Friday, March 21, 2014

Storm, Then Silence

Last Sunday afternoon our friend Lori stopped by with some bags of hand-me-down clothes for the kids around 6:00.  Snow was starting to stick to the ground, but it wasn't too bad.  She wanted to leave pretty quickly to get back home before the roads got back, but we chatted in our entry way for a few minutes.  As we stood there, our lights flickered several times, and they even completely went out for a minute or two before they came back on again!  We were surprised because we rarely lose our power, and frankly, this wasn't some huge, windy storm or anything. But around 6:30, the lights went out for good.

We rustled up a ton of flashlights (which are never where you can easily find them when the lights go out, LOL), and we ate a cold rotisserie chicken for dinner.  Eventually I got the camping lanterns out of the garage when it became evident the power wasn't coming back on any time soon.  We huddled around the table and read books while Micah and Drew played with little flashlights.  Jonathan told the girls stories, like we were camping!  At 11:00, the olders of us were ready to go to bed when finally the lights came back on.  I was so glad they came back on while we were still awake, so we didn't have to get out of bed to race around the house, turning off the lights we had forgotten were still on!

When we woke up Monday morning, we were not pleased to realize that although the power was off, Verizon was still very much out.  We have FIOS, so this meant our home phone, our internet, and our TV were all out.  But it was a beautiful snowy snow day (even Bob didn't have to go to work!), so we just enjoyed the 7 or so inches we got, and we hoped that the internet would mysteriously be restored to us again.  It was St. Patrick's Day, and this time I tried a new recipe--Guinness beef stew, like I had when Bob and I went out to an Irish pub with a couple from our church and some friends of theirs back in December.  It was really good (we ladled it over colcannon, which are Irish mashed potatoes with cabbage and bacon), but the girls were not impressed with the smell of Guinness when I was making the stew, LOL.  I'm not too worried that they will end up heavy drinkers!

Tuesday:  When we woke up with still no internet, we had to scramble with plans for Rivendell, since we need to skype.  Fortuitously, I had already planned to not do a lab, but instead to go over problems, so we met over at the McC's house.  The older boys did all their classes over there, but in the afternoon, the younger kids still had to come here for memory work and literature, since there wasn't enough places for classes at the McCs for everyone.  It was tricky, having people in 2 places.  For one thing, we couldn't skype with Lily and Justin for their afternoon classes, but also a mom was visiting to see what Rivendell was like.  Instead of a regular day, she saw us scrambling around, trying to get various people various places. Suffice to say,  it was stressful.  Also, I finally found the number and called Verizon.  After wading through a complicated tree of options, I finally got to talk to a real person.  After trying various resetting things for 15 minutes, he concluded that our main box was fried, and the earliest he could send someone out was Friday between 8:00 and noon.  Ack!

Wednesday:  I had to take the boys over to the McC's house so they could do their online history class.  The highlight of my day (okay, week!) was getting a haircut that evening.  The last time Suzy cut my hair, she was pregnant with Bennett, and I was still pregnant with Drew.  So yeah, let's just say my hair desperately needed some attention.  Plus, I enjoyed almost an hour of chatting with her!  I definitely need to make haircuts a more regular part of my routine!

Thursday:  Christine took Luke and Caleb to a private school about an hour away so they could take the National Spanish 3 exam.  The NSE powers-that-be are EXTREMELY unfriendly to homeschooling, such that we are definitely not having Caleb and younger do Spanish!  They will do French, which is Siri's preferred language anyway.  Anyhow, Christine and the poor teacher at this school had to jump through so many ridiculous hoops to be able to take this test.  It was such a nightmare!  The teacher was so incredibly nice and helpful though, and the actual test-taking experience was much nicer than it was for Isaac and Nathan last year, who took it at a public school near us (that isn't offering the test this year).  Nathan's computer wouldn't work, which was very flustering, and when the teacher finally got it working, he was quite a bit behind, so he really rushed and did terribly on the vocab part.  But he ended up with a bronze medal, so it was okay.  Not a good testing experience, though!  These computers, however, were all macbook pros, and there were no malfunctions at all.  Christine took the boys out to lunch at Chick-Fil-A afterward, and they were so relieved to be done!

Friday:  I got up early this morning to be ready in case the repairman came right at 8:00.  Kimberly came over here at 9:30 to do our weekly Bible study, so we wouldn't miss the guy.  He did call while she was here to say he would be over a little later than 12:00.  Well . . . okay, I guess.  Lunch came and went.  Nathan left for his final behind-the-wheel driving time with the instructor at 3:00, and the guy still wasn't here.  I called Bob, and he chatted from work with somebody at Verizon who "guaranteed" that the repair guy would be there in 30 minutes.  Well, that time came and went.  At 5:00 I thought he really wouldn't come today, and he certainly wouldn't come over the weekend.  But Nathan and Luke have assignments to do, and when WOULD they come?!?  I was really discouraged.  But then--he called again at 5:30 and said he was on his way!  Amazing!  He showed up at 5:40, replaced the box, and left at 5:50, after assuring me that since the new boxes have 3 prong plugs, this should never happen again.  Why, oh why couldn't we have been first, if it was that easy of a repair??  But it's okay!  Everything works again!  I don't have to type on my phone!

So now we need to do all the internet things that we have been putting off all week long--registering for the SAT 2s, making hotel reservations for a college visit to UVa and a tour of Monticello, paying for Nathan's pararescue summer activity, etc., etc.  I just hope we can remember it all!  It's good to be back, though.

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