Friday, January 28, 2011

ThunderSnow: Or How To Live Without Electricity

This is why I've been offline the past two days. I realize there are parts of the world in which this is nothing, but for us, and our apparently wimpy trees and power lines, this is something. It's not a lot, mind you - this picture was taken in the first hour the snow started falling, but in grand total I think we only garnered about 8 inches - but it's heavy. Like bring-down-trees heavy. A lot of trees.

I'm not sure why the weathermen here feel it's necessary to name every snowstorm. Do they secretly wish to be novelists and be able to come up with great titles? Do they have characters in their head that demand names? These are the questions that keep me up at night while I'm waiting for one of those big trees to come through the roof and kill me in my sleep.

The first time I remember the snow naming was back in 1987, when three big storms came one right after another, and they were dubbed, "The Triple Whammy." They've gotten much more creative since then. Last year, of course, when we broke all records with our some three feet of snow all at once, it was "Snowmageddon." This year, it's "ThunderSnow."

Why, you ask? Because the snow storm came with thunder and lightening. I know! Who ever heard of that??? It was crazy, me and the kids rushing out of the house to see the lightening crashing through the clouds as the snow was raining down on us with fury. And the thunder sounded like jets booming overhead. Thunder and lightening.... and snow. Very weird.

It was eerie at night. All the power was off by then, and the snow muffled almost all noises, but the trees were creaking and snapping and falling, and it felt a bit like Armageddon.

So we lost our power, which meant Wednesday night we had no lights... and no heat. Even our pellet stove runs by electricity, so the temps in the house we down to 50 F pretty quickly. We also are on a well system, which means no water without electricity too. It makes for an interesting time.

Thursday I cooked hot dogs on the grill outside and made hot chocolate in a fondu pot, just to get something warm in us. We slept under 7 layers of quilts and comforters. We went outside to shovel the driveway to get warm. We played a lot of board games, and huddled under covers on the couch reading. Our driveway and roads were way too bad to consider going out and finding someplace warm, even if I had taken a shower and looked decent enough to get there.

It's funny how just a little bit of snow can confound us. Commuters in DC left work at four in the afternoon and didn't get home until after midnight. 13 hours it took some people to travel a mere 20 miles.

And as I write this, the snow is coming down again. The weathermen haven't named this one yet. I think they hope if they don't name it, it might not add up to anything worth remembering. We've had enough of that for one week.


  1. Part of me would like a little break from life and just play board games with my kids.

  2. We had those enormous flakes but nothing really stuck here. I hope you blogging means your power is back on. I hate it when we lose power. It's sort of a regular thing when there's a big storm.

  3. And I heard another one is coming! So sorry you are getting it!! Making memories, right?

  4. We had Christmas one year with no power. It was actually awesome. We ate by candle and lantern light and Mom cooked our Christmas dinner on top of our woodstove. I can honestly say it was the most memorable Christmas ever.
    We're no strangers to power outages. We had last Thanksgiving in the dark and have had many nights without power.
    Good luck and enjoy the experience!

  5. That's terrible that your pellet stove runs on electricty! You poor thing.

    I saw the word "thundersnow" on Twitter and I was so confused at first. LOL. I'd just gotten used to snowmaggedon and snowpocalypse for all snow storms.

    We lose power in windstorms... especially after heavy rains and I always think "I'm glad I was born just when I was... I would have sucked as a pioneer." I need electricity. It runs my soul.

  6. I spent most of my life in Arkansas. We always had two sources of heat in the winter. When we moved to MO and to IA we still made sure we had axcess to those sources....

    Hopefully you guys will make it through this next one...