With my cell phone battery low and no electricity in the house for 18 hours, I took notes on an old-fashioned piece of paper throughout the stormy day yesterday. The following is my ramblings …
Tuesday, April 26
I woke up at 12:30 a.m. to the sound of wind banging against our house and noticed our ceiling fan wasn’t going. Greg was looking at the weather radar on his iPad and said he had just heard a transformer blow.
Greg carried Cate down to our room, mostly because the pitch darkness could easily cause her to stumble down the stairs if she decided to get up. She slept the rest of the night on our bedroom floor.
Ben slept all night in his bed.
After that second installment of sleep, Greg checked out things at work — which was also dark — and then we decided to meet at Hardee’s for breakfast. Around 8 a.m., the drive-thru line wrapped around the building once and part way a second time. Greg ordered our food inside, where that line grew longer by the moment. Hardee’s is a popular breakfast stop, but choices were especially limited as many in the city still didn’t have power.
Greg tended to some work tasks and the kids I went to Walmart to stock up on candles (We only had two and wanted to be prepared should our power stay out into the evening.), matches (Greg used the last one. Matches seem to be one of those things that I always just have. I took me awhile to find them in the store.), a couple battery-powered lights (mostly for a back-up night light upstairs), soy milk for Ben (so I didn’t have to let the coolness out of my fridge while we didn’t have power), and Angel Soft toilet paper (OK, so that wasn’t on the original list, but it was on sale.).
Then we walked the neighboring streets, mostly because it seemed more reasonable to be outside than in our dim house.
Ben got muddy when I let him out of the stroller to play in our yard. The boy likes to splash in puddles and be moving. Often he moves faster than he’s really capable, so he ends up on the ground. And the dirt doesn’t slow him down.
We ate lunch at Pagliai’s, which has an indoor play area. I figured with more storms in the forecast the possibility of my kids being cooped up needed to be addressed. They ate, played hard, and ate again.
And then they napped. I talked and texted and Facebooked so much my battery was nearing its end. Thankfully, I have a car charger.
Our weather-watching friend Justin who also works at Murray Electric System read on Facebook that we still didn’t have power, so he came by to check on us. I’m telling you, these are the moments I’m reminded why living in a small town is so great. He also told me about the storms that were coming our way and how sleeping in the basement was a good idea.
Around 3:30 p.m., the kids were both up and acting antsy in our darkened house. It started to storm again while I read “Bear Feels Scared” and “Bear Feels Sick” to my kids on the porch swing. Our friend Cate, who also didn’t have power or a dinner plan, came over.
A wall cloud — a new term to me — hoovered over Murray, so we went to the basement, where we read “Bear Wants More” and “Bear Snores On.” When I saw “we” went to the basement, that doesn’t include Greg, who was at work by this time, where power was restored and he was on a conference call. He didn’t even realize big, dark clouds were hoovering near.
Sarah invited us for dinner. The food was delicious and the fellowship was a good ending to what had been a disjointed day. And I was reminded of lines from “Bear Feels Scared”:
With a flap and a flurry
all the friends gather near.
They give him bear hugs–
and they calm his bear fears.
I wasn’t scared, but I was recognizing — yet again — the joys of living in community, where people check on each other and take care of each other. With a text here and a phone call there, we decide how and when to gather together. And living like that makes life far from scary.
When we got home at 7:45 p.m., our power was back on and we got the kids ready for bed. Their beds. At least to start. Once they fell asleep, we moved them down the basement, where we all slept. I saw lightning, heard thunder and was updated via The Weather Channel texts of tornado and storm warnings, but it was a rather uneventful night.