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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

SOUND OF SILENCE

Last Tuesday, January 27, 2009, I came home from work and turned on my laptop as I do every day when I walk in the door. My husband has a meeting on one Tuesday night of every month, and last Tuesday was his meeting night. I put some clothes in the washer, and I started up the full dishwasher. I started my pot of soup (remember, I had a tablescape set for soup), and I decided to take a shower and wash my hair. After my shower, I decided to check a few blogs before I dried my hair. I was looking at Debbie's (Confessions of a Plate Addict) wonderful Tuesday Tablescape for the second time (it was much too pretty to only see once), when my world went completely black and silent. I had no electricity. It had only been sleeting for about an hour, so I assumed that the power would soon return. Thankfully, my pot of soup was still cooking on the gas stove top. However, except to boil water for coffee, that is the only time I used the gas stove while the power was off. I just do NOT like to wash dishes. I feel like I can't get them as clean as the hot water in the dishwasher does-- at least that's the story I told my husband, and I'm sticking to it!


The washing machine stopped; the dishwasher stopped; the television went off; and of course, my computer went off.


In the complete darkness and the rather shocking and complete SILENCE, I searched for a flashlight as I listened to creaking, cracking, breaking and falling limbs outside my house. Occasionally a loud crash would let me know that a tree had fallen somewhere nearby. In the darkness, I saw horrible flashes of light as large tree limbs hit power lines and knocked out transformers.


After finding a candle, I turned on the gas logs in our fireplace in the family room, and I sat in the stillness, listening to large limbs scrape against the windows and fall to the ground, and thundering bangs as trees hit the ground and even louder bangs as transformers blew out. I started realizing that the power was not going to come back on right away.


This is not normal weather in our area of the country, so I really wasn't sure if there was something I needed to do. I made the decision to just sit and listen to all of these frightening sounds (as if there were anything else to do) and to stay in the family room, which is in the back part of the house, away from the front yard where all of our big trees are. Each time I heard a tree hit the ground, I said a prayer for whomever had that tree in their yard, and every time a transformer blew, I said a prayer for all who were without electricity and didn't have a heat source.


We are SO fortunate to have had those gas logs in our family room. If you've visited my blog, you may know that we have an upstairs loft that opens to the family room. The heat from the gas logs kept the upstairs very warm. We have a bathroom and several beds up there, so we were able to sleep upstairs and use the upstairs bathroom. I cannot tell you how many times I gave thanks to God for the blessing of those logs and those upstairs rooms. We were able to close the doors to the rest of the house and keep very warm.


The next morning, I was shocked to see our front yard littered with huge iced limbs and our tree tops stripped naked. When we got in the car and drove around, I gave thanks again, because there were people who had holes in their roofs, and trees on top of their vehicles.





My husband (who cannot stand to have nothing to do) and our son got out in the yard Wednesday and started sawing large limbs with the chainsaw and pulling them to the curb. In the silence of Wednesday, I listened to the chainsaw while I read books, played games with my grandchildren, and listened to their laughter.






Wednesday night, we could hear a generator or two running. We took all of the food out of our freezers and put it outside. Our son's house is on the same electrical circuit as the local hospital, so that was the first power restored. They went back to their home. Our daughter's house has gas logs, and her in-laws came to stay at her house, because they didn't have power or gas logs. My husband went to the local Lowe's, which had reopened, but they were sold out of generators. We decided we didn't want the hassle of a generator anyway. We were very comfortable and cozy in front of our gas logs


There is a saying in Arkansas that if you don't like the weather, stick around a day or two, and it will change. By Thursday, it had warmed up enough that our pool had thawed, and other people were getting out their chainsaws and clearing their yards. The chainsaw massacre began, and large energy trucks from several states arrived, and the sounds of chainsaws and large trucks could be heard in the silence.




Everybody needs to stop and recline in their wheelbarrow occasionally.




We interrupt this program about the storm to give you a little history of my town.

When I was growing up in this "Mayberry" type town, many people were farmers. A lot of cotton was grown all around this town. We had a "Cotton Pickin' Contest" and a Cotton Pickin' Parade with a Cotton Queen and Court! It was the highlight of the year. The sounds (sort of a "wooshing" sound) and smells of the cotton gins starting up always signaled Fall and football for me. The cotton was carried into town to the gin on the back of trucks and trailers. Our front yard looked like it had snowed on the edge of the yard when cotton littered the easement. New children came into town, because their parents had been hired to pick cotton.

