Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Worst Blizzard and the Best Lasagna

Ironically last week I wrote on twitter: "What a beautiful day here on the NoDak prairie. Sunny and in the 60s. Hopefully this isn't a teaser, and we get a blizzard next week."

Starting Friday night, the blizzard came sweeping in. It was the worst one I've seen - not snow-wise, but wind-wise. It had sustained gusts of wind that were so strong that it sounded like a train was outside the door. I could hear it over the sound of my little portable clangety clang heater in the bedroom. The electrical lines couldn't take all that pounding, and they finally fell - all up and down this part of the state. Before the power went down, I know they were predicting gusts of 45 mph, but I laugh at that. It was waaaaaay more than that, and they were sustained winds, not gusts. We even had waves in our stream out back - white caps and ducks who refused to be on it because it was so choppy.

My fingers are still cold typing this. The power just came on - about 48 hours later.

We had semis in the ditches, railroad crossing guards blown off, big ol' pine trees toppled, sheds blown over.

It could've been much worse.

It's still cold in this house. It got below 50 - which is the lowest the thermostat registers here. It was so cold even biting into crackers was cold. If you had sensitive teeth, your toofers fer sure wouldn't have liked even the crackers.

It's been difficult but, like I said, it could've been worse - a lot worse. We still have our fingers and toes. No one, to my knowledge, lost their life.

I have to give a shout out to Montana-Dakota Utilities. I know the poor agents who answered the phones got a lot of crap. I just asked if they had an estimated time. From what I and others were told about the situation, the electricity probably should've been out a lot longer. I've read of places on the East coast where they were out for weeks and months, with less problems than what we had here. MDU is amazing in its ability to fix things in a timely manner, and this was a LONG time for them. They know that it gets horrifically cold here and they can't have people be without heat for too long. I know it was below zero with the wind chill overnight Friday and into Saturday.

So I just want to thank them - in case anyone who works for them happens to see this. I also called them up within minutes of the electric being restored and thanked the customer service rep who answered. She literally sounded like she was going to cry because she had been through the wringer and to have someone say thank you was so appreciated. You just never always take time to say thank you. They may need it far more than you will EVER know.

Anyway, now you know the "Worst Blizzard" part of my title. :) As to the "Best Lasagna," well...I tasted the best. It was the best because there was no electric to warm anything up to help us warm up. Eating cold food only made me colder. But I have some friends a couple doors down who have a propane stove. These are the people who have had their kittens brutally and deliberately run over because the husband tried to go by the state laws in this town in order to protect the water and sewer infrastructure. The mayor and her cronies didn't like that, so they got a posse together to finally get him fired so that the mayor's grandson could be hired. I could write a book on what occurred during and after that time, but I won't.

Suffice it to say, my friends are good people. They help one another out. They called me and offered a big ol' casserole dish of piping hot lasagna fresh out of the oven. It was the best lasagna I ever tasted! And the guy across the street lent us his generator as he drove about 40 miles one way to get more gas in an area where they got their electricity back on sooner than us. So we hooked up our frig and at least saved what was in the freezer. What's in the frig is shot. I was surprised at how quickly the food went, esp. when the house was so cold. But that freezer was packed full, so the food packages all kept each other cold. Plus, I had a couple big bottles of ice in there to help keep everything cold.

Then another friend went to the store (again 40 miles away) and asked if I needed anything. He was also going to come by and help us figure out how to work our kerosene heater. I was going to give him 5 gallons of kerosene for his troubles. Alas, as he was about to come over, the electricity came back on. Yay!

What I learned about this incident:
Be grateful for what you have.
Always say "thank you" because you may make someone's day - literally.

The above two I've known about and try to put into regular practice, but I will even more so now.

Other things I learned:
Going to the bathroom, it's hard to wipe when you're bundled up in dozens of layers. Your arm just can't reach around all those coats and robes - lol!

Keep all your emergency supplies in one place. I did not, but I will get better organized now.

Get more dehydrated food and bottled water for the dried food.

Put hand sanitizer in the bathroom and use it instead of washing your hands. When it's cold, that water is like ice, and it'll only make you colder.

Good people rise to the occasion. The inbreds didn't give a crap about anyone in this town but themselves. Have you ever noticed it's the ones who have the least who are the ones who are first to give?

The past 48 hours, I experienced the worst blizzard, but I also experienced the best lasagna - i.e., friends helping friends, even when they don't have much.

Edited to add: Just read an online article about the storm. One stretch had 55 power poles down in a row. Geez, that was some storm!


  1. Wow! I thought it was spring...I guess not in your neck of the woods! Sounds like you have some great neighbors. Glad they helped you out.


  2. Clicked the wrong button and accidentally deleted the following comment from Sheila at Seasons of Thy Heart

    True friends will come "when times are troubled, when you need a helping hand, yes they'll be there" just like the song says. What an awful time you went through and thankfully you had sincere friends around you. I'm really not sure what to think about all the recent weather conditions that have been going on. I just pray that it will get back to a more normal pattern for this time of year.
    Take care.

  3. Hi Tracy, My Mom wrote me an email this morning and told me about the Mayday Blizzard in ND. Now I get to hear the details from you. Thank God for the lasagna! And for good friends. And that you are OK. Hugs, Vicki

  4. Wow, girl! So glad you are ok! It is hard
    for me to fathom snow on May 1st! It has
    been warm down here for quite awhile....
    It is good to have friends that you can
    count on! Take care....

    Bear Hugs & Blessings~Karen

  5. Hey, Glad to hear your alright now, but what a trial. I've been in high wind before and know how scary it can be. I was 20 yrs old a new mom and living in Alaska out on an island in the Bering Sea . There people have to strap their homes down with cables so they don't blow into the sea! . Do get your emergency kit together . I keep gallon jugs of water under the sink for future use when the power goes out . Also if there is a snow storm coming I fill pots , washing machine and tub with water just in case. Here in Maine on a Pennisula out into the ocean power is always going down.Ice storms. Stay safe.

  6. Glad your electric is going again. I so had to laugh about your layers glad you were still able to take care of business!!