"These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world." - John 16:33

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The BIG snowstorm

This past Saturday, New England was hit with our first big snowstorm.  When we heard of it, we thought nothing of it.  Living in New England, you get used to this kind of thing, and seeing as it was October (we don't usually get snow that early), we didn't expect it to be anything big.  Honestly, we didn't pay much attention to it at first.  It began to snow and I was a little excited to see the cold white snow to fall from the sky.
Latter that evening around 7pm, my mother called to warn me she thought the power may go out for them soon.  The snow was a wet snow, and falling at a nice steady rate.  Again, nothing extreme for us New Englanders.  My parents live in a rural area, and we live in a city.  It's more common for them to loose power than us, so I wasn't surprised that their lights were giving them an occasional flicker.  I began to wonder about our power an hour later, when our lights would dim or go out, only seconds later to come back on.  I lit a candle and continued the housework I was trying to finish that night before bed.  At 10pm our power went out.
Again, we were unfazed by this.  It happens on occasion and usually will return that evening.  My husband and I grabbed a couple of flashlights and our i Phones and cuddled up on the couch in the living room.  As we sat surfing facebook and talking, we noticed the wind had picked up and you could hear the trees groaning outside.  My husband went to our large front window and watched the trees as they swayed and sagged under the heavy snow.  "I think I should move our cars." He said with a surprised tone in his voice. 
I got up to look, and immediately noticed that the tree next to our driveway was weight down heavily by the snow.  Most of the trees in our yard had not yet dropped all their leaves and so the heavy wet snow sat on the leaves, pulling down on the tree limbs.  I honestly didn't think anything would fall from the tree, but wasn't opposed to him moving our cars to the lawn.  So, he got up, bundled up and moved our cars to the middle of our front lawn, away from the trees.  After he got back inside we went back to the couch and began to talk about how bad the weather was looking.  I was about ready to turn in for the night and was about to ask my husband if he was ready to do the same.
Suddenly, over our heads we heard a loud whine and crack of wood, and a loud boom that was accompanied a shaking of our home that you never want to feel.  With that we jumped up and looked out the window.  It was dark, so we couldn't see much.  We went to the back door to go out and try to find the sources of the noise.  We opened the door and were shocked to see the top of a tree blocking our exit.  A large part of a tree near our house had broken off and fallen onto our roof, right over our heads!  My husband was able to push his way past the branches and go out to take a look.
I now knew I was not going to sleep any time soon and I went directly to check on our sleeping children.  Both were still fast asleep.  I came back to the living room and sat in a chair, away from the corner of the room we had been sitting in.  I called a friend who was still up, to try to take my mind off of what was going on outside.  My husband sat at the dining room table with his phone.  As we sat we heard that familiar cracking noise of another tree.  We looked through the big front window just as the tree next to the driveway broke away and a large portion of it fell right into our driveway.  I looked at my husband shocked.  If he hadn't move our cars, they would have been totaled.
No I was more than just a little nervous, and went to check on the kids again.  We sat listening to all of the creaks and moans of the trees outside.  You could literally sit and listen to them falling.  Around midnight, we decided we should try our best to get some sleep.  We went back to the kids rooms and put an extra blanket on them.  We had left our phones in the kitchen, and walked back to get them.  The two of us jumped as we saw a huge orange ball of light from outside, a few street over.  The light was almost blinding and was accompanied by a loud buzz.  "A transformer must have blown!" said my husband.  He opened the back door and checked to see if he could see where it was coming from.  After the orange glow died down, the streets behind us also lost power.  Now...I was shaking.
My husband was able to calm me down enough to get me to sit in bed, but that's all I did.  I sat in bed, with my bible in my lap, worrying and listening.  I listened to the creaks and groans of the trees out side, praying that none of them fell on our house.  I checked on the children every hour to make sure they were warm enough and still asleep.  I managed to get about 2 hours of sleep that night, but that was about it.
The morning was almost as shocking as the night.  My husband got up and pulled the generator out of the shed to get our heat started.  By this time the house was a balmy 60 degrees.  We took both children and snuggled them in our bed until the house warmed up enough for them to run around.  My husband came in and tried to tell me what it looked like outside.  I heard him but was focused on the kids and so I didn't really absorb what he was saying.  I finally took a good look outside when I heard him say to someone on the phone, "It looks like Armageddon outside right now!"  I went over to the window and was utterly shocked by the site.  It almost looked like a bomb had gone off in the middle of our neighborhood!  Trees were scattered everywhere, branches covered the ground, power line were broken and in the road and poles were hanging on the lines.  At this time people were now outside checking the damage to their houses.  Most of us with a look of amazement on our faces.
Fast forward to today, 5 days later.  Wednesday, November 2nd.  We still don't have power, although alot of it has been restored.  It's been a slow process because of all the damage.  The power company is estimating that we may have our power back by Saturday at midnight...but I'm really not going to hold my breath.  Almost everyone lost power, so it's going to take a while for it all to be repaired and restored.  There are still multiple lines down where we live so I know just by looking at the damage, it is going to take some time to fix. 
In the past day or so I have come to terms with our lack of power and have decided to try to get back to "business as usual."  I started our school week today and the kids seemed very happy for that.  I then took them to an indoor playground we enjoy going to and let them run their energy off in the indoor climbing structure.  Sassy even made a friend while we were there!  It was so wonderful to see their smiling faces running around with other kids, having fun.
We had a small generator that we have been using, but it needs to be refilled with gas every hour.  My husband was able to borrow a much larger generator from a friend. We are now able to supply a neighbor with some heat and lights, as well as power our own heat, a light or two and a refrigerator without having to refill it for at least 7 hours. 
After my husband came home from getting the new generator, he and our neighbor smelled gas from outside.  It smelled like propane, and was pretty strong.  We called the gas company to report it and have someone come check it out. As the woman on the phone it telling me not to light candles or plug anything into an outlet, my first instinct is to get out, and so we did.  My husband stayed behind with the gas company (who only took 5 minutes or so to get themselves to our house), and I scooped up the kids and ran out the door to the car.  I took them out to eat while we waited to find out if it was safe to go home.  Apparently a gas main broke in our area and that's why we smelled the gas.  He checked our home top to bottom to be safe and told us we were ok to resume our usual activities.  We were just smelling the scent from the main that had broken.  When my husband told me this I was a little uneasy, but felt better when I got home and could no longer smell the gas. 
Needless to say, it's been a crazy few days.  Our Internet access is limited, so posting will be difficult but I will try.  As soon as I have pictures I'll share them online.  We have dealt with alot, but it could be SO much worse than it is. 
One thing I will say, is that through it all, we have been VERY thankful.  I am thankful the tree branch didn't cause damage to our roof, I'm thankful that my husband moved our cars, I'm thankful for my mother in law bringing over hot coffee that morning, I'm thankful for having a generator to provide us with some heat, I'm thankful for our food not spoiling, I'm thankful for my children dealing with this so well, I'm thankful that we are all safe, I'm thankful for the safety of the many others who live around us, I'm thankful we didn't have a gas leak, I'm thankful for laundry assistance...I could keep going and going.  We are supposed to praise God when things are going well, but we are also supposed to praise him when things aren't going so well.  Through it all, I have felt God is with us, and we will continue to praise him, no matter what else comes our way.
"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks,
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

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