On Thursday morning, I woke up with the sun – about 5:30 a.m. – which isn’t all that unusual as that’s the time I normally get up for work anyway. I turned on my phone and checked Twitter to see if I could find out any information about the electricity or any other thing for that matter. I found out that the power would be out for two to four days. I started packing up a bag as I had decided to go stay with my parents so I would at least have some company for a few days if the power was really going to be out that long.
I took a bath with the hot water that remained in the hot water heater and got dressed. I then listened to the radio for a bit and discovered that a tornado had hit the power lines coming out of Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant which is the TVA facility that supplies power to the Huntsville area, and that was why it was going to take a few days for power to be restored. Around a million people were without power. I called my customer for work and let them know the situation and then talked to my parents and told them The Tide and I were headed their way. I grabbed a few snacks and some bread from the freezer and loaded up the car with all things human and dog. I was low on gas because I had planned to fill up on Thursday, which was my payday; so, I put the remainder of my lawnmower gas in the car before we headed over the mountain.
I then went across the street to Jeff’s house to let him know we were abandoning ship. He didn’t know the power was going to be out for such a long while and decided right then and there that he was going to go to Virginia to stay with his brother for a few days. I asked him if he had enough gas to get out of town because due to the power outage, the pumps were not working and you either had to go north to Tennessee or south of Cullman, AL, to get gas. He said he had enough to get to Chattanooga and so he was good to go. We said our goodbyes and parted ways.
The Tide and I arrived at my parents house and unloaded the car – some said it looked like we were moving in, but hey, we didn’t know how long we would be there. Not long after arriving, my dad and I headed down to Lowe’s with our cell phones and my iPod to see if we could find a plug to charge them up. My dad had ventured out the night before and noticed that Lowe’s had a generator and so that’s how we knew we could charge our devices there, provided we find a plug that is. We found one close to the restrooms and the employee break room; so, we plugged in and stood around waiting. After a while, I went and bought a power strip so we could plug all our devices in. I guess we must have been there for an hour or maybe close to two while waiting for things to charge. Obviously our devices were quite low on juice. We talked with the employees who thought it was humorous that we were there charging our phones. After our charging session at Lowe’s, we went up to check on my grandparents and discovered they had gone into the city to find some oxygen for my granddad; so, we went back to the house.
That afternoon, my dad grilled pork chops and rolls and cooked some potatoes in an iron skillet over the hot coals. It was good to get a hot meal in our bellies and it was quite good. Since we all had a lot of food in our freezers, we had to grill what we could so it would be used instead of throwing out. My brother and grandfather came over to eat and afterwards left to go back home. I had brought my Daily Bible with me and read the day’s passage out loud and my dad prayed for all those folks who were affected by the storms. We then decided to take a walk around the block before it got dark and took some left over pork chops to a lady up the street while on our walk. I’ll take this opportunity to also say that the Sherriff put a curfew in place from dusk to dawn and arrests would be made for anyone caught out after dark. This curfew worked well as very few arrests were made and very few burglaries reported, which speaks well of the community.
When it got dark, we lit the coil oil lamps and played a game of Phase 10. This became our nightly ritual while the power was out. My mom loves Phase 10 and no one will ever play with her. Since there wasn’t much else to do, Phase 10 it was. My parents tied and I finished in third place during this first night of competition. After the game, we went to bed, and on the way to bed, I was carrying a coil oil lamp and the globe wasn’t on tight and it fell off and broke into a million pieces. We had to keep The Tide and Scout away from the area while I cleaned up the broken pieces as best I could; and so ended day two.
Want to know how you can help the tornado victims of North Alabama? How about sending a gift card? Last year when Nashville was hit with flooding, Lindsay Ferrier collected unused gift cards through her blog, Suburban Turmoil. She had great success with this and was able to pass out envelopes of gift cards to people who lost their homes in the flood. I would like to do the same thing for the people of North Alabama. To people that lost their homes, a gift card would be a big help. Whether it’s for dinner at a restaurant or to a home improvement store or to a clothing store, it doesn’t matter. These people will be able to use any form of gift card you are willing to provide. If you have any unused gift cards laying around or want to purchase some gift cards to help, please email me and I will let you know how to send these to me so that we can help the people of North Alabama start to rebuild their lives. I will post updates as to how many gift cards I get and how many families we help. Thanks in advance and spread the word!