The economy in the Delta put a lot of farmers out of business. We still have some cotton gins, but many farmers are growing rice. Of course now, the cotton is picked by machine, and the ginning of the cotton has become silent with modern technology. I still find myself listening for that wooshing sound when the air turns crisp in the Fall.

We also had an Air Force Base here when I was growing up. It was the B 52 headquarters, so we heard a lot of roaring, revving, and window shaking when those planes would take off. When I was in grade school, we all had to wear dog tags (just like the military), because everyone was concerned about our town being hit by a bomb because of the location of the AFB. When the government began closing a lot of military installations, we lost our Base, and everyone in town thought it was the end of this small community.
However, our town is on the Mississippi River, and following some recruitment by our Chamber of Commerce and other citizens, Nucor Steel and Nucor Yamato Steel built plants here, because of the access to the river to transport their steel. Other steel-related industry moved to town to be near these steel companies. This is still difficult for me to believe, but now, we are the largest steel producing county in the country.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled program, which was already in progress, before I started digressing!
So many people in this area are employed by the steel industry, Nucor (one of the steel plants) ordered several hundred generators, and their employees were able to buy them at cost. By Friday, the steady hum of generators hung in the air all over town. Out of town landscapers had arrived with big trucks with buckets to see if they could make some money out of this disaster. So trucks, generators, and chainsaws were heard all over town.

Of course, the weather had warmed enough that we lost all of our frozen food. I am thankful that is all we lost.

I read three new novels and re-read "Mad Girls In Love" by Michael Lee West (our own Gollum), because it had been a long time since I read it, and it was good enough to read again. I read with a flashlight, while listening to chainsaws, generators, and big trucks.
Unfortunately, the power came back on in our office Saturday night, so Monday I had to return to work.

Our power has just returned to our home today (Wednesday, February 4). Although I have missed visiting your blogs, I am surprised at how much I enjoyed relaxing, reading, and feeling no need to jump up and do anything for a week (until I had to go to the office Monday, Tuesday, and today). Right now, I have a load of dishes running in the dishwasher and a load of clothes in the washing machine (I was running out of underwear!).

Now, I will tell you about the horrible and most disastrous part of this ordeal for me! (It's all about me!)

On the Friday before this happened, I let my hair dresser talk me into a "body wave". I hate perms and haven't had one in 20 or 30 years, because my hair frizzes so much, but my hair dresser assured me this was different. Remember, I said I took a shower when I got home Tuesday? Well, of course, I didn't have electricity for my hair dryer, so my hair just frizzed up and I looked like a poodle who needed a hair cut! It was so dark when my husband got home from his meeting (and I never shined my flashlight on myself), he didn't see me until the next morning. He was laughing so hard, I thought he might have a stroke! When he finally stopped, he asked if one of the electric transformers had fallen on my head! I had to endure this with each member of my family as they slowly drifted into my house Wednesday. I guess it gave them a laugh in the middle of the tension we were all feeling, but it only added to my tension -- that is, until I looked in the mirror, and even I had to laugh!

All of you have left such sweet notes on my blog. There is a lot of love and there are a lot of loving people in Blogland, and I feel so blessed to be a part of it. You almost made me feel guilty, because (with the exception of my electrified hairdo) I really was relaxing and kind of enjoying myself! Thanks so much for visiting me and for all of your thoughts and prayers. It's good to be back. laurie



41 comments:

Pug1 said...

WOWEEE!! What a week you had! Well I can't beat that one! CHEERS! Michele

Susan said...

Yeahhhhh Laurie is BACK!!!

Missed you Lady!Wow what an ordeal!

You always look at the bright side... i am glad you and your family made it through it all unharmed!

Susan

prof en retraite said...

Wooooooooo Hoooooooooo!! Laurie is back!! I am so glad to see your face again here in Blogland! We have missed you and been so concerned about you! I am relieved to hear that everyone is fine and you have your power back! I am sorry my blog was the one you were in the middle of when it all happened! I promise I didn't blow up the town! Seriously...we have ice storms here occasionally and there's nothing worse than sitting in the dark and praying that the trees that surround your house won't fall! I am glad our prayers were answered and all is well now! Welcome back, my friend...hugs...
(((((( Laurie))))))....Debbie

Carol said...

