Monday, December 28, 2009


It began as freezing rain on Wednesday morning, while I was driving the transit bus for NIU. It's not like I've never driven in this stuff before. It was still coming down when my husband and I got home, later that afternoon.

We'd stocked up on food, of course, since it was Christmas Eve coming up, and we'd bought two Cornish hens, thinking to bake them in the oven.

That night we had power surges. The lights would blink off & on, continuously so that we couldn't even watch TV. Oddly enough the surges stopped, at some point when we went to bed. And then, around 1 AM, the power went off completely and never came back on.

Now, if we'd had a fireplace, this wouldn't even have bothered us. Also, if our oven didn't depend upon electricity, we could have heated the kitchen, at least, and used it for baking our meals.

We remained under the impression that the lights would come back on, eventually. Our calls to the power company would sometimes give us up-dates on when our power would come back on. All of them bogus. We live on a country road. We had no idea the extent of the power outages, but it was said that 3,000 customers had no power. All of one town south of us was out. I could hear the train along Route 30 constantly blowing its whistle, obviously, because the gates and warning lights would not be working.

We stayed Thursday night (Christmas Eve), having prepared with pails of water in order to flush the toilet only when absolutely necessary, we had water, we had placed perishable items from the refrigerator into an ice chest and placed it out on the porch. Not that it was that much colder than the inside, but we did this to keep it as cold as possible, thinking we'd save the food, at least.

We used candles and one lantern for light. My husband, Dennis, was constantly doing something, as he just can't sit still. I remained under a thick quilt to stay warm. I had no interest in doing anything, let alone even think about writing. My plans were to work on a synopsis/proposal I was preparing for a publisher during my 11 days off from work. It was becoming dismally obvious this was not going to happen any time soon.

I wound up cutting up those little Cornish hens, and frying them, since we weren't able to use the oven, but just the stove top, since we could light that. We tried to make the best out of our situation, just as, I know everyone else had. We ate by candlelight, drank wine and just tried to believe that the power would be restored by morning.

It wasn't.

It was a cold night sleeping in our sleeping bags. Even though the temps rose to about 40, over night, it wasn't going to get any better. And our food was not going to last.

It was Christmas morning--there would be nothing open. We had nothing to eat, except cold cereal. Dennis came up with a plan. There is a truck stop about 30 minutes away from us, and he knew it would be open. We drove out to Rochelle, had breakfast, at least, and resigned ourselves to going back home and packing some bags and staying in town.

It began to snow.

We checked into two different motels on two nights (we didn't like the first one, the owners were really ripping us off at $99/ night, and their breakfast wasn't anything to get excited about.)

We went back home to check up on things. Grabbing a couple more things, we headed back out, and went to a motel across the way. it was only about 9 AM, or so, and the young man at the counter was understanding. He didn't have any regular rooms available, but gave us one that had 2 rooms--they called it a "parlor" for the same price as a normal room (the same price, or a little less, that the one last night). This was a wonderful surprise. We had a TV in the bedroom as well as in the front room. There was a microwave and a refrigerator (both of which were not in our room last night). It was quiet enough for me to work, a little. If only I'd had a lap top!

Anyway, I didn't get a whole lot of work done. I tried to get the juices going on the second book of my series. But it just wasn't coming.

Earlier, I'd called a neighbor of ours. His family were staying put, using their resources, and they had a fireplace, and a generator. We had one hooked up to the furnace, but we couldn't do this. Anyway, they called us and told us that power was restored at 2PM, but since we were checked in, and we were enjoying the lap of luxury (this room normally went for $129./night), we stayed, had a king bed, and ordered pizza.

This morning, Monday, the 28th of Dec., I woke up with ideas just pouring out of me for the book. I don't know why, except that perhaps it took me to relax and not worry, or things had to go back to normal for the ideas to flow.

I'm glad to be home. We're both happy to be back. Except that all that snow that fell over the last 2 days (4-5"), has drifted, and my husband is now plowing us out.

Hopefully our New Years will not pull another punch, and give us an outage. I hope so. I'd like to have a little pre-celebration of the New Year.


  1. I'm so sorry to hear that you had a rough holiday! Its tough when you aren't used to the power going out. Amazing how much the little things matter when you don't have them! I'm glad to hear the ideas are flowing. Here's looking forward to a great new year!

  2. Thank you Heather.
    We had a nice suite in the last place/night we had to stay, for same price as regular room. So many people were out of power too, that they only had the suites left.
    Everything got back to normal . . . eventually.


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