Sunday, December 28, 2008

How Cold Was It?

This Cold!
Even HRH Zoe, Hunter & Poppy Made Friends

This will be a Christmas to remember and talk about for years to come. We lost our power Christmas Eve, it happens here often. We went to bed early, certain the power would be on Christmas morning. The power came on at 6.00am. We put the beautiful roast beef in the oven. Within 15 minutes, the power was out again. How long could the power be out on Christmas Day? A call to the power company told us there was no estimate for when the power would be restored. Outside it was a blizzard. We sat down to discuss our next move. Abandon ship!

We called our youngest daughter and told her we were packing the food and heading for her house, an hour and a half away. Our oldest daughter had spent the night with us and set about loading presents and food into the four-wheel drive.

We couldn't chance the back roads (they hadn't been plowed) so we headed for the freeway. It was really snowing, at our house we got another 12 inches Christmas day. The freeway was a whiteout. Driving down Highway 2 (the road to one of our ski areas) was an experience all in itself. People actually stopped to chain-up in the middle of the road. What were they thinking? When they broke down, people walked down the middle of the road, not once turning around to see the destruction derby going on behind them in an effort to avoid mowing them down. It was crazy!

We arrived at my daughter's house; her streets being the worst stretch of road yet. She had added 18 inches to an already record total snow fall. We made it to her house safe and sound, although white knuckles are now a permanent condition for me.

There was a heavy snowfall all day, but it was a wonderful Christmas and an even better Christmas dinner. We all got what we asked for, but the White Christmas was a bit over the top for Seattle and definitely not over.

Since 1891, Seattle has had only ten snowfalls of one inch or more on Christmas Day. It takes one inch to be classified as a White Christmas.

We decided to leave my daughter's around 4.00pm; not wanting to hazard the roads to our house any later, any colder, and any darker. We loaded the cars, but the snow had gotten much deeper and my oldest daughter and her boyfriend got stuck in the driveway. Mr. Maven chained their car to his four wheel and attempted to pull them out. It couldn't be done, and Mr. Maven got the four wheel stuck (we know he's good, so we know it was bad.)

A neighbor dispatched his truck from down the street, which promptly became mired in the snow. Another one bites the snow. Three vehicles all stuck in the driveway and blocking the street. What a mess! A huge truck showed up to cheers and applause and got Mr. Maven out as well as the other two vehicles. By now it was 6.00pm.

Finally we were on the road to our house, but things didn't look good. Not a single light to be seen in any of the houses along our road. We rounded the corner in time to be met with a pack of small power company trucks shining their spotlights in the trees. Just in front of the trucks was a huge power pole and transformer snapped in half.

It didn't look like a simple fix, so we turned around to head for town and Starbucks where we intended to wait for the power to be restored. You guessed it! Every Starbucks was closed for Christmas. We ran the length of town finding nothing open. Just as we were about to head for the freeway we saw a flashing red OPEN sign. It was our favorite Chinese restaurant!

Mr. Maven laughed as visions of his favorite Christmas movie flashed through his head. (A Christmas Story, and fortunately the staff did not sing to us.) It was warm inside, the TV was on and we had hot tea and several appetizer platters.

Around 9.30pm we decided to head home. Surely they must be finished restoring power. Again, we headed up the hill, this time we were met by huge power trucks, one carrying a new pole and transformer - on the truck, not in the ground. We stopped to talk with one of the employees whose Christmas tale made ours look tame. It would be at least midnight, he told us, before the power would be back on.

We live in a house built in 1899. When they go cold, it's really cold and it takes days to get them warm again. Our generator was frozen solid and the propane tank for our travel trailer had frozen and blown its cork expelling all the propane. Welcome Home!

We decided to bundle up and go to bed, fully expecting the power to be on at midnight. As you can see, the family pets made friends and took up half the bed. (I left the wild eyes so you could see that it was dark in the house.) Mr. Maven said it was a "three dog" night, although we only had two and Poppy, it was enough to keep us fairly warm.

At 1.30am I asked my husband the time. I asked again at 2.30am, 3.30am, and by the next time I asked I was crying from sheer frustration. I wanted my electric blanket.

The power returned the morning of December 26th, Mr. Maven's birthday. It has started to rain. The streets are a layer of ice covered by another layer of slush and snow. It looks as if we will be able to get out of the house by Wednesday. (Today even the snowplow took a nose-dive into the ditch at the end of our street.)

No, I'm not complaining. It was, IS, an adventure.

I would, however, like to publicly thank the men and women of Puget Sound Energy who worked so diligently to restore our power. It was dark and cold. It was Christmas. They told me they had started at 6.00am and had 126 calls, ours their most challenging. They strung three sets of wire on our road, connected two residences, dug a hole in frozen ground, replaced a pole and a transformer, and our electricity. Thank you for giving up your Christmas for ours, even if it didn't work out as you or we had planned.

