Tuesday, September 1, 2015

That Was a Wild One...

I can’t express how excited I was for the rainy forecast for last Friday, and continuing. It has been hot, by my estimation, for so long…and the dry, crunchy, dusty everything was getting old.

I am, it is now proven, a Western Washington weather gal.

And I don’t do heat very well. Friday, when the pattering rain was so restful, and so refreshing. I was kind of disappointed that it didn’t last all day. Still, I was hopeful for the rain and wind predicted for Saturday!

The first clue that perhaps this might be a little more windy than expected came during the night, when a strong northeast breeze started rattling the blinds, and then slammed our bathroom door shut. It sounded like an explosion and we both sat up to determine whether we should run, look for fire, or if we’d had a particularly vivid dream. It only took a minute to see there was no shrapnel, no explosion, and now that the door was closed, there would be no more rude awakenings.

Randy left early the next morning to attend a funeral in Sequim, on the Peninsula. I slept, enjoying the sound of rain, and had another languid morning enjoying the fall-like weather. Soon, the sun came back, the wind switched to the south, and was gusty. It was warm again, and the earlier rain dried up quickly.

I bravely, or foolishly, decided to go to Costco for some items that were out of stock in my pantry. It was risky, being the last weekend before school starts, but I determined that I would be patient, and have my expectations in line with the frustration about to be experienced.

Oddly enough, Costco wasn’t busy. I noted it was blowing much harder in Bellingham than it had been at home. As soon as I got into Costco, the lights blinked, and only half of them came back on. That put some hurry in my giddy-up!

This happened a few more times, but since I wrongly assumed that it was blowing harder in Bellingham than back at home, I decided to make a couple more stops before heading home.

And then I got a phone call from my mom…telling me the power was out, and if I wasn’t home, did they want me to check on the goats? And, by the way, had I left that umbrella for the goats in the up position?

Believe me, the umbrella doesn't look like this anymore.

Oh boy…The umbrella was tied to the fence, and if the wind caught it right, it could take the fence down…Hadn’t thought of that!

Gratefully, I accepted their offer to assess the situation, and went to finish my last purchase and head home…by the Guide Meridian which has fewer trees close to the road than any other routes. Already, in Bellingham, I had to go around a tree that was leaning far over the roadway. By the time, I got to Smith Road, and the rest of the way north, the stoplights were out. Fortunately, people were remembering to four-way stop and it was all quite orderly.

I was able to get in touch with Mom again, and find out that the goats were laying in the lean-to, chewing their cud, nonplussed. The fence was still up, but the umbrella was obliterated.

All the rest of the way home, you could see the power was out. Branches down, trees leaning or down, and the wind was not letting up. I had taken Grover St. through town, and had missed seeing the huge Front St. pin oak that had gone down, blocking the entire street.

I spent the first hour at home putting away things outside that could become missiles and running pitchers and buckets of water before the pressure tank emptied, and then I spent the next hour looking for my storm lantern. I have a thing with my storm lantern…When we have a storm, I can never find it, despite my continuing efforts to put it in a place that will be handy, and unforgettable. I should have called Caitlin instead of going through every closet, cupboard, and garage shelf. She remembered where it was – likely because last time I accused my children of borrowing it when I could not find it. But I was too embarrassed to admit I lost it again.

Thankfully, when it came to me that it was with the candles, (duh!) it worked just fine.

I was concerned about Randy being out on the Peninsula, wondering how the wind must be there. But in Sequim, it was blustery only, no damaging winds, and by the time he returned at 9:30pm, the winds had died down here. I never tried starting the generator while he was gone. Instead, I went over to my parents, where Dad had done the work of getting the tractor generator going, and Mom had made soup, and we could watch TV and the Seahawks win!

Outages EVERYWHERE! Eventually the total was 223,000 customers!

I love me a good storm, but I have to admit that as the hours of powerlessness went on, I became a little disturbed about all the things I could not do. I was thankful for a battery-powered radio – and a son that was giving live updates on conditions on it! – and my smartphone, where I saw pictures of all the damage around the county. And it was good to put the generator on when Randy got home, and cool down the perishables. But there’s not much one can do in the way of chores or projects, except make a list of all the things one should have on hand for an extended power outage. I should have dusted. My friend Tami, took the opportunity to dust. As she said, it is about the only thing that doesn’t take electricity -- and since you can do nothing else, you should do it.

But it does take the will to dust…

We were still without power the next morning, and though we have a generator, it does not power the stove. I went outside and boiled a dozen eggs on my propane burner. At least we could have bread and eggs for the day. Estimates for power line repairs were not looking favorable. Then suddenly, our stereo came on! Randy and I looked at each other in surprise! What freakish thing was happening? We stared wordlessly for a moment and then Randy said, “Oh! The power is on!”

Well, yeah. That would make the stereo start up…and look! A bunch of lights were on!

And in a moment, life went back to normal. Except, for the next little while, I will not take daily conveniences for granted.

And I will never again wish to be a pioneer…

Caitlin and Jon are getting to be pioneers, as they are still without power, 80 hours and counting. {sad face} They have horses to water, and no water…Good times.

I’m glad it is not winter…and when it gets to be winter, I will be more ready than I was this weekend. I won’t leave my car nearly out of gas. We will make sure the gas cans are full. I might get a barrel to have water saved up for the goats. I will have canned food that can be heated in the microwave.

And I will know where my lantern is…because I think I’m keeping it on the table until Spring.


Tami said...

A good summary of the storm and it's aftermath, Leslie. I keep my lantern in the same spot now because I too kept forgetting where I'd stored it. No generator here, but I am carefully considering one now. That should keep the storms away.

Ridgely said...

We were driving back from Newberg on the heels of the storm. I think we basically got "sucked" back as we used about half the amount of gas it would normally take! We had no power when we got here, but we were fortunate that it came back on sometime Sat. night/Sunday morning. Dusting....never entered my mind! :)

About Me

Needing an outlet for various thoughts rattling in my head, I've created two blogs -- One about my real life (leslieisverbose.blogspot.com) and one where I can vent. (leslievents.blogspot.com)