It seems that every time Steven and I plan to leave town, a natural disaster or horrible storm occurs. A few times we have gotten lucky with his crew not being called out. Though more often than not we lose that battle. This weekend was no different. We had made plans to go to the river today, just the two of us because I have to work every other weekend this month. Well of course Arkansas got pounded by a huge thunderstorm, complete with straight line winds and tornadoes. Poor Steven didn’t even make it home on Friday. I was planning to go to Batesville to pick him up Friday evening, but before I could even get home he called and said they had been called out. This time he is in Russellville, Arkansas.
Maybe someday we’ll learn our lesson and start leaving town without actually making plans.
My neighbor called me Friday night just before we met my parents for dinner to say that they would be turning on the power within a few minutes. Oh was I happy!
We didn’t get to go home that night though. Saturday we came out to our house, turned the water back on, murdered a few snakes Steven removed from the water meter hole, turned the heat on, and dropped off our kitty. I admit it. I shed a few tears. I was SO ready to be back in my own home! In all, the power was out here over 18 days. I went around the house flipping every switch on and off, on and off. 🙂
Today after church we moved the rest of our stuff back in and brought the dogs too. Woohoo! I’m home! Oh, and Steven’s home too! His crew has been assigned to a 34 mile stretch between Greenway and Maurmaduke, so he’ll be working 7 days/week, but he’ll also be home most of those nights. That’s a nice change for a bit.
First, I’d like to say, “Thank you!” to Danna over at Ramsey Five. Her post about the past week made me feel better a lot about being a total emotional mess through all of this. I’d rather not count the number of times I have cried in the past week, nor do I wish to think about how many more times there will probably be tears before it is all said and done. Not that the whole week was awful, because some parts were honestly fun, but it sure isn’t a week I wish to repeat.
It started on Sunday. Sunday night, Steven headed back to work as usual. They have been working in Floral, Arkansas and staying in Batesville lately, so he has been leaving a little later on Sundays. It wasn’t a good leaving though. I was moody and sad about it, which caught me off guard actually because I’ve gotten to the point where his leaving is normal and doesn’t usually bother me too much.
On Monday, Steven called and said they (his crew) were being sent to Mountain View because of the ice storm coming in. I didn’t think too much about it because they always get everything worse up in the hills. I don’t think anyone knew what we were really in for. That morning I went to class, church, and to pick up a few things at Sam’s and Wal-Mart. (Things that went bad in the fridge and are now in the trash can out by my road. Urg.) As I was leaving Sam’s it started to rain a bit, and I noticed it was sticking to my windshield, but it wasn’t much at all. I went home, and I went about my normal Monday stuff – homework while watching The Bachelor and True Beauty. Important stuff, huh?
On Tuesday, I woke up to this…
These pictures were taken about 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning. I didn’t go to my classes that day because after nearly busting my rear end on my driveway and in my yard trying to take the pictures, I figured the roads in my area were about the same – ice covered. I hung out in my pjs watching Good Morning America and reading. I knew it was getting bad outside, but I was in denial. I talked to my mom, assured her I was fine, and went on enjoying my day alone. My lights flickered here and there, but they stayed on all morning. About 1:30 I was dozing off while I waited on General Hospital to come on when the lights blinked…then blinked again…and again…and finally came back on. I fell asleep but vaguely remember the lights going out for good a little before 2, and I thought, ‘Dang! I’m gonna miss General Hospital!’ That’s sad, isn’t it? Anyway, I woke up about 3:00 and the lights were still off. About 4:15 my Dad called and talked me into coming to their house. I was still in denial and figured my electricity would be back on by the next morning. I grabbed my camera as I headed out the door, and this is what it looked like at my house, about 4:45 p.m. on Tuesday.
When I got to my parents’ house, my sister and brother-in-law were already there because they had no power either.
About 1:45 a.m. on Wednesday, I was awakened by the electricity going off and on. It finally went out for good about 2. I rolled over and went back to sleep. At 6, I woke up cold. I stayed inside all day with Mom that day. We played cards, and she made us mac-n-cheese and hot chocolate on the grill.
