Friday, January 02, 2015

So Cal snowpocalypse

Ok, every person I know who does not live in CA and regularly gets heaps of snow every winter are going to laugh their asses off at this post and will probably stop reading after a few photos.  

So this is for the rest of you.  

After driving home late Monday night, I got up early on Tuesday and went into work.  There was rain predicted for later in the evening.  After work I was anxious to get home, as the road I drive on can be a pain in the rear in terms of traffic when it rains.  

I stopped at the store to pick up a few things and then was on my way. 

The temperatures were predicted to be cold enough that there could possibly be some snowfall between midnight and three a.m.   I was quite excited about that, as I live in southern CA where it doesn't snow, and now I find myself living in a place where we could have some snow flurries now and again.  

All day long at work I proclaimed how much I wished it would snow, even though it would only be a few snow flurries in the middle of the night.  

That's what we were expecting:  snow flurries. 

I got on the road about 6:15, but instantly ran into trouble, due to a traffic accident.   Sat parked on the highway for 30 minutes.  Finally that accident cleared and there was a secondary accident, blocking the road completely(people are idiots).  I sat parked for another hour before the road finally cleared enough for me to get home.  It had just started raining when I pulled into my driveway, close to 8:00.  

We had some pretty heavy rain for an hour.  I was obsessively checking the outdoor thermometer to see if the temperature had dropped enough to see some snow flurries. 

Finally around 9:30, some light snow flurries started to fall.  I was super excited. I took some pictures, an ooooo'd and ahhhhh'd, then around 10:00 went to bed,  telling joe to wake me if there was a lot more snow, so I could take more pictures, as it was sure to be gone by morning.   

Around 10:30 he comes in and tells me to come look, there had been quite a bit more snow.  

Woo hoo!  Look at all that snow! Exciting!  Lol. 

About fifteen minutes after taking this photo, our electricity went out.  Bummer!  It was a cold night.  

We piled a bunch of blankets on our bed and went to sleep, convinced the power would come back on during the night.  

I set the alarm on my phone to be safe, and that's what woke me on Wednesday morning.  Power was still out. House was very cold.  Bummer.  

Went to look out the window and the window was all frosty.  How wintery!  I thought.   

I went out to the kitchen to look out the window and see how much snow had stuck, but there was a tree blocking the window.  Uh oh.  Went to look out the sliding glass door and saw this 

Well that can't be good.  I went and changed into my scrubs so I could go to work and called for joe to help clear the tree branch away from the door so I could leave.  

Joe said "I don't think you are going to go to work today". I said of course I am!  It's just a little snow.  Help me clear the deck!

So we pull the tree branch off of the deck and this is what we see

What the what?!  That's a heck of a lot more than a few snow flurries!    

I'm still insistent that I'm going to be going to work.  Joe tells me to grab my jacket(I'm in my scrubs), we are taking a walk.  

I was like "fine, but we have to hurry because I have to get to work!"

Ok, that's a lot of snow. pretty!
We start walking out towards the road, and see this:

Dude.  That's really a lot of snow.  

Finally get to Ortega highway and see this:
Yeah.  Road is closed.  I'm not going anywhere.   And we had no cell service, so I couldn't even call in to let them know I wasn't able to come in.  I just didn't show.   I felt terrible.  I've never done that before.  But what was I gonna do?  There weren't a whole lot of choices at that point.  On top of the road being closed, there was a huge tree blocking the entrance to our complex.  

It turns out that about three dozen people who were on the road only about an hour after I arrived home were stranded on the highway due to the snow and had to spend the night in their cars.  So scary!  I'm so grateful I made it home when I did.  

We lost quite a few of our beloved oak tree branches.  
No one was going in or out of there.  Might as well settle in for a snow day.  

Sounds fun right?

I agree.  Except for one thing.  We had no electricity.  So no heat.  And our water comes from a well with an electric pump, so no water either.  And no cell service.  Pretty much stranded.  

As the day went in it got colder and colder.  Finally by three O' clock it was very cold in the house and I just couldn't see spending our New Year's Eve freezing with no water, so we called our friends who lived up the hill and asked if we could stay the night with them.  They agreed and we were happily on our way, with Leeloo in tow.

By that time they had cleared the roads.  They were not open to anyone but residents, so we were able to make our way to their house on icy roads.  I white knuckled it all the way there, our tiny car slipping and sliding on the icy spots.  

But we made it.  Whew!

Well, almost.  We got right up to their driveway and got stuck in the snow.  Oops.  That's our friend graciously digging our car out so we could go home.  Joe threw his back out and  was unable to help.  

They got quite a bit more than we did.  It was so beautiful!

They had heat, and power and internet and they fed us delicious food.  We are so lucky to have them as friends, and so close by!  We spent the night, and then the next day sledding and playing in the snow.  

We didn't want to overstay our welcome, and our electricity was supposed to be coming back on later that day, so we headed home.  We got home and the power was not back.  Still no heat.  Or water. Or lights.  The water or lights I can do without.  We had candles.  And bottled water.  The heat was the killer. It was 36 degrees.  Inside.   36 degrees.  We were so cold.  Very, very cold.  Electric company was still promising electricity back on by ten, so we hunkered down with three layers of clothing and tried to make the best of it.  But ugh!  It was cold!  

Here we are bundled up on the couch, trying to make the best of it.  

We finally made our way to the bedroom, with four blankets on the bed and our body heat and tried to tough it out.  It was cold.  The electricity never did come back on and it sucked.  

Joe drove me to work just so he could sleep in our car since he has to work tonight and the car was ten times warmer than our house.  I felt bad leaving Leeloo there but we left her tons of blankets to cuddle up in.  

Finally when we got home at 5:00, the electricity had come back on.  Hallelujah.  
I feel like I didn't get to enjoy the snow at our house, due to the lack of power.  It's almost melted now.  

Many of my friends kept saying, it's beautiful!  Enjoy it!  And I agree.  It was beautiful.  But without electricity, or heat, and not even use of the toilet due to lack of water, it took most of the fun out of it.

Like I said before, I know this story about 8-12 inches of snow is hilarious to those of you who have ten feet of snow on a regular basis during the winter.  

But you are equipped for that.  This is southern CA.  We are not equipped. 

As far as anyone could tell, this area has never seen that much snow. 

We had to have the marines bring in snow plows.  Because we don't have any.  They had to drop off search and rescue teams via helicopter because we couldn't clear the roads to get any in.  

We don't have back up generators.   If the electricity goes out,  the water does too.  The electric company did not know how to repair wires that were downed due to ice, and had to bring in repair people from other parts of the state to help.  

It added quite a bit of time to the repair times.  

We just aren't prepared for anything above a few snow flurries at the altitude we live. 

I have learned quite a bit, and although this is unlikely to happen again, I'm putting together an emergency kit.  Mostly just to help combat the cold temperatures should the power and water go out again. 

 Because what I've  learned is that I'm pretty adaptable without amenities like lights and water,  but I have a hard time adjusting to being truly cold.  Both joe and I were miserable and unprepared the two nights it was 35 degrees inside.  It was no fun.

But it is something we need to be prepared for living where we do now, and some good life lessons were learned.  
Hindsight is 20/20.  

It was a very exciting New Year and not one we will likely forget!

1 comment:

Always wear your tiara said...

I cannot imagine being that cold INSIDE my house. Coming from a no snow zone, I say that is a tonne of snow. Glad you are all ok.

What a way to ring in the new year.