A few weeks ago, I said it would be really nice to have one good snow. The winter looked to be almost over, and we'd had promises of the white stuff, but nothing had happened. I like one good snow a year. The first snow is pretty and fun, but anything after that is just cold and inconvenient. So if you only have one a year, you're set.
A couple of weeks ago, the forecast was calling for a good snow. And then it was calling for a great snow, 8 - 12 inches. I'm honestly not sure if I've seen that much snow in my life. It was supposed to start around 8 pm. In the afternoon, I went to the store and stocked up. I can't speak for other locales, but going to the store before a winter weather event is a Southern tradition. The joke is that everyone freaks out, buys bread and milk, and then we get a dusting. I went to two stores, because Josh wanted his special mouthwash that only Harris Teeter carries. Fresh breath is very important when you can't leave the house. Food Lion was busy, but orderly. Harris Teeter was a madhouse. I bought plenty of produce and some bottled water, plus things like mouthwash that we were just out of. Thinking of having a good ole fashioned snow day, I made sure we were stocked up on pancake ingredients. I did not buy bread or milk, because we already had those at home.
Of course, telecommuting has all but ruined the good ole fashioned snow day. Our office tends to go by whatever the public school system says, so if the schools are closed, so is the office. That just means we have to work from home. Thank goodness our productivity has not been ruined by a little ole snow storm. There was a day last year when the temptation was too much, and I spent the day watching a Harry Potter marathon with my husband and brother-in-law instead of working. The next day, I had to report that I had taken a personal day. Better to ask forgiveness than permission, right?
The night the snow was due to start, I went out to dinner with some friends. The weather was, of course, the big topic of conversation. We were talking about storms of years past, and one lady mentioned how awful it was when some hurricane came through, because she was living with her parents, who were on a well. For all you city slickers out there, when you get your water from the ground instead of from the city, you rely on a pump to get the water from Mother Earth to your faucet. And when the power goes out, the pump goes out, too. This means no drinking water, no showering water, and no flushing water.
That was the first time it occurred to me that 8 - 12 inches might make the power go out. A fun snow day is when you can lie on the couch and watch Netflix, maybe go outside to tromp around and throw snowballs before coming back inside for pancakes. A not fun snow day is when there is no power. No pancakes, no Netflix, no heat.
We were asleep at the time, but the best we can figure is that the power went out at around 2 AM. We woke up, and the house was silent. We were warm, but we were snuggling under a blanket. Outside, the world was covered (only 6 inches).
Well, I couldn't work from home.
We set up in the living room, pushing the futon into position about two feet from the fireplace. With the remains of an oak tree that killed our car a few years back, we stayed comfortable, if not cozy. We snuggled on the couch and read. We played a board game. We sat and stared at the fire. The dog had to be coaxed onto the couch, and every time the fire popped, she jumped down and ran to sit in the hall. I wanted to take a nap, but I knew that we'd run out of distractions when the sun took its feeble light away, and I needed to stay up.
Lunch was peanut butter and jelly with a side salad. I had some ice cream, too, to save it from melting. We packed ziplock bags full of snow and put them in the fridge to help keep things cool.
We had our cell phones. Josh's wasn't fully charged, and so after a few minutes of use, the red light started to show. Mine was charged, but I was keenly aware that we needed to save it in case there was an emergency, like my water breaking. So I limited my use to checking the power outage map. Yup, there was our neighborhood, out of power. The first morning, it reported over 200,000 homes were out of power. I made myself only check it every hour or so to see the progress of the work crews. The number came down rapidly, then more slowly, as the big neighborhoods were taken care of. Ours had a blue dot, which meant less than 50 houses affected. It would be a while before they got to us.
We had an emergency light and radio that worked by using a crank to charge the battery. Supposedly, you could also charge your cell phone by plugging it in and using the crank. Probably this is just for emergencies, rather than web browsing, as it seems to be pretty difficult to get much juice this way. At least, that's the conclusion I came to after watching Josh attempt to simultaneously crank the handle and scroll his Facebook feed.
Dinner was more of the same. We prepared and ate it by candlelight. And then we sat on the couch, watched the fire, and alternately talked or sat in comfortable silence. It wasn't so bad. There's no one I'd rather be stuck in a powerless house than my husband. I was thankful the baby was still inside me and thus required no maintenance. Josh put a big log on the fire to last the night, and we went to sleep on the futon.
I used to sleep on that futon every night. I was ten years younger and not pregnant at the time. I would not recommend it.
Day two, still no power. The outage map showed 15,000 homes still without power. I wondered how far down the list we were. By noon, the cabin fever was setting in. We decided to find someone who would let us use their shower, and if that didn't happen, we'd go be smelly at Starbucks and charge our devices. Josh's brother was at work, but told us to feel free to use our key to let ourselves in and take advantage of lights and hot water. He hadn't lost power at all and had spent the day before watching Netflix. He'd had eggs and crabcakes for breakfast. Jerk.
It was nice to get out and nicer still to get clean. We dawdled a little bit to charge our phones and see what we'd missed on the internet in the last day. Spock died.
We reluctantly headed back to the house. We could only get a third up the driveway. As we walked in, something felt different. It was cold, but not as cold. And there were humming noises. Hark! The power was on. We cheered, flushed the toilets, and had a hot lunch. Our adventure was over.