And there isn’t water, which is the priority.
5:15 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 28
We’re out at my in-laws’ house, where things are “normal.” Charles, Angela + their kids have been out since Tuesday because they lost power before The Ice Storm really came. The kids are playing. Peggy is cooking. And when I flip a light switch, the light really comes on. The generator is definitely a luxury on a day like this. They have phone service, but it’s limited to outgoing local calls + anyone who can manage to get through. I know my mom probably knows what is going on, but I sure would like to check in with her.
10:40 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 28
I’m writing by the light of my battery-powered book light, but only because Cate is snoring in a crib in the same room. Peggy + Gary have electricity! And a back-up generator in case it goes out again. It came back on during our game of Trivial Pursuit: 1990s Edition. Our friends Sabrina + Nate, who have weathered more hurricanes than ice storms while living in south Florida, ended up out here after dinner.
I finally got a message to my mom — through Greg’s brother, John, who called from Illinois. And while our phone service is limited, I did get online + updated my Facebook status, thus reconnecting with the world, at least momentarily.
9:40 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 29
We woke up this morning with the electricity still running, thankfully, but lacking phone, cable + Internet. Still, we’re warm + comfortable.
Greg + Gary went into to Murray to check on our house + some friends. Nate + Sabrina were headed to Clarksville, where Nate was going to do his strength coach duties with the MSU team was practicing at Austin Peay’s gym.
4 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 29
Greg + I just got back from a drive farther into Henry County, Tennessee, because I wanted to call Mom. Our cell phones don’t work at my in-laws’ house, even when there aren’t telephone issues in Murray. We got a signal just past the gas station we filled up at, so we pulled off on a little country cemetery road. (Filling up wasn’t absolutely necessary, but without electricity in Murray, we figured we’d get gas while we could.) While talking to my mom, I saw a cow licking the ice off a tree branch. I sent a couple texts while Greg made a couple calls. Then we went back to our warm hub of isolation.
11:30 a.m. Friday, Jan. 30
Our friends Daniel + Kayla (and their 2-year-old daughter Malaika) came out yesterday before dinner. Having them has been fun. Cate + Malaika have played so well together.
Greg + Peggy have both separately been in town today, returning with reports that water is back + power is gradually returning.
The sun is shining + the ice covering the trees is melting. We’re just talking about how we probably need to be cautious of possible flooding!
7:46 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 31
Last night we had a lazy, quiet night. My in-laws left town yesterday afternoon to visit my brother-in-law + his wife in Illinois. Charles + Angela took their kids out for pizza, and we just stay here. I made some phone calls. We watched “Henry Pool Is Here,” a quirky but entertaining moving that we rented from Red Box before the storm + still have in our possession. Then I caught up with some online communications, finished “Reclaiming Nick” bu Susan May Warren + started “Taming Rafe,” the second book in the same romantic suspense series.
We don’t have a plan yet today, but Greg hopes it involves watching Kentucky basketball + I hope it involves sleeping in my own bed, even though I’m beyond grateful for our accommodations.
Pictures to come later, hopefully soon, when we’re back home …