We awaken to a proverbial Winter Wonderland – everything in sight is rimed with a sparkly, glass-like coating of ice. A flurry of chopping and scraping ensues as we and the neighbors attempt to free cars from their 1/8”-thick coat of armor.
I venture out to the woodpile (in my trusty YakTrax) to gather armfuls of fuel, and stack it inside the door of our attached garage. A small conflagration is soon radiating heat out into the kitchen. We have power, but the warmth still feels comforting.
Early afternoon, Sam and Jamie come over to practice with Rock Star for Wheels’ gig at Canal Street. When Sam appears at the kitchen door, I express relief that he hasn’t killed himself on the ice. He tells me that he actually had a relatively easy walk over, grinning mischievously as he describes how the glassy coating allowed him to get a few long, running slides (what good is a day off from school if you can’t have a little fun?!). Everything went well until he hit our driveway – apparently “hit” is the operative word here – he seems a bit concerned about the condition of his hard-cased mandolin after going down. Happily, he and his instrument are fine, but later he leaves by the front door, avoiding our skating rink of a driveway.
As I’m frying up codfish cakes for dinner, the lights dim, and suddenly, we’re plunged into darkness. Luckily, we have a gas stove! We dig out the headlamps to finish cooking, then eat by flickering candlelight. I hope that we don’t hear of house fires later from candles that have gotten out of hand.
All through the evening, we hear loud cracks and muffled crashing sounds as branches break throughout the neighborhood. Peering into the darkness, we notice sparking from electrical lines across the street, and later, see flames reaching into the sky from what we assume to be an exploding transformer a few blocks away. I decide it’s time for Rock Star, who has gone to visit a friend, to be home, but he tells us that the friend’s mom is busily gathering blankets and pillows for an impromptu slumber party. (Thanks, Shelley!) In the background, I hear confused exclamations and giggling shrieks. Around midnight, he calls to tell us that a tree has fallen on the house, and that there is a big fire on Dayton Street (this later proves to be another transformer).
The Angler has bedded down in front of the woodstove in order to stay warm and keep the fire going. Through the night, snuggled down under the comforter, I barely notice as Jerry steals out of bed to make sure the stove is stoked up.
When I wake up and come downstairs, The Angler has already left to start a day full of plowing and spreading salt. I’m washing up last night’s dishes when I hear a beep from the phone – the power has returned! It’s 8:45 AM.
I walk around the house, inspecting the damage. The ice now looks to be 1/4” to 3/8” thick. We seem to have been lucky – one small redbud is cracked in half and drooping, and lots of twigs and branches are scattered throughout the property, but we’ve lost no big trees. Limbs litter the ice-covered pavement up and down the street, and as the salt truck comes through, it lowers the plow to sweep them out of its path. I’m curious about what the rest of town looks like, but 25-30 mph winds keep the branches swaying wildly and the air is still punctuated by occasional gunshot-sharp cracks, so for the moment I stay put. Snow is falling as Jerry gasses up the chainsaw.
Late in the morning, I drive cautiously to Shelley’s to check on her and all her teenage guests. Everyone is fine, but it’s cold, since their power is still out, so I tell Shelley they’re all welcome to come over when the kids get up. On the way home, I see lots of smaller broken trees – the local arborists will be busy today. Not too many people are out, and those I do see are proceeding slowly and carefully, slipping and sliding on the heavily glazed walks.
The warmth from the woodstove is welcome as I re-enter the kitchen. I see a big pot of chowder and fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies in our future!
Early evening – the so-called “storm of the century” is over, and cleanup is well underway. The power has still not returned at Shelley’s, so she and Savanna will stay here tonight. There’s plenty of soup and salad, bread and wine, and no lack of interesting conversation. It’s good to be warm and among friends.