Laurie,
It's so good to see a post from you! Your ice ordeal was something else! I'm thankful you all made it through safe & sound! I know you're glad to be getting back to normal. Take care girl!
Hugs,
Carol

marty39 said...

That sounds like quite a week of silence and sounds. It is nice to take a break every once in a while even if it is unplanned and forced on us. I do hope you got some rest and so glad you had heat. Hugs, Marty

Cindy J. said...

Oh my dear Laurie you sure know how to tell a story. I have to admit I am still laughing so hard at your hairdo misadventure! Oh I can see myself in the same situation! I am so glad you were relaxing and comfortable, I think you were due a little rest. I would love to write a decorating book with you. We would have so much fun! Love, Cindy

Melissa Miller said...

I was worried about you Laurie!
What a scary situation. I'm glad you were warm. You handled it better than I would have.

Thanks for the detailed recap. It was a really interesting read.
Sorry you had to go through it though.
~Melissa ;)

xinex said...

Oh Laurie, I am so glad you got electricity now. But you really made me laugh, girl, with that electrified hairdo because I am imagining Danny laugh when I know him as being a very quiet guy. We really missed you!...Christine

Cynthia said...

Hi Laurie,
Welcome back! I have been thinking about you and I'm glad to hear everyone is ok. Your a wonderful writer Laurie, and you have convinced me I need to go to Arkansaw. What a wonderful story about your little Mayberry Town, even the tree-lined streets look like Mayberry during an ice storm. I'm glad your ok and the story about your hair is just too funny. My hair has been like that after a perm as well, and those hairdressers they can always convince us that this time will be different. Again, welcome back, and thanks for sharing your story with us Cindy

mbkatc230 said...

Welcome back Laurie! Glad that you are safe and sound. Must admit, I'm still laughing about the "electric hair", but I promise I'm laughing with you! So glad to have you back and that you didn't suffer too much damage. Kathy

April said...

Hi Laurie!
I stopped by the other day...I'm originally from Arkansas (Hot Springs area), so I can definitely relate to a lot of what you wrote about. We had some terrible ice storms! I can deal with snow, but I'll pass on ice anyday! You really have been through the mill, but it can always be worse, right? Glad to know that you're up and running, again!

Feel free to stop over anytime...I love meeting new people!

Bo said...

Hi Laurie...even with all the destruction caused by the ice, it is good to know your home was spared any major damage. It seemed as though you were gone forever from Blogland...glad you're back!
Hey, you might just start a trend...remember the poodle hairdo of the 70s...I had one...LOL
;-) Bo

Pat@Back Porch Musings said...

If you saw any orange power trucks down your way, it might have been our guys. They travel all over the place to restore power in emergencies. J was in northern MO one year for over a week. They stayed in a tiny town in an old hotel. He said it was a wonderful experience, even though they started working around 6 in the morning and worked till at least 10at night. There was an ice storm and it was on a prairie..so no windbreak. He still talks about that week. I think he actually enjoyed it. He has so many great stories of working for the rural electric cooperative.

The photos of the piled up limbs reminds me of southwest MO 2 years ago, this winter. It was an amazing sight.

Lynne (lynnesgiftsfromtheheart) said...

Laurie.. glad to have you back unharmed and happy as ever. What an ordeal..we went thru that about 7 years ago.. not to the extent of the damaged trees..but 10 days without lights..no internet blogging then..I love the wheelbarrel easy chairs...lynne

Miss Laura Lu/RMS4291960 said...

Ok I went from almost crying thinking about your funeral to laughing hysterically picturing your hair and hearing all the ribbing! Your DH sounds a lot like mine! Don't you just love that sense of humor?! My husband's favorite thing is to kid me then say "Don't be mad!" ARGH! Man Laurie! your posting sure brought back memories of 1994. My boys were 5 and almost 2. We had just taken our 5 year old to get his tonsils out that morning! Luckily our 2 year old was staying with his grandparents in Heber Springs. I remember waking up that night and it was sleeting but I saw lightning not realizing it was transformers blowing everywhere! Boy do I remember the sounds of the chainsaws going on for weeks! And then your pic of the curb with all the debris piled up! It was like going down a tunnel when you drove down streets. Anyway, I'm so glad you're back! Still want to plan a shopping expedition! love ya! LU

Kristen said...

