December 16th, 2007
It’s been an interesting week. For those of you that haven’t been following along: we lost power Tuesday and have been without ever since.
Yesterday was the annual Christmas party at work. About an hour away, supposed to be there at 6. So at 2:30 I went outside to see if I could get the car out past all the snow. At first, YES! But then, halfway down the driveway… well, no. Our driveway needs help. It’s actually lower than the fields around it. Thankfully it’s on a hill so it doesn’t flood, but it does drift shut when there’s snow. So the car got stuck. I dug it out, and it got stuck again. And a third time.
I eventually called my dad to see if he’d be willing to come over with his tractor and open up our driveway. He said yes, and drove the 5 miles in his tractor — which has no cab, and it was below freezing — and got the driveway open, and helped me get the car unstuck. We had planned to leave at 4, to give us time to get Jacob to the babysitter. We didn’t think a babysitter would enjoy spending the evening at a cold house with only a generator providing power, so we were taking him to their place. Well, we left about 4:30.
We got down our driveway, onto the road, and hey — more drifts. Yay. Got out onto the highway, over to the road to their place. Which someone, ahem, had assured me was a paved road. But instead we got 5 miles on a very drifty east-west country road. That’s the deepest snow I’ve ever put a car through, and I am still surprised that we didn’t get stuck anywhere.
So then we dropped off Jacob, and off to the party, and squeaked in just a few minutes late. Phew. It was nice to be out of the house, too.
When we picked up Jacob later — taking the non-drifty route — he was sleeping, of course. I carried him out to the car and put him in his seat. There’s nothing quite like carrying a sleeping boy snuggled into you to make you forget the lack of electricity outside.
Today we went to church. Church was canceled last Sunday, and the Wednesday evening activities were too. So I think everybody made an effort to be there today. All sorts of electricity stories were heard. Generators moved around the countryside as those that owned them got power and loaned them out to those that didn’t have power. The president of a nearby college called the church and offered two rooms at his personal residence to anyone that needed them. One woman announced during sharing time that her husband was taken to the hospital on Friday. They determined that he needed heart surgery, and that will happen tomorrow… and she added that she’d be with him for a couple of days, so if anyone needed a warm house for a family, theirs was available and had a couple of bedrooms, fridge, and garage that people were welcome to use.
At noon there was a free lunch offered to anyone still without power. We went and enjoyed some warm soup and bread with about 30 others.
After that, we went to my parents’ place to do some laundry, then came home.
We ate supper. As Terah got up to give Jacob some more chili, I suggested that she look out the window and see if any yard lights were on yet. I had flipped our master breaker off, just to be extra cautious due to having wired our furnace into the generator temporarily. So this is how we would tell that power was back on somewhere (though we did check it periodically during the day). Terah looked out the window, and said, “I DO see yard lights out there… Do you think?” I got up, went downstairs, flipped the breaker, and light came on! We turned on the lights — Jacob had missed them — and plugged in the Christmas tree. The power had come on for people miles in either direction from us at the same time. Dad came over to get our electrical box back to normal state and to help me load up the generator to return tomorrow.
There’s nothing quite like this to make us feel fortunate to be a part of such a caring community of friends and family — people who don’t think twice about helping out someone in need, even in the midst of having a husband hospitalized.
Jacob didn’t seem to mind the power outage. Except for one thing. He is very excited about lights these days. I can spend 15 to 30 minutes exploring lights with him, especially in the kitchen. He will point at a light and say “da?” (“that”). “Da? Da?” means he wants it turned on or off. We’ll go to the light switch, and he’ll get to flip it, or watch while I do. “Dooooo!” is his excited response.
Well, when he wants something and it’s not happening fast enough for him, “Da? Da?” changes to “Da!… Da!…” and then to “DA!! DA!!” and finally some fussing. That happened several times as we couldn’t turn on lights.
Then we got to church this morning and boy was he excited. Lights everywhere! He’d point to one bright light and say “Da!” — look at the light over there, dad! Point to another place and “Da!” Another one over here! And ceiling fans! Lights everywhere! He was so excited he was trying to jump up and down.
Jacob’s favorite new word is “hi.” He has just barely figured out how to say it, and it takes effort, and comes out very breathy — but it’s there. He can spend several minutes saying hi to someone over and over if he’s in the right mood. He wouldn’t say hi to the greeters at church, or anyone that said hi to him. But we were sitting in the back row, and halfway through the sermon, he started saying hi to the ushers that were behind us. I couldn’t see them very well, but I imagine they were trying to keep from cracking up.