Friday, January 19, 2007

Ice Storm Redux

You may have heard that the Midwest was hit by a huge ice storm this week. It was actually on Monday, which was a holiday so there weren't tons of accidents on the highway. (You can tell that I'm adjusting to this midwesterner thing 'cause I said "highway" an not "freeway.") Anyway, we saw on the news that this crazy, slow-moving storm that started in Texas was working its way up towards us. People in the Plaines States had been without electricity for days. (This is the same storm that caused freezing weather in 'ole sunny California too.) At about 11:00 pm on Sunday night, M was worried that we'd lose our electricity too and freeze right inside our house. We had highs of 17 degrees for three days. We have a gas heater, but it's triggered by electricity to kick on. So, M took off to find a heater. He went to get an oil heater, but ended up getting a butane one because there was no one selling oil at midnight. Meanwhile, I got some flashlights and candles together and put them in strategic places. When he got back, we discussed our plan for heating the house if we were without power for days. (We decided that we'd hole up in the kitchen because the oven could help keep us warm and it has low ceilings (easier to keep the heat where we need it.) Then we went to sleep.

We woke up at 4:30 AM to the clicking sound of our clock going on and off. We also noticed that the nightlight outside our room kept glowing on and off, which was kind of eerie. It had happened as we thought -- the electricity was dead. I pulled up the covers, rolled over and went back to sleep. M tried to for a few minutes, then said "I'm going to Walgreens to get batteries and cash." I woke up right away because I was nervous about him driving. Remember, this is an ICE STORM, which meant that there was ICE everywhere, including the streets. He said that he needed to go, just in case the electricity stayed out for days -- we'd need the batteries and cash. So, I said a little prayer and watched him pull away ever so slowly on the ice-covered streets. By the way, did you know that 4-wheel drive does squat on ice? You just slip and slide. For this reason, he took our car that has manual-transmission so that he could just down shift to stop instead of applying the brakes.

He came back about an hour later and soon the boys woke up. They were very excited to have the lights out because they got to play in the playroom with flashlights. Their excitement did wear off five hours later when they realized that the TV, video game, and computer all need electricity! I was terribly disappointed to realize that our gas oven wouldn't work without electricity because it has a computerized temperature control thingy. I was really bummed! I had planned on baking cookies, bread, and all sorts of things all day long -- I was really looking forward to it. Anyway, after reading books and playing board games, we got our electricity back on by about 1:00. We're calling it an adventure! Here are some pictures that we took. They don't do the beauty justice, but it gives you an idea of the wonderland that we had in our back yard for a few days.

You can see the mini ice cicles hanging off of the crabapples on our tree below:

I tried to get a close-up so that you folks on the West Coast could see something that you've never seen before: ice frozen all over these branches. They completely cover them -- like the branches have little ice socks on them.

Look at the ice "fringe" on this patio chair.

A winter wonderland in my backyard.


gramonthelake said...

Wow! What a super photographer you are. Especially like the frozen berry photo. Bet you would win a contest with it. M is soooo like his Dad, going out in the storm like that. It must be a guy thing.
It makes one think how in the old days they ever made it without electricity. My Mom's trick was to keep a kettle of water simmering on the gas stove top. This adds moist heat to the air. It's amazing how it helps! (Add whole cloves & cinnamon sticks...smells yummo!) XOXOXOG&G

CaliforniaGrammy said...

Good job with the camera . . . I love the crab apples, the fringed chair, and especially the winter wonderland back yard. I'm using that one on my desktop so I can be thankful our "cold" is in the 40s! Glad the power came back on so M didn't have to figure out something else he needed. I can just see R and Ts faces when they realized how many "things" they like require electricity . . . bummer!

v-party of five said...

How absolutely beautiful! I love the way the ice looks on everything. I do need to get me a copy of the crabapple picture. I LOVE the colors in that photo. I think you could win a prize indeed. That was some adventure. You should of seen us here in So. Cal looking at each other going ... uhh.. hello.. what is this? I was out with P and looked at his temperature gauge (sp?) in the car and thought for sure that it was broken. Whoever thought it would be 38 degrees at 2:00 in the afternoon. Very strange. Snow in Malibu and Agoura Hills too. That hasn't happened in ages I hear.

Thanks for the great pictures and sharing your adventure!