Friday, October 30, 2020

An Ironic Update!

The whoosh of the wind and the obnoxious pulsing of generators are swirling outside my window, but inside we are warm and—perhaps more importantly—dry! And (lucky people that we are!) one of the generators is ours! 

When we realized the power wasn't going to come back on any time soon, Andrew went on a quest for a generator and managed to pick up the very last one at ACE Hardware (Lowe's was out, Home Depot was out), so our situation is looking up! The contents of our fridge will survive and we've been enjoying not being completely dependent on flashlights and candles (and getting to use the internet and our computers a little bit (though I do think we should turn off the generator soon because that thing is so loud and I'm worried all the neighbours will hate us (and I'm a little sensitive to noise)).

Hurricane Zeta blew in with all her fury at around 4:00 in the morning. Andrew was still awake because he was doing a guest lecture at The University of Turku, in Finland. They've already ended daylight savings and we don't end our daylight savings until this weekend (right?), so there was a little mix-up about the time class actually began. The good news is that Andrew was definitely on time—in fact, he was an hour early! The bad new was that it meant he needed to stay up an hour later than he originally thought he would have to stay up. But it was fine.

He did his guest lecture and then inspected the house to make sure everything was ship shape and Bristol fashion. The trench we'd dug out along the side of the house seemed to be doing its job nicely, not that it mattered much because Zeta brought along more wind than rain (while Delta was wet, wet, wet). 

Here, again, is the chart of the rain we got with Hurricane Delta:

And here is the chart of the rain we got with Hurricane Zeta (only a tropical storm by the time it reached us, thank goodness):

As you can see, we didn't quite get even 1.5 inches of rain with this storm. That's nothing! Though I am glad we still prepared by digging the trench and cleaning out the rain gutters (even though the trench and rain gutters are both now completely filled with debris).

Andrew eventually crawled into bed—Alexander's bed, to be exact, not ours, because Alexander was "having a weird night" (that's what he calls it when he has trouble sleeping), and so was sleeping with me and even though we have a king-size bed Alexander was evidently very unimpressed that Andrew dared to join us. He was kicking him and saying, "Go away, Daddy!" So Andrew left. Because he didn't want to fight with a three-year-old; he just wanted sleep. 

Rachel was up when the power went out around 5:30 this morning. 

The wind was howling and all around us every surface was being hammered by acorns, twigs, and tree branches. The cat was yowling, so Rachel got up to comfort her. And that's when the power went out. 

So Rachel woke up Miriam and then together they got the cat settled and then, in the pitch blackness of the basement, they crawled into bed together, to keep company against the dark. Rachel has a little battery-powered reading lamp that Miriam wanted nearby because she still doesn't like sleeping in absolute darkness. Rachel couldn't sleep, herself, so she read beside Miriam (so Miriam could be comforted by Rachel's light) until she fell asleep with the book on her face.

In Miriam's defense, she never would have been awake to be worried about being in the dark if Rachel hadn't have woken her up to tell her that the power had gone out!

We got up in the morning and did some of our schoolwork, and then went outside to clean up the yard a bit. It was liberally dressed with leaves and branches, but no real damage was done. Here's some of our morning work...

Alexander drew pictures while we read a few chapters from The Little Prince and did our writing responses.

The cat largely got in the way. She's not...fixed...yet and is experiencing her...coming of she's incredibly affectionate right now.

When I first told the kids she was "in heat," I didn't explain it well enough and they thought she must have a fever, so they made a bed up for her in a laundry basket (you know, because she doesn't have a dedicated bed...oh, wait...yes, she does) and tucked her in and everything. Ordinarily Waffelles isn't fond of too much attention, but she's just eating it up right now and was totally fine with the children doting on her. 

Later when I explained that she simply was "ready to mate," Zoë interpreted that to mean that she is having kittens, so I had to burst that bubble, too. Waffelles is not having kittens. She'd just like to. But she's not. 

We really need to get her fixed, but the friend we got her from (who said she'd help us set up an appointment at a clinic she volunteers at) has been busy moving houses plus COVID has really messed up ability to get appointments for certain things. Luckily, Waffelles isn't terribly annoying when she's in heat. I've seen worse.

Here's Zoë figuring out some different ways to make five (0 + 5, 2 + 3, 1 + 4, and so on):

And different ways to make ten:

Now here is our yard...

Benjamin was particularly excited about this branch that was "javelined" into the ground. It was stuck about six inches into the ground (nice throw, tree!).

Here he is lifting a big branch:

And another big branch:

The kids all helped sweep and rake off the driveway (and then Rachel went next door and did our neighbour's driveway as well).

Alexander mostly threw pinecones into the remnants of the trench Andrew dug in the front yard. We're in the process of putting in a French drain there (and have no idea what we're doing but—by golly!—we're going to do it anyway).

