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Well, I'm finally back, and if it had just been a power issue I could have been back a bit sooner, but this was also a phone issue. Lets just start at the beginning.

But first I gotta give mad props to the power company(ies) and the phone company for getting things up and going again as fast as they did!

Monday Night
1-26-09


Around nine o'clock on Monday night the first of the freezing rain started to fall. This didn't seem so bad because it was just drizzle - we've had freezing drizzle many times before, and it had stopped before ten o'clock.

But it didn't stay stopped, sometime before eleven (was watching The Daily Show and Colbert Report and not paying close attention to what was happening outside) it actually started raining. But again we've had some freezing rain before... However, this just didn't stop, and finally around three in the morning trees started to give-way.
(The first one was some distance away and might have went before three.)

SNAP! CRACKLE! POP!

Doesn't look so bad just written there, but let me tell you it was very much nerve racking to listen to this happening in the middle of the night. Made a bit more scary by the fact that I have a line of trees behind the house, and the house is a mobile home, a nice one, but still a mobile home.

Finally, around four thirty the big tree in the center of the yard (it has been there forever) gave-way. I was in bed by this point, but not sleeping, the dog got out of bed moments before that - I think she heard something, but I thought she might need to pee, she wouldn't go outside. Then just as I got back in the bed I heard the sound, and knew big bird (my name for the tree) was down.
(The tree was far enough away from the house that even though it fell toward the house it was a harmless fall, also once daylight arrived I could see that it hadn't completely come down. This tree had three sections, basically, and two of the three went down. However, we learned back in Ike that the tree was hallow on the inside when a big ol branch came down, so I'm surprised it didn't completely come down under the weight of all that ice.)


Tuesday
DAY ONE


While the power had flickered a few times over night, it was holding strong(ish), but that wasn't to last. At six fifteen (in the morning) I (and at least the house next to me, maybe more) lost power, and still it continued to rain.

But despite the lack of power, dad came in with a kerosene heater, and the phone was still working, so at that point I was hopeful I wouldn't be without power forever. *sigh*
(Plus I had charged my cell phone a day or so before this, and I still had running water.)

I finally went to sleep sometime that morning, probably around eight - it was still raining, and trees continued to come down. I woke up around eleven, probably because I was cold. We fired up the heater, and even though it wasn't raining as hard at this point, I knew I wouldn't get back to sleep.
(And while trees were still coming down, the rate of falling was slower, at least in my neck of the woods.)

Things went pretty well the rest of that day at least until just after nightfall... You see, around six p.m. everything (and I do mean everything) around me went dark - something was very very wrong. Of course, I managed to convince myself that it was just a co-inky-dink, but it wasn't.

Anyway, the heater was in the living room, and once everything went dark I knew it wasn't likely that we'd have power before morning, so I made a bed on the couch (my bedroom is at the far end of the trailer, and therefore the coolest), and then around ten I went to bed. However, I am a night person, so despite being tired and stressed I didn't go to sleep until after midnight.

(Also, just in case you didn't know it was still raining, but at least in the afternoon it had changed to plain ol rain... Not that anything did much melting, and I'm pretty sure shortly after dark it had probably turned back into a bit of freezing rain even though the temp (outside) didn't drop but a degree or two overnight.)

Wednesday
Day Two


Woke up just as night was giving way to day, enough to see power was still out for everyone. The sun did peek out a bit today, but didn't last long, and while a bit of melting took place it was very little melting, because it was mostly cloudy and still cold.

Two bad things made themselves known this day.

First what was still going well - still had running water, and there was even some pressure to it, but not enough to flush toilets, but hey I had some buckets that could be filled with water, and it worked!

Now the bad - when the day came we could see that the freezing rain had turned to snow, and things were an even bigger mess. Thankfully, it didn't snow long, and it was a dry snow, so it didn't add weight to the trees, just made an even bigger mess of the roads.

And then when we went to put kerosene in the heater, we discovered that I didn't have as much in reserve as I thought. "Oh shit!" Indeed, cause Wednesday was cold, and Thursday (according to the paper) was going to be cold, as well.

Still we managed for the most part to keep the temp slightly less than sixty, so while not completely comfortable we weren't in danger of freezing either.

During the afternoon I took everything out of the fridge and put it in coolers outside - Despite the freezing rain, we didn't have ice, but the freezer/fridge was no longer cold, so I knew I needed to get the stuff that needed to remain cool/cold outside.

