The Winter Wind Storm and One Dead Grill

Well, it’s almost 10 p.m. and I’m just sitting down to think about the topic I wanted to write about today – Part 2 of my Paperless Home series. (But I won’t tell you what it entails, in the hope that you’ll stick around to read it!) I don’t know if I’ll get to it. I’m very sleepy.

And why am I so sleepy at 10 pm? Boy, what interesting night last night!

We went to bed at 11 pm, which is actually really early for us lately. The probability of a good night’s sleep was high.

Except for one thing. Some of you may have heard about the windstorm that hit northeast Ohio early this morning. And I mean early. I awoke at 2 am to the wind howling. Now, I’ve lived in coastal North Carolina for the past 5 years, and while we didn’t have any major hurricanes, I did experience a few category 1 and 2 ‘canes. My first thought was, “It’s a hurricane!” According to my friend, the news was stating that gusts did reach hurricane strength (which is at least 72 MPH.) I don’t know, because we didn’t see the news until this afternoon.

Then, remembering that I now live about 1000 miles from the ocean (that’s a rough guess,) I got up and went to the window. Outside, the trees were blowing just like the hurricane-bent palm trees in Florida! For reasons I can’t remember now, I went into the kitchen and turned on the back light – I know I was concerned about the glass-topped table we have out on the deck, and our 8 year old Thermos grill we got from my grandparents as a wedding present. They’ve tended to slide around a bit during high winds in the past. Even worse, while the table was still standing, the wind had managed to topple the grill right onto it’s front!

I vaguely remember getting into bed and expressing concern to my husband that the propane tank attached to our grill looked slightly askew, and would it blow up the house? After being assured that it was both closed and empty, I went back to sleep.

Until 4 am, when the LED display on my alarm clock and my personal clip-on fan decided to play chicken with us, turning off, waiting until we were just about asleep, and then turning on again in all their clicking and whirring glory. And again, as we drifted off, they would suddenly turn off, the void jerking us awake again. Eventually they turned off and didn’t come back on.

At 6:45 am my son woke up, and frightened by the howling wind, started crying. At this point, you would have found me rummaging in the dark for the emergency candles and matches. As he got really scared, and I still couldn’t find a candle, Daddy braved the dark and brought him into the living room, where we started a fire in the wood stove and tried to sleep on the couch and floor in front of the wood stove until dawn.

Our power turned back on about 12:30 this afternoon. My husband uprighted the grill, but he told me it was a total loss. All I can see through the kitchen window is that the grill lost it’s cover handle and a lot of insides! Insurance will “cover” it, but we have a $500 deductible, so it’s off to Craigslist! (Well, maybe closer to summer, anyway. We don’t use the grill in the winter anyway.)

So long story short, this eventful (and sleepless) night reminded me of why I prepare for things like this. We had wood in our woodbox, a flashlight hanging at the top of the basement steps, emergency candles and matches above the sink (though I do need to keep candle holders in there, too – finding those in the dark was the hard part!) and food in the cupboards that can be eaten without things like milk, so we didn’t have to open our fridge.

And this was without really planning – we didn’t know this storm was going to come up because we weren’t paying attention to the weather. If we had planned, I would have made sure we had also stored water to drink and flush toilets, because our water pump requires electricity.

A good friend reminded me that we should invest in a generator, because in this area – the snow belt of the snow belt – power outages are common in winter. We used my father-in-law’s generator in North Carolina, because he had an extra. We’ll have to consider buying one in the future, but I hate them because they are loud and gas-guzzlers. A better idea would be to eventually use solar panels as a backup (or primary!) source of electricity.

Boy, though, am I glad I was as prepared for an outage as I was!

My poor grill. 😛

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