By Lonnie Cruse
DAY 1: First Winter Storm of '09:
Though my day to post is Friday, today it's Monday, January 26th. and the weather stations are predicting several inches of ice this evening. A huge winter storm is headed straight for us. Hubby is on his way to the grocery store to stock us up. Since we depend on a well with an electric pump for all our water, I'll have to fill one of the bath tubs in order for us to have enough water for the, um, toilets. Drinking water we keep in stock for just such emergencies. I'm writing and scheduling my post today in case I don't have Internet access for the rest of the week. By the time this posts, we could still be covered in ice, or we could be thawed out. In the mid-West, one never knows.
We had a similar storm last year, and we all learned our lessons well. Ice bends all the trees, even the strongest, and the bent trees take out power lines, leaving large areas without power for days at a time. So the locals stock up on food. Dress warm in case the heat goes out. (We have a gas fireplace, so we will at least have heat. And we have a gas grill to cook on.) And we prepare to be isolated from other humans.
Last year I had to heat my tea water on our gas fireplace logs because the gas grill was out of gas. This year we made sure we had plenty of gas to cook with. Our flashlights have good batteries, oil lamps have oil. Incidentally, how Abraham Lincoln managed to read and do his school work by said lamps beats me, but we keep them for power outages. At least they light up the house at night, but reading is difficult. We don't own a generator but it's high on my wish list.
Sooo, what would you do if you were trapped in your own home by thick ice and no electricity for several days, meaning no television (or radio unless you have a battery operated version) no computer or Internet, no phone unless you were smart enough to buy at least one that isn't cordless, no stove unless you have a gas version, no running water, and um, well you get the picture. Do you have enough books to read? Enough sewing or other craft work to keep your hands busy? And a way to heat tea or coffee or hot chocolate? Are all the knives, guns, and other possible weapons securely locked up so you and your loving spouse can't kill each other? Not to mention your bored children. That alone gives me the shivers . . . bored children. Thankfully ours are grown.
So that's how we've prepared for the coming ice storm. Snow would be welcome, bringing the neighbors over to sled on our huge hill and hot chocolate to warm us after. Ice storm? Not so much.
Oh, and to make things even better, my daughter-in-law just called to inform me that there are two escapees running from a nearby prison. The doors and windows are securely locked, but I'll be more at ease when hubby returns. And these two prisoners may wish they'd waited to escape until spring arrives, given the weather predictions. My daughter-in-law said they're both wearing bright red jump suits and orange hats, so in snow/ice they should be fairly easy to spot. Sigh. Life is rarely dull, even in our rural area. Hot chocolate, anyone?
Day 2: First Winter Storm of '09
Everything in sight is covered in ice. Thankfully we still have power . . . for now. The lines outside are sagging. Some homes in Paducah are without power, and a major highway is closed due to a downed power line. The Brookport Bridge, aka the Blue Bridge or the Irvin Cobb Bridge, take your pick, which connects Paducah, KY to Brookport, IL and has been around since the early 1900's is closed.
FYI, a couple of decades or so ago, some bright soul had the idea to rip out the bridge's asphalt decking, which had worked fine for about seventy decades, and replace it with metal decking created with holes just large enough to drop a Coke can through, the main theory being if Coke cans would go through, snowflakes/ice crystals would also go through and the bridge would be totally fine during our frequent snow/ice storms. Well, Coke cans do drop through, (my then teenaged sons tested this part of the theory out with the help of their obliging father. Did I mention cars are not allowed to stop on the bridge for any reason, including droping Coke cans through the holes?) However, no one mentioned it to the snow/ice. The bridge freezes with the first flake and often has to be closed. That creates double traffic on the I-24 Bridge, the only other way Southern Illinoians can reach Paducah, where many work. Where was I?
This morning Hubby offered to cook bacon, eggs, and pancakes for breakfast, and given that my momma didn't raise any dummies, I humbly accepted. He divided his morning between chasing off the blackbirds (who are hogging the feeders and running off the smaller birds) and flipping flapjacks. Let's just say his flapjack flipping abilities trump his bird chasing abilities and leave it at that.
No word on the erstwhile escapees yet. IF they have any sense, they turned themselves in by now. The freezy stuff is still coming down. We have about a half to an inch of ice and more on the way. Hubby says the ice on the front porch gave under his weight the first time out but now is frozen solid. Not good.
If no reports follow, you'll know we're in the dark.