Thursday evening I was sitting cozily in my home and listening to the ice pelting the window panes. I accomplished some knitting, listened to a couple of podcasts on my iPod, and enjoyed some hot cocoa. I stayed up later than was usual for me, until about 11:30. While I was getting ready for bed, I passed a window and noticed a bright flash of light and sparks shooting upward behind a neighbor’s house. Their lights and the Christmas lights in another neighbor’s yard winked out, as did a couple of the streetlights. Uh-oh. I had a sense of foreboding, but my electricity was still on. I finished readying myself for bed and and crawled in under my already heated covers. About 1 a.m. I woke up, but was not sure why. I tried the light switch. Nothing. It was already starting to feel chilly in the house, and I did not understand this – we have gas heat (radiators) and the boiler is gas. So I looked at the thermostat and sure enough, the temperature had dropped. Then it occured to me that the thermostat was controlled by electricity, even though the boiler was gas. I tried to call the power company and only got a recording that there were outages all across southern Illinois. I tried to call my husband in a hotel on the other side of St. Louis, just to let him know what was going on. No answer there – he is a deep sleeper. So, I went back to bed. In the morning the house was quite cold. I stayed in bed until about 8 a.m. because I was dreading having to get up. My cats had burrowed deep into the covers in an effort to stay warm. When I arose, I started a fire in the fireplace and called my husband. My cell phone was nearly dead, and we do not have land lines. So, out to the car I went to plug it into the car charger. Only the car was completely encased in ice. I came back in and tried to find something to use to chip away the ice, as my ice scraper was inside my car. I found a butter knife and went back outside. After working for about a half hour, I gave up and came inside to warm myself by the fire. The temperature in my house was about 56 degrees at this point, which was bearable with a fleece jacket, a down throw blanket, and a chair scooted as close to the fireplace as possible. I was cold and wanted something hot to drink, so I MacGyvered a pot of water that I set inside the fire screen as close to the fire as I could without putting it in the fire, and in about half an hour it was bubbling and steaming. I made hot cocoa in my favorite Starbucks mug – the one that keeps things hot for 2-3 hours – and settled in for a bit of knitting.
After a while I went back outside and tried again to open my car, but to no avail. I took that opportunity though to snap a couple of pictures. It was gorgeous outside. Everything was completely covered in ice and capped with a layer of snow. The trees looked to be made of glass. My poor crabapple tree was so covered with ice that it had bent double and the top was frozen to the ground.
The power had been knocked out by tree limbs that had snapped under the weight of all the ice, and some of the broken ones still hanging in trees from the summer storm had finally been dislodged. Our town, and the surrounding towns, have fallen trees and tree limbs on nearly every curb.
Later that afternoon, my sister Pink came by (she had power) with a thermos of hot tea. She said it had taken her an hour to clear the ice from her car before heading over. A few minutes later my MIL knocked on the door. She had my FIL waiting in the car and they wanted to take us to get some lunch. It was so nice to have a hot lunch! That evening our power came back on just before I ran out of firewood (only two logs left!). We had some left from last year and had not yet gotten around to getting some more. Quite a number of people are without power and the temperature remains below freezing. I thank God that our power is on and we were not out as long this time as we were over the summer. I also feel bad for the people who are still waiting to get power.
The first thing I did when the power came back on? Took a shower!!! I do not like the greasy and limp way my hair feels if I do not wash it daily. I did have hot water during our power outage, but I did not want to have a wet head for a couple of hours in our cold house. Never did a hot shower feel sooooo good!