I'm so glad you are back.
My part of NC also says if you don't like the weather, stick around a day or two, and it will change.
I love your photos and the guys in the bucket seats LOL!

xashee's corner said...

the power goes out way too much in my area and we have ALL electric EVERYTHING! i am soo glad you have gas there to make dinners and have heat!! Even GLADDER (if that's a word hehe) you are back online! :D Hope you have a WONDERFUL day!

Smilingsal said...

Oh, my hairdresser is campaigning to get me to do a "body wave;" I will be diligent and not permit it!

It looks like our place looks after a hurricane! Your poor thing, and your poor neighborhoods.

Susan said...

I am so sorry you lost power, but I am glad you made it through it with nothing but frizzy and defrosted food. I missed your blog!

Bridget said...

wow, you had so much to say, I can't comment on it all. I have lots to say but not enough time to type it all! I especially liked your description of your hair and your husband's comment!
hugs and glad you are back! Bridget

salmagundi said...

I loved hearing your explanation - I could just imagine all of the sounds you explained! So glad you are back and not too worse for wear. I'm sure you even have your hair under control now!!! Sally

Susan S. said...

Gosh....who KNEW ICE could do so much damage. NOT ME!!! I totally understand about the "relaxing" week. I had one of those after Hurrican Ike...it was actually nice to just sit and read or talk. The hum of the generators got loud, especially at night when we tried to sleep and the window HAD to be left open since it was almost 90 degrees.

Glad you house didn't have damage. The pictures of the aftermath are crazy!

Heidi Pocketbook said...

So glad you are back. What an awful week; thankful you didn't suffer any damage to your home and had that cozy fireplace to keep you warm.

The destruction ice storms do can resemble tornados!

tardevil said...

Welcome back Laurie! I've missed having your comments. I have another friend down there who got hit by that ice storm, but I don't think they got it as badly as you. She works for Walmart corporate. I've had the power go out & leave me w/ wet hair too, so I feel your pain. I wish you'd post a picture. We'd laugh with you...I promise! :O) Glad you didn't have damage. I read on another blog, that a ladies son went down to help w/ the clean up. Would have been wild had you met.

LillyB said...

Sister! Only you could be in the middle of a situation like that and make us laugh! I had to laugh at what you said, not about the hair!! Bless your heart! I have been there, majority of us have...there was that one unfortunate swimming incident after I got my hair frosted, someone asked me "{Are you sick?" I said "No why?" They waited a minute and said "well your hair is green!!" Found a mirror, sure enough...my blonde hair was green.The clorine mixed with the bleach and wa-la green hair..I got to feeling sick after that!!
Enjoy as much of your down time as you can!!!
Love ya!!

Glenda said...

I am so glad the ordeal is over for you and your family. I have been praying for everyone in Arkansas and Kentucky for over a week. Your post from the coffee shop/restaurant earlier let me know that at least part of my prayers had been answered with a yes.

I am so sorry for all the damage caused by this storm. I would be in big trouble in a sustained power outage if it weren't for our fireplace. I always try to keep on hand foods that don't require any cooking, just in case. I lived through, many years ago, an ice storm that crippled the city for days. Welcome back, Laurie.

Lynette said...

Glad you're back Laurie - I missed you!! Glad no one was hurt and that you still have such a great sense of humor!!

Ginger said...

Hi Laurie:
What a week you've had. Glad you were able to stay safe and warm. You took some great pics and told a neat story about your town.
Glad you are back.
Ginger

Treasia said...

Aww Laurie I knew it had to be the power at your house and town. Knock wood we were only without power for about 24 hours. Happy to hear you had the gas logs.

Coloradolady said...

What a mess! I am sure that was not a fun time. But I have to say, the ice on the trees really was pretty. Too bad it caused such problems. I am glad you did not have any major damage to your house!

lvroftiques said...

Laurie I'm so glad you have your power back! And thank goodness for gas logs huh?!!But it does sound kinda wonderful having everyone over to hunker together in front of the fire. And nothing to do but read. There's an island not too far from where I live (20 min ferry ride) and the line that provides them with all their power has broken after 35 years. It will be two weeks before an expert can come and look at it, and then heaven knows how long before it will actually be fixed. There are currently over 1100 people living there, and the low estimate to get the line fixed is 3-4 million. I feel sooo badly for them!! Many are elderly. Ya just don't realize until you lose your power how incredibly dependent we are! Anyhoo after my long story...I'm really glad you're back and bloggin' Vanna

Linda/ "Mom..." said...

