20 March 2016

Four Days, the Shocking Finale

Now we're on day 3.5 of having no power.  I've lost my mind on the customer service rep, the in-laws are in a hotel, and the brother is on a flight to Chicago for work because of course he is. 

We borrowed the heater from the parents house so we had some heat.  Our house is little but it has vaulted ceilings so while it kind of took the chill off the house, it was by far not cozy.  We considered sleeping in the front room but relocated to our bedroom with the heater instead. 

But neither of us could sleep.  The power was due to be on any minute now, for real.  We knew that  when it came on, we had to make sure that everything was okay not only in our house but in the parents house as well. 

I've been listening to the Canadian radio station for 3.5 days and I'm starting to tire of it.  Commercials are the bane of my existence and like all radio stations, there are a finite amount of songs being played.  But the no power thing makes listening to Sirius, Pandora, or Amazon not feasible.  But I'm so tired and overwhelmed that I can't conceive of just trying to find another radio channel. 

I have finally finished the book I've been trying to read for months, only to discover there is a sequel.  A sequel I don't have in my possession.  Begrudgingly, I started another book but all I could do was be bitter that I couldn't just go into town and get the other one. 

So, I'm restless.  I'm tired of living in the stone ages, I'm tired of being cold, I'm tired of country radio, and I can't work on anything that I wanted to do.  Fun fact: I do my chores and shopping on Fridays, if I can pull it off, or first thing Saturday so I can have the weekend to do whatever. Now it's Saturday at midnight and  I had  that lingering over me; laundry, grubby house and general malaise.

Now I'm just sitting around watching laundry pile up more, knowing the house is going to need sanitizing and not just cleaned, and now the freezer/fridge needs gutted and cleaned.  I'm not one to have a big to-do list, it triggers the ADD/OCD alphabet soup that is my brain.  Oh, and we had to go to the grocery store to replace everything I was tossing if the power ever did return and the dump to rid us of the yuck that was our refrigerator.

All I could think was the sequence of events we had to do once the power returned.  It's not like "Oh, the lights are on, all is right with the world."  It was "Once the lights come on, there are hours of work to do."  Kevin was having the same thoughts so we sat there, unhealthily obsessing over our situation.

Finally, we went to sleep. The puppy slept with us one more night and I will admit that the heater (which is a faux fireplace) is quite lovely in our room. In any other circumstance, it would have been quite cozy.

3:45 am the power clicked on and it felt and sounded like the house roared to life.  We woke up almost immediately and instead of joy, we were all "Ugh, where do we even start" and "It's FOUR O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING."  Kevin turned our water on and flushed our toilets to prime everything again then headed next door to make sure that every light in the house plus the water wasn't on there, and to finally turn the generator off.

Oh, the generator.  I forgot.  It needed a fuel/oil mixture in order to restart the other day. (remember when it broke down?)  Reportedly the brother looked at it but "It just wouldn't run."  Kevin mentioned it to me at the time "Well, I'm sure you heard him working on it."  and I did, indeed, not hear it nor see the lights that were still plugged into it flicker to life.  The brother has a way of looking at things while being defeated and helpless so I was suspect that he even tried.  The fact that it took Kevin fifteen minutes to fix it after he returned from  the memorial service proved me right.

And, there are few more wearying sounds than a generator.  It's one of the things I do not enjoy at the racetrack, the droning noise of the generators.  In fact, the track has a curfew for generators, that's how loud they can be.  So the roar of the house being rekindled was welcome over the droning, grating sound of the generator.

at 4:00 am, I can't reasonably start cleaning the refrigerator, if there is such a state of mind, and the hot water tank needs an hour to start up and reheat so I am at a standstill.  Once Kevin came back from next door, I turned on the television and we both slept the sleep of the dead for a few hours.

8:00 am finds us happily showered in a warm house and on our way to get coffee.   I needed a bucket of mocha and chocolate mini doughnuts just to consider looking at the refrigerator.  But we had to take all that food to the dump so it had to be done first. Once we got home, really all I wanted to do was lay on the couch and watch television.  Instead I turned my Amazon music to my Loud Playlist and got to business.

