We now have power!!

Well I’ve been quiet for the last few days and though some may not have missed us or known why I’ll now tell you about it.
Weather forecasters had for some days been warning about a storm approaching from the Pacific with estimated winds of 75-100mph. Being so green here this causes problems and the chances of power cuts were high….. so I joined the people in Safeway on Thursday afternoon getting veggies and other things. The rain caused big problems preceeding the storm and in many areas roads were blocked, cars were covered and a few people died due to flooding. Martin came home from work early as everyone prepared to ‘batten down the hatches’ and by 7pm we were ready with our candles out and all inside. Long before we heard the storm coming we felt the effects. At 8.30pm we lost power…it had been flashing on and off for a while but we turned off PC’s and waited. In the calm before the storm we sat reading as the kids mourned the lack of charge in their DS’.
As we went to bed that night we could hear the wind picking up and lightning cracking trees around us… though we didn’t spend as much time awake as many others who were woken by bangs and crashes on their roof. Waking up on Friday life was chilly and dark but intact which is more than can be said for some houses. A couple in our cul-de-sac had trees down across their drive and one on their roof which seemed to have done no damage thankfully and we chatted to neighbours as we worked together to clear their drive. That done we began to look a bit further a field and could see at the back of our garden some trees had fallen but thankfully towards the road. With the power out we also had no phone line, only our mobiles which were running low on charge so we decided to see if we could get warm drinks somewhere and use the in-car chargers. First we got some more candles from Sammamish centre to try to get ahead of the rush then we tried to get off the plateau… I say tried because the roads were blocked. If you look at the local news www.king5.com you can see some of the chaos. Trees were brought down by the wind and often held over the roads at a 45 degree angle or less just by power lines, on some roads they brought down lines on both sides of the roads making life dangerous for those trying to get underneath. Other roads just had huge trees across them. The transport and power crews were out at dawn clearing the roads and working to get power back and you could see they were really doing their best.
Life then kept going…the temperature dropped over the next few days but we had some fun anyway. Friday night we went to the Thelin’s house where they had a generator and after searching for fuel we played Pictionary…. a room with three British families, cold but having fun despite the conditions. Back home again to a chilly house and we all scooted straight to bed. Saturday morning I found tough… though we had hot water, two gas fires and a gas hob the cold was getting tough. I woke with a bad headache due to the air temp and found myself fighting a migraine..an hour later having had some tablets and a warm drink I felt better so got up but on my way down the stairs I slipped. I got my priorities right though and managed to not wear ALL my cup of tea. I have bashed my hip and back a bit though so feel achy and bruised in places…ah well.  Going out yesterday we got some hot coffees, vests for boys and a polo neck jumper for me…yes me and a polo neck! Black of course! By this time the cell towers were down so any texts were very hit and miss and we had no idea of the range of the problems. We now know that work crews from as far as Kansas had been brought in to fix the power supplies. Over a million homes had lost power stretching from here to Oregon and more than 100 people had been hospitalized from carbon monoxide fumes while trying to keep warm with outside heaters inside…. some dying.
Saturday night we slept on the floors in front of the fires and shut the upstairs of the house up to conserve some heat but life was getting a bit cooler. Martin and I sat in front of the fire and chatted till …ooo late maybe even 9.30pm before going to ‘bed’. During the day we had read books together and played cards as well as walking to the local ‘park’. Now normally it’s a park but well, the boy in the inflatable ring paddling across had the right idea I think! The water had left the land ….well a lake then trees had fallen over it making life tricky for dog walkers!
Sunday we woke feeling warmer but able to see our breath in the room so got dressed quickly and near the fire. We were invited to go stay with friends in Portland three hours away by car but as petrol was scarce and I had a gut feeling about the power we decided to stay.
At 10.30am life became bright again! Our power was back and we were able to see the extent of the problems around the area. The Seattle Times website and newspaper show how bad it has been and still is for some people and we are praying that things improve quickly in the area. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/home/ take a look and you’ll see. It seems it is the worst weather for ten years and I’m so ‘lucky’ to have been here for it…. but it some ways it has been good. We have spent time actually together… unplugged and interacting, people have shown their community spirit and looked after neighbours…. a man with a generator keeping our frozen meat for us…. and it’s helped me see that I have what I need for Christmas.
Though I will miss my friends and family I am making new friends, I cherish the contact I have with close friends and family whether by internet or phone … even receiving a letter from Janet Green when I had no power to mail or phone by….. but most importantly we are safe and well and have an intact home where we can be with each other.
I should add within ten minutes of the power being on the kids were plugged in again….. but while it lasted I loved spending time with them without having to tell them to turn things off to spend time with me….early Christmas present?!
I hope you are all well and have a great Christmas. Enjoy the photo!
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