Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Great Ice Storm of '02

Edit: Shortly after posting this (literally, perhaps a minute) it occurred to me that it could be considered in poor taste to post a weather "survival" story so soon after the earthquake in Haiti. I mean absolutely NO disrespect to anyone and I certainly apologize if anyone is offended.

I'm getting old.... You know how I know I'm getting old? I'm about to tell you a weather story. And it's a bit of a "When I was your age I walked 3 miles to get to school, in the snow, up hill, BOTH WAYS!" kind of story, you know, the kind Grandpa Old-coot used to tell to demonstrate what ingrates we all were as kids.

(Note: I am actually 26 years old and I realize that 26 is far from being old. So in a way, I'm telling you to disregard the first paragraph. But really, don't. Because it would suck for you to disregard my words. Why should I post them if they're only going to be looked upon and thrown out? Whatever. Do what you will with them. On with the story...)

On January 25, 2002 I put down the deposit and the first month's rent on my first house. I was moving in with Jason and we had a roommate named Billy. I was 18 years old and was venturing out on my own in more ways than just moving out of my parents house. Just the month prior I had (finally!) gotten my driver's license and first car, making me self-reliant where transportation was concerned for the first time in my life. Three days after moving in a storm blew in overnight that rocked most of the Central Plains.

I awoke the morning of January 30th to no power. It was cold in my room but I figured it was because we had yet to move a bed in and were still sleeping on a pallet on the floor. I was running late for work so I rushed getting ready. I ran outside to find a sheet of ice an inch or thicker formed on my car. The sidewalk was slick, the grass crunched under my feet. The bush in my front yard looked majestic, almost as if the leaves were pressed in glass. It reminded me a lot of how the world looked when Darkness descended upon the world in the movie Legend, but minus the snow.

After defrosting and scraping the ice off my windows and door (a LOT of defrosting and scraping!) I made my slow drive across town to work. A drive that normally takes about 10 minutes took almost an hour. There were branches and tree limbs that had fallen into the roadway. I was lucky that there wasn't much traffic because I slid around quite a bit.

At the time I was working at the McDonald's inside our local Wal-Mart. If one thing is for certain in this town, it's that Wal-Mart will be open. And they were - for a few hours. Half-way through my workday (what was left of my workday after being late, that is) the power went out and the store was evacuated. I made the long drive home to sit this out there.

Over the next 16 days, I spent the time I wasn't at work sitting at home with Jason and Billy playing various different board and card games. If we got bored we would travel the icy streets across town to various other friends' houses to do pretty much the same thing. Eventually, our friends and family all had their power restored while we still found ourselves sitting in darkness. After nearly 20 days of being without electricity, I called the local utility authority from work to ask what was going on. Apparently, as we had just moved in and had the power turned on not 3 days prior to the storm hitting, a glitch had basically erased us from the grid and all the guy had to do was flip a switch and we were back in business.

A friend of mine made a comment about how silly she finds it that every time we have some sort of rough patch of weather there are tee-shirts that say, "I survived the ____ storm of 20__." In a way I can understand where she's coming from, but I can also see why people make and wear these shirts proudly. I feel like, given the circumstances of having just moved out on my own and having to deal with living through the ice storm, yes I "survived" it. In that time I learned a lot more about myself as an adult, about my boyfriend, and about my new roommate than I think I could have ever learned in such a short span of time. I also learned some pretty cool defensive driving techniques.

So, today is National Delurking Day... And in the honor of that, I will ask that you comment and let me know what's the biggest storm you're proud to have "survived?"


1 comment:

dianna said...

I'm a new reader, found you through Her Bad Mother's Basement. I know it's a few days late, but I'm delurking. I don't blog, but I have a Facebook page. http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/diannagallagher?ref=profile

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