I Have Had Enough of This*

*...with compliments to Bill Cosby's wife for that line...

OK...on the last post, I wrote about the wonderful things that happen on a Snow Day. You bake bread...you make hot stew...you enjoy a video with your family in the warmth of your home while the white stuff falls gently on the land. Right.

That all changed rather quickly on Tuesday night. The lovely snow changed to ICE about mid-day, and by early evening trees, lines, and almost all surfaces were thickly coated, as you can see on the bird feeders in the photo to the left. The satellite dish was rendered inoperable about 9:00, leaving us with only the local channels for our information, along with Missy M's iphone connection to the Internet (wonderful invention, that!)...and all reports were that it was going to get worse before it got better. No truer words...

Just as the Drool Gang was doing the last potty call romp in the yard around 11:00ish, the transformer on the pole at the rear of Missy M's back yard EXPLODED spectacularly into the night. I cannot believe they aren't totally traumatized about the backyard now. Nana/Mama/Edith said it sounded like World War II documentaries of canon fire. The sparks shot up and out...and brought back memories of firecrackers at a July 4th celebration. OMG. Then, the lights cycled back on...and the following boom was deafening. More sparks. A red-hot wire broke (see arrows in the photo to the right, the circle in the photo below) and snaked through the side yard, winding up looped menacingly across Franelm Road. And, all went dark. And cold. And eerily quiet.

Missy M made the report of the outage to LGE...and a report of the downed power line across the road to 911...and we began to try to figure out what to do next. We had a gas water heater...would we have hot water? Yes, thank goodness! We had a gas stove and cooktop...could we light the burners with matches? Yes, TG!! We had flashlights galore, which we gathered into the kitchen to determine whether all batteries were good or needed replacing...and did we have replacements? Yes, for the flashlights, but not for the big portable radio. And, candles...and the butane lighter...and matches? Check, check, and check. The weather radio had batteries, but would not work, even with a set of replacements. Drat. Our communications link became the telephones (Missy M has two "wired" phones, which worked, in addition to the portable, which needed electricity...and therefore was useless now) and the cellphones, which would need recharging before too very long. Now, what would we do for heat? It was in the teens outside and dropping. The house was in the low 60's according to the thermostat (which was battery-powered, and thus remained on throughout the ordeal).

We called Mr. T to report our predicament...and then settled down to try to get some sleep. We each piled lots of blankets and afghans on our beds...and claimed at least one dog to sleep with and keep us warm (bless their little 101 degree body temps!). N/M/E also got a knitted cap and gloves. And, I fired up the gas range with pots of hot, steamy water to create a radiator effect. We made it through Night 1 OK, with the indoor temp dropping to 56 degrees.

Day 2 revealed just what a pickle we were in. Missy M worked long and hard to dig at least one car loose from the the driveway, but was unable to drive it anywhere once released...the ice and snow in the street were too deep for my PT Cruiser to clear (as it has a low body clearance, to begin with). On top of that, we could see where the crews had "police-taped" the street where other downed lines were...or possibly downed tree limbs...or both. It seemed impassable. And the outside temps were dropping with more snow and ice falling. More importantly, the indoor temperature had dropped to 54. We had reservations at a local Hampton Inn, but they weren't answering their phone, so we assumed (rightly, as it turned out) that they were without power, too...so we couldn't chance getting N/M/E out on the slippery ice to take her to a location that might be worse off than we were here.

Riding to our rescue in the middle of the night...Mr. T! He drove 650 miles from where he'd been working in NC (where it was 70 degrees, I might add). And, he brought a kerosene heater to keep us warm, too! Hooray! Our hero!!

Day 3...and a co-worker of Missy M's offered one of their generators, when their power was restored. Yeah! Now, we could power up the refrigerator...and one other item. Now, there's a new party game for you. If you can only choose two items to power up, which two do you choose? We settled on the fridge and on powering N/M/E's portable heater in her room, most of the time. On Saturday, we did use that second line to recharge Missy M's computer, which we used as a Video Player at night (after she'd recharged it at work during the day on Thursday and Friday), and on Sunday, we did get a portable TV working, using the antenna to receive a local channel, with hopes of being able to watch the Super Bowl. The only problem was time...the generator ran about 3 hours on a full tank...so, we knew we'd have to "fill up the TV" in order to watch the whole game! Cheese dip and chips...and chili...all stove-top items...were on the menu, along with No Bake Cookies**. Game on!

Fortunately, at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday evening, after nearly 115 hours without power...and rapidly running out of clean towels and clothing...we were restored! Woo-hoo! Thanks to the crews in the neighborhood, one of which was from Mt. Airy, NC...one of which was from SC. We really appreciated all you did! As Mr. T. said, he has a new-found respect for how-in-the-world people in developing countries do it...how do they live without power, or with unreliable power sources? It's such a challenge to come up with ways to do the things we take for granted. And, we were luckier than most...we had a gas stove and gas water heater, and reliable city water and sewer service...and with the kerosene heater and the gas-powered generator, we were able to fill in most of the gaps...but I wouldn't want to live like that for much longer than we did.

We've kept in touch with Brother T in Northern KY, and were glad to hear that they evacuated their power-less home to move in with SIL's dad...his house had power and served as homebase for all her family. Good to know they are safe and warm.

Of course, I had to do something in addition to trying to survive. Missy M and I got our pointy stix clicking by candlelight...she's working on a hat; I tried to work on a pair of socks, but switched to a scarf when I found I couldn't SEE the tiny stitches on the tiny US1.5 needles for the socks.

I'm calling the pattern my "Snowed In Scarf." I borrowed some SWS soy-wool from Missy M's stash...in two different colorways to give it some pizazz. It's a combination of two patterns I knew about, so I didn't have to look it up in the dark: Mirabellis, from the One Skein Wonders book, for the end-ruffle effect, and a fabulous rib that Missy M introduced me to. CO 144 stitches on US11's. Change to US9's for the rest of the scarf. Row 1...K2tog across the row, decreasing to 72 stitches. Row 2...K2tog across the row, decreasing to 36 stitches. (The next two rows set up the ribbing.) Row 3...(K3, P3) across the row. (I placed a stitch marker after the first 3 stitches to help me know which row I was on in the dark...by touch, I'd know I was supposed to do K3, P3.) Row 4...(K1, P1) across the row. Repeat Row 3 & 4 for the length you want (I like 60+ inches). Next-to-the-last-row: Change back to the US11's. K1f&b of each stitch, increasing to 72 stitches. Last row: K1f&b of each stitch, increasing to 144 stitches. BO in K stitch.

During the daylight hours, I was able to finish a pair of socks and cast on another pair, again with some borrowed stash yarn. Both are destined as gifts, so I'll hold off on pics or descriptions 'til then. And, truth be told, I had to re-start my Snowed In Scarf not once, but twice...as I found that I'd made some mistakes in the dark. Oh well.

Ah...knitting and blogging again. Back to normal.


**No Bake Cookies Recipe, a favorite of my cousin Pannie Baldy**
2 cups sugar
2 T. cocoa
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup milk
Put the above in a saucepan on the stove. Bring to a boil, stirring to keep from sticking. AFTER it has come to a rolling boil, let boil for 1 full minute without stirring. Remove from heat source.

Add 1/2 cup peanut butter. Let melt. Stir until smooth.

Put 3 cups quick cooking oats in a large mixing bowl. Pour hot mixture over the oats and stir until thoroughly mixed. Drop by teaspoonsful onto waxed paper. Chill until set. Enjoy!


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