My last post was Day 5 of 12 Days of Gratitude. Days 6 to 12 are coming soon (albeit in a condensed version) but allow me to give a quick update as to why I had stopped so abruptly after Day 5 (notwithstanding the busyness that comes leading up to Christmas).
December 21: Papa (aka Husband’s dad or FIL) and Zia (aka Husband’s stepmom or SMIL) host the Annual Christmaspalooza the weekend before Christmas in Toronto, Ontario. It’s a crazy fun time with Husband’s sister (aka SIL.E) and family making the trek from Ottawa, Ontario and Husband’s brother (aka BIL.M) and family joining us from Oakville, Ontario. Uncle B (FIL’s brother), Aunty S and Cousin A also join in the festivities. All in all, there are 5 Nephews (B, S, G, O and E), 1 Niece and Kid going absolute bonkers playing with each other and unwrapping presents.
December 21 late evening: The Ice Storm hits Toronto and the GTA.
December 22: We wake up to this:
#IceStormToronto #NoPower #darkTO pic.twitter.com/8FfxPqvwrb
— Care W (@CareInTheCity) December 22, 2013
This just happened in front of our house. #IceStormToronto #WireDown #darkTO @torontohydro line is busy. pic.twitter.com/IqNSlrze5d
— Care W (@CareInTheCity) December 22, 2013
Tree branches heavily coated with thick ice had broken off and tore at the hydro wires – all power sources were cut off from our neighbourhood grid. After a few hours, the temperature dropped rapidly in the house and news sources were reporting that outages could last up to 72 hours (during some of the coldest Winter days thus far)! While Husband and I could tough it out, we couldn’t stay in the house with Kid.
Neither Mom and Dad nor Oma (Husband’s mom) had any power or heat. My cousin and her boyfriend had power at his condo (most condos have back-up power generators) and offered to put us up for the day but we needed a short longer-term solution (remember? up to 72 hours!). Fortunately, Papa and Zia (who live in a newer neighbourhood with fewer old and large trees and hydro wires built underground) had power and heat and room for us. We packed up a few things and an air mattress with linens and made our way back to Papa and Zia’s.
At the highest count, 300,000 customers (customers are houses, buildings – the number of people that were affected was much higher – estimate about an average of 3 to 5 people per customer) were without power.
Toronto was a picture of ice beauty and devastation – check here for pictures of Ice Storm 2013.
December 21 to 23: No power at our house. We made several trips to the house to pick up clothes and other miscellaneous items, including toys, kid snacks and the rescue of Bubbles (our neighbour’s fish who we were pet-sitting while they were away), as well as to check the house, cut the water supply and drain our water pipes, all the while hoping that power had returned. Husband had to work so Papa, Zia and I kept Kid entertained – Kid was amazing throughout the whole time even though we were a bit displaced and completely out of routine.
December 24: Still no power. While Zia watched over Kid, Husband and I head back to the house to drain the radiators and pick up clothes for a few more days and pack up Christmas at Papa and Zia’s. The thermostat showed the temperature at 41 F (approximately 5 C) on the top floor of the house. The main floor couldn’t even register a temperature reading! Then this happened:
I almost cried! I was so overwhelmed and happy, Husband and I grabbed a box of Turtles, a couple of bottles of wine and a Starbucks gift card and rushed out to greet the Toronto Hydro workers. The Toronto Hydro workers had been working around the clock to restore power as quickly as possible – most of these are men and women have been working in below freezing temperatures and all of which I’m sure would have rather spent their Christmas break/Eve/Day with family and friends.
On our way back to Papa and Zia’s house after Christmas dinner at Mom and Dad’s (power restored on December 23) with my side of the family, we passed by the house with our fingers crossed…
December 25: Santa found all of us at Papa and Zia’s house. Christmas morning was wonderful with a delicious brunch prepared by Husband and FIL, all of us opening our stockings and special presents from Santa. That afternoon…we moved back home. While we had a day full of chores – cleaning the fridge of spoiled food and loads upon loads of laundry – and no internet, cable TV or phone access, there is definitely no place like home. Merry Christmas!
December 30: We finally get our internet, cable and phone lines back.
December 31: Wishing you a very Happy New Year! May your 2014 bring you love, joy and many fond memories!