Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Derecho

Well, we have now experienced a weeklong power outage in record breaking heat. Sweeeeeet!
Gabe was driving home from Dilwyn, VA, and I checked the weather at about 9pm because I had heard there was a bad thunder storm heading our way. One of our local news stations posted on facebook that the storm was going to be severe with huge wind gusts, and that people should seek shelter. I checked weather.com though, and it predicted 7mph winds, and when I looked outside, it looked calm, so I thought that the local station was just exaggerating. 5 minutes later I looked outside again and it was suddenly really windy! So much so that I called Gabe to warn him to drive safely, and ran outside to rescue our bikes and trikes which were halfway down the street! While I was on the phone with Gabe, our power flickered and went out. While I was outside I started feeling a little uneasy because I could already hear tree branches cracking, and I was getting hit by twigs and leaves as I dragged everything into the carport, and searched for our little turtle paddling pool which had disappeared! Flashes of lightening were going off constantly, but they were weird and orange and up in the clouds, and I heard hardly any thunder! I rushed back inside and watched from the window as the trees bowed to the wind. It was pretty crazy and surreal. Gabe had to take 6 or 7 detours once he got into the city, because roads kept on getting blocked by fallen trees and limbs. I felt much better once he was home.
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We were lucky to only lose one big tree branch, and it fell onto the street! (First picture) The next day as we drove around Roanoke, we saw how much damage there was, and I felt extremely relieved that the two big trees next to our house managed to survive! The direction of the wind was such that even if they had fallen, they most likely would have fallen away from our house anyway, thank goodness. The second picture was one of the big trees that fell in the parking lot at church. We realised that we probably wouldn’t have power until at least Monday though. And it was going to be HOT! In fact, the daytime highs for the entire week was in the upper 90s… ugh.
We had lots of offers of help and accommodations from friends, but the day before the storm hit, Oliver had developed this:
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Hand, foot, and mouth disease. Joy. We didn’t want to share that with anyone, so we slept at home every night until Thursday night. It wasn’t my favourite. We all slept downstairs in the family room, where the temperatures overnight got down to a balmy 85F, in comparison with the 95F temperatures upstairs. The children all slept in just underwear, but they still really struggled as they tried to fall asleep every night! It was sticky and hot and not very pleasant, but we survived!
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During the days, we tried to stay out of the house as much as possible, wandering the aisles of Target, Best Buy, PetSmart, and Barnes and Noble, just to enjoy the air conditioning! I even resorted to Chuck E Cheese on Thursday!
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The first day we escaped the heat for a while by taking the mini dvd player out to the van and letting the children watch a movie in with the engine running and the AC blasting! Probably one of the most difficult parts was trying to find places for Oliver to nap during the day, because home was not an option with how hot it was during daylight hours! So he mostly got mini naps in the van. One day we went to a 12pm matinee showing of Brave, which was a lot of fun, and it also meant that Oliver got a really good nap! I got him nice and comfortable on my lap, and he fell asleep really fast and slept for almost the whole duration of the movie. By Wednesday he was so tired that he went to sleep with absolutely no complaints in an entirely new pack-n-play in a house he’d never visited before (Thank you Schwendimans!), and he slept for just over 3 hours!! Poor baby!
Blessedly, we still had running water, cold and hot, and we managed to consume most of the food in our fridge and freezer before it went bad.
This is what the rest of our week without power looked like:
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Sometimes, first thing in the morning it was down to the lower 80s in the house, so we didn’t have to escape the house too early! We spent $2 a piece on these rocket balloons at target, and the kiddos love them!
Lots and lots of time in the shady carport with the paddling pool (which was retrieved from the neighbour’s back yard across the street where the wind had deposited it!), a cooler full of water, and squirt guns. Being wet really helped!
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By Thursday, we couldn’t face the thought of sleeping in our hot house again so, as Oliver had been rash-free since Tuesday, we took our friends up on their offer to let us sleep at their house, and it felt heavenly!
Friday we had a therapy trip scheduled, so that put us in the air conditioned van for 4 hours total, and the air conditioned therapy room for 75 minutes, so that was great! Then when we got back into Roanoke, we went to Cost Cutters to get Brogan’s hair cut, then walked next door to Kroger to get some dinner, which we ate at the little tables in the store. So that was another couple of hours out of the heat. Then we drove home at about 6:35pm, and as we pulled up to the house, we saw that the outside light was on, and there were whoops and screams of excitement from all 4 of us!!!! 3 hours short of a whole week… 165 hours without power in almost 100F temperatures and humidity definitely gives you a greater appreciation for modern comforts!

3 comments:

bgabe said...

That is a rather hilarious picture of me drinking from the squirt gun. Good stuff.

Syme Family News said...

Sure love you guys!

derecho said...

Thank you again for another” feel good, uplifting, that there are good people in this world story”. We read so many stories that are negavite about people and what they do to others. A random act of kindness is always such a great thing to hear about. Peace and blessings.