December 27th, 2013. Each day prior to this day, I would check the power restoration site for a hopeful update. The date didn’t budge an inch. This morning it’s Big Breakfast Platters, from McDonalds. It isn’t gourmet and we don’t eat it often, but it would be good today. After breakfast, I keep researching, generators, transfer switches, everything I could get my hands on. Thankfully there are lots of videos on YouTube of just the things I was researching and I’m a fast learner if I can see someone do something.

I check the power restoration around noon and it shows that there is NO power outage at our house. WHAT!!!! I grab my coat and tell Amy what I saw. She tells me to wait because she is going with me. Once we get to the neighborhood, there isn’t any power at the house. WTF. I drive around the neighborhood and there are power crews everywhere. I recorded some video and I called it the “Bestest Sight Ever”. They’re up on poles, riding around in those big trucks with the cherry pickers and repairing that downed power line at the house I spoke of earlier. It was exciting to see them in the area. My poor wife was so afraid that they were going to leave the neighborhood before all the power was on. I dropped her at home and followed the crews around for awhile. This was the most activity and excitement we’d had in a week so I guess I was a power stalker. I didn’t have anything else to do and what they were doing was interesting. People were coming out and showing them downed power lines in their backyards, telling them how much they were appreciated, it was nice. The crews in our neighborhood were from Wisconsin and Ohio.

We hung around for a few hours but the power didn’t come back on. The restoration website changed the estimate to Noon on the next day.

As I was following them around, I could see that they would repair one part and it would lead them to another part down. Amy called it connecting the dots. I think that is a great analogy. After sometime we went back to the hotel. It didn’t look like they were leaving until the job was done so we left them to their work. When we got back to the hotel, once again, all these open rooms and only one housekeeping lady on our floor. We located her and offered to help a bit. I vacuumed a few rooms and my wife helped her make some beds and other stuff. Unfortunately her equipment was in poor shape as I was thinking about getting our kids and we help her with the whole floor. I knew we couldn’t go in rooms where people had stuff, but the rooms that were going to be vacant we could do. She told us that normally this is their slow season and they only have one or two housekeepers and it is easy to keep up. With the outages and the hotel filled up they were just overwhelmed. I’m glad we were able to do a bit. Either way we offered a hand and later a nice tip.

During dinner, which we pilfered from our refrigerator at home, I tell my family that I have embarked upon a new project. I plan to get a generator, transfer switch or sub-panel and if I have anything to say about it, we’ll never be booted out of our home with similar circumstances. They say little but they are encouraging. I know me, I’ll study everything I have access to and be a temporary expert. I say temporary because I won’t remember everything forever. On this subject I won’t be caught flat footed anymore. This experience was too painful, cold and expensive.

Around 2100 I check the restoration website again. Again it says that there is no outage at our house. Amy and I pack up again and go. We’re a little less excited this time of course. We get to the neighborhood and start creeping around. We think we see houses that didn’t have power before, lit up. We tentatively go to our house. It’s all lit up. When I mean lit up, I mean lit up. We must have turned on every light while we were there days ago. I thought everything was off, but apparently we subconsciously kept flipping switches as we passed them. Amy and I hug tightly. We are so glad.

A few days prior as I was checking posts on Facebook, a guy I used to work with said that his power was restored and the surge fried all his electronics. Furnace, stove, refrigerator, phones, everything. After I saw this, I went home and unplugged all of our stuff, including the furnace. So we had a lot of switches to turn on. The house was of course still freezing so we figured we would come back the next morning to; our house, our place, our home.

Once we got home, we all split up and began the process of getting organized and cleaned up. It’s amazing how hard it is to clean a house when the inside temperature is 35 degrees. This took a few hours. Once we met up again to eat, we had to figure out how to resolve our Christmas. We decided that Sunday the 28th would be ‘our’ Christmas Day. We were going to do a little bit of baking, played some Christmas music that we found on the TV and acted like that frozen week didn’t happen. I told everyone I thought we should leave the Christmas tree and decorations up until either Martin Luther King day or Valentines Day, whichever felt right. Usually I get sick of the Christmas Schtik by the holiday, but not this year. We were already going to have a shorter season by 6 calendar days and without the 6 frozen days, it felt like Thanksgiving was only a week ago.

Do you remember my project? Well I wasn’t kidding you know. Since Icemageddon, I’ve researched and researched and learned everything that I could. My daughter, Ashley was curios of the research I was doing and offered to help me if I needed it. I wasn’t sure if I needed help but I figured that we could both learn the process together.

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