On the 14th of December 2006 (early evening), a wicked windstorm hit Seattle. I was up most the night, listening to the wind roar and trees/branches break around us. By the morning of the 15th, over 1M people had lost their power. I drove Jenny to the airport that morning and the ONLY area I saw with power was Seatac and a little bit of Renton. It was amazing how many trees had fallen and mangled houses, cars, power lines, etc.
Well the kids didn't know WHAT to do -- no computer, no TV, no Xbox. In no time at all, they were quite restless and complaining. Here's what we did:
- We had three trees down around out house and many many branches, so we all spent a few hours working outside. We cleaned up the fallen tree branches, and started sawing up one of the trees that fell. Turns out it was dead and made for very good firewood!
- Before dark came, we prepared all our flashlights and candles, got all our camping gear out, and figured out what we were going to have for dinner. Best to use all available daylight to prepare for night, when it gets so much harder to find things!
- About 4pm, when darkness fell, Hunter and I made a fire. He of course loves to play with the fire and I never miss an opportunity to teach him how. By that time, we had a nice stack of firewood ready to go, along with some firestarter from the camping gear. The wood was good, but not THAT good so it took a little coaxing -- which I assigned Hunter to do.
- In the meantime, I filled both our coolers with perishable items from our refrigerator and set them outside on the deck. It was only about 38 outside and I knew that it was going to be close to freezing that night -- colder than the fridge. I left the freezer alone.
- As dark fell, it began to get quite chilly in the house and we knew it would only get colder. So I had the kids put on their long underwear and I gave them each Patagonia Synchillas (sweaters) to wear, which stopped them from complaining about the cold.
- We made dinner using the outside grill and the propane campstove (indoors). The coleman lantern kept the kitchen bright enough. The kids read books while I cooked.
- After dinner we cooked s'mores over the fire, using the sticks we carved during the afternoon. We had never had s'mores at home before, so it was a nice treat and killed another hour.
- By 7:30pm we were ready for something else, and the kids were all jacked up on sugar -- so I suggested a game of "fear factor". I would hide down in our bedroom and they had to come find me, WITHOUT their flashlights. They thought that was cool until I started making scary noises! They chickened out a few times, and then I suggested they hide on me -- I tell you, it is very suspensefull and thrilling to be walking around in the dark looking for someone you know is there getting ready to grab you!
- Then we played Life (the board game) by lantern.
This kept us busy until about 10pm at which point we all went to sleep in my bed, under comfy piles of quilts and such. When we woke up in the morning it was 56 degrees in the house.
The power stayed out for several days, so we ended up driving up to Bellingham to stay with my parents. We were lucky to get our power back in 3 days. Most of our neighbors went 5 days without power, and some people in the Seattle area were out for a week.