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Archive for 12. December, 2013

Ice Storm – Part 1

As of this writing, it’s only December 9th, and December 6th (the day of the ice storm here in the Dallas / Ft. Worth area) is already a blur. I woke up at about 2 am that morning to the sound of freezing rain hitting the window and!! It seemed like it took forever until we finally got some daylight, and listening to the sound of tree limbs crashing to the ground made the time go by even slower! I lit a candle and set it on my desk, just in case the power went out, so I wouldn’t have to go find one in the dark.
When daylight finally came we got to see the frozen mess outside. Everything was covered in ice (I have to admit, it did look pretty!) but there were lots of broken and downed tree limbs. We ventured outside after a while (me armed with my iPhone) and talked to some neighbors who were outside, too, and found out that they had been without power for hours! We had been lucky so far, but the power line leading to our house leads straight through a big tree, and was being weighed down by branches heavy with ice. It seemed only a matter of time until it snapped.
Just before lunch, Greg and Sara decided to walk to the nearest grocery store (about 1 mile away)….in the bitter cold…to pick up some canned items that we could easily cook on the stove if we did lose power. The freezing rain stopped sometime in the early afternoon and the roads didn’t seem too bad so we decided to go out to dinner as planned (it was our anniversary that day). Power was still on when we got back, but it was getting colder and colder outside and tree branches continued to break off from the weight of the ice.
A little after 7 pm we sat down to watch a DVD and about 20-30 minutes in everything went dark and silent and within a split second we heard a “pop” and knew that a transformer had blown. We already had some candles lit, and lit some oil lamps, too, and put them into the other rooms, then got out extra blankets to help stay warm…..then decided that maybe it would be best to try to find a hotel for a night or two. While Greg was calling hotels to see if they had power, and available rooms, I packed a few things into a suitcase. Sara has a pet fish, and her tank was wrapped into a towel and a blanket to hopefully keep the water warm enough.
We found a hotel about 40 miles (or more than an hour’s drive on very scary roads!) away and didn’t realize until we got there that no one thought to drop a 7-day food tablet into the fish tank…which of course meant that we had to make the scary drive home on Saturday morning so Sara’s poor little fishy wouldn’t starve. She probably worried about her all night, hoping she wouldn’t freeze in her cold tank.
We made it back home at about 11:30 am on Saturday. We still  had no power, the house had cooled down to 48 degrees F, but little fishy was still alive….a little sluggish, but alive. More good news was that the hotel right here in town (and only about two miles from our house) had power again, AND available rooms! Sara put her fish into her original bowl, and we took her with us to the hotel.
We decided to make a quick stop at home on the way back to the hotel after dinner, and discovered that the electricity was back on! That was such a relief! But….we also discovered that the hot water pipes were frozen! We weren’t going to worry about it that night, and went back to the hotel while the house warmed up over night. After breakfast (and hot showers) on Sunday we went back home and thawed the pipes with the help of two work lights in the bathroom, aimed at the pipes under the sink, and another work light outside, aimed at the pipes leading to our tankless water heater. Thankfully after just a few hours we had running hot water again!
It was still bitter cold outside, but that didn’t stop me from going outside several times to take some pictures. I think my finger tips may have fallen off at some point during this crazy week-end, but my hands were to cold for me to be sure 😉
Sara and I took a walk through the war zone our neighborhood on Sunday, to take more pictures. It was so sad to see SO many trees down, and we’ve lost most of what was left of our crepe myrtles in front of the house. They were somewhat carelessly “pruned” by the contractors when we remodeled our house a couple of years ago.
After writing this novel here, and realizing how long it must have taken you to read though it, I thought I’d spare you the ugly pictures of this storm and leave you with the pretty instead. Tune in tomorrow for part 2….no novel, just pictures, I promise!

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