That is the number of hours we spent without power. About two inches of ice fell on Sunday evening and caused major destruction in Lenawee county and surrounding areas. I was at work until 11pm when the storm began and didn't realize its devastation until I drove home. The power had blinked a couple times at my job, but because I work at a correctional facility, we have a giant generator to backup any outage. At 11pm, the power was still on at work. I started my car 20 minutes before the end of my shift and noticed the thick ice encasing it. I spent another twenty minutes scraping the thick stuff off my windshield and rear windows. It was like glass. I had to wear my sunglasses as safety goggles to protect my eyes from debris. I finally chipped away enough ice to drive away, albeit visibility was still poor.
The drive home was difficult. I had to back out of several roads as they were either impassable due to power lines down and/or trees covering the roadway. I passed through the downtown and there was no stoplights or streetlights working. I called my hubby on the way to let him know I was safe, but it was taking longer to get home, however the answering machine did not pick up. That is when I knew we were without power. Just as I was turning onto my street, Shaun called my cell phone.
"I pulled the car further into the driveway to avoid any branches falling on them. Make sure you pull yours in as far as you can too," he said.
I did. I noticed there were already branches from the neighbor's tree in our driveway. I shut off the car and could hear the cracking of the ice on the branches and the whooshing of the wind. My fingers were still frozen from digging at the ice on my car ten minutes earlier. I was worried about getting out of my car. I waited until I heard a lull in the wind and I made a break for the front door. As soon as I safely arrived in my house another branch came crashing. I looked out my window, and sure enough, it landed on the back of my car.
I usually go home and check my email and head to bed. This night I was completely without power, so Shaun and I listened to the storm as he studied for a test by candlelight. "You are not gonna have school tomorrow," I tell him. He shrugged and said he was going to be prepared for the test either way.
When we both couldn't seem to keep our eyes open anymore, we heard a loud crash in our backyard. Parts of the tree out back had fallen and took out the power line to our neighbor's house. So much so that it tore the service off the side of their home. That is when the fear crept in.
"I am not sleeping in the bedroom. There is a branch that hangs over our bedroom. What if it falls? That is just what I need. I finally get pregnant and I die in a winter storm due to falling branches. I can see the headlines now."
Shaun agreed that although he thought I was crazy, we better not sleep under that branch. We pulled our couched together in the livingroom to the innermost place in the house and attempted to sleep. It seems we slept for 20 minute stretches all throughout the night and each time were awaken to loud booms and crashes. At about 3:30am, we heard what sounded like the neighbor's tree had been completely uprooted (the one that branches had fallen into our driveway earlier). We cautiously looked out the window to discover that one of the largest branches on that tree had snapped and fallen, narrowly missing their rooftop, but obstructed their front door and the top branches scraping their vehicles in their driveway. About an hour later we heard another loud crash across the street and noticed the neighbor's tree in their back yard had fallen onto their Ford 150 truck, and by the looks of it, the truck appeared to have been moved a foot crookedly in their driveway. Every so often we heard crashes in the distance, but seemed nearby. We later learned that around our corner half of a tree broke off and fell onto a utility pole and snapped it in half, bringing down the dozen or so lines with it. A couple blocks behind our house and in front of my brother's apartment a utility pole snapped in half and crossed Maumee St.
We didn't sleep more than an hour that night and since Shaun went to school in Jackson, the school had not closed. He headed to class on the ice-covered roads with his carpooling buddy. It was Shaun's turn to drive, but our cars were not leaving our driveway and no one was going to be able to pass through our street from downed trees, so Shaun's buddy picked him up at the corner. They were 5 miles away from school when the teacher called them to tell them that he was canceling class due to lack of people showing up. Thankfully Shaun went with his friend that day, because that friend allowed us to borrow his generator. He was one of the fortunate ones in the county to still maintain power.
It was 54 degrees in my house when they hooked up the alternative power source. However, it was a small portable generator, so conservation of power was a must. We turned on the heat, some lights and refrigerator only 6 hours each day. I sneaked in some Facebook time while Shaun was enjoying using his chainsaw to chip away at the damage in our yard.
Thankfully, I had to work Monday 2nd shift. But when Shaun left me alone all throughout the day Tuesday without the generator on, I thought I was going to freeze to death. You see, I have a cold allergy. Whenever I get too cold, I have difficulty breathing and break out into itchy hives on my legs. It was at 51 degrees on Tuesday afternoon and I was starting to lose it. Scratching myself and starting to feel shortness of breath, I called my mother in law to warm up at her house. I spent the afternoon there, showering, doing laundry and hanging out with grandma, whose home was also without power. Shaun used generator on Tuesday evening and then I worked 3rd shift that night. However, I knew that I would not be able to sleep Wednesday morning freezing, so I slept on the couch at the in laws. The next two days passed by a little better. I had a routine so I would go to in laws to shower and spend the afternoon until Shaun came home. On Thursday, I decided that in order to stay warm I would do some housework. I knew I couldn't run the dishwasher or clothes washer, but I did some dusting, sweeping, organizing of bills, I worked on a Bible study that I neglected since October and generally didn't feel too bad about the outage. Even when Shaun came home last night and hooked up the generator, I felt ambitious and kept working. And then I checked the consumer's website to see when the next estimate for restoration would be and there it was. "There is no outage at this location."
I yelped. "Go outside and see if the neighbor's security light comes on when you walk by it." I told Shaun as I looked outside. I saw that her doorbell light was glowing. "I think we have power."
Shaun turned off the generator and switched to the main circuit. It was on. Hooray!
94 hours. Ugh. But, I learned to be appreciative of the little things. Like extra time in the day to be productive due to artificial lights. We all would be sleeping at 7pm if we didn't have electricity.
In the midst of this week, I was reminded by the tell tale signs that I am pregnant. The nausea. Seems like I feel the sickest between 3am and 9am. I lay in bed holding my belly and moaning. I think maybe I ate too much and maybe I didn't eat enough and oh my gosh I am gonna puke!! And super tired. Maybe the tiredness is from the chill in the air, but I am exhausted and this cutting out caffeine thing is for the birds. I had 4 cups of coffee plus 2 pops on my third shift and still fought the urge to doze off a few times. Don't think I can hack no caffeine. I am going to have to come to a happy medium.
I can't wait until March 8. Eleven more days. Hoping that we have healthy fetuses in there.
Father, thank you for providing for us through this actual storm this week. I have seen you first hand in your amazing natural realm. I love that you use weather as a way to prune trees. I hate that our civilization gets in the way. I pray that you continue to keep those who are still without power safe and warm. I pray that you allow the power companies employees to be safe and without incident, as well as the city workers, mail carriers, tree removal services, gas companies, cable companies, phone companies workers. It is a treacherous place to be but someone has got to do it in our civilized world. I ask that you keep people on the roads safe as we had another round of snow last night. Thank you so much for your provision. Oh, and keep these little ones safe in my womb. I pray all these things in Jesus' name, AMEN!!