Monday, January 14, 2013

Stormbound with Baby!

What a wild weekend, and not for the typical reasons. If you are living in Newfoundland, you know what I am talking about. For those of you that don't the best way I can explain it is with this one word - "Snowicane!"We had upwards of 70 cm of snow, winds gusting beyond hurricane force and a massive power outage to go with it. It was not my first time being without power since my son was born, but it was definitely the most challenging.

Friday morning found us buried, stuck in our house with about 5 feet of snow blocking the edge of our driveway. The snow had drifted in places, oddly enough leaving the space around my car completely open but totally burying the rest of our small parking area. The wind howled, the snow swirled and then boom, the lights went out. It was the stuff from movies.

We had taken a couple of precautions getting ready for a potential power outage- hot water stored in thermos bottles, extra candles, flashlights, blankets, batteries - all ready to go and we left our heat up high in anticipation so our house would be warmer than normal in the event of an outage. I also did my son's laundry the day before so he had ample supply of clean clothes in case the outage lasted for awhile.  As it turns out all of this was great preparation but it wasn't nearly enough.   I now realize that I need an emergency kit.

I have never been the type to panic over storms but this was the first time in nearly 10 years that I can remember losing power in the winter. Summer outages are usually isolated and don't affect the heat so save for no TV or stove, I never really have much to complain about. Usually we can go someplace in the city to grab some fast food, no worries about not being able to cook - or even having a BBQ is a feasible option. This was not the case with 5 feet of snow and blizzard conditions for nearly 24 hours blocking our way.  Then there was the cold. We were freezing, wearing layers and fluffy slippers and hoodies, snuggling up under blankets. I wished so hard for a hot shower and some hot tea, life's simple pleasures that I have never appreciated so much in my life.  In the future I am looking into a Coleman stove purchase and setting up a kit with non-perishable food and bottled water, just in case this ever happens again, for peace of mind if nothing else.

In spite of all of this, I am pleased to say that my 8 month old son appeared none the wiser. We kept him in fuzzy sleepers with blankets all around, we used the stored hot water for his food until it ran out and then resorted to things like bread and cheese which he ate readily, and we had him sleep in our bed with us so he didn't freeze in his crib. I felt his little hands the next morning and was never so happy to discover they were toasty warm. Every time I heard him babble or giggle I felt better, that no matter how uncomfortable I felt that he was getting by unaware of what was happening. 

Winter can be unpredictable and I got a shock as I now realize more than ever that it isn't just about me.To be a responsible parent I have to consider my son's needs in times of emergencies and think about things that I normally wouldn't have considered in previous years.

Thankfully today the temperature was up, the snow is melting away, leaving little evidence of the havoc it wreaked all over the province just a few short days ago.  Here's hoping for a warmer winter from here on out - at least inside my house anyway!

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