This morning, I did something that I haven’t done since summer: I worked out. Now, don’t think that means that I haven’t worked out since summer… no, I’m still on a roll with working out about 3 times per week. But I started my Monday morning with a Step Mix class and, while the instructor was a bit off for me (it’s hard to be so used to two instructors and then try a new one who calls things differently), I started my week with exercise and I feel great. Phew. I needed that! Afterall, after last week of shoveling for exercise, my body needed to move.
Speaking of shoveling, I have to send a powerful shout out to not only our energy company here in Pennsylvania (PECO), but also to the hundreds of hard workers who came from Canada to Illinois to Atlanta… giving up their weekends with family and friends to help the Philadelphia region get back to a high-powered life. We were lucky to have ours restored on Thursday afternoon. This morning I talked with our Kindergarten teacher who still doesn’t have power, and has to live at home because of her dog, the pipes and her well-water. The ice storm (Nika) of 2014 hit us like nothing I’ve ever experienced and it truly makes you appreciate and feel love for strangers… perfect for February.
Sledding or Sled Riding?
Late Saturday afternoon, my husband looked around and announced that everyone needed to put on their snow gear, it was a time for some sled riding! Sled riding? Do you call it that? I’ve always called it sledding… and giggle every time someone adds the verb “riding.” It’s become quite a grammatical debate here. Is sled a verb and a noun? Is it an adverb that requires the verb “riding”? What does your family say? Do you cringe when friends say it “wrong”?
Sledding, as I like to call it, is something I haven’t done in years. We have a hill behind our house that the kids and neighbors can spend hours on, while I sit inside with a warm coffee and heat. But on a Saturday afternoon, this past Saturday afternoon, having been stuck inside up for days, I welcomed the chance to come along. We ended up at our kids’ school, where the power still hadn’t been restored. The backyard of the school has not only a playground that Little loved being the sole player, but a pretty nice hill–not too far to walk and a great slope with a long ride at the bottom.
While we were the only family there on Saturday afternoon, clearly, someone had already been, as a luge-like run of snow had iced over and provided a thrill of a ride for all of us. Yes. All of us. I slid with the kids (and without!), tumbling, squealing, shouting and throwing a few snowballs at the kids. I might be game for a repeat this coming weekend.
Did you have power?
Oh, we were without. Around 4:45 am Wednesday morning, I received the seventh “school is closed today” call of the school year (seven!!) and curled under my sheets for a little extra sleeping time. The lights had been flickering every now and again all morning and night, but around 7:30, the flickering stopped. And it was like we just knew. This time, the lights weren’t coming back on.
It didn’t take long to cool down the house. The kids and I cuddled together under the blankets on my bed, but we grew hungry. Venturing downstairs, I reminded the kids of the powerless rules: Do not. Under any and all circumstances. Open. The. Refrigerator. At 10:15, Little forgot that rule and opened in search of a cheese stick. The open was met with exasperated sighs, but, alas, we were approaching the three hour mark, so it was time to move.
What happens to the food when you lose power in the winter?
Working together, the kids and I removed all the food from the refrigerator (whoohoo! It’s clean again!), forming 4 categories:
- Not enough to keep/expired/expiring, which went into a cardboard box to be tossed with the trash
- Plastic or glass containers to be placed directly into the snow with lids tightly closed
- Fruit/vegetable in a large, plastic storage box
- Dairy in a cooler
The snow and cold weather benefited us in forming an icebox of it’s own and, upon return, all of our food was saved. Because we were without power for about 36 hours, the food in the freezer remained inside. (You can keep a fully stocked freezer closed for up to 3 days.)
We picnicked from the foods stored outside for lunch and, shortly there after, realizing just how cold it was becoming and just how many houses were without power (80% in our county alone), we packed up a few things and ventured to a friend’s house (thank you G & T!!) who had not only a generator, but their power came back on around the time we got there.
Remember how fun sleepovers were when you were a kid? They’re just as much fun when you’re almost 40. Our hosts welcomed 2 families into their home: 9 kids and 5 parents, and it was a full-on party into the evening. Already predicting no school for the following day, bedtimes were forgotten, wine was poured and laughter was enjoyed. What could have been a freezing disaster became a memorable smile in our family history.
We were lucky. Our power was restored mid-day on Thursday and we returned around dinner time to a warm home. I have a few friends who still are without, 5 days later. Their homes have dropped down to the 20s, and they’ve borrowed generators to keep their pipes warm, their dogs healthy and their water running.
After only four hours of school last week, our kids’ school had power restored on Saturday, just as we were getting ready to leave the sledding hill. We, along with 550ish children, faculty and staff, are so appreciative of the crew from Illinois who turned the lights back on. And we appreciate all the hard workers still working today to get our area back up and running. PECO is reporting that as of 11 am, only 4% of Chester County is still affected by power outage. My thoughts for warmth and comfort are with them all as we prepare for more cold weather and more snow this week.
Boy on sled image credit: boy on the sled by petr kratochvil
© 2014, Julie Meyers Pron. All rights reserved.