Our home has been without power now for about 50 hours and the temperatures are hovering around 10 degrees.
Thursday night we bathed the kids, laid out school clothes, did our dished and ran the dishwasher, rotated our wet clothes to the dryer , then tucked ourselves into bed. I had worked that day and heard on the radio that we would be getting rain and temperatures may fall slightly giving us icy roads in the morning.
At 1:36 a.m. Matt and I sat strait up in bed, waked by a loud crashing sound outside our bedroom window. Our home was pitch dark. I hopped out of bed and searched for some of our flashlights we keep handy. I slipped on my shoes and coat and headed outside to investigate. As I opened the door I heard crashing sounds in the woods surrounding our house. As I walked around our home I came across large branches which had fallen to the ground around our bedrooms. The silhouette of a large tree bending over our home caught my attention. I went inside and checked on the kids who were awake and huddled together. I took them to the door to see what had happening. Just as we looked out we saw the top of a tree crack and fall across the street. We spent the rest of the morning all huddled together trying to sleep but being woken up by crashing branches and emergency vehicle sirens.
We cooked breakfast on our propane camp stove and layered our clothes. We made homemade ornaments for the kids tree, played hide and seek, and did other fun things to pass the time. In the late afternoon we hopped in the nice warm van and went for a drive to see some of the damage around town. Our elders invited us to their home for pizza. We thought that was a hoot. We had been invited to a dinner appointment at the elders! The party was moved to Pizza Hut where we and 6 elders chowed down and had a fantastic time. After dinner we headed home, weaving our way around branches and utilities vehicles. We drove through the northern stretch of Salem that was entirely out of power. Super Wal-Mart, gas stations, restaurants, and hundreds of homes were in complete darkness. We hunkered down for the night under layers of blankets. While we were in bed we got several calls (cell phones are working but getting poor reception) from friends who had power who insisted we jumped in the car and spent the night at their homes’. We decided to wait through the night since we were toasty and warm and the kids were already asleep. Everyone slept great, except myself. I had to keep jumping up and running to the bathroom to throw up. What a night for morning sickness to make it’s grand entry!
Morning came and we checked to thermostat to find our home was now 45 degrees inside. It was time to head out. Matt was so good to pack up everything while I sat with Lucy and an emergency bowl. We called our friends who lived nearest us to let them know we were taking them up on their offer. We arrived at our friends beautiful home where she quickly drew me a warm bath in her jacuzzi. I can’t believe how lucky we are to have so many good friends who were in a position to take us in.
The Pitchers took care of the kids while Matt did laundry other odds and ends. I was able to rest most of the afternoon and towards evening was able to keep down some ginger cookies, ginger root pills, Tylenol, and some water.
This storm apparently took meteorologists by surprise when a low (or was it a high?) came off of the Great Lakes. No one expected it and no one was totally prepared for it. We do have our 72 hour kits all ready to go and sitting near our front door but were able to avoid using them and will save them for another emergency another time. This one was a doozy though. I’ve been living in New England now for 10 years and haven’t seen anything like it. Branches were covered with ice that was ½” to 1” thick. We first heard that 250,000 homes were without power but it’s now over a million. Northern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire were the hardest hit. Salem, Windham, Pelham, over to Nashua sustained the worst damage. I believe it. It looks as though a hurricane ripped through with the exception of it being amazingly beautiful. Yards have been sprinkled with falling ice that makes it look like someone tossed diamonds over it. Trees look like they’re made of crystal and sparkle in the sunlight.
It’s now 9:45 Sunday morning. The cable and internet went down last night and just came back up. We’re expecting the missionaries with all their investigators to come in about 45 minutes to take the sacrament and have a small service. Our power is still off at the church and at home.