Our family, along with hundreds of thousands of other families in the Northwest, had a rough past couple of days. We had a major windstorm two nights ago that knocked out our power and blew trees down all over the place. Brett was at a Seahawks game when it started and his friend drove him home and they had a hard time getting to our house because of all the trees blown over onto the roads.
I realized how unprepared I was a little too late. I had just turned on the oven to pop in a frozen pizza (which the kids were very excited about) when all the sudden it went pitch black. Luca (5 years old) was downstairs in the computer room and she started screaming hysterically, Lincoln (3) and Anna (2) were downstairs in the family room and they started crying and screaming. It was so pitch black I couldn’t see even a foot in front of me. I realized how stupid I was to not have set out the lantern right where I knew I could find it. I felt my way out of the kitchen and down the hall to the closet and dug around on the top shelf to where I thought the lantern was. I was yelling at the kids to stay put so they wouldn’t get hurt trying to get upstairs, but I could hear that they were trying to make their way to me. I found what I thought was the lantern, but I couldn’t get it on. After a couple of minutes I realized it wasn’t a lantern, but a big flashlight and I fiddled with it until I got a dim light (the batteries were almost dead of course!). I met the kids halfway down the stairs. My poor babies had tear stained faces and looks of terror on their faces and I could have kicked myself for not sitting them down and talking to them about the possibility of the power going out. They helped me walk around the house and gather up all my expensive scented candles to give us light. (who buys candles that aren’t scented?!) I lit a fire in each of the fireplaces, thanks to dura-flame, and we gathered up all kinds of bedding and laid it out in front of the downstairs fire. The wind was very fierce and I was scared to have the kids upstairs. After a few minutes of tears about the pizza I loaded up a tray with orange slices, granola bars, and graham cracker sticks and we ate by the fire. They took turns playing on the nintendo DS’s until the batteries died…which wasn’t long, because I didn’t have them charged! We then made bead necklaces by candlelight. After what felt like four hours I looked at my watch and it was only 6:30. It had been 45 minutes! So I did what any good parent would do and said, “Boy is it late! We better get to sleep!” Luckily they feel for it and Lincoln said, “ya, it is late! it is really dark!” Anna said, “I’m tired! It’s 8:30” and Luca looked at me suspiciously. Lincoln fell right to sleep and I spent an hour telling the girls, “Lay back down, I am tired! It is really late!” I wasn’t lying about the being tired part! We all fell asleep and I woke up when the power came on about 10:00. At this point I realized that our house was filled with smoke and our chimney must be full of debris…no more fires for us for awhile!
Brett got home around 10:30 or so and the kids slowly woke up complaining about growling tummies so we had a pizza picnic on the computer room floor. I was just cleaning it up when the house went pitch black again. Brett had gone to bed because he was sick as could be and burning up with a fever and the kids started screaming hysterically again. Of course I still hadn’t set the lantern in an easy place to grab it and I had blown out all the candles so we started our house lighting routine again. The kids finally went down around 12:30 in the morning. The wind was so loud that night I could not sleep at all. I was so scared that a tree was going to crash down into our house and I was worried that I had put us all in the wrong part of the house. I woke up really early in the morning and it was sooooo cold. The power was still off and I had Lincoln and Anna on the blow up mattress with me and we had at least five blankets on us. I went to check on Luca and she was only halfway covered with blankets and had to have been freezing so I put several blankets on her and jumped back in bed as fast as I could. (I would not get warm again until 7:00 that night when I took a hot bath..which I will get to later)
Brett went to the doctor early that morning and came back with horror stories of trees on the road and smashed in fences and houses and massive crowds at the few stores that were open in town. Somehow our town was one of very few towns in about four counties that had some power left in the business area and people were coming from all over for batteries, food, generators, and camping supplies. Brett had to park two blocks away from Fred Myer to get his prescription and it took an hour waiting in line to get it.
After a few hours of puttering around the house and the kids eating crackers and apples we decided to venture out to find something to eat. Three hours later we returned empty handed and with three very unhappy and hungry children. Brett had a geyser of a bloody nose while we were stuck in traffic and he was feeling awful so he headed back to bed and I scrounged up enough food to make the kids happy.
At about 6:30 that night my friend called to see how we were doing and mentioned that she was glad she had a gas water heater so they could shower and bathe. I hadn’t even thought about that. We have a gas water heater too! I could have sworn I heard angels singing “Hallelujah” at that moment. Ten minutes after I hung up the phone I was sitting in a hot bath surrounded by candles. Brett was still very sick in bed and doped up on codeine so I dumped some old Halloween candy on the table with the lantern and told the kids to go to town! It was the greatest bath I can ever remember having. I soaked for at least a half hour and then I put the kids in a warm tub and they played for about 40 minutes. It was heavenly!
Afterwards I decided to venture out with the kids to find something to eat. We went to Taco Time and it was very busy, but we got a hot meal and killed some time. Then we went to Fred Myer and wandered the aisles until I felt like the kids were tired enough that they would go right to bed when we got home.
It was sooooo cold when we got home and so I bundled up the kids in a few layers of pajamas and made them a big bed on the living room floor. I had just gone in to get their toothbrushes when our power unexpectedly came on at about midnight. I SCREAMED I was so excited. I had not thought there was any chance we would have power until sometime the next day. We all started cheering and dancing around and then Luca informed me that we needed to turn all the lights back off so they could still sleep in the living room with candle light. Whatever. We negotiated and they slept in the living room by Christmas lights instead.