Monday night a big storm blew through the Puget Sound. Very little rain but lots and lots of wind. Around 9:30 Monday night I went out to check on the chickens, make sure the gates were locked and bring in the dog. The trees were creaking and swaying. The clouds were racing across the sky at an alarming rate and glowing an eerie pink. The air was filled with the whistle of the wind and loud booms and flashes of light as electrical transformers blew in all the neighborhoods around us.
I called Dave and the kids out to the front porch to watch it with me. Within minutes of them joining me all the porch lights lining our usually quiet street dimmed once, twice and then popped out as the boom from our transformer filled the air. What looked like a lightening bolt shot up to the clouds and the bright moon above. The kids became giddy.
Branches, trees even, were crashing all around. We were far enough away from any to be safe on our porch but didn't venture too far from the door wary of branches being tossed by the wind. Flashlights appeared in a few of the neighbors yards surveying damage, battening down potentially loose items. We contemplated offering help but were persuaded to stay put by the swaying power poles and dancing lines above. We would check in on them in the morning.
We stepped back in the house and gathered our flashlights, set our battery operated alarms and went to bed wondering if we'd be awakened in the night by the power coming back on. The kids debated whether there would be school in the morning.
At 3:30 in the morning Dave was awakened by a call from the school alarm company. There was a disturbance at the school, the police had been called and a school representative needed to be there to open the building for them. Dave is always the first on their list because we live so close. It is part of his job. He dragged himself out of bed mumbling about wind and "it's probably just a branch". He shuffled back into the house by 4:30am.
At 5:30 he was back up. This was his usual wake up time. Time to wake up Heath and get ready for Seminary. We hadn't received any calls that Seminary had been cancelled, hadn't heard if school was to be cancelled. They got ready as if it would be a normal day but in the dark. There was still hot water in the tank for a quick shower, the gas still worked to warm up some oatmeal on the stove. 6am just as they were about to head out the door the call came. School had been cancelled. That meant seminary was cancelled too. However, Dave would still have to go in to turn away students who didn't get the message. Heath tagged along to help out.
By 7 the kids were up and dressed and roaming the neighborhood surveying the damage. A tree had crashed down through a fence and narrowly missed a house. The root ball now stood on end taller than Cora on Afton's shoulders. Four huge branches lay in a neighbors yard. Two more hung precariously just out of reach, they avoided walking under them. Other kids in the neighborhood were being shuffled off to day care centers that still had power. My kids soon found themselves alone in the neighborhood and trudged back home to report and eat cold cereal for breakfast in the dark.
We opened all the shades for light and set to work on our chores. No electricity meant no TV, no radio, no internet and furnace which meant nothing to distract from mom's directions and lots of moving to stay warm. While the kids worked on deep cleaning their rooms I took turns in each bedroom sorting through clothes, pulling stashes out of corners and insisting on details like "no dirty socks on the shelves" and "candy wrappers go in the garbage not the underwear drawer".
We sorted all the laundry in preparation for when the power would go back on. We wiped out and re-organized the cupboards in the kitchen. We picked up all the trash and toys and stuff that had blown into our yard from the windstorm (OK, I admit most of it was there before). We raked and sprayed off the back porch, put away the BBQ, washed the windows, took out the garbage, sorted through and reorganized some food storage and tidied up the whole house.
And then the power came back on. But not the internet and not the TV. The kids decided to make some phone calls and make plans with friends who weren't at daycare. Heath set out on a bike ride with buddies. The girls made plans for me to pick up their friends and bring them over for a play date. Kirkham's buddies weren't answering their phones (had they left the house or do they have cable telephones that don't work when the power and cable goes out?) He pulled out his old train set and spent his day making plans for the train beneath the Christmas Tree.
I finished my day rotating through loads of laundry and finalizing some plans for Relief Society. We ate a warm meal of potstickers, rice and veggies. I baked some bread, did some more laundry and read a story to the girls before putting them to bed a little early. There would surely be school in the morning.