Posts/January, 2009/

Testing My Patience in a Kentucky Ice Storm (Rev.)

Thursday, January 29th, 2009


Into the countryside.

Impatience is one of my many character flaws. It has been put to the test numerous times over the last few days.

On Sunday, J. and I drove to Kentucky to drop off her nieces and spend some time with her sister’s family. Unfortunately, on the second evening an ice storm blew in. And it was a doozy.

We woke Tuesday morning to no electricity. The storm knocked out the power to most of the area. Some counties were 100% without power. It was easy to see why: the ice had built up on tree branches and the added weight broke the top off nearly every tree. These tops crashed on roofs, cars, and power lines. On our street alone, there were numerous broken utility poles and snapped sections of wire. This was the stuff of an electric company’s nightmares. Even a thousand men in trucks couldn’t repairs the tens of thousands of fallen lines. The roads to most of them were iced over and impassible.

We made the most of the ice by taking some sleds to the streets. The thick ice made an excellent sledding surface, through we had to be careful of falling branches.

I played games with the kids, colored books, and kicked balls around. The munchkins of ages 1 and 3 were cute and fun to be around, but in constant and noisy need of attention.

That afternoon, the family decided to pack up and go to a relative’s house nearby. There wasn’t going to be power anytime soon and the temperature was falling. The relatives had a huge generator to keep the power going. J. and I decided to stay and make sure the pipes didn’t freeze.

We spent the next 5 hours watching/helping the family get ready. I was anxious, as was everyone, during the packing process. I’ve never had to relocate a family in the middle of an ice-storm. It’s a stressful time. When they left, J. and I were alone in the cold. It was like we had checked into a mountain cabin. The place was eerily quiet.

That night was a dark and cold one. J. and I had only candles and blankets. We ate year-old tuna lunch packs and apples for dinner. It was dark at 5. We went to bed at 7 like olden day farmers. We were serenaded to sleep by the booms, cracks, and smashing of branches falling. Romantic.

Chainsaw man approached by neighborhood dog.

Ice on tree branches.

The downed cable covered with before and after icicles.

Snapped pole.

Mailbox and downed wire.

Sunlight and the broken canopy of trees.

Every tree basically looked like this.

Neighborhood dog greets the host’s dogs.

Chair.

Steps.

Ice covered berries.

J.

Sleds.

The next morning, we pulled the jug of milk off the snowy porch and ate some Kix. All of the food was going to spoil, so we ate it up like the kids in Jurassic Park did when they got back to the visitor center after getting chased by dinosaurs. Even the ice cream was melting despite being stored in snow.

About an inch or two of powder had fallen that evening. Even more trees had tumbled. We tried sledding again, but not only did we break the device, but the powder was slowing us down. For lunch, we fired up the camping grill and made some soup and burgers. They were some of the best patties I’d ever had. No fooling.

That afternoon, we decided to get a ride to the relative’s house. Power wouldn’t be coming back soon, and thoughts of heat danced in our heads. The house wasn’t far away, but the roads were solid ice and slick. The whole route was a wasteland of fallen branches and destruction. After a lot of fish tailing and branch scraping, we arrived.

Our driver was truly skilled on the ice.

The house was packed with 13 people, all family of J.’s sister’s husband. This put me very low on the totem pole. Luckily, the family ran a heavy equipment parts/repair business and was in possession of a huge trailer mounted diesel generator. It was burning through 40 gallons a day to keep the basics running. Even wireless internet. We were very lucky.

The destruction at the relative’s house.

Fallen limb.

Muddy tread marks.

Stubby corn field.

Icicle grill.

Icicle trailer.

Barn behind the corn.

Immaculate racer.

Work desk.

Clearing debris.

Machinery.

Snow angel.

Trucks.

Machinery.

Man-sized tires.

Machinery.

Table.

Frozen pond.

Going for a walk.

Icicle grass.

A patchwork barn.

Gauges.

Treads.

Icicle birdhouse.

Enormous generator.

Michigan.

J. and the jumbo dozer.

C.H. in uniform.

Parker’s burnt down drive-in.

Now THAT’S flame-broiled!

Out of the countryside.

Everyone in the house had thick Kentucky drawls and were very friendly. People had to sleep in any available spot. J. and I slept on the floor at the foot of the homeowners’ bed, like dogs.

Thursday, we woke and were ready for action. The plan was to head with J.’s sister’s family to the other house to get vehicles for heading back to Nashville. Two hours of packing later, we were sliding down the road. We got to their house and began the mysterious and frustrating process of clearing branches and loading up different cars.

The smaller roads were still in bad shape, so the husband (who has ice driving experience) to drive both cars to the main road. Another hour later, we were off along interstate.

After a short 3 hour drive, we were back in Nashville. I was so tired of being around people that this impatient monster retreated to the shower, then the upstairs room. Sweet, sweet seclusion.

It was not a fun few days in Kentucky, but it was certainly memorable. Patience is a virtue I wish I had sometimes.

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This journal helps me remember how little I do and how pointless my life is, share my mundane experiences with others, and improve my writing and photography. If you’re not a Nigerian finance minister or in possession of Viagra deals, feel free to leave your comments.

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