DAY 1 – Tuesday, January 27, 2009
I’m writing this in my notebook by candlelight as I listen to everything crash around outside. Who knows when I’ll get to type and post this, but I will do it the first chance I get.
I’m cut off from the outside world. It actually started Monday night, but didn’t get really bad until this morning. First, my internet and cable went out around noon (which knowing Comcast, doesn’t surprise me). Next, our power held out as long as it could. It finally went out with a literal BANG at precisely 8pm. I still had my cell, my one link to the outside. Then, as I was talking to azraelz_angel, I lost that too… I wonder what she thinks, because I had just told her how scary things are here.
I’ve watched more trees and power lines come down than I care to think about. Sitting here in the flickering candlelight listening to the town be taken apart by frozen water is scary as hell.
Earlier, transformers were blowing up all over town. I would see brilliant flashes of light and hear loud bangs. I said it’s like the Fourth of July with ice.
I was going to attempt to read a book, but I can’t seem to focus due to all the crashing outside. I can’t go one minute without hearing something fall and break.
My car is safe, that new car I bought back in August. At least I hope it is. It’s in a church parking lot across from my apartment. Hopefully no tree parts will reach it.
My elderly downstairs neighbor (Mrs. S.) wasn’t as lucky. I was about 15 minutes from going down to ask her if she wanted her car moved this morning when a tree branch took out her driver’s side mirror.
Okay, I’ve been in tornadic storms and they weren’t this scary. Probably because of this:
With a tornado, it hits, and then you have the aftermath. With this storm, there’s no end and the aftermath keeps coming. This is probably what being in a hurricane is like. Of course this is doing more damage than Ike did when it reformed as a tropical storm over us last fall.
Jim Cantori of the Weather Channel is in town. He has been since yesterday. It’s creepy knowing he’s camped out somewhere doing reports. Knowing that everyone else can see what’s happening here when I only know what I can see and hear from my apartment.
Damn. Our clocks are loud. Never really thought of how loud they were until there’s no other sound in the apartment.
This is going to take weeks, maybe months, to clean up…
DAY 2 – Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Last night was the scariest night ever. I barely slept as I listened to the trees crashing around us. I did fall asleep at one point only to be woke up abruptly at 3:30 am when something crashed and shook the entire apartment like an earthquake. We couldn’t see what it was last night, but this morning, I assume it was the BIG tree that came down over the street about a half a block from me. After that, I kinda dozed, but never really fell asleep.
Throughout the night, bright flashes of light continued which were transformers going out. Some lit up the entire sky with blue or green flashes. It got to the point that when I heard/saw another one go, all I thought was, “And another one bites the dust.”
As morning broke, the devastation was visible and in a weird twisted sense, picturesque (I’ll post some later…). In the morning, precipitation had switched to snow and by the time it stopped we had about 2 inches of snow on top of the inch or so of ice.
Around 6:30am, I knocked on Mrs. S.’s door. Mrs. S. had a landline phone that kinda worked. So far, I’ve only reached two numbers off of it: my grandma and Walgreens (where my roomie works). azraelz_angel, I tried to call you, but it didn’t go through.
Around 7am, I went with my roomie to Walgreens. They had a generator and I picked up a few “no cooking needed” items. I got the last bag of Lays potato chips! :-)
Then he brought me back home where I’ve been all day. I made an excursion to my car and cleaned it off. It took some time, but I finally succeeded.
I’ve been listening to the local TV news via radio. My town has a curfew tonight. It’s surreal.
Right now (6pm-ish), I’m dressed in three pairs of pants, a t-shirt, a long sleeved shirt, a sweatshirt, socks, slipper things, shoes and gloves. I’m under two blankets and have candles going. Temps are going low tonight and the thermostat says it is 51 degrees right now. Brrrrr…..
The hospital 2-3 blocks over has power back. Lights have popped up in parking lots across from us. Our line is down, but it was feeding power yesterday on the ground before something else on the line went. The news just said their shutting the interstate down for a bit tonight to stretch a line.
