The Big Bad Wolf

At the stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve, a huge wind storm blew in. It buffeted our house, reminding me of the Big Bad Wolf who huffed and puffed to blow the house down. Our house didn’t blow down but sometime in the night the huffing and puffing blew out our power.

When I woke up the next morning, I called our electric company and their recorded message informed us that more than 30,000 homes were without power. It was sort of difficult to tell who had power and who didn’t because many homes have generators up here but we knew that there weren’t many in our area with dark houses. We thought for a while that we were the only ones. Because of that, we figured we weren’t high priority for having our power restored, so we prepared to wait for several days.

The pets loved the heater
The pets loved the heater

We had no generator or heater and our house was a bit chilly, although thankfully we’ve had a really warm winter so it wasn’t unbearable. Still, it was too cold to be without heat so on Christmas Eve EJ and I drove to the Lowe’s on the other side of the Emerald City to buy a propane heater. Once we got that hooked up, we were toasty warm. The pets loved the heater. Timmy, our black and white cat, especially loved it. He rarely moved far from the heater.

We bought some gallon jugs of water for drinking since nothing would be opened on Christmas day. We also went to the water pump in the local park and filled up our big blue 5 gallon jugs so that we’d have water to flush the toilets. EJ and I had a laugh because when we were first married, he rushed to fill up the bathtub in our apartment with water when he heard that a big storm was moving in. “What on earth are you doing?” I asked, mystified. I was a small town girl and I didn’t see the connection between a storm and a bathtub filled with water. EJ grew up in the country where they had to have water to flush the toilets when storms knocked out the power so they always filled the bathtubs when a storm approached. Now that we live in our Enchanted Forest, we are entering HIS type of world. We were ill-prepared this time, but next time a storm is forecast, we will fill the bathtub with water.

We had a quiet Christmas Eve reading by candlelight and our one battery-operated lantern.

The hardest thing to bear with the power off was not being able to wash my hair. My hair is super-fine and I need to wash it every day or it feels yucky. JJ’s hair isn’t as fine as mine, but he also needs to wash it every day. So in the morning I heated up a big pot of water on the stove (we have propane and can light it even without power), diluted it with cold water to an acceptable temperature, and then EJ poured the water over our heads while we shampooed and rinsed our hair. Ta da!

The first day without power EJ made coffee with an old-fashioned percolator type coffee pot. It was strong and rather bitter, but we needed our coffee fix so we drank it anyway. On Christmas morning EJ figured out how to make a good pot of coffee: He heated water on the stove and poured it in our coffee machine so that it made the coffee, and then he poured the coffee into the old coffee pot and kept it heated on the stove. It was tasty.

Jedi EJ and R2D2.
Jedi EJ and R2D2.

Earlier in the week I had bought tickets to the new Star Wars movie for Christmas Day. It was the only day that both EJ and JJ didn’t have to work. There are a lot of really cute movie theaters here in the north. The one we went to was very cute and located right on the shore. We really enjoyed the movie and had a great time, although we think the older Star Wars movies were better. There were things in the new movie that didn’t make sense–like why the girl, who was dressed in desert clothing, didn’t immediately freeze to death when the sun went out.

JJ had the most trouble handling the power outage–mostly because he had been looking forward to enjoying his day off with his Internet friends. I kept quoting, “It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness….” LOL. He also was tired because he’d worked some longer shifts and hadn’t slept well so he went to bed as soon as it got dark. EJ and I read for a while by the light of the candles, but when he dozed off too, I figured I also might as well go to sleep so I put out the candles and went to bed.

This morning after JJ went to work, EJ and I drove back to Lowes and bought a generator. We had wanted to get one anyway. Just before Christmas EJ got a check for the year’s unused vacation days, so that gave us the money to buy it. With EJ’s normal work week consisting of four 10-hour days and Friday thru Sunday off, we didn’t feel the need to take vacation days. Having three-day weekends feel a lot like having a vacation every weekend.

EJ didn’t have time to hook up the generator before an electrical company truck came up our driveway. EJ went out to talk to him, but before he got outside, the truck drove back down the hill. I felt like yelling, “NOOOOOOOO!” EJ said the truck drove up to make sure there was no damage to the lines up to the house. There wasn’t. I saw the utility trucks on the road and a few minutes later the power came back on. Yay!

The feeders hung on the big post.
The feeders hung on the big post.

I put up my bird feeders a week ago. We live in an area where there are sometimes bears so we have to wait until they go to sleep for the winter before putting up the feeders. I’m not sure exactly when the bears start to hibernate, especially with the mild winter we’ve been having, but I figured they must be sleeping by now. I hung up feeders at the big post, which has handy hooks on it and also put feeders on my birdfeeder pole close to the house. I filled the feeders with seed and also suet. Days went by and I didn’t see any birds at my feeders but I know it takes time for them to find them. Finally, on Christmas Day, the birds came to the feeders! Yay! I love watching the birds. We have mostly cute little chickadees so far but we’ve also seen what I think are downy-headed woodpeckers. I’m hoping to lure the Pileated Woodpeckers living in our forest to the suet, but I read that they are shy so I don’t know if they will come.

Once our power came back on and we had the Internet again, we learned that our neighbor at our old house had died unexpectedly on Christmas Day. He and his wife were wonderful people and we enjoyed having them as neighbors. They used to babysit JJ sometimes when he was small. 😦

I just read on FB that meteorologists are forecasting rain, sleet, snow, and ice for tonight. Hopefully JJ will get home from work before it hits. At least we now have a generator if we lose power again!

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