1/14/07, published In Rembrance

This afternoon, Greg was supposed to travel to meet some other people who were coming through the St. Louis airport.  After repairing an area of fence where the cattle were, he checked with the rest of the group.  The airport was back in operation, so Greg continued with plans.  Within 30 minutes after he left, the power failed.

Since so many are without power in this vicinity and for lengths in terms of days, I immediately began the process – duct tape around the north door, close the blinds in the windows, start the kerosene heater in the basement, gather essential supplies – flashlight, candles, matches, Wet Ones, cell phone, direct phone (still had phone service, but no cable,) blankets, and crate fans (for the insert, the only source of heat with no electricity for the fans.)  Then I changed into serious thermals, wool socks, knit hat and warm outerwear.  I had been washing the dogs’ rugs today and had immediately noticed when I stepped on the pad that I keep under the rugs how well it insulated my foot from the cold floor.  The pads are dense foam rolls that I get from Wal-Mart.  They are intended for use under sleeping bags.  I had thought that their purpose was cushion, but was glad to know how well the insulation worked.  I might need to borrow one to sleep in front of the fireplace.

I carried in more firewood, carried the cat out, carried in more firewood, removed the cat again, etc.  The Flintstones song began to play and replay in my mind.  I could have let the cat stay in, but then if he weren’t always picking on the girl cats, he might have snuggle buddies in the barn, and if I ever cave, I think he will move in.

I had two UPS units for computers, and the cell phone wasn’t completely charged, so I used one to finish charging the cell phone.  As soon as possible, I shut those off in case I would need the power later.  In an ice storm years ago, the power was off for four days.

It was a little early, but I didn’t want to run out of daylight, so I took the dogs out to potty.  There had been rain and sleet off and on throughout the afternoon, and at this point it was a mix.  The surface was slushy and less slippery, at least.  Since the Littlest Newfoundland doesn’t like a change in her routine, I knew that I would have to take her out on leash through the front door.  That was enough of a shift to interfere with her ability to take care of business.  I took the leash off.  She gave me a look like I was being mean to a good Newf and went back to the house at the first opportunity to Her door.  After re-collecting Shelby and taking her out again, she finally complied.  We live in a very wooded area.  While we were waiting, the limbs were falling from trees and trees were falling every few seconds.  It sounded like the report from a rifle when the frozen limbs cracked.  This was causing the mares some excitement, but the two bay geldings were quietly eating their hay.  Parker made a cautionery statement toward the sound, but then began to ignore it.

There were limbs in our yard that had broken off from the weight of the ice, and the lower limbs of all of the trees were touching the ground.  The ice layer was the thickest that I have ever seen firsthand.  Parker enjoyed walking under the low-hanging branches just to hear the rattling sound that made.  Not to let his routine suffer from interference, he found a stick and pried it off the ground.  It was covered by a thick layer of ice, until he carried it around for a while.  He took it everywhere that we went, as usual.

Parker is OK with the front entrance, as is Brit.  There is a difference though.  Sticks must be left at the back door before entering the house.  For some reason, Parker thinks that rule shouldn’t apply at the front door.  After convincing him to leave it outside, I realized that one of my gloves was missing, so we went back out again.  I found it inside a vehicle, from when I pulled out the crate fans.  I had locked the door, so went back to get the key and put Parker inside.  In the few moments that I was outside again, he had crunched that stick down so only a few crumbs were left.  I hope that it stays down and passes safely.

The dogs would have different rations tonight since I couldn’t cook.  There was already chicken that had been cooked yesterday, and they also got fresh apples.  Cookies made up the balance tonight.  I don’t think that they were disappointed.  <g>  I put some of the pork roast that Greg had made in aluminum foil along with a couple of tortillas and put those on the insert to warm.  There was plenty to drink in the house, juices, bottled water, Dr. Pepper, and an already open bottle of wine.  There was plenty to eat that did not require cooking, although I wondered how much of the stored electricity in the UPS the small microwave would consume.  I figured that we were OK.  I had water to brush my teeth.  I had set the candles above the fireplace in front of the mirror, so the living room had enough light, and the hurricane lamp in the kitchen lit that room well.  All was OK until tomorrow.

Since it had been a few hours, I moved perishable refrigerated food to a cooler with ice that had slid off the roof and off of branches.  I decided to settle in for the night.  As I pulled my pillow off the bed to take to the living room, the power came back on.  What a rude awakening, just when I was enjoying the self-sufficiency.  <g>  Now I can have that cup of hot chocolate.

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