I’m not too sure of anything after that. The days and nights all run together in my mind. I remember going back out to my house for the first time and seeing all the power poles and lines on the ground. I’m a lineman’s wife, and I knew it would be a while before the work around our house was finished. I had to hold back the tears when I saw what was left of the pretty trees in my front yard. I actually ran in the house to check on my cat while my parents tended to the dogs so that they wouldn’t see me crying. When I saw the poles on the ground I just groaned and sighed, I’m not really sure why the damaged trees made me cry. I’m weird.
Here are some pictures I took on Thursday, and I only know the day because of the file information from my camera.
That afternoon, Steven called and mentioned needing some more clothes because he was going to be in Mountain View for a while (they are estimating a month). I jumped at the chance to get out of my parents dark house that was very cramped with 5 people, 4 dogs, and a cat. Did I mention I’m used to living alone with my dogs and cat? That many people in a dark house was a bit much for me. I was getting cranky, and I knew it.
Friday morning I gathered up some clothes for me and headed to our house to get stuff for Steven. I packed up clothes, fed the animals, and loaded the car. Then the car wouldn’t start. I called my mom to come help me, figuring it was the battery. Then I sat in the car and cried. It was getting late, I didn’t know where I was going, my car wouldn’t start, and it was warmer in my car than in the house. I ended up just trading cars with Mom, so her and Dad could have the battery changed on mine.
I did finally make it to Mountain View, about 4:30 that afternoon. The drive up there was nice. I didn’t get lost at all!! (That’s a big deal for me.) The alone time did me some good. I was in a much better mood when I got there. I didn’t get to see Steven a lot. He works until 5:45ish, eats dinners, goes to bed about 8:30, and is up at 5:15 the next morning to do it all over again. I felt like I had important stuff to do (work & homework) and needed to come home on Saturday, but I just couldn’t convince myself to do it. I stayed another night, and it was all I could do to force myself to come home today.
I came home today and found out it wasn’t the battery on my car. We took it to the shop and will hopefully get more information tomorrow. Our other vehicle is parked at Steven’s boss’ house in Batesville. I’m not sure when I’ll have electricity back at my house, but I don’t expect it to be soon. As of now, I’m at about 5 days and 6 hours without power there. I’m a lineman’s wife, and I’ll probably be one of the last in the county to get electricity back. I’m living with my parents. My husband is out of town indefinitely. This has not been a fun adventure for me.
I say all of this not to whine, but to let everyone know that if I’m grumpy, it’s not you. I’m just stressed out and cranky. Please forgive me.
Tomorrow I am planning to go volunteer at Craighead Electric. The least I can do is go feed someone’s husband and hope that someone else is doing the same for mine. I’m hoping this will give me something to do this week to keep my mind off all the other stuff.
I just talked to Steven for the first time today! I’ll admit, I was getting stressed. I knew he would call when he could. I just didn’t know when that would be. He said he’d try to call again tomorrow, too.
They are now in Houma, LA. (See maps below.) I talked to him yesterday just before they drove down and again when they arrived – after driving through the hurricane- and I hadn’t heard from him since. Here is what he had to say:
– No power in the town at all.
– They do have running water.
– Only one person on his crew has cell phone service, and he is on “Roam.”
– They slept in a shelter last night, but will have a hotel room tonight.
– They’ll be there a while. He thinks about a month. He also said that he has been told this is Entergy’s second largest outage ever – second only to Katrina. They didn’t even do any repair work today. They just spent the day cleaning poles out of the streets.
Hurricane Gustav is bearing down on the coast. Steven just called from a co-worker’s phone to say that he no longer has service on his cell phone. The red dot on the map below shows where they are staying to wait out the storm. They’ll have damage there, though. Well, obviously if he’s already lost cell phone service. He said he’d call me again as soon as he could.
Hurricane Gustav Notes, Stats, Facts
12:35 p.m. ET 9/1/2008
Editor’s Note: This is a running collection of notes, reports, and statistics about Hurricane Gustav.
12:35 pm ET
A couple of tornadoes have been reported in the Florida Panhandle — one in Gulf Breeze and the other at Eglin Air Force Base.
And a NOAA tide station at Burns Point, La., reported at about 11 am CT sustained winds of 53 mph with gusts to 74 mph.
11 am ET
The NHC says the center of Hurricane Gustav has made landfall near Cocodrie, La.