Dec 15, 2007

Ice Storms--Beautiful and Bad

Alison commented on my earlier photos that her ice storm was much more severe than ours, but even we had two tree limbs strike our house. My husband has spread out the fallen limbs for cutting once the weather improves. Yesterday he was able to clear and cut up most of the limbs that had fallen in Mother's yard. Now we have a new snow storm and the roads are quite slick.

Our electricity was out five times during the storm, but each time electrical servicemen were able to restore power within six hours. Yesterday evening, I followed a tall man in line at the grocery store, and he was wearing an IBEW jacket with a lightning strike pictured on the sleeve. He looked a little tired and so I guessed he was one of the men who had worked to restore our power. I enthusiastically told him "Thank you for being one of those who helped to restore our power five different times!"

The electrical worker was clearly elated at being thanked, asked where I lived, and yes, he had been in our neighborhood working to restore power. So far he had worked a 26-hour shift, an 18.5 hour shift, and a 20-hour shift. He said many people came outdoors to thank him, one gave him hot chocolate and another gave him a thermos of coffee.

However, he was disgusted that the electrical contractor hired to support his fellow workers had sent all their trucks and servicemen to Springfield, MO, which left the local servicemen to handle all the power outages in our area. I explained that southwest Missouri had been hit much harder than Kansas City, and even emergency vehicles could not get through on impassable roads covered with ice, downed trees, and fallen power lines. [Unfortunately, Alison lived through the same situation.]

I couldn't mollify the serviceman for his complaint that he had to pay $107 to retrieve his dog. Apparently the dog got loose during one of his long shift duties, was picked up by the dogcatcher, and was kept in the pound for only one day. When the man tried to explain his work situation, no quarter was given. Frankly, I thought the fee was excessive.

The man said he often saw dogs running in poorer neighborhoods while on duty, and claimed that the dogcatchers don't pick up those dogs because owners have no money to retrieve them. So the man concluded it's a good financial scenario only to pick up loose dogs in neighborhoods with better paying "customers."

Our situation in the ice storm was far better than that of a daughter whose electricity was restored only after more than six days of outage. Lack of hot showers was a main complaint, but a good fireplace kept the house mostly heated. Everyone went to bed earlier and slept longer than usual. The oldest boy helped his dad split firewood that was needed to keep the house warm. Yesterday they had to cut more wood and bring it home on the trailer.

The youngest grandkids played hide-and-seek in the dark house. An older one had a lot of practice time on the piano. The oldest boy pretended to be a monster to find and chase the littlest ones in the dark. The grandkids won't remember the difficulties; they'll remember they had a grand time in a big house without electricity.


Anonymous said...

Dear Dusty,
I too have been saddened by stories I have heard regarding the poor treatment the electrical workers have faced. Alison's dear mother told me yesterday that some electrical contractors who traveled here from Texas had reported having all their copper wire stolen from their trucks. It is disheartening.
On the other hand, I have also heard many heart warming stories of neighbors reaching out to help their fellow man. My eldest daughter's Confirmation sponsor reported visiting an elderly neighbor, stubborn as the day is long, and helping to set up a kerosene heater to keep her from freezing as she refused to leave her home for warm shelter. Even the honest business men are being rightfully honored with won contracts as they bid a fair price to assist with clean up efforts.
We fared well visiting my parents, with their fireplace, for several days. Gas water heaters and stove tops were treasured comodities as we dined on homemade chicken soup by candlelight and played countless games of Monopoly Jr. and Chinese Checkers. Tea parties take on a different aire when had before a crackling fire.
I agree with Alison, the storm definitely did something to restore some much missing wonder.
In Christ...

Alison said...

Wow, your daughter is a real trooper. So is Lara. However, she can make goat soap too. We went to friends for dinner and stayed in the guest room the first night. Then, the kids and I left for my mom's house while my husband stayed to go to work.
We did get alot of music practiced. Also, we were able to read alot. I may even finish my book on the synoptic history of wonder this year. I always like to remember certain events by the book I was reading or started reading at the time.
I was most worried about the rural areas. I am still looking forward to hearing how people from my husbands hometown did it all.
Thanks for sharing your story.