Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Winter Storm Pax 2014

I began to write this right after Winter Storm Pax but failed to finish it or publish it. I'm not sure why. I just found the file saved on my PC and thought I'd share my experience of Winter Storm Pax.
We made it through the "catastrophic" winter weather event known as Winter Storm Pax. It was supposed to roll in on a Monday night so I called out of work when I heard that most of the metro Atlanta counties were under a state of emergency. I was not getting stuck at work or the airport with no way to get home because of Atlanta's officials consistently being ill prepared for pretty much everything. We used my night off to accomplish stocking up on things we may need, just in case we were stuck in the house for a few days. The grocery stores were an absolute mess, no bread, eggs and the milk supply was dwindling. I don't really go for those items because I know they are the first to go bad during power outages. I ran over to the Dollar General to grab snacky stuff, air freshener and batteries. Why air freshener? Ever gone without air circulating through your house while burning non scented emergency candles? Try it, but have some air freshener on standby once you figure out why I suggest it. Supposedly, it was to be super bad starting at 7pm but only the temperature dropped, drastically and really fast. It did rain a good bit, enough to wet the ground real good to create ice.

Tuesday we woke up to see slush, not snow in our front yard. Terry did head up to Kennesaw to work a few hours and came home before the weather system that we were promised Monday would move in. Terry had a cold and we were out of cold and flu meds so we drove up to the CVS about 2 miles from our house before the weather got bad. We almost got hit 3 times in the parking lot. People seem to totally lose their minds when the threat of bad weather is announced. I made sure all the dishes in the sink and dishwasher were cleaned, though we have a gas water heater, it's not fun to do a massive amount of dishes with no lights. I also did all of the laundry, you just don't want to look at dirty laundry when you're already miserable from no power. We played the waiting game all the rest of the day and went to bed. Woke up, snow and ice blanketed everything. Our car was coated in ice, about a quarter of an inch thick. Neither Terry or I would have even attempted to go to work even if we could get into the car. I urged Terry to charge every battery powered item he had, as I'd been doing the same. I charged my 3 battery packs for my portable DVD player, mine and Terry's Kindles, my phone and iPod and Terry charged his phone. I also charged my laptop but it only holds a charge for 15 minutes at the most now and wouldn't have been much of a distraction. Our broadband router is on a battery backup as well as our alarm system is also...THANKFULLY. I gathered all of my cigarette lighters, flashlights and booklights....Always centrally locate stuff like that because searching in the dark for anything can be super stressful.

Most of Wednesday morning was spent just putzing around the house. I knitted a little, worked on a few things on my computer, read and played a little bit on pogo.com. Some time around 1:30pm it happened....I'm on my computer, Terry's watching TV and both just go blank from a power surge and then darkness. Utter silence. We both sit in the dark for a few minutes before realizing that we might not have power for a little while. I am not much of a telephone gamer because I use my kindle and iPod for media and stuff and my phone just for text and talk. The only apps on my phone besides email is facebook. Terry, however, uses his phone for games which I warned him would drain his battery quickly. I knitted a little bit more and around 5 pm we realized that our power was probably not gonna be on anytime soon, the temperature was quickly dropping in the house and it's getting dark quick outside. I decided to clear out our fireplace to see if I could light it, NO FIREWOOD or logs so Terry and I decided to try and venture out and see if anything is open. I spend 10 minutes chipping the ice off the driver side door, just to turn the car on and get it warm. Terry's phone was dead and I used the car to pop a charge in it. The 1/4 inch of ice on the car ended up being thicker than that along with at least 3 inches of snow. I began to use the ice scraper to clear off the layer of ice on the windshield...45 minutes it took. The back window was easier because it has built in heating elements to help defrost the ice and I just pulled the ice off the back. It was about 6:30 that we get out of our subdivision, the traffic light's not working and the roads are solid ice. I asked Terry to just go back home and we'll bundle up and hope the power comes on during the night. The temps dropped to 45 degrees in our living room and we shut ourselves in the bedroom. Eventually the battery backup on our broadband router died, Terry's phone and kindle had died and the only communication to the outside world was on my phone as our landline isn't really a landline at all, AT&T failed to mention to us that our voice line is internet based.

Thanks to our stove being gas, I was able to cook dinner...recycled leftovers from the night before actually. I had a crockpot pork roast that I shredded and threw in a skillet to heat up and sauteed with barbeque sauce, threw them on hamburger buns. Opened a can of turnip greens and heated them up on another burner, fired up some water in the kettle for hot chocolate and threw some left over mac n cheese in a pot with a little milk and heated it all up. Terry was impressed, HOT food. Barbeque sandwiches, mac n cheese, turnip greens and hot chocolate. We went to bed full but annoyed because of the silence was so weird for us. I fell asleep watching the Lost in Space movie. ***This is where my blog entry ended so the rest will be from memory.***

Terry and I woke up around 5am, still with no power. We laid in bed, still cold and uncomfortable. Our power was restored around 10am, I was supposed to be at work at 10:30. I was working at Chuy's at the time and low and behold, the manager opening that morning was Susan...she was one of those people that would watch a generalized news report and assume it applied to EVERYONE. Our house, yard, vehicle and road was completely iced over and there was no way to safely get out of our neighborhood. I called at 8:30am and let her know I could not safely get out of my neighborhood and she said "The news said only people around I-20 are affected, so what you're telling me is you don't want to come in." and then she hung up. I didn't go in AND I begun to plot my final days at Chuy's.

It took two days for the ice to completely melt, though our roads became passable that afternoon. Many of the stores in our area were closed, including our Wal-Mart. We had cabin fever and wanted to get out of the house...so we called the next closest Wal-Mart in Fayetteville, Georgia and they told me they had a bare bones staff and were open with the exception of their bakery, pharmacy, deli and auto care. Our intention was to go there and grab a few items, including something for lunch but ended up at Wendy's which was open despite the fact that their parking lot was a complete sheet of ice. We gobbled our burger combos down and headed over to Wal-Mart and back home we went before the temps dropped again freezing the roads wet from the melting ice and snow.

So that's it, my exciting or not so much exciting account of Winter Storm Pax from Riverdale, Georgia.

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