PS - Cell phone service completely went out this day (it was spotty on Tuesday), but our landline (telephone) was holding strong, which is pretty amazing all things considered.

PPS - Gotta give mad-props to our paper man - it was a bit late in coming (extremely late) Tuesday and (a little late) Wednesday, but we still got a paper, which was good since it was our only source of news.
We had a radio, but their news just wasn't really what I wanted to know - the paper had news about us - the radio (like television) was focusing on the bigger cities.

Thursday
Day Three


On this day I got cold! So very cold. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

First things first, the landline (telephone) finally went down. Don't know when, but I got up with the intent to call and see if I could find a service station open (for kerosene), and discovered that the old phone was down. However, cell phones seemed to be working again, but since I didn't have cell phone numbers for businesses the cell phone wasn't much help.

Around ten, dad decided the roads were good enough, so he left to go in search of some kerosene - we had gotten the temp in the house up to fifty eight before he left. That lasted longer than I thought, but not as long as I was hoping, cause about an hour after dad left he called from his cell phone to mine to tell me that the entire county was without power.

"Oh shit!"

Well, he decided to head south rather than coming straight home. And there was some kerosene he might could have gotten, but neither of us had an emergency stash of cash, and since phone lines were spotty (at best) it meant credit cards were useless. Needless to say he returned that day without kerosene, despite driving more than a hundred miles and visiting three neighboring counties.

(A side-story here is that dad discovered the four wheel drive on his SUV was messed up just after Christmas - we think the four wheel drive would still work, but the "button" is messed up so we can't engage the four wheel drive - that hadn't been fixed, and my car ain't worth spit on a winter road. More bad news, on this day he discovered he only had one working break, which was bad, but he managed somehow. Actually, he's real good on winter roads, experience and all that.)

He finally returned home before three without kerosene - the temp in the house was forty eight, and I was (as mentioned) cold - so very cold.

Anyway, we took all the lamp oil we had, which wasn't much and put it in the heater. Don't laugh, it kept us warm(ish) through the evening, and because we just turned it off overnight, we had enough to warm up a bit Friday morning.

Water continued to hold steady and be okay for us and our toilet buckets.

PS - It was cloudy and cool, which meant no melting took place, and so there was still danger of trees falling.

Friday
Day Four


As I said, we woke up, warmed the place up slightly - got dressed and headed north in search of kerosene. This day we took my car, because the main roads were okay, except for the trees, but by this point they were mostly dodge-able.
(Though to try and help out a "neighbor" we took a couple roads that weren't, but did I mention dad was driving and not me, cause we'd have been screwed with me driving. Neighbor is in quotes, because they aren't neighbors, friends, but not living close to us - on the other side of the county in fact.)

This day was many things - nerve racking, but ultimately good. We headed a couple counties north, and found some power, but even there credit card use was spotty. But I should start at the beginning.

We got where we were going, because someone had called dad the night before and said they had kerosene at this place. *shakes head* By the time we got there they didn't even have gas, let alone kerosene. This was of the not good, cause we didn't have enough gas in my car to make it back home.

We did find a gas station - no kerosene, and no cheap gas, but they did have plus and premium gas - we got plus, which made us both feel better even though we still didn't have any kerosene. This place had credit card machines up and working, which was good because between the two of us we only had twenty five dollars - I did mention the lack of emergency cash, didn't I? Our money was in the bank, and the bank (all three branches) were without power.

The dude told dad where there might be some kerosene, so we headed off in search again. We stopped at another gas station for drinks (cola), and luckily there was a dude in there who'd just come from getting kerosene at a big ol' gas station up the road - the place he directed us to had everything! Their cc machine was down, but thankfully they were willing to take a check. We got ten gallons of kerosene, and suddenly the world seemed just a little bit brighter.

Of course, that could have been because it was. You see, the sun had come out bright and early this morning. Melting had all ready started before we left, but as we drove north there was less sun, but there was still melting, though parts north hadn't gotten hit by the ice storm as badly as we had, though it was still pretty damn bad, just not as bad as my county.

After getting the kerosene we headed to Wal-Mart for some food stuff - we also wanted some D batteries and candles... Guess what - we found some food, but no D batteries (or C for that matter, though we needed D) or candles were to be found. Also, dad wanted some gas, he's got a small grill that we could have used to cook, rather than cooking on top of the kerosene heater, but they had all ready sold out of those, as well. There was also no lamp oil to be found, but we refilled our lamps with the plain ol unscented kerosene.

