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Buggin’ Out


Hi!  You’ve reached TB and Dys.  We’re not home right now.  Actually, we’re at TB’s parents’ house in Virginia, where the outdoor temperature is a balmy 47 degrees.

Which is one degree higher than it was in our house yesterday at about 10am, when we finally decided to get the hell out of Dodge.  

We were just one of, oh, about 200,000 homes and businesses (not people – far more if you count each person!) without power in our general area.  Estimates on when power will be restored ranged anywhere from five to fourteen days.

Yep.  You heard us.  

All told I figure we got about two inches of sleet as a base, then three-quarters to an inch of ice, then about two to four inches of snow on top of that, before the storm ended late Wednesday morning.  The college, and boy’s school, have been closed since Tuesday, so we had the option of just holing up for a while.  Cool…for a while.

We lost power at about midnight on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning.  And at that point the freezing rain had a good seven or eight hours to go before it switched over to snow for a few more.  It was a long night punctured frequently by the sound of firecrackers, followed by the sound of pouring water out of a bucket into a bathtub.  Or pouring sugar into a pot of boiling tea.  Or, as Dys put it, the sound of our son dumping all of his Hot Wheels onto the floor at once.

It was the sound of tree limbs cracking and falling, tossing broken ice everywhere.  It was unnerving after a while.

We have tree limbs down in our backyard, but no damage to the house.  At least during the first 36 hours or so, which was the real danger zone.  Neighbors have limbs on their houses but no structural damage that we saw.  We told some of our neighbors to park in our driveway both before and after we left because their normal parking spots were in some danger of being hit by further falling limbs.  

Anyway, after suffering through the first day with no power and no heat, the street behind us got their power restored on Wednesday evening, about 6:30.  The small commercial area a block from us never lost power (I think most of their electricity is underground.)  When our power was not back on by Thursday morning, we knew we were in trouble, since with such a huge number of outages the power company is using the “how many people can we help at once” yardstick, as they should.  Considering that we’re now one of maybe 20-30 homes in that small geographic area that are out, we figure we’re WAY down on the priority list.

With a dog, our options were limited.  Family friends without pets got a hotel room…in the 36th hotel they called, after staying on hold for 20 minutes.  That room was for last night and tonight – tomorrow they don’t know where they’ll sleep.

We made a quick decision to pack up, and with hotels seemingly out (and we sure as hell couldn’t do that for ten days), the only decision was to go east to my family or west to Dys’s.  There were high winds and blowing snow advisories in Dys’s family’s area.  And her father has the flu and yesterday was, as Dr. Cox puts it, firing out both ends.  

Virginia it was, for the second time in four weeks.  

We quickly packed, shut off the main water supply and winterized the pipes as best we could by draining the hot water heater and using R/V antifreeze in the traps, and left town about 3:30, arriving at my folks’ just before 12:30 am this morning.

Our neighbors have our numbers and will call us when power is restored – hopefully, we’ll leave here Sunday morning and return to a nice, warm, well-lit house.  We have tons of pictures, and we’re looking forward to sharing them as soon as we get back to a real high-speed ‘net connection instead of this crappy Verizon card again.  

In the meantime, we’re tired, we have no idea when we’ll get power back or when my office or Boy’s school will open again, and no idea really what our next move will be.  But for now we’re safe and warm, and after Wednesday and Thursday, we’ll take it.

So, we’re out for a while, but we’re thinking about you all.  Leave us a message after the beep, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.



10 Responses

  1. We were wondering how you guys were doing! Glad to hear everyone is safe and able to enjoy a little impromptu vacation. Hope you get the power back soon! Be careful, see you soon.

  2. It just missed us here…hope all goes well at the homestead. This ice is just enought to do some natural pruning of the area trees.

    Isn’t this the second tome you have lost power recently?

  3. Brief update – now we’ve kinda sorta agreed to stay for Sunday. My mom wants to cook a turkey and all that, and it’s not defrosted yet. And that would mean that we’d be watching the Super Bowl with my dad and my brother on dad’s ridiculous ass TV instead of, you know, NOT watching it while hurtling westward on the interstate at 75mph.

    I’ve gotten text messages about buildings being open on the college campus that make me pretty well positive that my office will be open on Monday. My colleagues know my situation and won’t hold it against me if I have to take a few days, but damn. And that’s not even counting Boy’s school situation, which is still an unknown.

    More winter weather is possibly forecast for the area on Monday and Tuesday. Yeehaa! And ugh. And still no word on when power will be restored, other than the number went from 174,000 homes to 172,000 today.

    (And here I should note the dozens of electrical company vehicles we met along the way east, all headed toward the danger zone, from places like Cleveland and Raleigh and all sorts of places. It made Dys almost cry a couple of times – these folks have left their own families to do important and sometimes dangerous work to help out people in need, so indescribable thanks to them for all they’re doing.)

    We’ll figure something out. One way or another. But yikes is it a hugemonguous pain in the ass.

  4. I’m glad you’re all OK. I read terrible stories on the local stations about families going to shelters, people getting killed, etc. I hope nothing crashes onto your house while you’re gone.

  5. Damn! And I’m bitching about being cold and putting 39 hours so far into shoveling snow. Hope you get home soon, guys.

  6. And here is where I feel a little stupid for getting upset that our house is holding at 63 degrees right now. I don’t know what is up with our possessed digital thermostat, but it seems the only time the heat kicks on is if it’s warm outside. When the temps drop into the 20’s at night? Nothing. I have no idea what’s wrong, except I think it’s the work of the devil, but now I’ll just be thankful we don’t have to deal with ice and relocating. I hope you guys have as much fun as possible under the circumstances and a safe trip home on Sunday.

  7. Thanks for all the thoughts, guys. Yeah, our biggest worries right now are a) water damage from burst pipes, b) something falling on the house, garage, car, etc., c) getting robbed blind while we’re gone.

    Compared to those things, those job/school things are just potential inconveniences.

  8. UPDATE!

    Since TB is in the other room enjoying talking football with other menfolk types, I took over the updating. I’m being beckoned, so the short and sweet is that we’re up and running again! For a bit more info, head over to my site. Thanks everyone!

  9. that’s so awful! Based on your wife’s comment it looks like you’re and running again, but that is quite the ordeal…good lucking getting everything back in order!

  10. […] certain things (that is, the answer to question #1) but by now I think between the posts around the ice storm and our trip to the distillery none of this is exactly Sooper Sekrit […]

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