Thursday, May 30, 2024

I was never meant for the Oregon Trail

I have half-written at least five posts since my last one, which you all gave such beautiful comments and sent such beautiful emails after reading. I've been super busy at work and life and just trying to be fully present for all of it. With the holiday on Monday, I got really close to actually finishing a post, but there was so much to catch up on that I ran out of time. Plus we needed to have some lazy family pool time, and then Landon had a date that night and I wanted to be suitably unoccupied when he came home so I could hear about it.
Then on Tuesday morning at exactly 6:05 am we SHOT out of bed as our phones screamed at us at a higher volume than I thought my permanently-set-on-silent phone could go.


I jumped up to fully standing by the bed while James rolled over and silenced his phone. I went downstairs and saw a green sky. I ran back up and bumped into a Claire emerging with wide eyes from her room under a blanket. The wind was WHIPPING around the house, lightning was crashing right on top of itself, and the thunder was so loud our picture frames shook. I heard the tornado sirens and decided it was time to move the family downstairs. Cora popped up when prompted, but Landon took about five hard shakes and even then, as the entire world sounded like it was crashing down from heaven into his room with its wall of windows, finally woke up with an exasperated "what?!!!".

We assembled in our little cubby room hallway between the garage and the house. Plenty of room and no windows, with doors that close on both ends. At one point, we felt the pressure change. My ears popped. Milo went full poof. Maggie, our deaf dog who barks once a year, starting barking like crazy. It felt apocalyptic. I'm certain a funnel cloud was nearby.

A few seconds later, our power went out. Cell service was down. The storm raged. And so we sat on the floor. Eventually, the wind calmed a little and we moved out to the living room. Around 7 a.m. we all tumbled onto the couch and fell back asleep together. I woke up again at 8:15 and realized we still didn't have cell service or data or power and I really needed to get to work. And so I did, getting ready with my cellphone light as the sky outside was still black as night.

Once at work I had about a million emails that had come in between 6 a.m. when I lost cell service at 9 a.m. when I arrived in the office in jeans, very unwashed hair in a bun, and no makeup. Work was constant. No one I'm currently working with is in Dallas, so the day started at 100 mph and stayed that way until about 10 pm.

The girls joined me at one point, to borrow the office WiFi and air conditioning and cold beverages. James came for a bit and set up shop in a guest office. Everyone (but me) went home at 7 and James made dinner by lamplight because he is more frugal than I am and wanted to use up things in the fridge. The only things that work in our house are the cold water, the oven, and the stove top. He made some delicious burritos and washed everything in cold water. I got home at 10 and ate a cold burrito that was incredible.
Landon and Cora were able to sleep at friends' houses who had power. Claire, James and I were able to sleep fairly comfortably in the house, since the storm had brought in a semi-cold front. Claire needed all 3 lanterns in her room, but was able to sleep after some initial doubts.

On Wednesday morning, all 3 kids went to the airport to fly to Houston for a pre-planned, but now incredibly well-timed, trip to stay with my parents for a few days. They packed their suitcases with dirty clothes they couldn't wash before they left. I worked a lot and used some hotel points to make a reservation near the house in case we still didn't have power. James and I met for a 7:30 dinner reservation by my office and then headed home to deal with the pets. The house was pretty warm and stodgy, but we felt the pets would be okay for the night, so we packed our bags and headed to the hotel about 9:45 pm.

Where we were turned away at the front desk because they were out of rooms. "But we already paid for the room?" I though I very reasonably countered. "Sorry." said the front desk clerk who was not sorry. And so we walked back out to the car with our bags and our home printer under James's arm because he needed to print a bunch of shipping labels for Fike Swim orders. From the parking lot we were able to book another, pricier, hotel further away.

