How it All Went Down

A.K.A.  “Welcome To Hell”

It all began, for me, on the afternoon of Tuesday June 26th when I severely jammed my 4th toe on my right foot on lumber sitting in the kitchen leftover from working on the attic (which is accessed through the kitchen).  Jamming my toe is not unusual for me, I am a natural born klutz….but this was the worst jam of my life, it swelled up and turned all black and blue and while I could move it…it hurt like HELL!  So I buddy-taped it to the third toe and went about my business, I am a BUSY WOMAN people…I don’t have time for broken toes, dammit!!

I hobbled about all day Wednesday, getting as much work done as I could, considering the circumstances…I could put hardly any weight on that foot without pain but I could still walk, so that was enough.  Same thing all the way through Thursday and then Thursday night Elijah (our oldest son who is 9) and Matthew (our third born son who is 4 1/2) both came down with some kind of throw-up/diarrhea stomach bug thing…it was so not pretty, especially considering that we were about to have guests on Friday…”just great, just wonderful” I thought, as I prayed that it would all be over before our guests arrived….

On Friday during the day, Matthew could hardly keep anything down and Elijah had graduated from the “throwing-up stage” to the “diarrhea stage” …about an hour before Nathan’s parents arrived I foolishly and naively thought that the worst might be over…Elijah had not had anymore diarrhea and Matthew had not thrown-up in nearly 3 hours.

When they arrived Elijah promptly ran into the bathroom and threw-up and then had diarrhea…while he was in the bathroom and me standing in the doorway between the bathroom and kitchen offering him “morale support” that is when the electricity started to flicker….

Just 20 minutes before that Nathan had informed me of some storms that were on their way here and that they should arrive within the hour…”oh great!” I thought “just peachy, the storms aren’t even here yet and already the electricity is throwing a temper tantrum…”  as if to answer my thoughts the electricity went out for about 30 seconds and then came back on, when it did I was still standing in the doorway between the kitchen and bathroom with Elijah at the toilet and I just happened to glance at the digital clock on the oven when the electricity flashed back on after a 30 second delay and the clock read 5:55 then it quickly flickered out and back on again and the clock read 12:00…freakyfreaky lol…

After Elijah finished up and brushed his teeth we went outside to greet Nathan’s parents who had arrived about 10 minutes beforehand, everyone was standing outside waiting for the storms…no one realized that the electricity had already been flickering, which was a bad sign and the first inkling that these storms were not gonna be good…the moment I opened my mouth to tell everybody about the electricity flickering was when it went out, 10 minutes before the storms had even arrived the lights went dark and they did not come back on until 11 DAYS later.

Still not fully comprehending what was heading our way, we continued to stand around outside and small talk…thinking that we still had a little while before the storms would arrive….we were wrong.

When the sound began it was like a low far away rumble…the interstate is not very far from our house and we often hear the low-rumble of tractor trailers as they drive by, but this was..different…although at first we tried to dismiss it as just being the interstate, after a few seconds we began to wonder.  The sound kept going and started to intensify….and we started to glance around, like prey caught in a trap looking for what direction the predator would come…  the trees were not even moving yet, no wind was felt and yet there was this roaring sound …like a far off distant train that was coming closer and closer and closer and then it SLAMMED into us abruptly and forcefully like the linebacker of a football team.  I saw whole trees double over at the waist and lawn chairs blow clean across the yard, Nathan began yelling “Get in the house!” …we grabbed the children and ran through the back door….  (we later learned that they clocked 90+ MPH winds with these storms…hence the term “land hurricane”…)

At this point we thought that maybe a tornado had touched down somewhere nearby even though tornadoes are virtually unheard of in this area, mostly because the mountains are deterrents to their formation.  We don’t have a basement so we all gathered crouched down in the center of the house while Nathan and his step-dad watched the storm from the back door.  After a few minutes I couldn’t stand it anymore and went to watch with them. The WIND was relentless!  Blowing and blowing and blowing while the rain came down in sheets and the lightening flashed …it had been early evening but the darkness was that of midnight …every once in a while one of our cats would come running up on the porch for sanctuary and Nathan would let it inside…

And then, almost as if by magic, the wind just stopped.  As abruptly as it arrived, it left….a bit of drizzle continued and every 5 minutes or so there would be the distant rumble of thunder but other than that it was over and like the munchkins of OZ after the death of the wicked witch we slowly and hesitantly came out from hiding…. everyone, every human, every animal, was fine… and miraculously not ONE tree, not a single tree on our whole 9 acres came down.  And we made sure, a few days later we took some walks of the property to access any damage and there was none to be had, other than a few good sized branches that fell in nondescript places, it was as if there had never been a storm at all.

