Two weeks before Christmas and the arrival of six family members from half a continent away my dishwasher went out. No problem. I went to the Home Depot and purchased one, arranging for it to be delivered the next week—just in time for the boatload of dishes that fifteen people would make on Christmas Eve night.
Disclaimer: The above is NOT my sink—only what I feared!
One week before Christmas we had a windstorm that lasted at least 24 hours with straight-line winds that prevented me at one point from opening my car door. Strong enough that they snapped our electric poles and caused me to be without power for four days.
Please recall that without power out here in the country, there is no water…pump, remember?
This necessitated two nights in the local Hampton Inn so that I could be presentable in Court the next morning.
Fine. We’d just do chinette.
My guests arrived on Saturday, understanding that because of four days without electricity the house was not exactly presentable, the refrigerator was bare because we lost so much of the food there, and that there were no—not even one—Christmas decorations.
The next morning Son and nephew went to the storage unit to get the Christmas tree and decorations so we could all put them up together. He got confused about the code to gain entry and did it enough times before calling home for the correct one that we were locked out. No attendant was on duty—gone until after Christmas.
Next decision made: No decorations.
Christmas came. It was wonderful. We basked in over-indulgence of food (off Chinette) and gifts. It was marvelous fun. Right up until Christmas evening, when the power went out.
Gulp! We prayed for a short outage. But the next morning when we arose we knew to expect the worse because this is what we saw.
That’s Chili looking back at me—he loved this entire time. Our family had brought their dog, Athena, with them, and the two played and played and played. I don’t think they knew anything was amiss.
The above is the nose of my brother-in-law’s car, stuck in the snow…right next to mine which also got stuck when I got cocky and tried to drive to MIL’s home…no power, no water, no getting out of the driveway. We were made prisoners by the snow in a nineteenth century time warp, without any modern conveniences.
We adapted. We bundled up and kept a roaring fire going in the fireplace.
The no water situation was the worst. We could not flush toilets because of the lack of pump (don’t think on this one too much) so we gathered snow to melt in order to be able to perform this function. Snow melt (boiled and with a little bleach) also served to wash what dishes and pots we used at mealtimes.
By the evening fire one night we read poetry, beginning with Robert Service’s “The Cremation of Sam McGee.” Son and I recited our favorite Frost poems and, of course, as much of “The Raven” as we could recall. We could not prevail upon others to recite, but in all we had a great time that evening sitting in semi-circle around the fireplace enjoying each other’s company.
The captivity continued until Thursday afternoon when Son, BIL and I made a foray into town, treacherously as you will see from these pictures, to re-supply.
The above is a normally well-traveled road into town.
As you can see, it took a lot of chainsaws to make things passable.
Finally, as we sat around late Friday afternoon dreading the cold and dark of the night, the power blinked on. We were jubilant! Our town relatives had to wait until the next day and, in one case Sunday, before power was restored so we were ahead of the game as compared to them.
Sunday our guests decided to take one “fun” trip into town and see Les Miserables before packing to leave the next day. In the final half hour the theater lost power. Just their luck.
We have laughed over this as the Christmas we will never forget! I will tell you one thing, though: my family were champions through this ordeal. They could have packed their cars up and left on Thursday, but they chose to stick it out with us. Their kids’ extra hands at gathering snow, keeping the fire lit, and doing all the work that this lifestyle entails was a huge help. There was little, if any, complaint. This bunch is definitely foxhole material.
Now the New Year has turned, and Son and I spent New Year’s Eve quietly at home, relishing our electricity. 2012 has been a difficult year, and we hope for a better one in 2013—we wish the same for you. --C