May the New Year bring us all - NO MORE SNOW!



Blogger wendy said...

fM - my sister lived in Auburn (outside Seattle) & remembers one heavy snow (she lived there Jan 2000 - May 2005) & said when it snows there, it's not that great! She prefers the constant "wet air". I'm glad your power was restored & your family had a SAFE - though cold - Christmas. Glad you are back online! Our furnace quit a week ago & was out for 2.5 days but at least we didn't have snow - just freezing temps which we bought space heaters for the living area to keep warm & umpteen quilts, comforters & blankets on beds at night.

December 29, 2008 at 6:06 AM  
Blogger Terry Thornton said...

WOW! What a snow storm. Glad you are all safe and warm. Thanks for sharing your Christmas adventures with us --- makes me still wish, however, for "some" snow.

Terry Thornton
Fulton, Mississippi

December 29, 2008 at 6:59 AM  
Blogger Miriam Robbins said...

Wow, Maven, that IS an adventure! This year, I purposely did NOT put up my "Let It Snow" sign on my back door.

The last few days we had warm temps...four feet of melting snow everywhere, with collapsing roofs and carports (not us...Mr. Midkiff, like Mr. Maven, is a real boy scout and borrowed the neighbor's roof rake several times over the past week and a half. Last night, melted snow froze to ice and we are seeing a new snow storm this morning.

We're wondering if it will be worth driving to the brother-in-law's (inches of snow on top of ice, hmmm...) to do our belated Christmas celebration.

December 29, 2008 at 8:16 AM  
Blogger Miriam Robbins said...

Hello again, fM! I just awarded you with the Proximidade Award.

December 29, 2008 at 10:47 AM  
Blogger Nikki - Notes of Life said...

Send the snow our way (well some of it!) as we rarely get any... although it only takes a little for the whole country to come to a standstill here!

It certainly sounds like you had quite an adventure. I hope you're all nice and warm now (I know I am!).

All the best for 2009!

December 29, 2008 at 11:56 AM  
Blogger Charley "Apple" Grabowski said...

Snowville is certainly being shown up by you guys out in Washington! Kudos for making the best of an awful situation. We rarely loose power but we have a backup kerosene heater and being snowed in is something we're used to. I hope by now you are well thawed. May your New Year be warm!

December 29, 2008 at 1:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Wow, what a story! I have to tell you, I HATE SNOW with a passion. We do get hammered with it around here, but fortunately it dropped so much in your part of the country that by the time the front got here it was 50 degrees and sunny (not usual for this time of year). I'm sorry you had such a rough time! But, it sorta sounded like fun. Except for the cold part. ;-) Good thing you have a Mr. Maven, two dogs, and a cat!

Donner in tropical Philadelphia

December 29, 2008 at 4:11 PM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...


I swear I will never complain about the rain again. And what I would have given for one space heater.


I am sending all remaining snow to Mississippi in box cars. Your Happy New Year's present!


Look at our fellow Washingtonian, Chery Kinnick, and decide if it's really worth it. Not!


Snow (at least tons of it) is so alien to this part of the country that we have come to a grinding halt as well.

You are welcome to as much snow as you'd like. On second thought, how about I come visit you!


We did stop to laugh several times. What can you do? Sit in the corner and cry?

I must admit that I'm sure Hell is cold and covered in snow.

Ah Donner:

My sister snow hater. Glad we were able to take the hit for you. Tropical Philadelphia, who would have thought.

Freezing in the dark with two dogs and a cat jockeying for space at your feet is not what Mr. Maven and I had planned for Christmas Eve and Christmas night. More wine!


December 29, 2008 at 6:09 PM  
Blogger Jasia said...

My goodness, what a time you had! I hope you took lots of pictures as it was without a doubt a Christmas to remember.

We've had our own wild weather here in southeast Michigan over the past couple weeks. In the week before Christmas (the funeral week) we had 2 significant snowfalls, one with blizzard conditions and one a 7+ inch snowfall. Then we had a couple days of single digit temp days with -25 degree windchills. Things eased up for Christmas Eve and we got drenched with rain. Christmas Day was calm and the sun peaked out. Then two days ago we got drenched with a thunderstorm and extremely high winds (60 mph gusts). We lost power for a few hours but many in our area are still without power today. Today has been sunny but there's a snow advisory for another storm starting up at 7pm tonight. What a roller coaster of weather!

December 30, 2008 at 2:12 PM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...


It sounds as if you and I have bought the "A Ticket" on this winter roller coaster ride.

We have just gotten cable TV and the internet back. Out yesterday as the result of high winds. Another storm to hit at 5.00pm tonight then more on Wed. & Thurs.

Want to head for the airport with me and Tahiti?


December 30, 2008 at 2:23 PM  

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