Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I Love The Winter Weather

OK, so I don't really love the winter weather. It's the line from a song (on my Squirrel Nut Zippers Christmas Cd, Jeff....not all my music is embarrassing.) But this post is about winter weather. Jeanine's post about the ice storms out in Oklahoma reminded me about Parker's first Christmas.

It was our first Christmas with a kid around. Although he was only five months and way too young to think anything about Christmas, I was over excited about playing Santa for the little squirt. I just wanted everything to be picture perfect. That was far from the case. We had one of those major ice storms on December 23. Our power was out for five days.

The first two days and one night we braved it in the house. We just stayed bundled. We kept holding out in hopes our power would come back on so I could have that picture perfect Christmas I was hoping for. By the time we got home from our Donatos pizza dinner on Christmas Eve, we decided it was time to check into a hotel.

So Spencer and I took turns packing our suitcases (which was a major ordeal considering I was in the middle of laundry when the power went out so all our clothes were either wet or dirty) and searching the house for hidden Christmas presents by flashlight while the other stayed in the warm car with Parker. Spencer of course had not wrapped presents yet, so I had to search for wrapping paper, tape and scissors, too. Then we started driving to hotels. They were all booked due to the power outage. We felt like Mary and Joseph with no room at the Inn. Only I'm pretty sure Bethlehem never gets down to -9 degrees...I also wasn't riding a donkey. We finally found somewhere to spend Christmas on the other side of town, leaving behind our dog to spend Christmas alone in a cold dark house.

We had a fun Christmas morning despite the fact that there was no Christmas tree. Spencer and I decided we would check out of the hotel at checkout time in hopes, once again, that our power would come back on. Lots of homes had power at this point, so why not ours?

Our house was now colder than 20 degrees inside so we couldn't hang out there. We spent the day trying to find a warm place to sit and anywhere with warm water. Parker was bottle fed and only took warm milk. On Christmas, it was hard to find a gas station, a grocery store, anything open. The movie theatres open in the afternoon. So we spent the whole afternoon and evening there. At least there was warm water. And food. We had movie theatre hot dogs for Christmas dinner. YUM! Our power never came back on and we had to check back into the hotel where we could have stayed all day.

I have a very vivid memory of sitting in the dark in my car in front of my driveway a couple days after Christmas when we still had no power. Spencer was inside packing for another night at the hotel. Parker, who had been so patient and good through the whole ordeal, was bawling. He was hungry and had no hot water for a bottle. I finally broke down and started sobbing. And right then, the lights in our house flipped on. I couldn't have been happier.

We had some major warming up (and defrosting) to do. Our house was so cold, our food was all frozen. Our milk was a solid block of ice. But we braved it back in our own house that night. Finally. The power went back out the next morning. But was back on by 8:00pm that night. Thank Heaven!

I remember feeling like it was the worst thing ever, but even now, just three years later, it hardly seems like it could have been that big of deal. And it certainly didn't ruin Parker's Christmas. He still believes in Santa and has no recollection of the whole thing. No harm done. At least it was a Christmas to remember. So many of my Christmas memories just blur together. But this one will forever stand out.

Spencer and I were talking about it this morning. It was seriously one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen. The whole world seemed to be covered with four inches of ice. It just looked like crystal. It was incredible. Not even I have words to describe the beauty of it. My sympathies go out to all those experiencing power outages right now, but I am envious of their amazing view. (I took the picture at the top four days after the storm so the ice had already melted quite a bit. It does nothing for the beauty of that storm.)

I've been singing that Squirrel Nut Zippers song to myself throughout the post. It is probably my favorite seasonal song. So here are the lyrics just for fun:

I love the winter weather
So the two of us can get together
There's nothing sweeter, finer
When it's nice and cold I can hold
Baby closer to me
Collecting all the kisses that are due me
I love the winter weather
Because I've got my love to keep me warm.

So warm!


Lisha said...

Does anything NORMAL ever happen to you guys? My goodness what a memory. I would've been with you bawling. What a crazy thing to go through.
Winter time IS a great time to snuggle up with the one you love. I've never heard that song before. I'll have to check it out.

Lauri said...

I don't think that abnormal things happen to these people, it's just that Katie recognizes a good story when it comes along and she can capture it so well in her writing.

I remember when you called on Christmas Eve that year, near tears that Christmas wouldn't be what you had anticipated. It's funny how a few years can change the perspective so dramatically! Now it is a great memory.

Traci Elizabeth said...

I really do love the winter weather. One of my favorite things about my mission was the winter in Nebraska... even though we werent allowed to drive when there was snow on the ground, and we had to walk everywhere...I still found it sooooo enjoyable and beautiful.

I remember the same year this happened to you, talking about it and comparing our Christmas'. I was living with my parents that year and their house was being totally remodeled. We didnt have any walls in the house, no carpet, and no heat. Not that we froze, but it was still a little nippy on those concrete floors!!

Jessica said...

I remember you sharing that story with us when Brian and I came up and met you and your mom at the Gap outlet. I am so sad that we will not be able to do that anymore when we come to Kentucky. I was hoping that you guys would choose GW rather than Texas. But I understand the Lord knows best. Brian wants to move to Texas for some reason, so who knows we might end up there someday too.

Autumn said...

WOW. I'm so glad we weren't affected by that. We hadn't moved here yet. What a nightmare for so many people. That must have been such a worry about the warm milk for Parker. I think that was worthy of a good cry. WHAT TIMING for the electricity to go back on!!! Did you take this picture? Its beautiful.

DKALC2007 said...

I remember that Christmas well, because it was our first in this house and we were so bummed that we had to have Christmas somewhere else. Fortunately, my parents live on the west side of town, and had heat and power, so we just packed up all our crap and headed there. We had to stay in my old room, now the guest room, and my kids had to be on the floor, but they thougth it was awesome to have christmas at grandma's and that Santa would know they were there instead of at home. It was still really great!

SHIRLEY'S said...

WOW... i would NOT be very happy. but you just have to do it right? Man, and you had a 5 month old baby! and driving back and forth from a hotel in the icy conditions. YIKES!

jeanine said...

I remember you telling us about this too! Crazy! At least we were only without power for a day. That picture is beautiful by the way.

And Jessica... you SHOULD move to Texas!

Pedersens said...

you are a GREAT story teller, i can picture everything in my head while reading it. Stuff like this only would happen to you! That is too crazy, glad i have not had to experience that yet.