Well, for once, the forecasters were right. The precip came down heavy Friday afternoon. Sometimes it was large heavy flakes, sometimes freezing rain and sometimes just lake effect type snow. After dark we turned on the outside lights to watch it come down. We went to bed and each listening to the radio and reading a book when about 11 the lights go off and the power is out. Hey, we planned for this, right? Rummmn Rummmn, the generator kicks in. We have power at the computers, in the kitchen, in living room, - - But wait a moment, the furnace did not resume. Checking in the utility room, I discover that we have no water heater and no furnace. (expletive deleted)!
That was the whole point of buying and installing the generator. It was supposed to give us peace of mind by protecting the pipes and such from freezing when we were out of town. Well, I guess it did give us peace of mind, we didn't worry because we thought we were protected.
It just means that the wood stove will have to work overtime. Luckily, I had cleaned it out on Thursday and brought down a wheelbarrow load of fire wood on Friday so I stoked it up and ran it wide open through the night. I did have to get up every couple of hours to throw on another log but us old guys get up every couple of hours anyway. The outside temp didn't drop below 30 so we were warm and toasty through the night.
From time to time I heard strange noises and couldn't tell if they were inside or outside but they were only occasional, not steady. In the morning we discovered that two of our mainstays and methods of contact with the outside world were gone. NPR was off the air and Charter Cable was down so - no TV and no internet. We did have the local classic rock station so I hoped to get some news. What we got was a description of the yanking bozo's drive in from Leelanau County and stories of power outages at his neighbors. We did get an beeb - beeb - beep announcement warning folks to stay home and off the roads unless it was an serious emergency.
What we didn't get was news that the college was closed, the mail and papers would not be delivered or such things as the sled dog races and other events were canceled or God forbid, what was happening more than 30 miles away. We did get a lot of 50's music, "Good Night Irene".
With the arrival of daylight on Saturday I discovered what the strange noises were that I heard in the night.
From our upstairs window I can count at least 15 large branches down in the yard on the south side of the house. There is another blocking the drive as well as an ash tree loaded with snow which was bent so low to the drive that I couldn't walk under it. The path to the fire wood is blocked by a number of branches and the drive out of the grey barn is blocked by at least 3 downed trees.
The snowfall total was about a foot of very damp and very heavily packed snow. I knew from my experience on Wednesday that the Cub Cadet could not handle a full swath of this stuff so I started with the Ariens walk-behind. As I was huffin' and puffin' with that guy, I couldn't help but think of Grampa Dutch in his 80's blowing out his neighbors up and down 10th street. He used to say he was "Helping out the Old Folks" (Yeh! the ones in their 60"s) Anyway, although it took about 4 trips because of the OSHA requirements, you know the ones which mandate that for folks over 70, whenever a job causes you to break a sweat, you are required to sit down inside and drink at least 1 cup of coffee, the drive and the porch are reasonably clear this morning. Oh by the way, Jana's gauge shows us that we have 14 inches of new snow.
We had anticipated the storm and so on our trip to the grocery store (in Frankfort, OK, not the closest but we like to go for a drive) we bought the ingredients for what I call "Winter Soup". I make a huge kettle full of veggie beef soup and we keep it cold by setting it out in the garage. Thus I only make it in the winter. Nancy calls it "Too Good to be Soup". It will last us for at least three days.
In between trips to the blowers, I cut and chopped and made soup. Nancy cleaned up around the house, played games on the computer and at times we both took a break and watched stuff that was recorded on the tube. The soup was great, but not as good as tonight, it's always better the second day.
The temp was supposed to drop into the teens and as an experiment, I ran an extension cord down the hall and placed a fan on the floor blowing toward the living room on the theory that if the cold air near the floor was pushed toward the wood stove, the hot air from the living room would flow down the hall to replace it. We went to bed in the dark, the generator does not power the bedrooms, and fell asleep. Sometime before midnight the lights came on and we had power again. I listened carefully but could not hear the furnace. Checking the utility room, the water heater was going strong but - no bleeping furnace!! I clicked it on and off - nothing. I went up to the thermostat and cycled through those switches, the fan would come on but not the furnace. Then I noticed the temp and discovered that my experiment had been successful, the furnace was set to 72 but the temp in the library was 75. That little fireplace insert sure kicks out the heat.
We survived the storm, we have internet access again, I can see the radar, (clear now, look out KaZoo) and we will probably take a drive to walk at the mall and see what other folks are doing. Yesterday was shovel and blow, today will be cut and haul but most of it will wait until the snow is gone.
Life is good on River Road.
I want to add to Dick's great letter. Shelly and Chris posted on Facebook that if we needed help with anything they would come right out - which is very thoughtful seeing as how they had two house guests, a four year old and no power!
Barb called to tell us that they had power and we could go there or they could come out here if we needed anything. She was just checking to see if we were OK. Family is a Good Thing.
The iPhone is wonderful in a power outage. I had iTorch, could access the internet, and see the local radar on the phone. I used it to report the outage when our other phones wouldn't work.
Now we're back to normal on the inside - outside looks like we've had a bad, bad storm. And it's still snowing!