Monday, January 23, 2012

Snowmageddon 2012

We waited for the anticipated snow with hesitation.  So often the forecasted snow turns out to be little more than a dusting, a couple inches at most.

Tuesday brought exactly that...2 inches of snow everywhere but our yard.  You see, we have about a dozen tall fir trees beside and behind our house sheltering our yard.  While our neighbors' yards were covered in the beautiful white stuff, our yard was almost entire green with grass.  Still we bundled up to go play in the street.  Happily, we were invited to enjoy the snow in our neighbor's yard.  

We built in a small snowman with strawberry eyes, a baby carrot nose, and fir cone mouth; it stood for a hour or two.  

Tuesday night and Wednesday was expected to bring the most snow.  We all climbed into bed with high hopes, and we weren't disappointed.  We awoke to find 13 inches of snow covering our yard; I didn't measure elsewhere, but I know other yards must have had at least 15 inches given the differences from the day before.  We were ecstatic.  No one cared much that we couldn't drive out to find a hill to sled on.  Sam and I walked a mile to Cutter's Point Coffee to enjoy hot chocolate and a pastry.  When we returned, Mika and Scott headed out for their own trip.  Meanwhile, I bundled the littles up and took them out to play.  It was an enjoyable day.

Maddie loved the snow.  She's yelling at me in this photo that she fell down (and couldn't get back up).  I had to get my photos first.  

Old Zach turned into a puppy again.  He loves the snow!  I was riling him up and throwing snow at him.  

Gracie, on the other hand, did not like the snow.  I brought him out there to see what he thought, and he was freaked out.  He didn't seem to know which way to go or if he even could go.  I rescued him pretty quickly.

Later Scott took Maddie back outside to play some more.  While he was out there, he built a much better snowman than I.  It had four balls of snow, was taller than he, and had the cutest big nose and hair.

By evening, it was quiet and peaceful and wonderful out there.  Just like a winter postcard.

But then the ice storm hit, leaving a quarter of an inch of ice on top of the snow.  We have one tree with thin, light colored branches that was beautiful.  Each branch and twig was fully encased in a clear ice tube.  Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture.  Beauty aside, the ice storm brought an end to the delight.

We lost power at 6:30am Thursday morning, when the house was still at overnight temperatures.  We weren't worried.  We had some wood and some blankets.  Our gas stove could be lit manually for hot water and cooking.  No big deal.    We sat in the darkened house, playing games, using our gadgets until the batteries wore out, and listening to large tree limbs crashing down into the yard or onto the deck periodically.  The big kids tried playing a few board games.

I spent a good portion of my time cooking meals and heating water to do the dishes.  I took a walk to the store for some food for the day (we had plenty of food but not the kind you can easily prepare in the dark without electricity and only a stove).  I brought back hot dogs, chips, and cookies for dinner and a bundle of wood.  Later, Scott headed out and brought back another bundle of wood.   The house was getting colder so we bundled up and tried keeping everyone in the school room where the fireplace is.

Here's our candlelight hot dog dinner.

After dinner, we pulled out every sleeping bag, comfortable, quilt, blanket, afghan, and throw we owned.  Our plan was to camp out by the fire with Scott trying to keep the fire through the night if he awoke.  I couldn't get the littles to sleep so we ended up moving to the master bedroom.  On the bed we had a sheet, a summer weight quilt, two twin comforters turned sideways, and an open sleeping bag.  It felt like we were sleeping under a ton but we were warm.  The big kids and Scott each had at least three blankets and the fire but it wasn't enough to keep them warm.  

We woke up to no power and the thermostat at 51 degrees.  We called the power company and were told to expect at least another day without power (205,000 homes in three counties lost power).  We couldn't get the littles to stay under the blankets.  We decided it was time to leave.  So, we put out a call for shelter and got several offers.  After packing a couple of backpacks with underclothing, pjs, technology for keeping the kids busy, some pillows, and Josh's carseat, we hiked four blocks to Safeway where a friend picked us up in two trips.

Our power came on briefly Friday and went out again.  It came back on Saturday morning, but we stayed with our friends until after dinner to ensure it would stay on, to give the house time to heat back up, and to help eat the dinner started just before the heat returned (way too much food for their small family).

We were so thankful to come back home Saturday evening.  We picked up some of our camp out, enjoyed some dessert, and headed to bed.  Sunday we lazed about because we were still rather tired.  Today, I headed out to inspect the damage and start clean up.  Here's what I found:

Several large branches fell in the front yard.  To the right, you'll see a branch arc off the side of the photo.  It impaled itself several inches deep.  The green patch in the center is large and small branches of fir about a foot deep.  

Here's an overview of our backyard.  There's a large branch behind me as well.

Here's more of the backyard.  It's kind of a mess back there, too.

The deck sustained only minor damage.  There are three small splinters/chunks missing from the horizontal rails.  The hand rail on one side of stairs is split down the middle as well.  

The bad news:  Scott lost a week of work and his car is very dead.

The good news:  I have great neighbors and friends.  My neighbor, John and I, helped another neighbor I hadn't met yet clear her driveway so she could get to work again.  Then he came over and helped me with the front yard.  He cut the larger branches into firewood I need to stack for seasoning.  He also let me use his wheel barrow for hauling the small stuff.  He's going to come help me with the back yard also.  He also offered to let me borrow his van when I need it, provided insurance is ok.  Another neighbor offered me rides to the store or wherever if I need it.  Several homeschool moms offered husbands and brothers to help us fix our car (though it is unlikely to be fixed because it has a different kind of transmission that requires computer aided installation and programming.)

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Sybil Runs Things said...

Wow, your damage is incredible! I had no idea it was that bad. We are in Seattle and had little damage and no power outages . . . Clearly we were extremely lucky. Glad to hear you had a safe and warm place to stay!