At this point we were both getting hungry, because we'd skipped breakfast in favor of getting an earlier start on our trip. We had tried to stop at a McDonalds for breakfast, but at that point they were only accepting cash. Anyway, on our way towards the edge of town we found a fish place, and their cc machine was up and running so we had a damn nice meal - I even got a doggie bag so I could have more of my good meal later.

After that we started home with not everything we may have wanted, but certainly everything we needed. Life was good!

We got home about the same time dad had returned the day before, and loaded our coolers down, left our cola on the porch, and fired up the heater. The house had cooled down, but it quickly warmed back up.

Needless to day Friday night was comfortable, and that might be the reason I actually started to get bored. Somehow even without the television or computer, I wasn't truly bored until Friday night. But boredom I could live with.

The bad news was that our water pressure was completely gone - though we still had a good flow, but since I stupidly forgot to purchase bottled water while we were out, I started filling up pans and jugs with water just in case we completely lost it.

PS - There was much melting at home this day, but there was still plenty of ice on trees. However, the trees around the house looked a lot less heavy.

PPS - On the way home that day we realized that while power was still out in our county several gas stations had generators, which meant next time we needed kerosene we probably wouldn't have to go so far to find some.

Saturday
Day Five


This day was even warmer than Friday, but still not all the ice melted. Dad has a mule - a vehicle that is a bit of a cross between a golf-cart and a four wheeler, and decided to go for a bit of a ride this afternoon.

Visited some folks, and discovered that pretty much the only reason we still had any running water at all is because we live under a bit of a hill. Those on a hill (or possibly just level ground) hadn't actually had water since Wednesday morning.

Speaking of which, our water was down to just a trickle even opening the tap full blast. However, just after dark I noticed that we had a bit more pressure, still not enough to flush, but it seemed to be coming back. What I didn't know then was that some places in my county had finally gotten some power back.

Anyway, at this point I was badly craving a shower - I was nasty, and my hair just...
Horrible.

Sunday
Day Six


Woke up to a warm sunny day. Used the bathroom, could actually flush. However, the water looked like weak milk, which meant drinking without boiling was out, and it's hard to boil water on a kerosene heater. Not impossible, just not easy, and certainly not fast.

Decided to drive to Church just to see if there would be service... Well, I mentioned that some places had gotten power back Saturday night, well, sometime overnight Saturday or early Sunday morning the Church building had gotten power back, so service went on as scheduled. I suspect they got power back because the Church is on a main road.

On my way home I got a bag of ice to conserve what food I could - luckily the freezer wasn't full cause this happened at the end of the month and not the beginning.

After Church we went out riding around the county, the ice was pretty much gone, and all the roads were passable, though some were a tight fit not because of ice, but because of fallen limbs/trees.

Got back home, still no power, but Sunday night I saw power trucks going by the house. Not working near the house, but at least they were in the area.

Monday
Day Seven


Woke up this morning to another sunny day, and since I had slept a bit later the house was warmer for my this morning because dad had been up with the heater running for several hours. In other words, I didn't have to have my coffee while standing over the heater.

Water was still running, but still white rather than clear, may have even been a bit worse today. But hey it was running, and I had figured out how to boil water without turning the kerosene heater way up (wasting fuel).

Got dressed and went to work... As I was leaving I saw two power trucks working near the house - two lines were down - one just in on the other side of the house next door, and one four/five houses down. I suspected they were fixing them, but refused to get truly hopeful.

Before I left for work, dad had left to see if he could find some batteries and candles, cause the last of our candles were getting low, and it is so very dark in the house without at least one candle burning overnight.
(That and he was even more bored than I was, because he's the type to leave a television on even if he isn't watching it just for the noise.)

He got back before I did, and he said when he got back the power was still off. He had found some candles, but no batteries. Then not five minutes before I got home the power came back on.

This happened just before noon on Monday, which meant the power wasn't off for a full week. I have to give the power company major props here, because I wasn't really even expecting power here before the weekend at least, and I wouldn't have been entirely surprised if the power had stayed off for a full two weeks at least.
(There were also folks from power companies from several other states helping, and I personally cannot thank them enough, because I am certain without their assistance we would have been in the cold dark for at least two more weeks.
I don't know all the states that were helping in this county, but I do know one of the trucks I saw was from South Carolina, and I know there's at least one other state working in my county because the truck is a different color from ours and the South Carolina truck, but I haven't seen the plates on that one to know where it's from.
Anyone know which state(s) have red power trucks?)

