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Blizzard on the Prairie – Part I

February 2, 2011

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We were smack in the middle of the February 1st blizzard.  It started snowing at home while I was at work and even though I got home at 1:00 in the afternoon, the power had been out for 3 hours already.  I only had an hour of it out before it came back on and then we had the whole afternoon to warm up the house (almost to the requisite 64 degrees), charge up the laptop, and generally enjoy an afternoon of snowbound fun (reading, facebook, etc.).

It was snowing hard though – and the winds were fierce.  Here’s view from our front porch yesterday and then today.  Yes, we do have neighbors, they were just invisible yesterday.

off the porch duringoff the porch after

Here’s my husband going out to the barn yesterday and the same view this morning.

barn duringbarn after

Notice the bench to the left in the during blizzard picture?  Notice it not in the after blizzard shot?

As evening approached I talked with my mom and then finished an e-mail to my friend just as the lights flickered ominously.  A couple more flickers then that was it, darkness.

We have a gas fireplace and a gas stove.  I’d just gone grocery shopping.  We had plenty of food and would stay warm but there wouldn’t be any television or internet – what to do, what to do?

I passed out flashlights and gathered and lit candles.  My husband made pasta.  I made hot chocolate for the kids.  My husband opened a bottle of wine for the adults.  And the kids got out a game.

I describe Earthopoly elsewhere – given that it is a variation on Monopoly, which I really don’t enjoy, it’s fine – but playing it in the dark introduces a whole new set of challenges. 

First and foremost is that my 50+ year old eyes don’t see well in the dim light earthopoly by candle and fireof 4 candles and a gas fireplace.  Can you barely make out people around a board game in this picture?  That’s pretty much how it looked – very dark.  We had to resort to flashlights.  The LED flashlights my kids got from their grandparents were put to good use.

Besides the dim light there was the sitting on the floor issue. I used to be able to sit cross-legged for hours.  Not anymore.  This getting old stuff is not all it’s cracked up to be.

The last challenge was the wind.  It was the middle of the game when – bam – a gust of wind blew the backdoor open.  Snow blew in, monopoly money flew around the room and general mayhem ensued.  After some scrambling, clamoring, and groping for rags in the dark (because I forgot to bring a flashlight with me when I went looking for one), we were settled back down when another gust of wind blew the door open again!

This time we piled furniture against the door. 

As we settled back into our game I realized it was remarkably quiet – the wind had stopped.

Like the eye of a hurricane the winds went from dreadful to dead.  And then, 20 minutes later, like a hurricane, the winds were suddenly turned on again.   But this time we were prepared – the furniture was still piled against the door. 

On top of the wind there was also thunder and lightning! No end to the excitement.

The youngest gave her brother, who was down to $38, all her money and all her property.  That was the sign we needed to end the game.  And, just as if we were camping, the family headed to bed at only 9:00.  It had been a full day of snow and wind and no electricity, except for the lightning.

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