All in all, it wasn't that bad. I had two garbage bins and I methodically went shelf by shelf tossing things out.  Then I scrubbed everything down and even had two boxes of baking soda to put inside to absorb  the odors.  The only rough part was the floor of  the freezer.  It was a science experiment.  I turned up James Brown really loud, breathed through my mouth, and got it done.  Cross that off my Life List.

Oh, and the guilt I had about not recycling containers was immense.  But it just wasn't feasible and the Gross Factor would have been so much more. Kevin and I loaded up the truck with not only our stuff but the parents and neighbors.  A big Dodge truck hauling a full load food poisoning, at least we looked good.

I can complain only a little bit about this part.  Because Kevin had the task of babysitting his parents while they cleaned out their refrigerator.  As it was, they tried to keep yogurt, an opened package of bacon and sausage links, and mayonnaise.  Yep, mayonnaise. I feared for their lives, not from food poisoning but at the hands of Kevin.  Kevin said he just dead-eyed them and dropped it all into the garbage can then walked out.

Oh, and the sister-in-law felt like this was the perfect time  to go out of town to visit a friend.  Not only leaving their dog at the parents (don't get me started, that's a whole other topic)  but leaving Kevin to go pick them up at the hotel and get them resettled into the house.  AND, AND, AND, we had to call our niece to come take her grandma shopping, which is usually the s-i-l's responsibility.  It was kind of a d*ck move that I'm still not quite over yet.

Then we trek into town.  First was the glamorous task of the dump and  then buying a heater because OF COURSE there is another big storm on the way.  Then we braved the grocery store. Every person from the valley was shopping that day. It was so overwhelming that I couldn't wrap my mind around everything that we needed.  I just shopped like usual then tossed random condiments into the cart.  I figured the grocery store is open every day so I could come back later.

While shopping, I remembered years and years ago when one of my oldest friends had his house flooded by a 100-year flood.  He told us about how surreal and strange it was to go from a house with two feet of water in it and utter disaster to town where everyone is just living their lives like nothing else was wrong in the world.  We were definitely feeling that over these four days.

 Once home again, I scrubbed our bathrooms to a shiny clean and started the first of almost ten loads of laundry.  (I hadn't done laundry since Tuesday, so nearly a full week of it...ugh) and tried to remember what it was like to live in civilization.  Oh, and the previous weekend we had guys in to fix our new flooring in our bathroom so this is weekend #2 of our house being torn up. 

Finally, about 2:30 I was finished and Kevin said he was coming in early.  We both wanted to just sit and mindlessly stare at the television and enjoy our electricity.  We cozied up in the living room and just started to relax when the wind kicked up again.

Our lights flickered a few times and I thought we were both going to cry.  We discussed it and made an immediate decision: if it goes out again, EVERYONE was going to a hotel.  But it stayed on and we relaxed again.

Until one big gust hit the house and we heard a crash.  Kevin jumped up and went outside but didn't see any downed trees or anything like that.  Until he spotted a big hunk of wood in our rock garden.  The wind had torn off  three sections of roofing from the house.  Our house is only ten years old so that tells you the size of gust it must have been.

I actually heard him yell at God "Are you EFFING kidding me!?!?!"  He came back into the house, changed into work clothes, and got up on the roof to fix it before the rains started.  This made me pretty nervous because the wind was whipping all around him.  But there was no other choice.

About an hour later, he was back in his chair trying to forget that all this had ever happened.  I got up to make dinner and decided that I would just make breakfast so we could just stay cozy in the living room.  Right up until I realize that I didn't buy syrup.  Because OF COURSE.  I ended up making a breakfast sandwich for Kevin and I had oatmeal.

Now today, we're a week away from that adventure and we're still a little shell shocked.  While shopping yesterday, I still had items that needed replacing.  The house is clean and laundry is finished and the house feels kind of like when it was when we first moved in.  There is a novelty to it.

The shiny side is that we have a more concrete plan should this ever happen again so that's comforting.  It gave us a story to tell so that's interesting.  Otherwise, we're just trying to forget it ever happened. 

Oh, and on Tuesday I received an email from the power company, requesting a customer service survey about "our recent contact with the company."  I'm ignoring it right now and will continue to do so until I can list more things than curse words and angry emojis.

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