Friday, December 27, 2013

Ice Storm 2013: a power killing, heat robber, slippery monster

With all of my extreme planning, I could have never anticipated the crazy ice storm that hit Lansing on Saturday/Sunday December 21st and 22nd. 

On Sunday, the boys and I were minding our own business.  Josh was at Meijer picking up groceries and other items needed for baking and cooking for Christmas.  My parent's had lost power the night before in Okemos and the fact that we hadn't lost it yet made me confident we wouldn't.  All of a sudden, at approximately 8:30am, out went the lights.  Josh was on his way home with all of our food.  Super. 

We tried to go about Sunday as normal as we could.  I figured maybe that power would be out for a few hours and then we'd be good.  This ice storm couldn't have been THAT bad, I thought, Josh was out driving around the morning after and the roads seemed fine. 

By the time the boys got done with their afternoon nap, around 3pm, we knew we needed a plan.  Our house had dropped almost ten degrees already and we knew it would be dark soon.   

For a BILLION reasons that I won't list now, I am SOOOO thankful to live close to family and friends and this situation just cemented that for me one more time.  Many people offered to take us in knowing that our little family of four would not survive well as the temperatures in our house continued to drop.

Also for a BILLION reasons that I won't list now, we are SOOOO thankful to live less than a mile from two of our best friends: Mike and Eileen.  They had room, heat, power, and a fridge in their garage that could store our just-purchased-groceries.  They also lived close enough that we could continue to get things and check on the status of our house and our cat, Primrose, as often as we liked.  They opened their house to us and we gratefully accepted.

We packed ourselves up.  It is insane the amount of things we need now with Nolan and Judah: highchairs, food, Pack N' Plays, clothes, changes of clothes, backups in case people pee/poop through clothes, sleep sacks, bathtime supplies, bibs, diapers, diapers, diapers diapers.  Our car was full.

Before going over there, we decided to pick up some dinner and pay a visit to Josh's parent's house where there was also power and heat.  Driving around the Lansing area proved to me that this storm was worse than I thought: branches, limbs, and full trees down everywhere, and darkness in places I wouldn'tve expected like busy intersections, stores, restaurants, and even Celebration Cinema.  Picking up food ended up being quite a chore.  We stopped at Hungry Howie's and Little Cesar's to find those tiny spaces filled with people and very very long waits.  The Arby's drive thru wasn't busy so we got that instead.  My heart was saddened watching whole families, with babies in strollers, walk down the dark sidewalks.  Even though this was inconvenient for us, we had places to stay, a plan B and C, and D.   

When we arrived at Josh's parent's house, we saw how lucky they were to have power; the houses across from them didn't! 

The night at Mike and Eileen's showed us a lot about our boys.  Judah slept better in his Pack N' Play than he does in his crib I think.  He was completely out all night long and slept in until after 7, which he NEVER does.  Nolan, however, was a disaster.  Every single time we laid him down in the Pack N' Play, he would be screaming scared within a 1/2 hour.  Sometimes it was almost instantaneous.  He would only sleep if it was on either Josh or I.  If not, he was a crying mess.  He definitely let us know that he knew we weren't at home. 

How do you handle something like this?  At home, we would've let him struggle a bit, cry for a little while, get used to where he was.  But with Mike and Eileen sleeping two doors from us, we continued to pick him up right away; we didn't want to wake them!  Eventually we gave up; he spent some time with both of us downstairs on a couch or in a chair. 

The next day, Monday, we had to take the boys to a pediatrician for shots (of course) and then Josh went off to work while I continued to hope and hope and hope the power might return.  It did not.  My parents were still without power too. 

We got a very generous offer from family friends that day; the Alexanders were in Florida until after the New Year, their house had power, and they told my family to go stay there.  We accepted!  My family was nice enough to give Josh and I the master suite on the main floor.  We packed thinking this would be where we would spend Christmas.  Monday night, Judah slept good again with only a small wake up around 3:30.  Nolan, again did not sleep unless it was on one of his parents.  He had a meltdown around 10pm that I had never even seen before.  He and I continue to be a lot alike.  We handle things great in the light of day, but put us into the middle of the night and maybe we aren't cool with things.  I too, I will admit, unraveled both Sunday and Monday nights in the middle of the night.

It was now Christmas Eve.  My parent's went back to their house to pack up gifts and a little tree surredering to the fact that this would be their CHristmas home.  Josh and I went to our house to do the same. As we pulled into our cul-da-sac, we saw generators still outside our neighbor's garages.  However, we got to our house and our outside lights were ON.  Could it be?!  Had power returned?!  The answer was Y!E!S! I stood in the living room, hung my head, and cried.  More important than anything else, my boys could nap and sleep again in their own rooms, which was something we all needed desperately.  We were also going to be able to celebrate their first Christmas at home, which was an added bonus. 

Now that the ice storm and all the craziness with it is over, I can appreciate the little things differently: heat, power, being able to adhear to the boys' predictable routine, being able to cook food, do laundry, etc, etc.  This storm also smacked me in the face with something I didn't think I needed, which was to be retaught the meaning of Christmas.  It's about family (no matter what house they're at), it's about compassion and kindness (thanks again to all the people who offered to keep us and to Eileen, Mike, and the Alexander Family who did), it's about being appreciative for what you have, and above all, it's about the birth of Christ.  He has always been the reason for this season in our house, but when you turn off the TV, shut down the computers, eleminate all the commercial-ness of this time, you can really let your heart take in the birth of this amazing Savior in a different way.

This Christmas, more than any other, I am grateful, thankful, appreciative, humbled, and in awe of the blessings and beauty around me.   

Enjoy CHRISTmas, it's HIS Birthday!
Enjoy life, it's HIS way!         

Before church, Christmas Eve
This storm created the most beautiful Chistmas I've ever seen

My boys, the troopers: in four days they slept at three houses and had only taken two regular naps.  They also celebrated Christmas Day at four different houses.  They handled it (mostly) with smiles. 


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