Friday I awoke to a world that looked like it had been dipped in glass. It looked beautiful. The kids were delighted because this meant a day off of school, something that is almost as good as Christmas. The kids were giddy with excitement. They had so many great plans for their unexpected day off. Almost immediately there was a bidding war for use of the computer.
It was around 10:00 a.m. when the hydro went out. It was amazing how quiet the house was without the noise of the television, the computer, the everything that sucks electricity. The kids were lost for the first half hour or so. They just walked around wondering what to do with themselves. They were so used to being amused by electronics that they were literally lost. I suggested that they could read, you would have thought that I had suggested that they play with a bag of maggots. The funny thing is that my kids love to read. When I told them this Grace told me "I like to read at night."
After an hour without hydro I began to think that maybe this wasn't a temporary thing. I began to think about what needed to put into place if this was to be a long term outage. I went downstairs and turned on the fireplace. My plan was for us all to camp out in the basement where there was a non-electric heat source. I began to make a list in my head as to what needed to be put into place.
I went outside, camera in hand wanting to capture the ice-storm.. It was then that the beauty of the ice began to fade, to be replaced with fear. I walked out front to take a picture of our birch tree. All around me was a deep "Cr- rrrrr - ACK" and moaning as all around me the trees threatened to break under the strain of the heavy ice. It was unnerving. Everywhere I looked was carnage. The forested area behind the school looked like someone had carelessly taken a chain-saw to the entire area, severing limbs. I tried to open my back gate, only to discover that it was so heavily covered in ice that there was no way I could get in. As I stood there looking into the backyard I heard that ominous deep groan and then crash and what sounded like shattering glass. A huge branch had torn from my favourite tree in the backyard.
|The view from my side window|
I came back into the house, a little shaken. I began to think about our trees, our trees that beautify the yards, that keep us cool in the summer. I have only ever thought about them as beautiful ornaments, I was now looking at the big birch in the front yard. I began to think about the ramifications if it ever fell towards the house, through the picture window. I gave a little shudder.
I tried to put the thoughts of impending doom out of my mind and see this for what it was, an opportunity. By this point the kids had found ways to entertain themselves. They all had their hand held electronics, and were happily playing. I wasn't sure it I liked this or not. We are too dependent on technology. When we go camping they just all play together.
|This is my screen door|
An hour and a half after the hydro went out, Gracie was still playing her DS, but Rowan, Riley and Elly were playing Go Fish. They then found the Bop It, which pulled Gracie away from the DS. The living room was filled with laughter. It was during this time that Christopher and I snuck downstairs to the basement and sat in front of the fireplace with a glass of wine.
The power-outage was funny because only some of the houses and businesses were affected. This was perplexing, but worked to our benefit. Christopher ran out to the grocery store and grabbed a barbecued chicken, salads and bread. After dinner he got us coffees. I sat eating dinner, enjoying my family. I kept thinking that we got off easy, almost too easy. The house temperature only fell a few degrees, and we were all still comfortable.
Around 7:00 p.m. the power was still out. I went around setting up candles so that all I had to do was light them when the darkness fell. The kids were still enjoying each other, so Christopher and I went into the kitchen and played backgammon. I felt at peace. There was not that hum the hydro makes, normally I don't even notice it with all of the other noise. There was no sounds of the television, no computer, just the kids talking to each other.
As the darkness fell, I went around lighting candles that had been placed out of reach of children. I placed mirrors in behind them to reflect the light. The house glowed with that light that only candle light can produce, that soft, warm glow. I kept telling Christopher "I keep waiting for things to go wrong but this is so nice."
Around 8:00 I set up my laptop (I know. I was slightly conflicted about introducing technology, but I also didn't want them to get bored and go for each other's throats). I pulled out the bowl of chips, and passed around Kool Aid Jammers. They sat, covered in blankets, enjoying the movie. Once the kids were all settled, Christopher went into the kitchen to talk by candle light (it sounds more romantic that it was). It was around this time that the alarm began to go off on the sump pump battery.
We had invested a small fortune to get the basement waterproofed this fall. We thought that it would be a really smart move to invest in a battery incase there was a hydro outage. It was not inexpensive, but it gave us peace of mind. Up until this point we have been feeling really good about our investment. All day the pump kept pumping out water, even though the hydro was out. We kept congratulating ourselves on our brilliance.
We had thought about moving the kids down to the basement where the fireplace was to keep them warm. We decided against it because in 10 hours the heat had only fallen 2 degrees. We decided to set the little kids up in the living room in sleeping bags. We put extra blankets on top of them just incase, turns out that was a pretty smart move.
That night Christopher and I snuggled into our bed. We congratulated ourselves on getting though the day. I sighed deeply thinking about how nice it had been to just be with each other. Little did I know that fate would bite me in the butt........ to be continued tomorrow.