Let There Be Light

Sunday, September 14, 2008 started out like every other Sunday. I got up around 7:15, brushed my teeth, washed my face and put on my gym clothes. I headed out to the gym, grabbing an Envirokidz Berry Crisp Bar on the way out. Did my normal 60 minutes of cardio, abs & headed back home. The kids had already eaten by the time I got home. I made my grocery list, Aaron had his coupons ready and we headed out to the grocery store, as Sunday is typically grocery-shopping day. We bought all the necessities for the week, veggies, eggs, milk, stocked up on some pork baby back ribs & pork loin roast b/c it was on sale and headed home. I then headed out to take Hannah to a birthday party at the local bowling alley. I noticed it was really, really windy. I jokingly thought to myself that maybe we were getting wind from Hurricane Ike in Ohio. While at the bowling alley, the wind picked up. The power flickered on & off a few times. A Mom came to pick up her daughter from the party and said that there were quite a few traffic lights out and that it was going to get ugly out there. That is when I really started to get a little concerned. Hannah and I headed out and started on our journey home. I noticed that a lot of leaves and debris were flying around. I turned down the street, BK, to get to our house. This street is one of those that is lined with trees. Absolutely beautiful in the fall, but very dangerous on a day like that day. I don’t think I have ever been afraid of a tree falling on my car before, but I was very afraid. Just as I was rounding a curve, a large tree was down across the road (see, my fears weren’t all that unfounded). I, and several other cars, had to turn around and head back the way we came. I was planning on going into our neighborhood the back way, down A road. I get halfway down this road and there is another tree down, this one only blocking half of the road. I was able to get through and said a quick, silent prayer to God that Hannah and I would get home safe & sound. Aaron called and asked where I was, I quickly explained that the roads were bad, debris was flying and I was right around the corner at that point. He told me that the power was out at our house. Great. It was now 4:30, I sure hope that is on in time to cook dinner.

The boys were bored. They had been watching Sunday football when the power went out. Hannah was bored, she couldn’t watch Bee Movie like she wanted. I was fine. I have all kinds of books from the library to read. Around 5:30 we all started to get hungry. Aaron suggested calling Pei Wei Asian Diner and ordering take-out. I called, no one answered. Called a little later, still, no answer. Obviously they were without power as well. Called Molly Woo’s for take-out, their phone was busy. I suspected that they too had no power. We talked about ordering pizza, that doesn’t work so well when you have 2 people that can’t eat gluten and really no places that have GF pizza crust. Donato’s pizza does have a “no dough” pizza that they either make on a soy crisp (like a thin rice cake) or on a bed of cheese, but it seems to bother my stomach. We finally decided to just get in the car and drive to see what was opened and not too busy. We headed down BK road and immediately turned around, there were all kinds of branches down and who knew if they had even removed the large tree that was blocking the road earlier. We headed up O road to get out to P, the main road with all the restaurants and mall, as quickly as we could.

We were headed over towards Pei Wei, but traffic lights were all out over there, so we turned into the mall. We tried Cheesecake Factory (they have some nice GF options), they had a 50 minute wait. We tried Molly Woo’s, no power. We were headed to Red Robin, but they too had a long wait as evidenced by the people flowing out of the front door. I suggested calling Cheeseburger in Paradise to see what their situation was. They had no wait, but were getting busy. We headed right over. We enjoyed a nice meal, safe and yummy. I love that they have so many GF options. By the time we left, CIP was on a wait as well. It was 7:30 and more and more people were realizing that the power didn’t seem to be coming back on anytime soon. I was dreading heading home to a powerless house.

When we got home, surprise, no power! We settled down at the kitchen table and Aaron and the kids played Poker & War while I perused some cookbooks I had picked up at the library on Saturday. I quickly gave Hannah a bath before it got dark and we all got ready for bed. We had candles lit, so it looked really cool in the house. Hannah was very concerned about going to sleep in the dark house. She wanted a night light of some sort. I let her lie down with me and used a book light that I bought for vacation this past year. I never ended up using it in the car b/c it distracted Aaron when he was driving, but I have to say that I have never been so happy to have purchased something in my life. Not only could I read, but Hannah quickly fell asleep. Another added bonus, when I went to shower at 5:30 the next morning and there was still no power, it provided just enough light to see in the shower and in the vanity area.

I headed out around 10 ‘til 6:00 AM to go to Caibou Coffee. I knew that they had a free Wi-Fi Hotspot and I needed some coffee, it was going to be a long, long day. I called AEP to check on the status of our power outage. They estimated that all customers effected by the widespread power outage in central Ohio would have power restored by (are you sitting down???) Wednesday evening at 8:00 PM. Holy CRAP! It was now Monday morning at 6:00 AM. It was going to be a long 3 days. After getting to Caribou, doing my work and drinking some coffee, Aaron called and asked me to stop at Meijer and grab a couple extra coolers and some bags of ice on the way home. I had asked him about this before I left the house, but he told me not to panic, there would be no need. LOL…..boy, I wish he had been right! I checked for ice as soon as I went into Meijer, but I could tell before I rounded the corner at the front door that they were out as there were many people leaving the store empty handed shaking their heads. Ay yi yi! I raced (okay, I didn’t run, but I can speed walk with the best of them) back to the Sporting Goods section in time to grab 2 coolers. One was large enough that I could fit in it and the other was 36 qts. I also looked for wind-up lanterns, shake-up flashlights, etc, nothing. My grand total leaving Meijer was $135.99! OUCH! Oh, and what the heck was I going to cool my coolers with? I spoke with a woman on the way out who asked me that question. I asked if she had been all over looking for ice and she named off stores up and down the street I was on. At least she saved me some time! I headed home as I knew Aaron had to leave shortly and figured I could continue my ice quest later in the AM. The kids had a scheduled day off from school today (to make up for Curriculum Night and the teachers had some training, which, BTW, was cancelled due to the power outage).

