In December 2007, our family was frozen out of our home for 11 days after the worst ice storm in history hit Oklahoma. More than 650,000 people lost power. Today, meteorologists warned Oklahomans that a winter storm of similar magnitude will hit the Sooner state on Wednesday evening. By Thursday, they anticipate we’ll see experience major power outages. Oklahomans are on edge, me included!
How To Survive A Winter Ice Storm
A year ago, I penned these 11 things the last ice disaster taught me, and I thought I would share them with you today. May God keep you safe in the storm.
Taking care of children is more important than not taking unscheduled leave. Unless you are bound by duty to respond as the first line of defense in the actual crisis (in which case you’ll have a plan for your children already in place) crises at home take precedence over keeping up appearances at work. Keep your priorities straight and take annual leave. The world will somehow manage without you. Really.
Know when to dip into savings, get a loan or break out a credit card. In hindsight, we should have bought a generator.
Have a crisis plan for your family. I’ve been in PR a long time and I could write an organization’s crisis plan in my sleep, but I was completely without a plan for my family.
Shop for Christmas in January, or at a minimum, November. The storm hit on December 11. We were out of our house until December 23. I had done no Christmas shopping.
Storms bring people together. My ex husband was the first person to call Robert and me and offer to let us stay with his family. He was one of few people who had not lost power. We were so grateful for his hospitality. They fed us dinner and breakfast, helped us with the kids, and then they lost power…
In the absence of Amish-like friends, hire help. Robert suffered a major injury while moving downed tree limbs. He is still dealing with it and will have to have surgery eventually.
Practice roughing it. Sharpen your survival skills, emotionally and physically. We ended up staying with my mom, who lives in a 450 square foot apartment. There was one couch and one bed, which six people had to figure out how to share, and there was absolutely no place to crash on the floor. Almost all the hotels were without power, and the few that weren’t, were full. We all lived without sleep, which lowered our resistance. We all got sick, and this says nothing of the emotional strain. At the time Sully and Bridgy were BOTH in diapers!
Be good to your momma. Only a mother will sleep for 10 days in a wing-back recliner, so her children and grandchildren don’t have to.
Be kinder to men, they don’t live as long. After a week at my mom’s, Robert started spending the night in our house. It was below freezing outside and we still had no power. He did this so the kids and I had a better shot at sleep. He got very sick, but thankfully recovered.
Keep perspective. In at least one case, a tree crashed through one Oklahoman’s home and paralyzed her. The effects of the storm were temporary for us.
There Is No Place Like Home. Two years later, and I am still more thankful for our home than I was before the storm. Returning home after power was restored was the best Christmas gift ever. I missed everything about it: our tiny closets and our drafty rooms; the creaky hardwood floors; the narrow staircase. The kids were thrilled to return to their bathtub toys and refrigerator art; their beds, their books, their routine, and the bed I never really liked never felt so good.