My dog has started to adjust to her paws working like ice skates on the lawn. My fish, on the other hand, just couldn’t adjust to the cold.
The pets gave me two more things to worry about during the storm and the power outage at home.
Most important was finding a warm place to stay where Carly would be welcome. I’m extremely grateful to the family that took us in Monday night after we lost power, but my four-legged little girl was distressed there, and with reports at the time that power restoration could take as long as 10 days, I knew we couldn’t stay.
I took her to the kennel Tuesday morning while I figured out what our next step would be. Turns out the next step would just be down the street.
A friend with power offered us a spot in his house. Our dogs play well together and the location is convenient if I need to run home for a change of clothes, so it’s probably the best arrangement for us right now.
But when I went to check on our house and feed my betta, Dr. Seuss — well, he was floating in the water.
This storm is all about adjusting to the situation, and pets can make that a bit more complicated.
How are you and your furry, feathery or scaly friends coping with the changes?
Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org or 475-3637.
Wendy K. Kleinman
I learned about 5:30 p.m. Monday that the electricity was off at the home of my 79-year-old mother in Tulsa. She cannot see well enough to drive after dark, the roads were too slick for her to get out of her home to go elsewhere, and officials were predicting the power could be off for a week or more. So my wife and I decided to take the chance on the threat of icy roads and drive to Tulsa to “rescue” Mom and bring her back to Oklahoma City, where our home still had power.We saw a half-dozen salt trucks keeping the Turner Turnpike drivable during our trip. But the darkness and fog along the 90-mile stretch was eerie. All of the turnpike’s rest areas were dark, with only the parking lights of semi-trucks marking their locations. News accounts had indicated about 70 percent of Tulsa was without electrical service, and the temperature was holding near freezing. Entering the outskirts of Tulsa, pockets of light accented the darkened city. But most striking to me was that upon arriving at the edge of the city, heavy in the air was the smell of burning wood – it was as if all the residential fireplaces in Tulsa must have been in use at the same time.
- Don P. Brown, Features Copy Editor
A cold night without electricity turned into a fun adventure for my grandsons, Chandler Walker, 14, Calvin, 9, and Cole, who turns 7 today. When the electricity went out in their Norman home and there was no dinner, my daughter Michelle Walker cooked a “campfire” dinner in the fireplace.She used a cast iron skillet to make spaghetti, ground beef, and sauce.
The kids bundled up in extra clothes, and after dinner they roasted marshmallows on the fire.
“We had fun doing this, and the kids just loved it,” Michelle said. “We made a memory with this. We put batteries in the radio and listened to Christmas music.”
It was a relaxing family night, and they appreciated the quiet in a way they didn’t expect.
- Chris Jones, Staff Writer
There’s nothing like a disaster to bring out the spirit of cooperation and the chainsaws.On Monday morning, crumpled parts of once beautiful trees blocked five of the six roads leading out of my neighborhood east of the University of Oklahoma campus in Norman. One block in particular was a jumble of limbs, some as thick around as an oil drum. Residents, at least one with a chainsaw, joined forces, working most of the day to untangle and clear their street.
On another street, I saw several people trying to clear the road of limbs with handsaws. I knew then that my chainsaw – that screeching two-stroker that had just helped clear my driveway and that of a neighbor of fallen oak tree limbs – must do its part. Returning with the saw after the others who were here had left, I hacked at the limbs blocking the street. Before I was halfway through moving them, another guy driving a pickup pulled up and began helping haul them to the side. Turns out he was considering buying a home in the neighborhood and had been just passing through that morning.
Most residents in this heavily wooded addition had their own adventures with falling limbs. Limbs landed on my roof, on the neighbor’s roof and on power lines connected to each of our houses. I helped the neighbor clear limbs from her power line and propped up supports beneath a giant cracked limb that had stretched but not severed my home’s power line. With each limb that leaped to its death, there were the same sounds. First there was the sharp, echoing pop that reminded me of cracking ice of glaciers in Alaska, followed by the sound of falling ice and debris and the thud of whatever it landed on.
In my backyard, that was almost me. As I stood in front of a storage shed, a 35-foot cedar tree gave way and, fortunately, landed across the top of the shed instead of my head. My shivering at that point had little to do with the ice that showered down on me.
David Zizzo, Staff Writer
I know many of you are saying there isn’t anything funny about this weather and power outages. For the most part that is true. But my husband and I decided to try to make the best of it, particularly since we didn’t have any choice.
After having nothing hot to eat or drink for two days, I remembered we had an outdoor grill. Yes, I know, “duh!” Anyway, I managed to get a pot of hot water boiling with tea bags and poured that into a thermos. I made a couple of hot sandwiches and then the propane ran out. OK, what next?
My husband decided to fire up our small chiminea. Guess what, you can do a baked potato in a chiminea. If you find a grill to put over the top, you can make a cup of hot chocolate. I then ran out of ideas and the wood chips for the chiminea. We were reduced to coming up with creative ideas for the shadows being cast on the ceiling by our candle. Those ideas ranged from an alien rabbit to a really angry moose.