I rounded up the kids and asked everyone to figure out what they wanted for breakfast, as I was only making one round trip into the fridge at this point. Jon opted for Yoplait Yogurt and milk. Hannah opted for Cheerios and Grape Juice. I just needed my fruit spread for my rice cakes & peanut butter. Things still seemed somewhat cold at this point.

Amanda showed up about a half hour later with baby E. She said that they had power and we were welcome to go to their house and hang out. I packed a cooler (I had some cold packs, but no ice) and we headed out. First I had to get gas, as my low gas light just came on. That wasn’t nearly as easy as it should have been. Traffic was bad; lights were out all over and everyone and their brother was trying to get into work. You are supposed to treat traffic lights that are out as 4-way stops, too bad lots of people have no clue about that. I had to go all the way into Delaware (about 20 minutes North) to find gas. I checked for ice, no go. A woman I spoke with there said she had looked last night for ice too and had no luck. We got safely to Amanda’s house and unloaded the car. Power was on, but no cable. At least I could heat up food for us and we didn’t have to go out to lunch. We stayed there until after lunch. Jon had Joan’s GF Great Bakes Sicilian Pizza for lunch….WOW!!! I snuck a bite and that pizza was amazing! It was like a deeper dish pizza. The crust was awesome. He loved it too! I didn’t get a picture b/c I hadn’t brought my camera over with me.

We headed back home this afternoon so that E. could take a nap here and that Jon could play outside with his friends. I was hoping and praying on the way home that the power would be on once we got there, but it wasn’t. Ho hum. This was getting old and quick. My Dad called and said that we could spend the night at their house tonight in D. We are going to take them up on that. We are heading over there once E. gets picked up around 6:00 PM. We will eat dinner there and sleep. Fortunately it isn’t too hot today. The high is 69 degrees, so A/C isn’t necessary.

We headed out to my Dad’s house around 6:00 PM. The kids were excited to play games, play with Regan and have some lights on! I cooked dinner for the kids and I once we got there and was able to squeeze in a work out too! I got online after dinner and immediately went to the power company’s website. At that point they were saying that it would be Sunday at midnight before the power would be back on. That would make it over a week without power. I have never experienced anything like that in my life. My Dad & Step Mom were nice enough to offer up their lovely home for the rest of the week if we needed it. We are thankful for that, let me tell you.

I had a hard time falling asleep, but woke up at 5:00 AM and got up and ready for the day. I was resigned to the fact that there would be no light/power and I would have to make lemonade with my lemons. At least we had a warm place to stay with a roof over our heads. We weren’t forced to go to a shelter, which would be tough for Jon & I to eat at. My phone rang at 5:30 AM and I knew by the caller ID that it was Aaron. I answered the phone and said “Please tell me that we have power?!” and he told me we did!!! I screamed! I was so excited. I was afraid that it would go off before I got home.

We got home and rejoiced in the fact that we had our power back. We really didn’t lose as much food as we could have. All of our meat was sent home with E’s Mom to her garage freezer (THANK YOU). We lost some ice cream (partially my fault since I feel the need to have 6 different flavors, all half eaten, at one time), mayo, salad dressing, egg whites, 3 frozen burgers, half pound of bacon and chicken broth. Not too bad. I can’t wait now to get back to our schedule. The kids are still out of school. Who knows when they will go back. I know there are still widespread outages in the area; there is a traffic light less than 2 miles up the road that is still out.

Oh, and come to find out, we did have Category 1 Hurricane force/Tropical Storm Winds come through the area. That storm collided with one from the North and diasaster happened.

Chinese Take Out

Gotta love being able to call and get Chinese take out. That is one thing I have really missed since going gluten-free. I still have yet to find a GF egg roll, but I will take what I can get. Last night on the way home from King’s Island I was really tired and couldn’t fathom cooking & cleaning up, so I suggested Pei Wei Asian Diner for dinner. Pei Wei is run by P.F. Changs. Convenienty I keep a carry-out menu in my glovebox. I love the Pei Wei Spicy Chicken or the Pei Wei Spicy Chicken salad. Jon really likes the Pei Wei Sweet & Sour. Some locations even carry gluten-free soy sauce, you just need to ask for it. I keep La Choy Soy Sauce at home for when we get Chinese take out. It is like heaven on earth.

We really like P.F. Chang’s too, but there really isn’t one close by to our house. Not only do they have a pretty extensive GF menu, they have an amazing dessert too. It is a flourless chocolate dome. Whenever we go we have to get more than one b/c Jon doesn’t really like to share his dome. 🙂 I don’t blame him. It is one of the few places he can safely order dessert out. I have tried many of the items on P.F. Chang’s menu, but really like the Singapore Street Noodles the best. Some of the other good dishes are Philip’s Better Lemon Chicken, Ginger Broccoli, Chang’s Spicy Chicken and don’t forget the lettuce wraps. They also have gluten-free soy sauce, just make sure to ask your server to get it from the back, the soy on the table is not GF.