We finally checked in at hotel 2 at 10:15 pm and passed out immediately. Hot showers were enjoyed in the morning and then I was at work, wearing the same jeans and hairstyle I wore the day before, and James was back at our hot house taking care of the pets. As a side note, I will be wearing jeans on my person and my hair on top of my head until power is restored.
Another storm came through midday with tons of lightening and our estimated time of power restoration went from "end of the day Friday" to "hopefully by the end of the weekend."

Luckily (?) I guess, the new storm brought lower temps again, so James and I are back at the house, planning to spend the night with our animals like the pioneer people we now are.

Tomorrow is Friday and if we still don't have power I'm blowing all my Marriott points on a night at the Ritz. This week has been INSANE and this was supposed to be our special fun time without children and dammit we will enjoy it. Even if all my food is rotting in my fridge and my kids helpfully washed their dishes before they left without realizing the disposal doesn't work without electricity and so now things should start growing out of my sink drain any moment. Also our roof is leaking even though we just paid a roofer what seemed like an unreasonable amount to fix the leak (in this 4 year old roof) a month ago. But EVEN IF all that, we will have a nice Friday night, here in a house in the 21st century (maybe, yet increasingly unlikely) or in a very nice hotel that allows dogs so Maggie can live the luxury life she deserves.

In truth we're very lucky right now. The house is fine, other than the occasional smell, the kids are happily ensconced in Houston, and James and I can deal. My office has power and that's where I spend most of my time anyway. But would I still like for the power to be magically restored by morning? Yes, yes I REALLY would.


  1. Ugh! We lost power last week just for one morning and it felt so disruptive. Hope your power has come back on or will soon!

  2. Oh no! How awful! We lost power for 3 days 2 years ago and it was amazing how much of an impact it makes (which, of course it does, but you don’t realize till you have to live it). The big issue for us was that it was December in the northeast and the temperature outside went down to single digits, and the house got SO COLD - like I was wearing three layers of wool clothing, a full length down coat, a hat, and gloves. We didn’t take the hotel route due to pet issues (we have 3 that we have to keep separated so can’t really keep in one room, we didn’t want to pay for two, we didn’t want to leave them alone in a freezing house), and also b/c the estimate for restoration kept changing so we kept thinking the power might go on any moment now. By the end of day 3 we were so fried from sitting in the cold (and often dark) with nothing to do that we went for a drive in the car to warm up. We noted how dark the houses were all around us and when we hit a neighborhood that finally had power. Then when we turned around to drive home we saw the houses that had been dark on the way out were now lit up again, and turned into our cul de sac to see, glory be, LIGHTS!! (Our radiator baseboard heaters had frozen so we still didn’t have heat so I went out and bought electric blankets and space heaters, but that was better than nothing.)

    Long story short, I hope your power comes back on soon!

  3. I also hope your power has been restored. We are very lucky where we live, near DC, in that we do not really get extreme weather events and all our power lines are buried which means outages are rare. The few times we've lost power it was an adventure for a few hours (candles and card games!) but the novelty wears off quickly. Losing everything in the fridge/freezer is the worst.

  4. Strongly suggest investing in a whole house generator if at all possible . We often lose power for relatively short periods of time in my neck of the woods. However, after losing power for five days one summer, along with all of the contents of our fridge, and again once on Christmas morning, we finally pulled the trigger. For longer events like this, having the power magically come back on within 60 seconds of an outage is life changing. Ours is powered by our home’s gas line, not sure if that is a thing where you are!

  5. I don't know how I would do without electricity for that long unexpectedly. It is one thing if it is expected and your can plan. It is another thing if it is because of weather or an accident. I didn't think we have gone longer than 12 hours without electricity. I remember growing up having it off many nights, as our lives were terrible. But, it never lasted longer than 12 hours I think.

    Praying it has been restored, food has been replaced, and life has returned to normal.

  6. We live in Flower Mound and while we were out of town for the storms, our neighbor's house got struck by lightening and caught fire. They got it extinguished pretty quickly, but it is still a total loss. So scary!