How Cold Was It?
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!