The sun is shining but dang it's C O L D!
Those of you who watch the weather channel or follow the weather throughout the country already know that the east coast was hit with a major ice storm on Thursday. I left work at 3PM and it was raining but just above 32 degrees so I had clear sailing for at least part of the ride home. I now live 45 miles North from where I work so I knew my luck wasn't going to stick with me the whole ride home. I was correct. About a mile or so North of Concord, the temps must have been below freezing because the road was getting slick and many cars were now crawling down the highway no faster than 30 mph, which was fine with me. I could see the ice forming on the hood of my car and I wasn't about to go any faster. I did have to stop at the pharmacy so I called George and asked how the roads in town were. He was just getting home and he said to just go slow and I would be fine. The pharmacy is about 6 miles at the end of our road, but it would be safer than the highway at this point. Right before I got to the exit, there were a couple of cars off the roadway and being towed out of the median and ditch by wreckers so I was anxious to get off the interstate.
I made my way to the pharmacy and picked up my medicine with no problem. I was right, the back road home was far easier to navigate and even with the little hills and turns, the road was well treated with salt and sand. I got home with no trouble and made it down the driveway from hell in one piece. I parked my car in the garage and that's where it was staying. I had already determined that I wasn't going to attempt the drive to work in the morning. We were all home safe and sound.
The evening was uneventful but the power went out sometime after midnight. As it turns out, over 400,000 people would lose power during this storm which will go down as one of the worst in the State. George had the foresight to buy a generator on his way home from work on Thursday so he and Patrick got that powered up Friday morning so at the very least, we had heat. We all know that in the country, no power means no water either. A shower will have to wait. We also have an electric stove so that meant I couldn't cook, but we had plenty of sandwich fixins.
Friday evening we were still without power so George and I decided to go out for a hot meal. We ended up at a local pizza joint since all the other restaurants were either without power or full of people who couldn't cook at home. The ride was awesome though. The rain had stopped mid afternoon and the sun did come out briefly before it got dark but we were treated to a bright full moon and the light from the moon glistening on the ice that coated the trees was absolutely gorgeous.
When we got home, George decided to hook up an additional extension cord so we could plug in the heater for the aquarium and he also attached a cord to the tv and dvd player. Just as soon as we were all settled to watch a movie, the power came back on. All I could think of was...how long before the water in the hot water tank gets hot enough for a shower?
We were about 18 hours without power but there are still a lot of people who are in the cold and dark tonight. My son is one of them. We have extended an invitation for him and Jessie to come up here and spend the night. Still waiting on an answer. They were waiting for the generators to be delivered to the Sears store in their town the last time I spoke to Eric.
This morning, after about 7 failed attempts to get up the driveway, we finally made our way into town. We had a lot of errands to run and some Christmas shopping to do. We stopped for breakfast and then headed to my almost vacant house to see if there was any damage there. The house was still standing, but there was about an inch of solid ice in the driveway and covering the stairs. I noticed that there were numerous tree limbs covered in ice and bent over the power lines all over town and a lot of places were simply closed. There was only one gas station in town that was open and the lines were pretty long at the pumps. The bank was open but only because they had a huge portable generator powered up. I was surprised to see that I had electricity in my house. I have the furnace still running and the thermostat is set at it's lowest possible temperature so that my pipes don't freeze. The house was cool but everything was in order. I know, I am very lucky.
We bagged up some trash and packed up 4 boxes of kitchen and bathroom stuff, filled the trunk of my car and took out 3 bags of garbage. I checked the oil tank, still have plenty of oil for a few more weeks, and we headed to the Mall.
I checked off a few more on my Christmas list and we have a game plan for more shopping tomorrow. Looks like we will get a good majority of our shopping done this weekend. I hate shopping...and this year I have whittled down my list considerably. George and I are going to buy a couple of recliners so we aren't buying individual gifts this year. I already have what I want anyway. :-)
It's a good thing I decided to not go into work yesterday because I would have been really ticked off if I had driven all that way and found that there was no electricity. I've been there 6 years and they have never closed because of a storm. My boss just called and she is still without power and she and her family are now staying at an EconoLodge in town. It could be days before their power comes back on.
George's friend Jim called earlier and we are going to lend him our generator. He is still without power and he has small kids in the house. I offered our shower too, not sure if he will take us up on that but we have plenty of hot water.
The news is reporting that there are still 400,000 people without power. It's been so cold that the ice on the power lines and on the trees hasn't melted at all.
We have assistance coming from as far away as Ohio to aid the power companies. Trying to see the positive through the negative, Mother Nature has provided us with some fantastic winter scenery the last couple of days.
Another night of extreme cold and then up to 50 degrees by Monday. Keeping my fingers crossed that we will be out of this deep freeze and in the light soon. The calendar says it isn't even winter yet.
I hope you all are warm and cozy and thanks for the prayers and warm thoughts.