Seriously, I am worried about folks who don’t have enough warm blankets or can’t get to a shelter. I’m sad for the many trees that we all have lost and that will take years to replace. But I learned a lesson: Being forced to slow down and spend some quality, if chilly, time with a loved one is something we should do more often and not just when nature makes that decision for us!
Last night we learned the hard way how fragile the pear tree is. A big section of it came crashing down on our roof about 10 p.m.
When we ran outside to assess the damage, my wife hit the ice on the driveway and went down hard, as well. She bounced back up, but our tree appears to be down and out, maybe for good.
This is the second — and probably last — time a section of our tree has come down. Wind brought a third of it down two years ago.
We’ve decided to have the remaining sections of the tree taken out. It was a tiny thing when I brought it home in the trunk of my car in 1994.
We know that our loss is tiny compared to what thousands have endured throughout the state during this ice storm.
But everyone in our family will still mourn the loss, especially our children, ages 11 and 9. They are both pleading with us not to take it out.
There just can’t be enough said about a group of Good Samaritans that are willing to brave icy conditions and the freezing cold to free you from feeling trapped inside your home, especially when you’re elderly or disabled.
This is how Ella Loftis and her 73-year-old mother, Cleota, felt Monday after several of their neighbors in the 700 block of SE 50 came to their home and cleared tree branches from their yard, driveway and a ramp for Cleota’s wheel chair.
“The neighborhood’s just been wonderful,” said Loftis, who uses oxygen tanks to help her breathe and was concerned about feeling trapped in her home all morning. “They all deserve a pat on the back, young and old.”
Loftis said her concerns subsided about 3 p.m. after the helpers finished clearing the debris from her already frozen yard. Now, she and Cleota can focus on staying warm after being without power for several hours.
“God’s with us, we’ll do fine,” Loftis said, who added that she had wrapped her mother in sleeping bags to keep her warm.
Meanwhile, her husband, John, figured out how they could use heat from their gas stove to warm their home.
By Micah Gamino, Staff Writer
These are treacherous times to be walking the streets of Oklahoma City. I was in the Heritage Hills neighborhood interviewing a man removing a fallen tree limb from NW 15th Street when ice and twigs from another limb came cascading down on top of me, raising a pretty good welt on my forehead. Meanwhile, another newsroom employee slipped and fell on the ice. With slippery ice below and falling ice above, it seems like a pretty good time to stay inside. — Randy Ellis
By the looks of the students playing Guitar Hero on a big-screen TV and others with legs up on tables, cradling laptops, Oklahoma Christian University was taking a power outage in stride.
Half the campus — including classroom buildings, offices and apartments — has been without power since about 3 a.m. The half of the Edmond campus that includes the Edward L. Gaylord Student Activity Center has power, and students were notified via text messages (at least those who had signed up for the service) that there was food, heat and Internet access if they wanted to make the trek over.
Students studied and played games of pool or surfed the Web, dressed as they normally would for an early final. Still, some had been inconvenienced: One couple fed a bottle to their 5-week-old baby; another student, an Arizona resident who said she would graduate this week, worried her parents wouldn’t be able to see her graduation and Oklahoma for the first time.
Finals have been rescheduled for tomorrow and later, depending on the weather.
Junior Spencer Goad was playing pool in the student center, wondering how his delayed finals would affect his plans to return home to Oregon Thursday evening.
As things stand, he has three finals Tuesday. “It’s not over until 7:15,” he said.
If they’re rescheduled because of a continued outage, he said he wasn’t sure what to focus on.
“The hard part is knowing what to study for right now … what final is coming up next,” he said.
Jeff Bigelow, an associate professor who chairs the electrical engineering department, acknowledged the difficulty on students such as Goad.
“I know it’s stressful to the students to have all their schedules switched around and delayed,” he said.
Bigelow cancelled a final because it wouldn’t affect students’ grades. One student who stood to gain from the final will be able to take it, Bigelow said.
Having an extra day to study can’t be all bad.
Jeff Raymond, Medical Writer
Today, I’m jealous of people with garages.
It took me an hour this morning, with the help of my husband, to crack the coat of ice on my car enough to drive it.
My compact SUV was sealed in ice ranging from about a quarter-inch thick over the doors to a half-inch thick on the windshield to one and a half inches thick around the windshield wipers. His car was no better.
Both ice scrapers, unfortunately, were stuck inside the vehicles. With a gardening tool and a screwdriver, we chiseled the ice away enough to pry the driver’s side doors open.
Once we got that far, we kept cracking at the ice — carefully, to avoid breaking a window — as the defrosters started melting the frozen layers.
My toes and fingers were numb by the time we moved his car out of the driveway and had my windows cleared.
And just as we finished, more rain started falling and freezing. I left to get a covered spot in the parking garage at work before I had to face another sheet of ice with my garden weeder.
Wendy K. Kleinman