Sunday, June 27, 2010

Black Out!

Friday was a pretty exciting day around these parts. It's been extremely hot and humid over the last few days. Temps were close to 100 degrees with a heat index of right around 107. It's been NASTY. But, living in the south during the summer does have it's advantages - STORMS!

Since living here I have witnessed some fantastic thunder storms come rolling through. Friday's was no exception.

The kids and I were over at my sisters house helping her pack up her home (she's moving onto base) when we started to hear the distance rumble of thunder. Nicole and I (along with a few random kids) head outside and watch as the dark clouds come rolling in. We knew it was going to be a good one once we saw the extreme flashes of lighting and the fast moving lower level cloud cover.

The wind was picking up and you could feel the temperatures dropping. Nothing feels better than when you're standing outside in hot air that's so thick with the humidity that you can't breathe then that blast of cool wind and the chill that comes with an income storm hits you. Ahhh...relief!

Nicole suggested that I check my phone to see if we were in any watches or warnings. Come to find out, there was not only a Thunder Storm Warning posted, but also a TORNADO WARNING as well! I checked the path and it said that it was projected to pretty much follow 24, right along the the main gates of Camp Lejeune.

By that time, the rain had started to come down hard and we all ran like wild idiots screaming into the house. The kids stayed inside and played with whatever toys werern't already packed up. Nicole, Cassie and I headed out to the garage and watched the storm from the safety of her driveway.

As far as storms go, this one was pretty fantastical. You could see the upper level clouds, slowly making their way over the top of us. But what really made us think of flying cows, was the fast moving, pitch black lower level clouds that almost seemed to have slight swirls going on. What really caught us off guard was the fact that it almost didn't seem as if the clouds were moving in a certain direction. From where we were standing, it looked like the clouds were gathering, moving quickly into an almost funnel type of outlet.

I checked my phone again and we were still in that TORNADO WARNING for a few more minutes. But as that deadline drew closer, the storm seemed to dissipate  and we got on with packing up.

Fast forward about two hours later.... Nicole and I had taken the kids to Dad's favorite restaurant and as I was driving home I had to make a stop at a friends house to pick up my Thirty-One Gifts goodies that I had ordered for the boys. When I got there, my friend Kristie had mentioned that there was a good chance that a tornado had touched down at the Russel Field House on base. (For those of you who have no idea where that is, basically once you enter the main gates and take that first right, it's the group of buildings on your left. Behind them are the Tball fields where Jack would have his practices. Basically it's about 5 minutes from my home and right behind a bunch of other housing.) Also, we were told that the Paradise Point housing (which is my area of housing) had lost power.

So here I'm thinking that I would be driving home to a dark home without power. Not such a good thing when it's just you and your kids but I had also invited my cutie patootie nephews, Cameron and Justin to spend the night.

Luckily when we rolled up, we could see that the lights were on and we thought we were in the clear. Foreshadowing told me that with the distance sound of thunder still rumbling in the background that this night was not over yet.

We were home for only an hour or so, when the thunder really started back up again. In fact, I noticed that it seemed to be right on top of us since every time there was a loud rumbling boom, the whole house seemed to shake. Around the 4th big boom, everything went black. The boys were in the living room building lego cities, Cassie and her friend Kharlin were on the laptop and I was laying in bed reading.  I waited a few seconds, to see if the lights would come back on and when they didn't I yelled for everyone to stay where they were and don't freak out.

With the use of my handy-dandy iPhone (that flashlight app is truly a god send!) I made my way from my bedroom to the living room where the kids had all gathered around Cassie and Kharlin since they seemed to have the only light left in the house (laptop monitor). I headed to the cabinets above the refridgerator and silently thanked Jon for making us buy those heavy duty flashlights every time we walked into Lowes. I pulled down three of them and also found a lighter and went about lighting candles and placing flashlights where they would get the most use.

After 20 minutes or so, I resigned myself to the fact that we were not going to be getting power back anytime soon. So, I gently had the kidlets gather around and told them the most important rule there is when you lose power.......

"If it's yellow, let it mellow. If it's brown, flush it down."

The older kids thought that was hilarious and I had to explain it to the younger ones. Of course, once they figured it out they were cracking up and laughing which put them at ease with being in a pitch black house. With that in mind, I had the oldest boys gather up blankets and pillows and the younger kids picked up their lego's while I went on a search for a movie to watch on my fully charged laptop. We ended up camping out on the living room floor watching 'Back to the Future, Part 2' while waiting for the lights to come back. 

Besides having to take a few kids to the potty, calming down some nervousness and answering questions about ghosts, we all seemed to make the most of it! In fact, it actually turned out to be a fun night.

Cassie, Kharlin and Cameron slowly realizing that once the power goes out, so does the internet.

Jack picking up legos....

Jason doing the same....

A hard to see (again stinking iPhone camera) shot of all of us piled in the living room...

Another view of group shot...

My laptop with our movie playing....

The power came on after midnight. By that point Jack, Jason and Justin had fallen asleep so I had carried Jack to my room to sleep with me and Cassie, Kharlin and Cameron were in the living room being silly. I woke up to burning white lights in my eyes and got up to turn everything off and remind the oldest that there were kids sleeping.

All in all, it made for a very fun, interesting night. Not something I would repeat too often (can anyone say, No AC??) but the kids had fun and hopefully we created a good memory to keep.

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