Because there was a fast-approaching ice storm, we got to come home early from work on Friday. It was sleeting on on the way home, and by the afternoon, everything was fairly well crystallized.
Before dinner, we put all the boys in the shower. Just as they were finishing up, the lights flickered a few times, then went off. We were out of power.
“Hey! Who turned the lights out!?” The boys clamored from the still-running shower.
We lit a couple of candles and rescued them.
Luna, Jerusha’s 4 year old, came running down the hall, looking worried.
“All the lights went out in my mom’s bathroom!”
We pointed out that the lights were out everywhere.
“But they went out in the bathroom!” She repeated.
We finished lighting candles throughout the house, and built a fire in the fireplace. That’s pretty difficult when you’ve got six excited children wanting to help. I was almost pitched in in place of the firewood a few times. Most of the firewood Dave and I went and scrounged the day before and put under the house to be protected from the rain and ice got soaked anyway, as the wind blew the sleet right under the house.
However, soon we get a text message from Ray which says, “Anybody who has a fireplace and needs firewood meet over at Ray’s house in ten minutes.”
Great! Dave and I load up in the van, and go over to pick up firewood. Except there’s no firewood to pick up. Ray is gathering some guys together to go out in the woods and cut firewood from fallen trees. Right as we’re about to set out, the power comes back on to the Village. Ah well, we’ll need it anyway should it cut out again.
So we find ourselves tramping around in the icy mud, hauling logs out of the woods, and chopping them up into firewood on the gravel road. Cold, miserable, and fun! After filling up the tractor’s bucket and the trailer with chopped wood, we drove around delivering it to the houses, and got dropped off at our own.
The fire gets stoked, our bellies get filled, and we finish the night out. Right as we’re about to shut the lights off, the power cuts out again. It’s off all night.
The house is between 45–50 degrees when we get up Saturday morning. That doesn’t faze the kids at all—this is an adventure! We spend all morning until almost noon huddled together in the living room around the fireplace, reading and playing. Once the power comes back on, we’re off doing the ‘normals’; chores that hadn’t been done yet, finishing lunch, etc.
It’s positively lovely outside. I was born here in Tennessee, but raised most of my life in Florida, so snow is still a novelty to me. This ice is almost better, though more inconvenient. Everything looks like an ice sculpture. The trees are made of crystal.
Later that afternoon, I take the kids out sledding for a couple of hours. It’s the first time I’ve gone this winter. I hope we have some more sledding weather!
Yesterday, Sunday, it’s clear and sunny. Everything is already beginning to thaw. I’m glad I took the kids sledding the day before, or we would’ve missed it.
At breakfast, we go around and ask everybody what they’re grateful for. Luna pipes up,
“I’m grateful that the power went out!”
“Yeah!” All the kids agree.
Situations such as a power failure in the middle of winter can be scary. For all we knew, it could be days until it get turned back on. And at least in some measure, we were forced to go from life-as-we-know-it to working to keep each other warm and safe.
But as Jerusha points out, Luna and the other kids are grateful for a event big enough to derail all of us adults’ days so we spend the day together, with them.
And it was a blessing.