Sunday, January 15, 2012

October Storm

I wanted to make sure I documented the awful storm we had here in Connecticut before I forgot all the details. It was one of the most challenging experiences I've been through. So, when the next Mosaic Moments challenge came up, it seemed like a good opportunity for this layout.

Our challenge was to use Page Pattern 29, with Mist colored grid paper (a light blue), and to incorporate one of the following: felt or fleece, clear stamps, or one of the free downloads from Mosaic Moments. I decided to use white felt on my layout.

I actually used one of the clear stamps from Mosaic Moments as the design for my embroidered snowflakes on felt. I tried stamping the felt, and it worked alright, but I felt it showed too much of the ink after the embroidery was done, so I did the remainder freehand.

I had a hard time finding a background paper that looked the way I wanted it to. So I went to my favorite fallback - Hot Off The Press Color Me papers. These are papers that have an embossed design on them, that you color with your own ink pads and the design remains in place after coloring. I used a light pink, a light blue and a purple color to bring out the colors in the photo:

I also had a LOT of journaling about this experience, as well as some other pictures I wanted to include, but not necessarily show them on the main page. So I decided to duplicate the page pattern and make a two page layout, with a mini-album attached to the second page:

Here is the journaling in full:

Saturday, October 29, 2011
The weather report called for snow, but when did we ever really get snow in October? I had a crop planned for that day at Stamp and Scrap Nest. I figured I’d go and then come home after lunch. It wasn’t supposed to start snowing until early evening.

We were about half-way through lunch, and someone said “Look outside!” Darn if it wasn’t snowing – and not just flurries! It was really coming down! I live about 45 minutes away from the store, so I was already worried about getting home. I started packing as fast as I could!
The drive home was scary. I guess the cities didn’t really think it was going to snow either because the roads weren’t treated at all. It was okay until I got to the big hill on Country Club Road. Someone had decided to stop right in the middle of the road (either giving up, or using a cell phone, probably), but that really created a dangerous situation for those of us at the top of the hill trying to get around them. We were slipping and sliding all over the place!

I finally got home, my nerves about as frazzled as they ever get. I hadn’t been home fifteen minutes when the power went out.
Fortunately, it was early enough in the day, that it was still light out. We got upstairs and started pulling out the oil lamps and flashlights, and made sandwiches for dinner.

I have sleep apnea, so I use a bi-PAP machine, and I also use oxygen. Without power, I have neither. I have a large emergency tank that will work about 8 hours at 2 liters. I tried sleeping upright in the recliner with my emergency oxygen. I was able to sleep a little, but not much.
I heard a loud thump in the night. I thought at first Tony might have tripped and fallen in the dark so I called out to him. He was okay and he had heard the thump too. It was too dark to see what had caused it. We figured maybe the cats had knocked something over, and we’d wait until daylight to see what. Fairly early the next morning Tony called out “I found out what made that noise last night – part of the tree in the front yard fell on the car!”

We thought surely the power would come back on some time the next day. It didn’t. Or the next. On Monday, we heard a report on our battery-powered radio that we could be without power for a week!!! I just lost it. I was cold. I was miserable. I was hungry. I couldn’t breathe well. At that point we decided we needed to look for either a hotel room, or get a generator. None of the hotels that were open took pets, and I couldn’t leave my cats behind to freeze. It was already down to 50 degrees in the house, and getting colder.

One thing about times like this – you find out who your friends are, and who your good neighbors are! Jim and Sue Pelletier from across the street were wonderful in helping us. They came over to check on us just to be sure we were okay. They told us if they needed us to just shine a light in the window and they would come over. They came over on Monday with a power saw to help get the branches off of the car.

Our life-line during the first few days was our cell phone and a battery-operated radio. At first the cell phone started dying and we weren’t sure what we were going to do, but then Tony remembered we had a car charger!

After the first day or so, we found ourselves changing our routine. We had no television, internet or phone. During the day, we could read or do crafts, but at night you couldn’t see to do much. We started going to bed around 6:00! I started a simple afghan that I could work pretty much by feel, instead of having to see it. I finished the whole thing in about 2 days!

Tony went to Lowe’s to check into a generator. Neither of us knew much about them or how much they cost! Lowe’s didn’t have one but they said they were getting a shipment in the next day. On Tuesday, Tony stood in line for an hour to get the generator – they were passing out numbers and he was #19. It cost over $800! That of course, doesn’t include the gas to run it! We were desperate, though, so he got it, and a couple of space heaters.

Jim and Sue were helpful again in helping us get the generator going – turns out he has the exact same model. What a relief! It took a while for the heat to get going. We put one space heater in the bathroom and one in the family room. Believe me, going from 50 degrees up to 60 is like night and day!

The next thing after getting warm and having a little light, was food. We had pretty much been living off of crackers, potato chips, trail mix and one can of Spam. With no place to store food, you couldn’t keep anything perishable.

There were no grocery stores open the first few days – they had no power either. They couldn’t store produce or meat. The ATMs weren’t working. That was a real problem in the beginning – the stores that were open weren’t taking debit cards and neither were gas stations. And you couldn’t get cash, because you needed to use your debit card to get it!

I believe it was Tuesday or Wednesday when we decided we had to get some hot food and got in the car and just drove until we found something. Nothing in Bristol was open, so we headed to Plainville. We found Applebee’s open – that smart manager had gotten himself a huge generator! They apologized for the limited menu, and we told them it didn’t matter one bit to us- they could have had one item and it would have been wonderful to have a hot meal!

Tony got a little toaster oven that would be easier to run off the generator than the large stove. After he was able to find a grocery store open, he bought a small roast and we had our first home-cooked hot meal in days – it was delicious!

Our insurance company, USAA, was WONDERFUL. They gave us $500 to replace the food we had to throw away. They covered the damage to the car, and paid for removal of debris from the yard.

The power finally came back on about 6:30pm on Saturday, November 5. What a joy! I felt like dancing! This was an experience like none I’d ever had before (and hope to never have again!) I forgot to mention that Halloween trick or treat was cancelled in our area- it was just too dangerous for the kids to be out with downed lines.

What I learned:
• During a trial like this, friends, family, and neighbors are everything!
• You can find new ways to do things.
• While there are some people out there who push to the front of the line, or take advantage of the situation, for the most part, people come together and help each other.
• How much I appreciate my husband – I don’t know what I would have done without him.


Karenliz said...

Beautiful layout Nancy!

Cheryl said...

Great layout, Nancy! Love the mini-album on the 2nd page.