Zoë was very excited about this tiny pinecone that she found:

Here she is after she slipped and fell. "Thank goodness I landed somewhere soft!" she said.

Here are the boys playing in mud. Alexander was doing his best not to get too dirty while Benjamin was doing his best to get dirty.

I told Alexander he should hop on in there, but he wouldn't do it. When I went inside to make some lunch, however, I spied him getting a little braver:

We went for a walk after lunch because Daddy was trying to catch up on some lost sleep and I figured we should try to keep the house somewhat quiet for him. The kids were excited about all the pretty leaves Zeta shook off the trees for us to gatehr:

We didn't see anything too terrible when we were out, but I guess a tree fell down on this road while we were having dinner (Andrew went out after dinner to get a few more supplies to sustain us through the power outage and had a hard time getting anywhere because suddenly there were trees down everywhere while this afternoon (when he went out the first time) the routes had been clear).

These pictures aren't mine, but were put up on our neighbourhood group thingy:

For most of the day our status with the power company was "assessing." After several hours of that we decided that perhaps we do need a generator or something (thus, the generator). We now have an "estimated restoration time" of November 1, 2020 by 11:00 PM. 

We're hoping they have simply allowed themselves a very generous cushion and that power will be restored much sooner than that, but honestly there are so many people without power (and trees just keep falling!) so it might be an honest estimate. Having a generator does make things quite a bit more comfortable, however. For example, I'm currently blogging. And I'm not even stressing about the contents of our freezer (just about the noise pollution we're causing).

It's fun to a have a good, long power outage every now and again, though. We seem to get them in our neighbourhood a little more often than others do (thus the generator), but the novelty of having no power doesn't ever quite wear off. Here are the kids playing with a flashlight, making shadow puppets together:

It was rather chaotic. Later, perhaps, I'll put up a video of the chaos (at one point Zoë got upset that Miriam wasn't giving her bird enough room in the spotlight so she angrily threw her hands down and—completely by accident—ended up giving Miriam a double face-slap as she did so, which sounds awful, but the video of it is entertaining (plus she really didn't meant to do it, and it was good that I was filming because when she said, "I'm sorry! I didn't mean to!" Miriam didn't believe her. So we just watched the video and it's pretty obvious it was an accident so Miriam quickly forgave her).

We also went for a little evening walk in the dark to look at the nearly-full moon and the stars and planets. Here's a view looking toward our house...I think:

Those two very bright stars are planets, I'm fairly certain. One of them is probably Mars. The other one was...something else. I don't know. It was a good night for viewing planets, if only I knew what I was looking at (fat lot of good that astronomy class did me). Seven planets were visible in our skies this evening.

Venus was fairly easy to find, since she was up by the moon (though, unfortunately, I think she's obscured by the cloud in this picture (the kids liked the silhouette of the tower on this house; they thought it looked spooky)):

Perhaps if the power is out tomorrow we'll go out with an app to help us identify things.

We finished the evening by playing UNO by candlelight. Alexander fell asleep in the middle of the second hand. He'd had a weird night the night before, so let me tell you some more about sleeping...

Andrew was still rather exhausted when he woke up this morning. He'd stayed up half the night, had slept in Alexander's bed (which is much less comfy than our bed (sorry, Alexander, but it's the truth)), and then woke up to the kids squabbling in the morning.

He went back to bed around 9:30 in the morning and didn't communicate his waking-up wishes, so I just let him sleep. That poor man has been working nonstop the past eight months so I figured the longer he napped the better. 

But also, Alexander had had a "weird night." He kept me up the bulk of the night, fussing about the storm. I mean, obviously, he was suffering from lack of sleep, too, because he doesn't usually fall asleep in the middle of game night! Anyway, around 2:00 in the afternoon, I decided that I probably needed a nap, too. Zoë and Benjamin had finished all their schoolwork and were playing nicely together with Alexander (the novelty of his birthday toys hasn't yet worn off). Miriam and Rachel were both diligently working on their math. 

I sneaked upstairs and gently climbed into bed beside Andrew. 

About fifteen minutes later he sprang out of bed and shouted, "Holy cow! What? What? It's 2:30!?!" And then, noticing that I was trying to sleep, fled from the bedroom as quietly as possible.

He'd meant to sleep for an hour (so he could watch a student's practice presentation, though how he intended to do that without internet or electricity, I don't really know). He kept dreaming, however, that he would wake up and check the clock and it would always say 10:00 or so, so he'd think to himself, "I can sleep for a half hour longer!"

And then when he woke up and realized I was also in bed he suddenly wondered if he'd slept clear through the entire day and night and (noticing the light filtering through the curtains) into Friday morning. So he was very confused when he woke up and had to fumble to find his phone to check the time because, of course, the alarm clock wasn't working. 

It was pretty funny. 

Anyway, he went downstairs and I took my nap and the children miraculously played nicely together the entire time.

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