Thursday, July 5, 2012
O' Pioneers! (Weathering the Storm!)
How did the pioneers do it?
Back story: on Thursday, we had family arrive from MN for the graduation of my son, the baptisms of my younger daughters and a week's vacation. We enjoyed each other's company eating and relaxing together on Thursday night; Friday was a workday for both me and my husband so our extended family went to DC to see friends.
On Friday evening we went to the church and all pitched in to make Rhett's homeschool graduation a success. He graduated alone, but we had about 40 family members and friends who celebrated with us. At the conclusion, we tore everything down, packed up the mini-van/truck and headed West for home...right into the strangest storm in which I've ever driven.
There wasn't a lot of water, not like the walls of water we have encountered in other VA storms, but the wind gusts topped 90 miles an hour, we later learned. The rain came at our car in waves, like I was driving into a shallow sea. We couldn't see much but crept along the freeways at 25 miles an hour, until the storm had passed. By the time we reached the last paved road before our own street, we were down to one curvy lane, dodging trees, branches and dead animals.
We turned into our street to see several cars lined up along one side. We had trees down blocking the way home. We drove up to the barrier and the boys started coming up with a plan. TJ, our son-in-law, climbed over so he could go back to the farm and get his jeep and straps to pull the trees out of the way. Mark had his truck on the entrance side and they tossed the straps back and forth until they could get a pass for the four young girls to be handed over. Ashley, my oldest, climbed over (rock climber that she is, in a dress, no less) and ferried the girls back to the farm so they could get to bed. We were, of course, out of power, so she got the candles all set up around the house so that when the other 6 adults got back, everything would be in order. That was about 11:30pm. My sister-in-law and I tried resting in the car while the men worked on moving the debris until they made a pass-through for the cars. We made it home, sat and chatted for a few minutes and fell into bed, exhausted about 1:45am.
The next morning we awoke and Mark ran to find some water and ice. While out, he heard that over 1 million people were out of power in our area. On the IPhone we saw the map from our local power company and realized we were probably in for a long outage.
We had planned to have the girls' baptism in our pool and share in a potluck around noon on Saturday. The phone providers were out and we could not get through to most of our friends to tell them not to come. Out of 12 families, I only reached and turned away 4. The other 8 came on out! We tried calling back the other 4 to invite them to come anyway, but again, we could not reach anyone. We had NO ELECTRICITY and NO WATER (since we're on a well), but hosted a party with 28 in attendance. We used pool water to flush when necessary and grilled burgers. I LOVE friends who can go with the flow and party, despite adverse circumstances. The girls were baptised by their uncle and the day is sure to be etched in their minds. We ate, chatted on the breezy porch and the kids swam in the pool for the afternoon. It was a lot of fun!
Saturday night we suffered through the heat and slept at home. I went to work on Sunday morning and got ready at church. The rest of the gang (9 of them) went to the neighbor's house who had a generator and got showers. I was surprised by how devastating the storm had been once people came into church telling their stories. Most of the staff in our children's department did not have power. I was amazed by the dedication of the staff and volunteers who came to serve.
Sunday afternoon/early evening we spent at my parent's house for dinner. Mark, his brother and Ashley made a big German dinner which was a treat for all. My parents had company so we headed back to the farm to endure another night of sleeping in the heat and humidity. We dragged mattresses down to the main level and slept camp-style, because the heat upstairs was unbearable.
On Monday we ended up at IHOP for brunch and then packed our bags to go back to my parents. Their company had left and we descended upon them. The air conditioning and running water are daily conveniences we certainly take for granted! We ended up spending part of the days and nights camping out at their house through Wednesday afternoon, with either Mark or I sleeping at the farm to take care of all the animals. We were watching our neighbors animals and house, as well, so it was necessary for someone to be around for the evening and morning chores.
The electricity came back on at the farm on Wednesday at 2pm! Hallelujah!! I got the animals taken care of, then headed to my folk's house for one last dinner together. Mark took our extended family down to DC for the fireworks and Rhett and I came back to the farm with everyone's belongings, the remnants of my fridge/freezer and our laundry. We got the house put back in order and then collapsed into bed.
flushable toilets, running water, lights at the flip of a switch or computer technology, but that doesn't diminish the stuff they were made of! Way to go, pioneers!
I'm so thankful that we weathered the storm and I continue praying for the workers trying to restore power and for those folks who are still without power. May everyone be safe and back up soon!