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Weathering the storm

February 8, 2010 - Betsy Bethel
I admit I don't do well with discomfort, especially for long periods of time. It truly is a miracle I gave birth to Emma without any drugs.

I am an optimist, though, so when I woke up early Saturday morning to a foot of snow outside and my husband saying we had no electricity, I thought: "No big deal." I bundled up Emma and myself, and we played games in the living room for a couple hours. But as noon approached and my nose started to go numb, I finally called the electric company to see what was up.

I was pleased to reach a live person, but not pleased with her news: "Unfortunately, we estimate your power will not be restored until 11:59 p.m. Monday."



My daughter, mother-in-law and I packed our bags. Dave exhumed his mom's Subaru, and I drove it across town. Everyone seemed to have power in Martins Ferry except our street. You get some pretty evil looks from people when you drive through town during a Level 3 emergency, by the way. Back off, people! This IS an emergency! If you don't think so, YOU can go stay in my frozen house, while I stay in your nicely heated one!

Dave actually did stay home. He held down the fort with the animals, braving the single-digit temps and keeping warm by the wood-burning fireplace. His mom stayed with her other son, and Emma and I hung with my brother and his kids. I spent the day Saturday snuggled in my brother's bed watching cartoons and Discovery Channel with the kids before I finally shooed them outside. I‚ quite reluctantly, ventured out with them and supervised the construction of an igloo. It was cold out there!

On Sunday, I did not want to leave my brother's furnace-warmed house complete with TV, working stove, etc., but I promised Emma she could go sledding with Daddy at home. So we packed up. Dave was not frozen but looked haggard when we arrived. And God love him, he sounded excited to go sledding with Emma. Out they went, while I kept the fire burning inside using snow-covered logs Dave dug out and cut up that morning. I refused to venture farther than a 3-foot radius from the fireplace the entire afternoon.

Soon they came back in, frozen but refreshed and giggling. Emma fetched a sleeping bag and most of her stuffed animals from her room and we all curled up in front of the fireplace, just staring at the dancing flames. At 5:05 p.m., just when we were about to get moving to stay at another friend's house for the night, I saw something out of the corner of my eye. I looked into the dining room, and a lamp was lit! Woo-hoo! Power!

We still went over to the friend's house as planned to watch some of the Super Bowl, and when we returned, the house had warmed up nicely. Thank you, AEP!

We were fortunate in so many ways during this storm. 1. We had wood to burn. 2. We had a car with all-wheel-drive. 3. We had cell phones. 4. We had nearby friends and family with whom we could stay. 5. We had the physical ability to get out.

I hope that everyone who needed to get out of their homes were able to do so safely and had a safe and warm place to go during this storm. Kudos to neighbors who looked out for neighbors and to emergency and law enforcement personnel who did what they could to help the elderly and infirm, as well as those with young children. Thank you to the electric company workers who worked round-the-clock in extreme temperatures and dangerous situations to restore life-saving power to homes throughout the area. Keep up the good work, as I know some people still don't have power.

If nothing else, a little discomfort has gotten me motivated. This experience taught me the importance of having an emergency plan for my family. Anything can happen, and there is no excuse for not being prepared.


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