Growing up, superstition was ingrained into us. You NEVER put new shoes on the table... that will surely bring bad luck! If you spill salt, always throw some behind you. The worst thing that you could ever do was to temp fate... YOU NEVER TEMPT FATE! IF you tempt fate, then you are begging for misfortune (unless you can find wood quickly enough to knock on, and even that is not a guarantee that you have not blown it). I would like to tell you that it is all nonsense, but unfortunately after the ice storm, I don't think that I can.
I went to bed Friday night feeling all was right with the world. We had no hydro, but we had managed. We had put in a nice quiet evening. I was going to have us all sleep in the basement to keep warm (we have a natural gas fireplace), but the heat had only gone down a few degrees in the entire day. The three youngest slept in the living room, all cuddled in sleeping bags and blankets on the living room floor (Grace opted for the comfort of her own bed). Christopher and I snuggled into our cozy bed and drifted off feeling peaceful. In the middle of the night Elly climbed into our bed, it was cold. She snuggled in, taking up more than her fair share of the space.
I woke up frozen with a little blonde girl's arm in my face, lying on the very edge of the mattress, with the dog snuggled into my legs. The heat had plummeted to 16 degrees. I instantly regretted not sleeping down in the basement. I had tempted fate. Elly and Fergus and I snuggled in, trying to keep the warmth, but poor Christopher had to go to work that morning.
I had nicely dozed back into sleep when I heard my husband shouting "OH NO... NO... NO... NO!!!!" He staggered into our bedroom. "The battery stopped last night. The basement is flooded. Why did we spend all that money on the battery?" We had been smug. Since we had the basement waterproofed we had been bone dry. I even had the gall to look smugly at the neighbour's dry sump pump hose. Our sump pump kept pumping out the water, even though we saw no evidence of water in the basement. We kept congratulating ourselves on money well spent. We had gone to bed the night before contemplating sleeping in the basement. If I thought I was cold now, at least I wasn't wet.
We had spent a lot of money waterproofing that basement. We had spent a lot of money on a battery back up. I had been assured that battery would last up to five days... and yet it had not yet been 24 hours. Christopher just kept running his hands through his hair, making him look a little crazy. The water was getting dangerously close to our furnace. All of the building supplies had been left on the floor. We had tempted fate, thinking that we had a dry basement.
Our hydro came on at 10:00 a.m. The house slowly began to warm up. The silence of the day before was quickly replaced with the sounds of the television, and the computer, outside was the loiud buzzing of chainsaws. I began to look around, the vacation was over, it was time to play catch up on all the work I could not do the day before.
Christopher came home for his lunch, but instead of eating, he vacuumed up water. He laboriously carried up 20 large shop vacs full of water, and there was even more still left. He had a wild look in his eyes that scared me a little. I wondered if he had reached his breaking point.
"Honey... honey... why don't you stop and have some lunch?" I asked nervously.
"Can't. Can't waste the time. I'm not even making any headway." He grunted, that crazy look still shadowed across his face.
After Crazy Man had gone back to work, and the kids had been fed, I put on my shoes and went out to survey the damage. I honestly wanted to cry. The big birch in the front yard had lost two big branches, and several smaller ones. I'm not that big of a fan of our birch. It creates shade, but I'm not really a birch lover. I opened the back-gate now free of ice. I carefully dodged the dog poop, and made my way back. The neighbour's lilac tree had been hit, and fallen over the fence into our yard. I then walked back farther and wanted to cry. My TREE, my beautiful Manitoba Maple.
I am not a nature lover, I mean I don't dislike nature, it's just not my thing. I could never really see the attraction if I were being honest. I have however a real attachment to the big Manitoba Maple that grows in my backyard. It's not really "an attachment", I LOVE it. I love it the way I would love a family pet. I looked at my beautiful tree. Huge, great limbs had crashed down. The raw looking wood under the bark brutally showing, like raw flesh. The limbs looked as if they had been torn off in a brutal attack. I could not help myself. I walked over and caressed the bark, the way that you would comfort some who had been in a very bad accident. "I'm so sorry." I told him (yes, my tree is a him, and I have now proven what you already suspected, I am indeed a crazy lady). I turned away quickly almost running for the house.
I know that we were not hit as badly as some in that storm. Right now there are people who are still without hydro. I'm sure that there are people who have lost more than just tree branches off of their beloved tree. Saturday evening I went to Mom and Dad's and saw the level of destruction that they had. Our yard looked like nothing compared to their's. It honestly looked like a tornado had ripped thought their yard. Trees that were there when we moved there 38 years ago, were toppled. A huge branch was dangling dangerously off of their hydro line. It was like a clip you would see on television showing victims of huge scale natural disasters. Honestly in comparison we got off easy.
Our basement is now almost dry, there are still little wet patches. I learned that although we were semi-prepared for a power outage, we still have a long ways to go. Christopher's talking about investing in a generator. We had felt so prepared with our expensive battery powered sump pump, but we had tempted fate, and fate taught us who the boss was.