Wednesday, September 02, 2015

The windstorm that blew us straight into fall...

(I wrote this on the evening of Sunday, August 30th)...

It has been an interesting weekend…

We had the worst wind storm yesterday that BC has seen in years, and our power was out before noon yesterday.  I don’t remember the last time we ever had a power outage that lasted more than a few hours, until this one.  It’s been a day and a half now and only in the last few hours have we got HALF our power back…It’s crazy - our microwave works, but the stove doesn’t (yet they are right beside each other).  The fridge is still out.  The dining room light works but the downstairs bathroom is still out, as is the entire living room.  Upstairs is all working except for the kids’ rooms.  We also have no internet (I’m writing on the computer only because we took it to charge up at my parents’ place, which is about a 5-7 minute drive from us and their power never went out, even though it seemed to go out all around them!)  Our phones can’t even dial out, and when people call us they can’t hear what we’re saying and then the call cuts out.  It’s like we’re in the twilight zone.  Having NO SERVICE on your phone at home, landline or cellular,  is just unheard of!  And no internet access is insane!  And trying to read by the light of a candle or flashlight is HARD!  I really love my electricity...

Adding insult to injury is the fact that James and I had a date planned for yesterday evening.  My parents were all set to look after the kids from dinner time onward, and I expected we’d have been out together for about 4 hours+.  I was SO looking forward to it and really felt excited about us having some time together, just the two of us.  It’s been a long time since we went out, just us.  I kept thinking the power would come back on, but it was SO stormy, and then we heard that ‘a’ tree had fallen in the neighbourhood, but in reality it was MANY trees all over the lower mainland.  Many, many, MANY trees.

We didn’t venture out at all yesterday and of course had to cancel our plans, because it just wasn’t safe to go anywhere.  People were having trees fall on them, and there were even trees falling onto the highway.  There’s no way I would have felt good about going out in those conditions, and there’s a good chance the place we were planning to go to would be out of power, anyway.

The kids had to be reminded several times that the power was out, when they asked us to play music, or wanted to watch a show.  Margaret in particular is a bit of a TV-aholic, and asked to watch something when she got up from her nap.  I told her she couldn’t because we still had no power and she just stared at me!  But I found all three kids were actually really good about the fact that we didn’t have access to TV or music or lights, or even a way to heat up some food.  They were content (for the most part) to play with their toys and we read and played games, and THANKFULLY our favourite pizza place still had power, so we ordered from there for dinner so we wouldn’t have to worry about the fact that we couldn’t cook anything.  It was the original plan, anyway, that we were going to order pizza for when my parents would be looking after the kids, and James and I were going to take some with us to go, it just didn’t quite work out that way!

Everything was pretty much fine (other than feeling sad that we weren’t getting to go out) until it was starting to get dark, and we had to get creative with how to give the kids light upstairs, since they’re used to sleeping with the hall light on outside their bedrooms.  And Andrew typically has a light on in his room at night, too.  We got the girls into bed and had a 3 wick candle lit on a tall shelf outside of their room, so I wasn’t worried about it being a fire hazard or anything, but I also knew it could only be a short term solution since I couldn’t leave a candle burning once I was going to bed, too.  So I took this art projector thing from Andrew’s room and set it up on the shelf where the candle was, so when I went to bed I would just turn that light on and leave it on as a night light, and it turned out to be the perfect thing!  I was glad I thought of that.  We also found a portable night light for Andrew’s room, but it had burnt out by the time I was going to bed (which ended up not mattering as Andrew was already asleep and didn’t notice!)

So we got the girls to bed, which went much smoother than we’d thought, they were pretty much completely fine with the light situation.  Margaret did mention once that it was ‘too dark’, but seemed fine once I said that there would be a light on outside her room all night.  Once they were tucked in, we came downstairs and James, Andrew, and I sat on the couch with candles around the room, and chatted.  Mostly stories about James’ childhood, and a little about mine, too, in relation to what we used to do when there were storms and power outages.  It was nice to cuddle up on the couch and share some stories and some laughs, and then Andrew said he was getting tired so we got him tucked into bed and he fell asleep pretty quickly.  James and I chatted some more and it was nice to just hang out together without the need for technology, although once he went to bed I felt a little stuck for things to do!  My time of the month started, which seemed like terrible timing because I couldn’t even heat up the hot pack that I REALLY could have used, and I wasn’t feeling all that great so I wanted to just veg, but wasn’t really wanting to go to bed yet.  Especially since I’m used to sleeping with a fan and couldn’t stand the thought of being without it.  I think part of me was hopeful that the power would be back on soon and I’d just wait it out and go to bed once it was on.

But of course that wasn’t going to happen!  I ended up reading a bit by flashlight, which as it turns out isn’t entirely easy on the eyes, but it was doable.  I went to bed a bit earlier than usual and managed to fall asleep after a while, but woke up a lot through the night to every single sound outside because I’m not used to hearing everything that’s usually masked by the fan.  A group of guys slammed car doors and talked loudly in Chinese as they walked down the street, and that had to have been around 2am or so.  And every time a car went by I woke up, which happened a surprising amount of times for being the wee hours of the morning!  

This morning we just hung around and the kids played, and then James went to the store for a couple of things that we really needed, but just got a small container of milk because of course the fridge wasn’t working (and sadly, is still one of the things that’s without power, so I’m worrying about how much food we’re going to have to throw away after this).  When he got back he went back to bed and I took the kids over to my parents’ place, where we could enjoy some electricity and I could finally have a coffee, which I’d been wanting since I’d got up in the morning!  We stayed there for a couple of hours and then it was time to come home for the girls’ nap time.  I was getting so frustrated with being at home so while the girls slept, James and Andrew had some father/son time and I went to the mall, which luckily was open, but it was also crazy busy with people who were also without power, and a lot of people plugging their phones and computers into the outlets throughout the mall!  I looked for some supplies for the proper emergency kit I’m wanting to make, because it became clear that we’re really not properly prepared for something major happening (if we weren’t quite properly prepared for THIS, we’re definitely not equipped for something more major, and I want to feel like we’re as prepared as we can be, so I have to get on that ASAP!)  I didn’t find the things I was wanting so I ended up using up some coupons I had and got some new fall clothes, which I’d been wanting to do so it was a bonus that the coupons were finally valid.  I need to get a few new tops and one more pair of pants and I feel like I’ll be set for a while, which is awesome.  I just can’t believe I was shopping for FALL when I was feeling so hopeful that summer wasn’t actually over yet.  But, sadly, I think the wind (and rain) storm threw us into fall in the span of 24 hours.

Its been a crazy couple of days, and it isn’t over yet, because I’m still sitting here with candles lighting the room, no internet access (obviously when I post this it means it’s back on!) and wondering what to do about all the food in our fridge.  Fingers crossed this ends any minute, and I can make my to do list for supplies that will ease my mind about all the ‘what if’s’ this little wake-up call has forced me to think about!

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