Rain, More Rain, and a Power Outage

After the travel day from Hell (not the ninth level of Hell or anything, but I’d give it second or third), Kiddo’s and my visit with the grandparents was blissfully uneventful–We played in the snow. Kiddo helped Grampie pile wood. We watched movies. All in all, not much to stress about–For about five days.

That Friday night came with rain. Lots and lots of rain. And wind to rival the rain. Wait, ‘rival’ might not be the right word. It was more like an alliance of forces. But hey, we thought, it’s only regular rain. Not freezing rain, not total-whiteout-blizzard snow. No biggie.

My brother can be a bit of a worrier (a family trait). Ever since the infamous ice storm of 1998 (infamous to eastern Canadians, anyway) left us without power for three days, he fills buckets with water whenever there is any sign of inclement weather. We laughed at his over preparation. (See where I’m going with this? You’re so clever.)

Sometime between 7:30 and 8 Saturday morning, the baby monitor beeped. I rolled over, saw the power light was still on, listened to Kiddo singing to himself for a few minutes, and continued to doze for a few more minutes. When I finally dragged my ass out of bed, I realized what the beep meant: The battery power had taken over. The power was out. In fact, the power was out for somewhere in the ballpark of 8000 people in the Kennebecasis Valley alone.

Whenever possible, power companies tend to dispatch work crews such that the largest number of people get their power back in the shortest possible time. Therefore, when you live near a city center, power outages may last anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of hours (short of near-apocalyptic conditions, at least). My parents do not live near a city center…unless you count when the ice road is open and they can drive straight across the river.

By 8:30, I was on the NB Power website looking for the estimated repair time for our area. It said between 10 am and 11 am. Not so bad.

Around 10:30, the estimate changed to between 3 pm and 4 pm.

By 3:45, they estimated 7 to 8 pm.

Keeping Kiddo entertained between sundown and bedtime was a challenge I have no interest in repeating. And changing a poopy diaper by flashlight? Once was enough, thank you.

The power came back on at 8:50 pm. I’ve never been so glad to see the Christmas tree lights blink on in all my life.

That’s 13 hours without power on January 13th. But it was a Saturday, not Friday, so I won’t let that make me superstitious. After all, thanks to my brother, we at least had water to flush the toilets. That was pretty lucky. (I will never doubt his intuition again.)

You might wonder if I felt some resentment towards NB Power after this experience. If anything, I tip my hat to the workers who spent hours in the pelting wind and rain (which did not let up until well into the afternoon and was probably the reason for the sliding repair times) to save us from going all night without power.

After the ice storm, my parents installed a wood stove. Twenty years after the ice storm (almost to the day), they’ve decided it’s time to buy a generator. As for me, I came home with a renewed appreciation for city living.


Halloween is Coming

When Kiddo’s first Halloween rolled around he was barely 2 1/2 months old. I didn’t want to spend $30 on a costume he might wear for all of twenty minutes. If it weren’t for the baby costume included in a stash of secondhand baby clothes we’d received, a dragon (or dinosaur?), we might not have acknowledged the holiday at all. But we had the costume so I figured we might as well put it on him and take a picture.

My visiting parents were even thoughtful enough to bring a costume for me (amazing they could predict I would not have bothered to come up with one). I think we managed to snap two or three pictures before there were tears, but at least Kiddo’s first Halloween was recorded. We also handed out candy of course, but there was no jack-o-lantern or any other decorations. Only our porch light signaled to the neighborhood children we were aware it was Halloween and it was safe to ring the bell.

Last year at the tender age of one (and a bit) Kiddo was barely starting to walk. A few people asked if we were going to take him out trick-or-treating. I tried not to snort too loudly when I told them no. There was about an hour between the time kids started showing up at the door and bedtime. We did bring him to the door to see the kids. He wore a perplexed expression in response to our show of excitement each time the door opened. He also wore the same Toys ‘R Us pumpkin costume as, I’ pretty sure, every other one year old in town. There was still no pumpkin on the front step.

This year however…

Around Thanksgiving (which was a week ago in Canada) fall decorations started to appear around the neighborhood, including pumpkins. Kiddo started pointing to every pumpkin he saw and exclaiming, “pumpkin pie!”

Whether he’s confused about the proper terminology for the vegetable, or he actually understands that these orange orbs are the source of a tasty dessert, I’m not sure. If he knows pie can be made from pumpkins it certainly isn’t because he learned it at home. I did make pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving (or rather I made the filling while my mother made the crust) but the pumpkin involved came to the house in a can. Come to think of it, the last time he had or saw a pumpkin pie (to my knowledge) was last Thanksgiving. How he even knows the term is a mystery to me. As with most such mysteries, I assume the topic must have come up at day care.

Anyway, shortly after Thanksgiving, a giant blow-up jack-o-lantern appeared on one of the lawns visible from our front window. When Kiddo saw that, I knew my years of not decorating for Halloween were over. We went out and got pumpkins. Kiddo even helped me decorate them:

Most of this hard work will wash off the first time it rains. I did allow a couple of permanent Sharpies to start with (hence the towel) but it turns out Sharpies don’t stick to pumpkin skin all that well, so I broke out the washable markers to expand our colour options. Can someone explain to me how a baby wipe cleaned the Sharpie off Kiddo’s fingers better than it cleaned the ‘Ultra-Clean Washable Markers’ ??

We’re also planning to make our first attempt at trick-or-treating this year. If we make it to the end of the street I’ll consider it a wild success.

In other news, there was a wind warning in Kingston last night. I haven’t  shopped at Winners recently, but someone in the neighborhood has: