Sunday, January 13, 2013

Blizzard 2013

After 30 hours without electricity caused by the best blizzard DH and my little family have seen since we moved back to the beautiful province of Newfoundland and Labrador,  I learned a little that I thought I'd share:
  • I love electricity. LURVE. It. Love it so much that I want to build a shrine to Benjamin Franklin and those who were before and after him in their exploration of making electricity the useful energy it is today. The queue starts behind me, people.
When a storm is brewing, we always park in the upper
driveway because the blowing winds always cause
the bottom driveway to drift over.
  • Two weeks camping with no electricity and three children is nothing compared to housing, feeding and entertaining the same three children during a blizzard and power outage in the winter. For starters, we chose to go camping.
  • 14 degrees Celsius in the summer in the sun is a reasonably comfortable temperature. 14 degrees Celsius in your living room with your wool hat and sweater on is not.
Can you see the drift up the neighbour's front door?
  • If the wind outside your house is strong enough, your gutter can be peeled back and stripped away like tin foil. True story.
Tin foil gutter. Sigh.
  • It turns out that I have held romanticized visions of what it would be like to have the power out for awhile. Meals by candlelight. The opportunity to sit and knit/crochet/read because what the heck else are you going to do? It turns out that if you put me in a blizzard with the power out I am too darn worried to sit and do anything useful for very long.
  • The television does not work during a power outage. Yes, I knew that. You knew that. The next time the power goes out, would you please let my three year old know that for the forty-fifth time?
    • For some strange reason the only craft I had any burning interest in during the power outage was sewing with my sewing machine. Weird.
    • Having the power out before we had children is completely different than having the power go out now that we have children. Heck, we lost the power at least once a week when we living in Goose Bay, summer or winter. No worries. Break out the candles and flashlights and it would be on again soon. Having the power out here with children was a bit of a nightmare. Not only did it get cold and not only did DH have to go outside and use our Coleman camp stove to cook but using candles when it started to get dark at 4:00 PM? Nightmare. Finn can reach up and practically touch anything from Any. Spot. In. The. House. So much for warm and peaceful ambient light.
    • Candles do not provide ambient heat. If you are from a warmer climate and would like to argue this point with me, go ahead. You are wrong. The idea that heat comes from a candle is all in your head. Join me for our next blizzard and power outage and I will prove it to you.
    • A power outage which still allows you to have running water is a very, very good thing. My SIL (eight months and counting pregnant no less) and niece live just up the road from us but are on their own well with an electric pump = no water. We rescued them and brought them to our house as soon as we could get our drive way snow blowed after the storm. We were cold but at least we could provide facilities which are very important when you have to pee every fifteen minutes because you have a baby bouncing on your bladder.
    Though it's hard to see through the blowing snow,
    you can see the white storm surge on the ocean
    just under the power lines.
    • Yes! The toilet seat in your house CAN be as cold as that of a toilet seat in an outhouse in winter! Just so you know.
    • Being in a power outage and maintaining any semblance of a menu dedicated to healthy, wholesome eating is impossible. Cravings include sugar, fat and crunchy substances such as nuts and chips. And alcohol. I rarely, rarely drink alcoholic beverages but I craved alcohol in copious amounts during the power outage. And cigarettes. I've never even taken a draw on a cigarette before but I was craving them. My subconscious may have just been looking for a heat source though... Or it had something to do with the three children jumping on my head. For the record, I stayed out of the liquor cupboard and didn't find any cigarettes to start a new habit.
    In front of the garage door before shovelling.
    • Living through a power outage can be uncomfortable. Living through one that lasts 30 hours can be even more uncomfortable. Living through a power outage whilst suffering through one of the worse colds you've had in several years including the aches and pains that usually accompany a fever (though I didn't get a fever) SUCKS!
    In front of the garage door after shovelling.
    • Once your power comes back on, the house warms up, the cupboards and closets have been opened enough times to allow the air inside to warm up and not give you a blast of cold air each time you go near one is just a memory, you might feel just a weeny bit that your house let you down. It didn't. It kept you warm(er) than outside, dry and protected from gale force winds. And the temperature gauge read 14 degrees Celsius when the power returned which is a long way to 0 degrees and busted, frozen pipes.
      • I. Am. A Wimp.
      Remember what I said above about the
      lower drive way drifting in?
      • DH is not.

      The End.

      Wednesday, January 2, 2013

      Christmas 2012

      We have had a lovely family holiday season here. The boys are now at an age where they are uber excited about Christmas and taking them to holiday events is very satisfying.

      We didn't make it to the St. John's Santa Claus parade this year. Luckily the Town of Torbay puts one on and our boys were present and accounted for. My favourite part? The free hot chocolate (from Tim Hortons and given out by volunteers). That and the excitement created by the idea of a parade for my small boys!

      Naughty Mommy forgot Finn's mittens so she shall have no pie...
      Waiting impatiently for the parade to start.
      Love the fire trucks but the boys thought they were TOO LOUD!
      And Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without Christmas cookies.

      Serious business.

      Very serious business. They were working so hard.

      Supervising from the floor. I'm not patient enough to let him into
      the cookie dough yet.
      Naturally there was other baking to do. Homemade jam jams (a perennial Newfoundland and Labrador favourite). I made them too big so they were more like jam jam sandwiches than cookies.

      None of us minded that the cookies were too big.
      I managed to get some baking done for Iain's school Christmas party. This is a Pampered Chef recipe/idea and I love it. After finishing four full Christmas trees I realized I was going to run out of icing before I had enough cupcakes decorated and I was out of the ingredients to make more icing. So I got creative. DH said he liked the designs I came up with better.

      This year, the boys went out into our backyard and cut down a Christmas tree from the little clearing where the playhouse will be built. They all loved going on that adventure but I do believe DH enjoyed it the most. Historically we have bought trees or used an artificial tree. There is no going back to either of those options now.

      You will have to believe me - our tree is gorgeous but
      I have yet to take a good picture of it!
      DH brought the big boys into work on Christmas Eve. They had a great time and the fact that Daddy works in a hanger that is currently servicing water bombers is a big bonus. I always think of my boys as getting so big but they look pretty small next to a water bomber's tires.

      Christmas morning was a riot. Iain didn't get us up until 6:15 AM which I thought was pretty civilized compared to the times my siblings and I used to try to wake up our parents. Iain was tearing around the house and Aidan slept through until almost 7:00!

      Iain opening his stocking in his room.
      Aidan oblivious to anything.
      Mr. A and his stocking. He is holding a package of 'Snoman Soup' from
      Groovy Bird. Love that lady!
      Iain started bringing presents into his bedroom so that Finn could open
      something. I love the way Finn quats down sometimes like this. I wish
      I had the same thigh and knee control! 
      For one of the boys Christmas presents, I asked Veronica over at OCD Crochet to make three monkey hats. Amazing job and they look gorgeous in them. I still have to catch Finn wearing his before he rips it off his head. Not so much into hats yet is Finlay.

      Finn laying back and relaxing on Daddy's lap.
      I was wondering how Finlay was going to do with the tree this year. For the first three days he didn't even touch it. Once more and more interesting ornaments went on it (the decorating took a few days to complete), he became more interested. However, I have only hung the ornaments that can handle a fall/quick beating so it hasn't been too stressful having him near the tree. I am hoping to actually hang ALL of my Christmas ornaments on the tree in 2014.

      Love babies in pyjamas with feet in them!