Seriously, you guys (and gals) who have worked and are still working hard to get power back up and running deserve buckets of money and many more thanks than you'll probably ever get.

Anyway, by two the freezer/fridge was getting back to normal, so I started going through the coolers. The good news is that we didn't lose anything, and most of the meat was actually still frozen (YAY!). However, there were several things that wasn't, and wouldn't you know that all the meat that thawed was pork, so I will be eating pork the rest of the week, but since I was expecting to find that not only had everything thawed but that at least some had actually ruined I was pleasantly surprised.

By three o'clock I decided the water was warmed enough for me to get a shower - I felt like a brand new man, er, woman. I didn't even care that the water was still milk-looking. Hey, at least it isn't muddy looking.

Tuesday
2/3/09
The day I'm actually typing this.


It was so very nice to sleep in my own bed last night. Even the pets seem happier, though it is funny, they (the so-called experts) recommend keeping your pets in the warmest part of the home - well, I'd like to see them try and force my cat to stay in the living room. *laughs* She actually spent most of her time during the power outage in the coldest part of the house - my bedroom. The dog stayed on the couch, but she always stays on the couch, so I'm not sure she stayed there because it was warm or simply because that was her space just as much as my bed is the cats space.

The water is still milk-like today, so I'm still using the water I bottled back when things were dark, but since I have power back I can easily boil some water - I'm just being lazy using that which I've bottled before making more work for myself. Admittedly, I'd like for my tap water to be back to normal before I run out of bottled water, but at the rate I'm cooking and drinking coffee that probably isn't going to happen.

The landline phone is still down, obviously, so I really have no idea when I'll be able to actually post this, but when the phone comes back I'll probably post this before even checking my email.
(The phone started working again sometime between two thirty and four thirty this afternoon.)

I am really glad to have power back today, last night wouldn't have been any worse than any other night, but today is the coldest day so far. Probably not the coldest of the year, but the coldest since the power outage.

When I woke up it was windy and snowing. It didn't snow long, and since the sun was out for a few hours what snow landed has mostly melted despite the frost-bite temp, but the wind is pretty much refusing to back off.
(Just very glad the ice is gone, because this much wind on top of the iced trees would have been so very much of the not good. And it probably isn't great as it is, because there were limbs that had broke that hadn't made it completely to the ground, and numerous limbs that were broke but still hanging by a tiny thread.)

Anyway, as I mentioned, I'm very glad to have power today, because if we didn't have power, we'd be leaning heavy on the kerosene, and would probably have to get more tomorrow or the next day since tomorrow is forecast to be only slightly warmer than today. At least it does seem that there'll be a warm up starting either overnight Wednesday or during the day on Thursday, at least if they've got the forecast right...

But I can't help but worry about the people that still don't have power in my county (there are many), and other surrounding counties, because even some living in the more populated counties still don't have full power restored, and it really is just cold all over today.


*grins*

Greetings from those of us only slowly recovering from the major American ice storm to those in London who are suffering through what is for them a major snow storm.
(I'm not making fun, what is considered a major snow storm for us here causes people in the American North to make fun of us, and from what I can see on the news what's happening in London while wouldn't be considered a major snow storm here would be considered a bad one.)
 
 
 
 
 
 
What an ordeal.

You might, as finances allow, lay in a modest stock of emergency things. A pack of batteries here, some candles there. That is what I do for hurricane season. Over time, you end up having enough in case of emergency. In case of tight funds, build it up slowly.

Having no power sucks and is boring. I'm lost without my lights, TV, computer, A.C., etc.
*grins* We've all ready started - we've decided to keep at least one hundred dollars in cash around at all times. Though we'll be building it up ten or twenty at a time.

As for the batteries, we rarely (read almost never) use D batteries, and the last pack I bought expired before we needed them. At least this time we had enough, but I admit that I was worried about the flashlights since the batteries in them were more than a few years old.

The candle situation was just bad timing. I usually have plenty on hand, I kind of collect them, but I was getting too many on hand and had decided to stop buying them for awhile... See, bad timing.
Wow, glad you got through that mess unharmed. *hugs*
Thanks.

*return hugs*

Things are slowly (very slowly) returning to normal, or at least what passes for normal. ;)