A Winter Kick in the Gut

This past week was a difficult one for us.  It all started in the early morning hours on Wednesday, while we were asleep.  Or, I should say, while we were trying to sleep.  The sounds of cracking and falling branches outside kept us up for much of the night.  We had an enormous accumulation of ice, snow, and freezing rain.  Our power went out at about 3:00am Wednesday morning.  The house was very cold a few hours later.

When we woke up we found branches all over our yard and littered throughout our driveway, along with a downed line (which I later discovered was a low-voltage phone line, not a power line).  A pole from our house had fallen on top of my wife’s car.  Large branches had fallen in the middle of the street in front of our house.  It looked like we had little or no chance of getting out in our own vehicles.   

The forecast called for temperatures in the low teens that night, and we don’t have any gas heat or a fireplace, so we knew we had to get out.  But where would we go?  The seminary has its own hotel for guests who visit the campus, so I called to see if they still had power, and they did.  They were offering rooms to victims of the power outage at a discounted rate.  We called a cab, loaded up some clothes, and made our way through the treacherous roads to the seminary.  When we arrived we discovered that they had lost power just twenty minutes before.  So, still in the same cab, we drove out to a part of town that has a strip of hotels and by God’s grace were able to secure a room for one night at the Days Inn (hotels were filling up quickly, as about 200,000 households in the area had lost power in the middle of the winter).  We stayed there Wednesday night.  There we were able to see the news reports that explained that we were enduring the second worst power outage in Kentucky history, right behind the one that occurred last September when the remnants of Hurricane Ike left a path of devestation that went straight through Louisville.  The task of restoring power would not be easy, given that the trees were still covered with ice and that they likely would not thaw for several days.  The local power company estimated that it would take 7-10 days for full power restoration to the whole area.  (Interestingly, in the middle of this winter devestation that was quickly moving east into the D.C. area, we noticed also that former Vice President Al Gore had testified before Congress on Wednesday about the growing danger of global warming.  You can’t make this stuff up.)

We made arrangements to stay with a friend on Thursday night.  But before we went I wanted to see if it was possible to get my car out of the driveway so that we would have a means of transportation during the upcoming days.  We got a ride back home from a friend, thawed out my car, and then struggled for over an hour trying to get it out of the snow, ice, and mud.  I discovered along the way that my car is the least equipped in the world at doing such a thing.  I had to call a tow-truck to pull it out to terra firma (if you’re keeping a running tab, that’s $30 for the cab, $70 for the hotel, and $60 for the tow-truck). 

My friend had mentioned something about a stomach virus going through his family recently, but it sounded like it was over and the threat was likely gone.  So we stayed at their house Thursday night.  During the night Benjamin (our two-year-old) woke up unable to catch his breath.  We finally settled him down, but we were obviously concerned.  We took him to the doctor on Friday and found out that he had croupe.  By this time the news reports were saying that we could be without power for up to two weeks.  I decided to take a big step.  I called my mom and asked her to meet us in Jackson, TN, which is about halfway between Louisville and Atlanta, TX (my hometown).  We met up there, stayed one night, and then I let Joni and Benjamin go on home to Texas with her to wait out the disaster in a warmer climate with shelter, electricity, and family.  I drove back to Louisville on Saturday, intending to stay with a friend who still had power until mine came back on.

That was the day I got sick.  It was the stomach virus mentioned in the previous paragraph.  I endured the five-hour drive home and spent most of the next twenty-four hours in bed at my friend’s house.  I found out the next day that Joni and Benjamin were up all night with the same stomach virus.  I think that was the lowest point of this wretched winter. 

Well, power is back on.  The driveway is clear of debris, though not clear of ice and snow.  I won’t take my car near it for a few days (I’m parking across the street at a Target store).  The pole that landed on top of my wife’s car has been set back up, leaving a significant dent in the roof.  I’m feeling much better, but still not yet 100%.  Joni and Benjamin are still in Texas, where Joni seems to be doing well, but poor Benjamin has been dealing with one thing after another.  Please say a prayer for my precious little boy. 

Is there a moral to this story?  Yes, I think so: Al Gore is completely out of touch with the real world.


3 Responses to “A Winter Kick in the Gut”

  1. Ali Says:

    Wow, what an experience! I’m glad you and Joni are feeling better and I’ll say a prayer for your little boy.

    So, the Goracle is wrong, eh? Can’t trust those politicians (even ex-politicians).

  2. Aaron Says:

    Thanks, Ali. Joni says Benjamin seems to be getting better today.

  3. Marc Whitman Says:

    Man…this hasn’t been an easy stretch for you. I hope things get back to “normal” soon.

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