Sunday, December 21, 2008

Baby, It's Cold Outside...

Woo-oo-whee, we're having a cold spell! I came home from work on Friday to find that we had no power. Jim had been sick in bed all day. He stayed in bed, fully clothed, under layers of blankets. I went to church to help deliver our annual Christmas Food Boxes to those in need. Came home praying for power. Um, no. At about 8:30 pm there was nothing to do but sleep. So I slept--on the couch, mind you, because me no want to catch whatever Jim had. Such a good and caring wifey, eh? I woke up at 2:30 am a bit nippy and supremely parched. No prob, I thought, I'll go make some tea. Um, no. No power, no water pump, no water. An ice storm had hit on Thursday and Friday and a layer of ice blanketed the trees, the rooftops, everything. Argh. No choice but to get dressed and go to the church to fetch a pail of water (only our strip of houses was without power at the time). Brrr, it was cold. Got to church, got the water, got online to check NIPSCO's schedule for restoration of power. Come to find out, we were just one of 58,000 homes without power and restoration time could not be determined. Hmm. Got home, put water on for tea and pan-toasted some bread for a little middle of the night snack of peanut butter toast. Gotta love a gas stove in times like these. Watched one hour of a movie on my laptop until the battery ran out. Back to sleep. Brief waking moment around 6 am to hear the sound of the furnace kicking on. I whispered, "Thank you, God. Thank you, NIPSCO," and rolled over to go back to sleep. Slept in 'til 9:00. It was nice.

Spent the day running errands, then headed to church for Worship Team practice. Had a solo---"Mary, Did You Know?" one of the annual must-sing requests. I was horribly scratchy at rehearsal. I'm always afraid I won't be able to get that one note. After many runs through the song, I almost had it. This always makes me incredibly crazy-nervous. By the grace of God, the actual rendition went off without a hitch. Halleluiah! It felt really good. To top it off, worship team member, Leigh, sang "Oh, Holy Night". She's awesome and singing backup to her on this song always fills me with incredible emotion. Powerful stuff.

Scooted home quickly to prepare for company. We were hosting the annual viewing of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. What a blast. It was a bit snugly because we had to set up a mock living room in the basement (renovation woes). We ordered Mama Rina's pizza, which was scrumpdillyicious. We had brownies with ice cream and chocolate syrup for dessert as well as other Christmas snacks. As was expected, Jim would speak the lines along with the movie or give us warning of favorite quotes coming up. Come to think of it, Jim kinda reminds me of Cousin Eddie. Snort. :) Must be that black dickie under the white sweater. At least Jim promised Leigh that he wouldn't pause the movie and rewind to repeat his favorite scenes over and over. That's kind of my favorite part of watching the movie. Oh, well. Great fun was had by all and most were out the door by 10-ish. As soon as the movie ended, Todd rolled over in his cushy spot on the quilt-laden floor and fell asleep. Soundly. He woke up about 45 minutes later, quite dumbfounded. I just laughed. He got his shoes on and I sent him out the door with some leftover brownies and a few other goodies. (btw--if you click on the Todd link, you'll see pics from his rendition of Bill Nye the Science guy. It was part of the "roast" of Jim he created for the 10th anniversary of Horizon Ministries. It was all about the 10 top reasons for being pastor of Horizon).

I went to bed all warm and snugly. I made sure to set the alarm so I could wake up in time to bring Clella, our 81 y.o. adopted grandma, to the airport for a flight to spend time with her daughter in Maine. About 4 am, I awoke to vicious winds a-blowing outside and total darkness. Yup, power was out again. At six, I called Clella to say that I could not get out of the garage (manual mechanism would not work and could not get that puppy up). Called Amy, as she was the backup chauffeur. Guess what? Her power was out, too. On to Plan C---Todd didn't know he was Plan C until 6:15 am. Always a good sport and a Clella fan, he was good to go. Read about Plan C here.When they got to the airport, her flight out had been delayed and her connection in Detroit was canceled. After much juggling, the desk attendant got her re-routed through Charlotte, NC. Todd left her to await her flight. I called Clella's daughter, Patty, to tell her of the change in plans. More trouble. Maine was about to be hit with a predicted 2 feet of snow. We know that Clella would have ended up being stranded in Charlotte and that would not be good. So, I called Todd, told him to turn around and head back to the airport to pick the girl up. They stood in line a while, but finally got her ticket canceled and a full refund. Her original flight had been scheduled for Friday and that got postponed until today. She decided she's just gonna hang it up and hang with us for the holidays. We'll see. Patty really wants her mom home for Christmas.

This time, it wasn't just our strip of houses. The whole town of Bremen was without power. With the strong winds, our house just got colder and colder. We ended up at Steve and Amy's, where they had a toasty house because they were smart enough to have a generator. We had a grand day with a crowded house--Steve and Amy with their two dogs, Clella and Todd, Jim and I. Besides rescuing us from our house, Steve had gone on another rescue mission earlier in the morning to collect, Charlotte, another of our elderly women from church, as well as her two dogs, Molly and Ginger. I brought the fixings for taco soup and cheese biscuits. I also brought the leftover brownies and ice cream. I loved the adventure and the food was good, too!

The power went back on around 4 pm, but continued to flicker off and on for the next few hours until now. I'm sitting here, all toasty, the TV on in the background, internet working. I just pray we keep power for the night. That wind is fierce and there is a Winter Weather Advisory posted. Southern Michigan has a blizzard warning. I want to get our reno project under way a.s.a.p. Gotta get those gas fireplaces in soon. Gotta get ready for the next power outage. I want to host the next blackout party!



Todd said...

Thanks for documenting these events for posterity. Good times!!

Abby Miller said...

I love the first two pictures, Jan. Very whimsical :)

Dave said...

I have to give you a warm embrace with a big thank you for your beautiful comment on my Christmas post. It made me tear up at first, but by the end of the comment I was balling like a baby. So beautiful.
Thank you.
You were my angel today.