Monday, December 15, 2008

Surviving the Ice Storm

As many of you know, upstate NY and New England had a bad ice storm Thursday and into Friday. For an area that could dig us out of 20" of snow with ease, dealing with ice is an entirely different matter. We went up to Dave and Chrissy's house on Thursday to make cookies and hang out. We knew the weather wasn't great because it was noon when we left and our car was already covered with ice. But further north the ice became snow and we enjoyed our day with our fam. Driving home was slightly touch and go, but not too bad. Although our car was almost hit by a falling branch - Eric was it out of the corner of his eye as it fell from our tree behind our car. What a blessing! We went to bed not too worried about anything (obviously we hadn't listened to the news).
I didn't sleep well that night because I kept hearing "errrk - BANG!" which I now realize were tree limbs in the park behind our house breaking and falling off. Then around 3am the power went out. Friday morning came and I was up before Noel and Eric. The power was still out and it was a chilly 53 in the house. I searched our emergency kit and OF COURSE could not find a radio - I mean, I could probably skin a deer, but a radio, noooo. So I went out to clear off the car to get to a radio. I knew it wasn't Ice Storm '98 bad because people were driving. The roads themselves were clear for the most part. But as I scrapped the ice off listening to the l-o-n-g list of closings, I felt very prompted to go the store NOW and get a heater. So I sent Eric off to Latham. We were able to purchase a propane heater, propane, D batteries, a radio, and an extra flash light (for Noel so she doesn't play with the Mags). Apparently an hour later those items were hard to find.
Eric had to go to work because Express Jet was in an employee crunch. They were assigning captains to be first officers it was so crazy. So Noel and I bundled up and played with her toys. We still had hot water and a working stove top (my oven has an electrical start go figure) so I felt hopeful. During Noel's nap I put quilts over the larger windows, shoveled the slush off the drive way and in front of the house as best as I could (it got up to 36 that afternoon), and made other preparations that would be harder to do by flashlight - batteries in the CO2 detector, propane in the heater, etc (it gets dark here around 4:15). Once Noel was up, we went to the mall, walked around, ate dinner, and played at the play ground (which was a mad house) until about 5:30. Then we left for our cold dark house.
I can't tell you the mixed feelings I had about going back to the house. It is amazing how your thoughts change when you are responsible for a little person. But I was hopeful power would be restored soon - as MOST of Cohoes had power. We got home, got into PJs, I put Noel's mattress in my room (she won't sleep in my bed - she likes to play with the hats on our bed posts), and wrapped her in my down comforter. The house was still holding at 52. I dug out another large comforter and followed her shortly to bed - what else do you do in the dark? We kept the heater on low, the door open, and the CO2 detector close by as we prepared for a night with temps in the lower teens.
The heater did well to keep our room, I would guess, at about 60-63. But then around 2:30am we ran out of propane. I knew this would happen, but I didn't want to put in the new tanks until morning. So I turned the heater off and closed our door. It probably dropped to 50 in there - more quickly than I would have liked. Darn drafty house. That is when Noel kept waking up as she would squiggle out of her blankets. So I would tuck her back in and attempt to sleep for another hour until she squiggled out again. What a long night!
That morning I thought - it's not too bad in here, thankfully. Then I opened the bedroom door - ahhh. COLD! It had gotten to 42 in the house. I was still torn with what to do. We had reports that our power would be back on that night, but the estimated high temp for the day was 26! We had hot coco and scrambled eggs for breakfast and I tried to figure out how to turn on a gas heater we had in the kitchen (I totally looked over that it was there - dumbie). But the pilot would not stay lit. I imagine it had not been run in a very, very long time from the dust build up. So with Noel up my behind crying, scared and cold, we left for Dave and Chrissy's house. Sarah Gagnon called me; she too was abandoning ship. It was just too cold to stay any longer.
It is funny, I was thinking about the strong urge to stay and weather it out. It has got to be a psychological phenomenon. I always thought people who stayed to weather storms or what have you were idiots, but really the desire to stay where you are is very powerful. Hummm, maybe if I ever get around to my getting my MA I'll have a thesis topic :^)
But all is well now. Heat, thank Heavens for it!!!! And we are a little wiser, and a little more prepared (Eric was able to get the heater in the kitchen running when he got home Saturday night -the gas was a little too far from the thing that holds the pilot flame - but our power was on by then. But now we know)

1 comment:

Chippy said...

I am so glad that you are safe and sound. We had a not so scary experience about 2 years ago that only lasted two days and it wasn't even as cold. At least you were prepared :)