We couldn’t say the same for the surrounding area though…shortly after the storm finished I headed up to the gas station that is just a few miles down the street to get ice now that the electricity was out, on my way there I passed two trees in the road that I had to go around and a tree on the side of the road sitting on the power line causing the power line to  be about 10 feet above the road…I cautiously dodged under it.

When I got to the gas station there was no power there either and they had closed and locked their doors…there was a small group of about 8 people standing outside the door looking inside the windows…looking agitated, stressed, panicked, I could feel it in the airs….I knew better than to stick around this powder keg for too long….I pulled into a parking spot, they all looked my way, I smiled and politely waved …they responded with angry grimaces, I quickly turned my car around and left, heading back home.

When I got back home, everyone seemed to be in high spirits, they had gotten the oil lamps and candles all lit…Matthew hadn’t thrown up again and Elijah said that he was feeling better…everyone was eating chocolate pudding that Grandma had brought with her.  I took this as my cue to go do the evening milking, handing  Baby Samuel over to Nathan I quickly gathered my supplies and a lantern and left.  The milking went calmly and smoothly during which I prayed for strength and wisdom and calm to envelope all people involved in this storm.

When I came back to the house it was nothing like what I had prayed for…STRESS reigned supreme!!  Matthew had thrown up again, this time it was the chocolate pudding all over the dining table, chairs, floor….Nathan’s step-dad, who is a public school janitor by profession had already leapt into action and was getting it contained.  I kept handing him towels and bleach and water and, by the flicker of firelight he managed, somehow, to get it all cleaned up.  I thanked him profusely for helping when he really didn’t have to….shortly after that they both left to return to their hotel room in the hotel right next door to the gas station that I had just come from.  I warned them about the “atmosphere” of the gas station and to be careful, and reminded them that if things started getting ugly they could come to our house for the night.  Fortunately for them, the hotel had a generator going and they had minimal lighting, fans, and TV to watch.

Determined to still go forth with our plans and keeping the hopes up that it would not be out for too long, we didn’t break out our generator to operate fans and few lights until Day 3 of the outage.  Honestly, it would not have been so bad had it not been for the sickness and my “semi-broken” toe, hauling water several times a day on a maimed toe is NOT my idea of a good time LOL.  Day 1 of the outage and Elijah was still having diarrhea and Matthew threw-up 2 more times…

By Day 2 of the outage they got immensely better and things were looking up and that is when THE HEAT set in…90-95 degrees F with like 75-80% humidity…RELENTLESS….for almost the entire time of the outage.  Solomon got sick once from the heat and Charity got sick once from the heat, both on separate days….my kids are very healthy and rarely get sick, so this was certainly something else and combined with the power outage and my hurt toe, I have to tell you that my sanity hung by a thread at times…but I just kept on keeping on, not really thinking and just doing what needed to be done…like a soldier I did my duty…

By Day 5, we had gotten into a good groove and really started to get the hang of it, started to ENJOY it even …we spent most of our time outside, it was just like camping…the kids spent most of the day in the creek and I gave the babies bowls of water to splash around in…whatever I could do to keep everyone COOL.  After the feeding and the cleaning of everyone (both human and animal) the days would sort of just melt into a summer laziness kind of attitude, hiding in the shade and reading or playing card games or board games until the cool of the evening came then it would be garden work and the evening milking and then dinner, our nights were always super-late, the kids often not getting in bed until well after 10pm on most nights.  It was. shall I dare say it??  FUN 😀  And while I started this post comparing the experience to HELL, looking back now I somewhat miss it…. and the other funny thing?? I didn’t even miss the internet at all…

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