Dearest Laurie~ HOLY GUACAMOLE!!! No electricity? No computer? No MUSIC? (Well, at least you were WARM & could eat your soup!!!). BUT, Even Simon & Garfunkel's "SOUND of SILENCE" couldn't be heard HERE, could it???~~~ WOW!!! And I'm a wonderin', gf, if you can at least sing "Well, I've...had... the time of my li-i-ife....", even WITH a bad "HAIR" day?!? WHAT AN EXPERIENCE!!! I admire you SO MUCH for rolling w/ the punches n' being able to "JUST SMILE", "THRU THE TEARS"!~~~ Just WONDERFUL that nobody was HURT, but SOOOO SAD to see His beautiful trees downed~~~ that saddens me! AM soooo grateful, tho, that y'all are Okey-Dokey! (That's a good time for "quiet reflection" isn't it?). You've actually been blessed, in many ways with this, my friend~ Love, Linda

Cathy said...

So good to seeing you back to blogging. Love the hair story:) Thanks for the laugh!

Cathy

Diane said...

Laurie, I was so happy to see your post & hear all about the power outage. I've been trying to talk my hubby into a gas fireplace & this is one more reason! Thank you for that!

I'm still giggling over the poodle head remark... I can relate to that one from the last time I tried a perm during the 80's. ♥♥♥

Diane

Nicole ~ said...

I am glad that you are back, and that you and your family are OK.

I am sorry that you had to go through all of that, but it sounds like you were able to get a little rest.

Your hair story is great! I was even laughing with you.

Nicole

LdyDy Loves Cake said...

Whew!! Thank you for sharing your"ordeal". As I was reading, I could actually imagine the sounds your were hearing, while sitting there in the dark! I'd would have freaked out!! Ice storms and no lights seems frightening to me... but then I live in earthquake country... and you'd think that would scare me.. but it doesn't. Go figure! Anyway....I am glad to hear that your electricity is back and all is well. Your pictures were great! Stay warm! Huggy Hugs!

Helen said...

Wow! This looks and sounds like the hurricanes we experienced in 2004 in Florida ONLY with ice thrown in for good measure!

Kathysue said...

Laurie, I am in awe of all the tree branches,I had no idea it was that bad.That had to be frightning.I am also cracking up about your hair.You are too funny.I love the way you write.I could visuualize everything you were saying.Such a Joy! Kathysue

Anonymous said...

Wow, Laurie, Your pictures are fantastic..my favorite was the wheelbarrow shot of the workers..I so enjoyed reading about the town we grew up in ..and shared. You are such a good writer..I am sorry about those old trees we danced around growing up in the 50's together..but there are still plenty left for your grands to enjoy. You have a wonderful attitude and I certainly wish I could have seen the poodle-do..do you have a pic of that? Susie

Donna said...

OMG, Laurie, I am still sitting here laughing at the last part about your perm! I remember getting one (and it was my last one) back in the early 90's. I told my hairdresser that my hair just didn't hold a perm, so he said he'd give me an "apple pectin" perm, guaranteed to hold. Well my hair was so tight and curly and frizzy that I looked like Little Orphan Annie for about a year. He sure didn't lie - that perm lasted FOREVER!

You have the same saying we have here in New England, "If you don't like the weather, wait a day." My how things change. I'm so glad you survived your ice storm. We had a similar one up here about a month ago and many, many towns were without power for over a week in bitter, bitter temps.

I'm glad you enjoyed your 'down' time. It is amazing how much more relaxing things can be without all our modern conveniences (not that I'd want to do without them for too long!!)... Donna @ An Enchanted Cottage

Belinda said...

I'm SO glad you are back online, Laurie...and so glad all (other than your hair!) is well. Thank goodness you had no damage to your home. The saddest part is losing all of those beautiful tree limbs. :-( Well, they will put out new spring growth and start looking perky again soon. Doesn't it just figure that you get a body wave, wash your hair, and lose power immeditely after...bless your heart! I'm sure your hair is looking beautiful again now, and you can get the last laugh. :-)