Sunday, December 23, 2007

Reprise of the Ice Storm

I actually wrote this post on Wednesday, December 12, posted it initially, then deleted it because it was kind of a dumb thing to put an ad in cyberspace to say that our house is without electricity and we are out of town, so come on over and take our stuff.

We are back from Texas now. I think that the lights came back on one day after we left home.

Ice Storm across the Midwest

I would much rather deal with snow than ice. We were in Texas early in January (just before our Spring Semester 2007 started). An ice storm ripped across the plains as we were traveling north. In order to avoid icy roads in Oklahoma, we headed east to Texarkana, attended Sunday morning services in Murfreesboro, Arkansas, and traveled north through Arkansas, avoiding most of the icy roads, until we got to the extreme northwest corner of Arkansas. The last 35 miles was rather difficult, but we made it home safely. We never lost power, though many in Joplin did.

We were warned of the possibility of another ice storm last Saturday night. Many in the Joplin area woke up Sunday morning without electricity. We had power at our home. Sunday afternoon, my nephew, Scott McGill, his wife Lindsey and their two kids came over, as their home was without electricity. Sunday afternoon our satellite receiver iced over, and we lost TV. The kids watched DVDs, and all was fine. I had been listening to a Joplin AM radio station streamed on the internet. I woke up Monday morning (about the time I usually do--5 AM), and decided to start listening to the radio station streamed over the internet. As I was booting my computer, we had some loud sounds coming from nearby transformers, and we lost power. Now 2 1/2 days later, we're still without power, and I don't expect to see electricity in our house until we return from a trip to Texas on December 23. I hope that I am wrong!

About 58,000 customers in the Joplin area lost power. Their website currently says that 33,000 customers are still without power. It has been an experience. OCC was also without power, and the decision to cancel final exams was made late on Sunday. Students will receive whatever grade they had in the class, without taking final exams. Power is back on at OCC (I showered this morning in the dorm I lived in 35 years ago). We have had quite a few meals at my Mom's this week (she did not lose power--buried power lines are a wonderful idea).

Monday night we were to have an Open House at our place for all of my students and the girls who live on Goodman Hall 2nd floor. We had a quick meal at Mom's, then traversed the city to our home, and lit candles, just in case anyone showed up. It would not have made sense for kids to travel in the dark, with power lines and trees down across roadways. Thankfully, no one came. We went to bed in a cold house, but piled on the blankets. I thought it was great. We were really toasty under the blankets. It reminded me of being in Southern Chile, and going to bed in a cold house, but being very warm under the blankets.

Yesterday, we bought a Kerosene Heater. Years ago in Chile we used kerosene for heat. These heaters have come a long way since then, using cleaner kerosene (1K), and are much safer. We thought about picking one up Monday afternoon, but the word was that there were heaters to be purchased, but finding kerosene would be difficult. I found a pallet of 5 gallon drums of 1K Kerosene at Home Depot yesterday, but no heaters. I heard that Lowe's had heaters but no kerosene. When we decided to do it, I bought the kerosene first at Home Depot (over $7.00/gallon), then went to Lowe's to buy the heater.

We used it in the house last night, and it worked very well. The house was at 42 degrees when we started it up (about 9:30 PM). By morning, we were at 67 degrees. I'll go home in a bit and get it ready to go for tonight.

We are leaving Friday morning (Dec. 14) for Texas. We'll spend Friday night in the Dallas area, then make the long journey south on Saturday. I'll share the pulpit with Greg in the Spanish service at Central Christian in Brownsville. Other than that, we'll be staying out on South Padre Island. Greg will take Monday off, and we'll celebrate Christmas with the Texas Fish Clan on Monday, December 17. Charissa and Kimberly are going with us. Charissa will fly back on Monday night. Kimberly will fly back on Wednesday night. We'll leave South Texas on Saturday, December 22, make the trek to the Dallas area, attend church there on Sunday morning, and then drive home. I imagine that is when we'll see electric lights on at our house.

I'll get grades turned in before we leave. I hope you have a blessed Christmas.