Folks, we’ve had sort of the weekend from Hell around here.
It started with Thursday. We lowered the price on the house again, and within two hours we got a request for a showing that evening. I was over the moon thinking that yes, maybe we’ve finally hit the right price point if we already have a showing. I had a hard time getting the house ready because my knees were so sore from running. I had to take a long break this past week to let them heal and, side note, they’re 100% back to normal so back to the gym tomorrow. Anyway, I was hobbling around cleaning and getting ready. We always tend to sort of stick around the neighborhood so we can see when people come and go and we can know when to return with the dogs. These folks showed up right at their showing time, stayed inside for 15 minutes, and stood outside talking for five. We thought this was such a great sign and felt so buoyed going into the evening.
Chief went out to grab dinner because the showing was at 5:00 so I didn’t really have time to cook in time for Charlie’s bed time. Five minutes after he left it started to look like the apocalypse outside. I was feeding Charlie oatmeal and berries when we heard a massive crack, a few booms, and then were in the dark. A tree had snapped in two across the street and pulled the power line out of the, well the thing the power line goes in (transformer?). We were not alone. By the end of the night something like 150K were without power.
As long as we’ve lived in this house we’ve never lost power for more than 12 hours, and that was with heavy, heavy snow. We didn’t expect it to be such an ordeal, so we put Charlie down to bed in her room and lit the oil lamp and hung out in our room. I read a book and Chief watched a movie on the laptop. Luckily our house has awesome insulation and the house stayed cool, but without fans and the AC running the air got stagnant and I had a hard time sleeping. Charlie woke up at 2:00 am SCREAMING bloody murder. I was genuinely frightened that someone had come in through her window and was trying to take her, so I bolted out of bed and made it to her room by sheer muscle memory where I found that she was just afraid of the dark because of course, her nightlight wasn’t working and her room was black as pitch.
So I pulled her into bed with us where she would. not. sleep. Would not. Fussed and turned and kept smacking Chief in the face. Finally he went into her room and took down her black out curtains. The streetlights were out but there was enough moonlight coming through to keep her room from being terrifyingly dark, so she went back down until 7:30 the next morning. As soon as she woke up I took a bath and we headed out the door. We stayed out all day. I came home around 3:00 and discovered we still had no power. We were getting close to 24 hours without. My cousin came over to try and install a generator that would power a stand up AC unit, a few fans, and charlies night light. After three hours of him sweating in the sun trying to get it going, the damn thing threw a rod and was ruined.
At this point, I’m feeling very stressed. It’s scary to not have power, not have food, not have a cool place for your child to sleep. We went to dinner with the Captain like we normally do on Fridays and on the way there I full out started to sob. I had felt like a weather refugee all day, I had driven Charlie for both of her naps and shopped, and gone to the library and to lunch-anything to keep her distracted and happy and out of the house. We were losing our groceries which we could not afford by any means, and the power company wouldn’t give us a timeline. Not to mention that everyone else in our suburb had been turned back on. By the end of Friday there were only eight outages affecting about 100 people left and we were one of them.
When we got home Friday from dinner it was just too warm. We made the split decision at 6:45, 15 minutes before Charlie’s bedtime, that we couldn’t stay there. We went to stay with my Aunt, a decision that upset my mother but my Aunt is much closer so we were able to check on our pets frequently. By the time we got packed, got there and got the pack n play set up in one of her guest bedrooms, it was nearly nine o’clock and Charlie was a wreck. She cried and cried for about two minutes before literally passing out from exhaustion. But she didn’t stay that way. She woke up around 4:00 am and was scared for the second night in a row, this time because she didn’t know where she was. I went and got her and for an hour and a half we struggled to get her back to sleep in the pack n play. Finally she was so exhausted she fell asleep in my arms and I laid in bed with her on my chest and did not fall back to sleep fully until she woke up at 7:30 and her and Chief went to our house to check on our animals. I slept until 9:30 am and came out to my aunt feeding Charlie peaches-she ate three whole ones PLUS some cheerios and watermelon!
Saturday was also my dad’s birthday party and I was supposed to bring a salad and the cake. My aunt had all the ingredients for the cake so I made that at her house. My uncle even went out to get the eggs when we realized she didn’t have enough. We felt certain we would get power back imminently until we got a text from the power company saying it would be 10:00 pm SUNDAY. I held back the tears. My aunt’s house is wonderful but I wanted to go home. I needed more sleep and I knew I wouldn’t get it until Charlie was at ease where she was sleeping.
We resigned ourselves to staying away for another night and went by the house to get some more clothes and things for Charlie when we saw the power truck there fixing the line. This time I cried tears of joy! I just ran in to get my cake carrier and a quick change of clothes for my dad’s party and then ran back out. We needed to get charlie a nap.
Which she wouldn’t take. Not at all. Not even a little bit. It had all just been too much for her. She was way overstimulated, so we gave up and just went back to my aunt’s house with some replacement peaches since Charlie had eaten most of hers! Chief packed up all of our stuff and loaded the car while I visited a bit with my aunt. We were late leaving to go to my sister’s house for my dad’s party (which this deserves a post of it’s own honestly). My sister insisted on having it at her house despite the fact that she lives 45 minutes away. We were 15 minutes late and I warned them that we would be running late so they would go ahead and have the steaks on, but when we got there they hadn’t even started them and then were resentful when I said we needed to go at 6:30 which I had WARNED them about when K insisted on having it at her house. Long story short we didn’t get to leave until 7:15 so once again Charlie was in bed super late and she was beyond exhausted, upset, frustrated-you name it. She screamed so hard I thought she would give herself a hernia, but she went to sleep pretty easily and slept until 6:00 am. I nursed her and she went back down for about an hour.
And at the end of all this, we have heard NOTHING-NO feed back about our showing, so I think all our hopes were for nothing. My mom, while she was definitely resentful we stayed with my aunt, gave us $200 for grocery replacement. I fought her on taking it but I did give in and I admit-it’s a relief. We had to throw out everything. Luckily Chief took my frozen breast milk (about 1000 ounces!) to his work freezer so it’s safe. I would have full scale lost my mind if we had lost all of that. I would have just walked around a raving mad woman clutching her breasts and swinging a breast pump tube over her head.
Anyway, we are back home now and putting away the evidence of the rough weekend. Our next house will have a stand by generator-that has been decided. Unless it has underground powerlines. Either way-we’ve decided that the expense will be worth it. I have never felt so helpless as I did when I couldn’t feed my child any fresh food because I couldn’t open my fridge. Charlie survived on Friday on crackers and cereals and french fries. Obviously one day of that won’t kill her, but it hurt my heart. Don’t take our modern conveniences for granted. I know that at least for today-I’m not. And we were only (only?) out for 44 hours and three minutes (but who’s counting?)