Sunday, February 22, 2009

Who chopped down the cherry tree?

We spent 3 weekends clearing trees and branches from our yard. It was long, hard work. We still have the huge piles along the side of the street (hoping that they will come through and pick up the branches and tree limbs sometime in the next couple of months). Our piles match the limbs, logs, and branches that are in just about every yard that you drive past in Western Kentucky. When you drive through the streets, it is incredible to see the destruction and the piles of tree debris that the boys thought looked like giant beaver dams everywhere. The sound of chain saws abound throughout town.
Our pitiful front yard during clean-up.

Who chopped down the cherry tree? Most school age children would say George Washington. But not our boys..."daddy did".

Down goes my cherry tree :(

Worker Mama constructing our beaver dam.

Daddy trimming off the damaged limbs.

Cody taking a break.

Front yard is cleared and trees are trimmed (as high as Ben could reach). Hoping the two Maples will make it this Spring.

Put the boys to work clearing the backyard.

Ben thought Cody looked like a city worker in this photo wearing the yellow vest.

Besides our shed being damaged, our fence was crunched in several sections. Thank goodness we don't have dogs in the backyard anymore.

My little helper.
We have two brush piles left in the backyard. Waiting for them to dry up enough to burn those. We still do not have internet (almost a month later). At the moment, we are still borrowing though wireless so we can check e-mail and have a little bit of internet time. We changed to AT&T and should have hook-up the first part of this coming week. YAY!!!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

"Power" The Buzz Word in Paducah

I am feeling very internet and blog deprived since Ice Storm 2009 hit on January 27th. 19 days later and we still do not have internet (I am borrowing via wi-fi at this moment), so I can finally show some pictures to family and friends. We also still only have a couple of basic channels on our television (NBC, KET, and PBS), none of which airs our favorite shows “Lost” or “24”. With no internet, we can’t even catch up online on our favs! We were however very lucky to have only been without power for 4 days. Yes, there are still several people in Western Kentucky and even in Paducah still without power. Everyone in Western Kentucky has been talking about “power” since the ice storm hit 3 weeks ago. Strangers or friends alike ask the same questions…”do you have power?”, “when did you get your power back?”, “how long was your power out?”.

The storm hit on a Tuesday with a beautiful layer of ice covering everything like a wintery wonderland. At 10:30 a.m. our power went out. At the time, we thought it was for only a couple of hours. But the freezing rain and sleet kept coming down all day. It was turning into Beauty meets the Beast, by the time Ben got home from work that evening. The trees were beginning to sag and branches lean over from the weight of the ice. We should have paid heed when Jim Cantore of the Weather Channel came to town before the storm claiming that the “storm of the century” was about to hit. Boy was he ever right!

Before it became destructive, I got some beautiful pictures of the icy wonderland.

Notice the trees in the background were beginning to lean and bend.

Caleb with an icicle nose. Even the siding had icicles on it.

I love this one of the icicles on the deck and Caleb in the foreground.

My holly was laying over on the ground on Wednesday after the storm.

Looking like glass claws, icicles dripped from the branches and leaves of the holly.

Tuesday night was a scary, eerie night that I will have trouble forgetting for many years to come. Trees began to crack and limbs break about the time it got dark. It sounded like we were in the midst of a war zone with bombs and shots going off every couple of minutes all night long. Branches, limbs, and trees cracked, popped, and fell all over the neighborhood. You could hear it all around us in a scary, spooky way. I know our yard is small, but we had 12 trees just in our yard that were making me very nervous. I was afraid that at any moment I would hear the cracking, signaling the one that would come crashing onto our roof. At one point, one limb did hit, shaking the whole house. Thankfully it fell flat and did not damage the roof. I did not sleep much that night. Our storage building did not fair as well. A huge tree limb, the size of a medium sized tree fell on its roof. It crushed part of the roof and 4 smaller limbs went straight through the roof and out one window. We had 6 trees in the front yard and 6 trees in the backyard that were damaged, topped, or splintered. That isn’t counting the trees in the creekline behind our house. We ended up cutting down 2 trees in the backyard and 2 trees in the frontyard, so far-but that will be another blog.

Not such a pleasing 'For Sale By Owner' shot of our house.

Our storage building notice the roof and the far window.

Our 3 nights/4 days without power brought us some humility. Candles and flashlights became our best friends. We played board games or cards at night with the boys. They were in bed by 7 p.m. because there was nothing else to do. Thankfully we do have a gas log fireplace, so we were warm. (That will definitely be top on my list looking at houses later on!) During the day, we would charge up the laptop and the boy’s Nintendo DS at our work so they could get a little playtime or watch one movie at night. The first night without power, Caleb asked, “Is this what it was like in the olden days?” We began a learning lesson about electricity and what needs electricity and what does not. Cody said, “Well at least we will still have our lava lamp!” He was very disappointed that he would not have his nightlight. We instead opened the curtains and blinds to use the bright moon as a nightlight.

Powdery snow fell over the ice and we went out to build snowmen and roll snowballs all over the icy yard.

The bad thing was that we couldn't come inside for a cup of hot chocolate (we did have cold chocolate, but it wasn't the same). Our winter clothes remained cold and wet for days. We did warm up in front of the fireplace.

Venturing out after the disaster was unbelievable. It looked like a tornado had blown through the area, except for the fact that all structures were in place. All over town power lines drooped low or were snapped off across the road. Telephone poles and trees were lying everywhere. For over a week, Tractor Supply, Lowe’s, and Home Depot had cars lined up for hours waiting for generators, kerosene, or propane. Gas was in high demand because there were only a couple of gas stations with power. Long lines of cars waited for an hour or more for gasoline. People became panicked and fights broke out at some stations.

As temperatures dropped to the single digits, the majority of houses were still without power. Those who did have power, opened up their homes and hearts to friends, family, and co-workers. People flocked to warming stations and shelters to warm up, get a shower, and some hot food. Speaking of a hot shower, which was a hot commodity that many people longed for and definitely was high on our wish list. We shuffled around for days with disheveled hair up in a ponytail or under a ballcap, in a daze at the destruction, attempting to make the best of eating peanut butter sandwiches and meat that was going to spoil if we didn’t hurry up and grill it.
When our power came back on Friday, we had friends come to wash clothes and share some hot food. We ended up having a SuperBowl party because we were one of the only ones with power and a BIG television. The following week, we had boarders in our guest room for 3 days. The temperature was again dipping down and friends of ours came with their cute little Pug to share the warmth and have unlimited use of a hot shower.

Cody and Mushu. "Why do her eyes bug out like that?"

Through all of the destruction and disaster, I am thankful that our family and friends remained safe. I will blog later on our clean-up process.