Actually it wasn’t that bad, but it is part of the reason that I haven’t blogged lately.
Two days before Thanksgiving: family here, check! food bought, check! children excited, check!! (the 4 yr old wouldn’t stop asking me what presents he got for Thanksgiving. I had to keep explaining that we just eat a ton of food on Thanksgiving and Grandma and Pa were coming to visit. Many much excitement.)
It started snowing that day, and it was right on the cusp of freezing, so I didn’t think the snow would hang around for long. I figured it would melt right off no problems. Instead it caused a problem. A BIG problem.
We got about 3-4 inches of wet, WET snow piled up that afternoon. We all went to bed and planned on having another fun day getting ready for the festivities. Then disaster struck. Around 1 am, Hubby was still awake when the movie he was watching suddenly blipped out on him. I woke up when the humidifier in my room turned off, and got up when I smelled plastic burning. A tree branch, weighed down by the heavy snow had fallen on our power and phone line. It bounced a couple of times surging the power, that ultimately fried a couple of appliances.
The plastic I smelled burning was our bathroom fan in the master bath. The engine completely overloaded and a hole melted its way through both the engine and the plastic cover on the fan. I walked in to find a blob of melted plastic on our fake tile floor.
I could hear Hubby on the phone with the power company, letting them know what had happened. They called the fire department to check that we didn’t have a fire in our attic sparked by the power being out. In all the hub-bub, 4 yr old got up, scared because his light wasn’t working. He was rather excited about the fire truck outside our house, though…
Luckily no fires had been started and the firefighters entertained themselves by shaking snow off the tree in the front yard. Actually I think they did us a favor, because those branches would have fallen and landed in the street. Apparently it was the third or fourth call of the night (they are voluntary) that they didn’t have to do anything. I think they were a little bored.
For the next 24 hours, we had absolutely no power. Luckily we have a gas cook top and (THANK HEAVENS) a wood burning stove that we had just installed. I really think that wood stove was a blessing from God, because we would have been very VERY cold without it. We had also just purchased a cord of wood from a Church friend.
Our neighbors lent us some kerosene oil lamps and we did all right. Because no body had a charger, we ended up playing Monopoly and Progressive Rummy (think Phase 10, but with face cards) all evening. During the day, Hubby and Father-in-Law kindly split a bunch of wood for us to use. 2 year old didn’t notice much difference in his day and 4 year old was just thrilled that he got an excuse to use a flashlight all day. (that kid LOVES flashlights. But he has a horrible tract record. They are broken almost immediately once he gets his grubby little hands on them….)
Actually that day was a lot of fun. We were worried about the food in the fridge, but it was stuffed full of food, so nothing was spoiled. Actually as soon as I thought it might be getting a little warm in their, I put a frozen gallon of milk in the fridge to keep things cold. Worked like a charm.
Finally, at about midnight or one in the morning Thursday morning, the Energy guys made it to our house (there had been a huge power outage that had caused them a lot of grief, and they had to deal with that first). They strung a new wire on our house, left the branch hanging in the old one and left.
We had power again! Then we discovered that the following things no longer worked:
The oven (not the stove top, just the oven part)
the Wii (tragic, right?)
the kids noise maker (this made the 4 year old very unhappy)
The bathroom fan.
Well, crap. How on EARTH are we going to cook Thanksgiving dinner??? No oven???
Luckily I did Crockpot recipes for the stuffing, potatoes could be done in the pressure cooker, but what about the green bean casserole? The sweet potato casserole?? And, most importantly, THE TURKEY?????
Hubby had a premonition that we were going to have trouble, so the night before he had run up to the nearby grocery store and replaced our propane tank. So we had our grill working. I busily got on Pintrest, using our limited data plan to hunt for recipes on HOW TO GRILL A TURKEY.
We had brined the turkey the night before, so the important thing was just to cook it. We didn’t need to baste it or anything. None of the recipes were extremely helpful, because they wanted you to bar-b-que the turkey or use a coal grill or cut it in half. I ended up (with my Father-in-law’s help) putting the turkey in a disposable aluminum pan, and just setting my gas grill to the lowest possible setting for about 3-4 hours and keep a really close eye on it. I checked the temperature, before I declared it done (as I recall it needed to be 160 F, but double check if you are going to do this…) It actually could have been on a slightly higher setting, but the skin seemed to crisp more quickly when I turned it up. It was a 16 lb turkey, and took about half an hour longer than we expected. (Mind you, the brine takes off a bit of time too).
I took a beautiful picture of my turkey to post to my Facebook page that Facebook did not save. Boo. So I don’t have any pictures of the turkey. It was beautiful. And delicious.
After I pulled the turkey out, I put the green bean casserole and the sweet potato casserole in the grill for about 45 minutes on low. I had to rotate them, but honestly I was just trying to make sure they were heated through. Everything had been pre-cooked, so nothing had to be fully cooked (yay).
We had bought the rolls and pies ahead of time, so we didn’t need to worry about those and we had a LOVELY dinner. We invited the missionaries from our church over to share dinner with us, so that was fun. They serve away from their families for 18 months to 2 years, so we like to make sure they have a place to go for the holidays.
In the end, everything worked out fine. Hubby and Father-in-law managed to cut the tree branch down. They also split enough wood for us to use until we could get the furnace fixed (we were waiting on the homeowners insurance, turns out we didn’t meet the deductible, so it didn’t matter). After all the company left (sad day) Hubby had to leave town, leaving me to get everything FIXED.
It took us another couple of weeks to get everything working, but we were able to get the phone line back up, the router replaced, the furnace fixed, and the oven fixed. Then Hubby replaced the bathroom fan (we upgraded a bit, because the old fan was LOUD and didn’t work very well. Hubby wanted the one that had a digital speaker on it, but it was really expensive), we just had to replace the power cord on the Wii and the power supply on the computer (thank heavens the hard drive was fine. We back up our computer, but not very often).
The thing that took the longest was the oven, because our appliance repair guy (we are starting to be good friends, him and me….he has come a LOT lately…stupid cheap washer and dryer) had to order a part from California. Once he got it, it only took 15 minutes to install. We didn’t have an oven for about 2, almost 2 1/2 weeks. Not very many Christmas cookies at our house….boo.
I was also relieved when the furnace was fixed because then I didn’t have to keep stoking our wood stove. The stove is a good one, but small so even if you fill it up with tons of wood it will still only burn for about 5 hours, and that is usually things smoldering so the heat output isn’t enough to heat the whole house. Well, it was never meant to heat the entire house. It is simply too small and in an out of the way place, but it did keep us warm enough to get by. Mornings were the coldest!
In the end we were able to get everything fixed for a minimal price. At first we thought that we were going to have to replace everything that broke, but luckily we that wasn’t the case. The Lord really blessed us! It was pretty stressful for me, because Hubby was out of town for two weeks right after Thanksgiving for work, so I had to deal with the mess the longest. I think the greatest blessing for me was the strength to deal with everything. It was a MESS.