Now I just wish AT & T would come back…
DAY 3 – Thursday, January 29, 2009
This is an experience I’ll never forget. Last night, my roomie and I got creative. He had one of those gel filled burner things like caterers use. We lit it and sat it on the bottom of the oven. Then he moved the oven rack down low so it was right above the burner. And Eureka! We could cook!! He had some ravioli and I went with chicken noodle soup. Best soup I’ve ever had I think.
After that, we decided bed with covers and layers was the best choice. By this point, I had upped to three pants. So we piled in his room and bed with blankets galore. I also wore gloves to bed because my hands get so cold. We listened to the news via the radio at 10pm. Then we were going to watch a DVD on his laptop, but the sound was screwy, so we gave up and went to bed.
This morning, getting out of bed was the hardest thing because I was so warm and cozy. Finally, I crawled out around 8:30am and took a hot shower. It was the best hot shower ever. Our hot water heater is gas powered and doesn’t rely on electricity, so SCORE!!
After the momentary warm up, I visited Mrs. S. and tried the phone again, but no luck. At this point, I was ready to venture out for the day. I got on the main road and headed toward my office area which means I drove past the mall and Walmart area. Talk about traffic.
I got stuck in one lane and finally moved over only to learn it was a line for a gas station. It was unbelievable. I continued on, switching lanes every so often to avoid gas station lines. I finally reached my work area but didn’t see my boss around. Then it took some concentrated driving because I was on icy roads with tree debris. I took this kinda back road I usually do to avoid traffic on and came out at an EXXON station with a minimal line.
By minimal, I mean it took 30-45 minutes before I got to a pump. Then, it took 15-20 tries to get the pump to take my debit card. (make a mental note to keep a small amount of cash handy) I cheered when the display told me to remove the handle and select my gas type. $19 dollars later, I had a full gas tank in my car. I’m set…
I returned home via the non-main roads and talk about devastation. It looked like a tornado (and I should no about that) had been through and left ice behind. Only tornado damage isn’t so widespread. It’s just horrible. I felt like I was driving in a war zone as I swerved the debris in the road.
When I got home, I stopped by Mrs. S.’s place and tried the phones again. She had managed to make a call in a road about way, so I tried it. First I dialed the operator which went to AT&T. Since AT&T wasn’t working, I had the AT&T operator transfer me to a Sprint operator. Then I made a collect call through Sprint. I tried my parent’s house, first, but no luck. After a few more attempts, I connected to my grandma’s house and my mom actually answered! We talked long enough for me to say I was okay and her to pass along that they were okay and my sister had power…
Then Mrs. S.’s granddaughter and her family showed up. Thankfully they took Mrs. S. with them since they had gas heat going. I got phone numbers from them so I can call when we get electricity back.
After that, me and A (another downstairs neighbor) cleaned Mrs. S.’s car off (she left me the key). Then I drove it over the downed wire and moved it to the church parking lot. I think I need to write the church a thank you note after this is over. I intend to stay parked there until the tree falling danger is gone, so it may be awhile.
Now, I’m sitting in the warm Walgreens break room thanks to the roomie who is working. I just had Classic Tomato Soup at Hand and it was pretty good. I may get some of that to have for lunch at work.
I’m warm, I have chips and a soda and my iPod. I brought some books and my notebook. I’ll likely stay here until the roomie gets off work and then we’re probably going to his grandmother’s house. She had a gas stove so we can cook and some type of heat.
A little later…
Well, we may crash at Walgreens tonight on air mattresses in the break room. If so, that should be interesting.
I got a calling card and walked to Krogers where there was a payphone. I made a longer call to my grandma’s and go my mom again. She said she heard they were bringing in generators and fuel to try to get AT&T back up. Be great if they do.
The governor was here today. He said Obama got something signed to bring in federal aid. They’re also staging troops with the National Guard out of Ft. Campbell. Hopefully our projects down there are going okay because they would have trouble getting in touch with corporate.
I also called azraelz_angel and left her a voice mail saying I was alive. At least I have a way of calling out. If I stay at Walgreens tonight, I’ll be sure to charge my phone just in case.
Oh! My mom said they buried the food from my grandma’s deep freeze outside in the backyard. She said it looked like they buried a body out back…