Monday, January 15, 2007

Some Pithy Title

My brain, along with the rest of me, is far too cold to come up with a pithy title for this post. I grew up in Iowa and lived in Michigan for four years. I know snow. It snows (or it did) in the places I've lived, sometimes heavily. I know how to deal with that. I've even been without power due to snow for several hours. And I've been without power (electricity) due to squirrels. But I have never experienced anything like this ice storm.

Mrs. DocLarry and I dutifully went to the grocery on Friday afternoon and stocked up. Most of the food is lost due to the power outage. We filled the car with gas and thus have been able to avoid the long lines at the few stations able to run their pumps. We have candles and a flashlight with fresh batteries and firewood. We thought we were prepared. We weren't.

I was watching KY3 Friday evening when it lost power. Switched to something else until the cable system went down. Then began to read a book. The lights went out about 10:30 p.m. and still have not come back on. The silence was kind of neat, until we started hearing the crack and crash of branches breaking from the weight of the ice. We also heard the boom of transformers blowing and the buzz of the electrical grid trying to come back on line. And we even kind of enjoyed the light show from all the electrical outages.

Baxter did not like the sounds and sights, so we all slept in the living room Friday night. Each crash brought us to the window to check on damage. A flashlight doesn't really show the detail of the devastation. I've experience a tornado which caused less damage. Neighbors two houses north had a tree land on their roof. It's still there. Neighbors across the street lost almost all limbs from the 40-foot evergreens in their back yard. It's as if a lumberjack chopped each branch off in preparation for taking the trunk down.

A power line or cable line to another house across the street was taken down. Our poplar tree survived Friday night only to lose several branches Saturday evening. One younger tree broke at about two feet up the trunk. A limb from our neighbor's walnut tree fell on our roof but slid off, crashing to our deck and scaring the beejeebers out of all three occupants of Casa DocLarry.

A trip to Lowes on Saturday to purchase AA and AAA batteries led to the purchase of an LED flashlight, which provided enough light to read by. Warm take out food and additional firewood made us feel better for the second night without electricity, this one spent in front of the fireplace.

Sunday's adventures included a trip to the laundromat for some clean, warm clothing and a warm ride in the car. Still no D-cell batteries for the original flashlight, but we did pick up more firewood. Our gas water heater meant we could take hot showers on Sunday, and a gas grill meant Mrs. DocLarry could provide a hot meal Sunday evening. The additional, heavy freezing rain caused more tree damage but most of the limbs are gone from trees near our house. And as well as the fireplace had been doing, it just couldn't compensate for the colder air and the wind.

Baxter had a vet appointment today and the vet staff was kind enough to watch him for a couple hours while Mrs. DocLarry and I went to her office to warm up and charge our cell phones. We decided it was time to find a motel room and were lucky enough to score one that allows pets. Upon registering the desk clerk said they don't normally allow pets in the room we were renting, but the manager decided it was more important to help people than to worry about pets. The kindness of strangers never ceases to amaze me.

So the DocLarry family will be spending a night or two in a motel with heat, hot water, television, and a microwave. Mrs. DocLarry gets to have popcorn tonight. DocLarry gets to watch television for the first time in nearly 72 hours. and Baxter gets to sleep in a bed.

Our beautiful trees may have to come down, and we've lost some perishable food. But we are coping. Others have it far worse. We're lucky enough to be able to afford a motel room for a couple nights, and lucky enough to find one in Springfield. Others are far worse off. The Red Cross says they need bottled water badly. Plenty of people will need help removing tree limbs. If you have the ability to help, please do. If you have a warm, dry home, appreciate it. And check on your neighbors to make sure they're OK.

When that tree fell on the house to our north, neighbors went to the house to check on the occupants, who didn't happen to be home. Others have come up with chain saws. I've seen folks with generators running drop cords to their neighbors so that several houses can at least have a little electricity.

Posting will be sparse until we have electricity at home again. The DocLarry family is doing fine. And we'll be taking bottled water to the Red Cross tomorrow.