Autumn in Connecticut is typically warm and as colorful as you would expect it to be. The trees are brightly dressed and showing off in nature's glory. It is a beautiful time of year to be in New England.
Back on October 22nd Courtney was playing with pine needles at the park. Only the evergreens were shedding their foliage at this point with the leaves still firmly on the other trees. The sun was shining brightly and she was wearing a short-sleeve shirt and making 'pine angels' in the soft needles.
Moving forward to 7 days later…
The next weekeend, Cameron celebrated his birthday party, going to The Headless Horseman Haunted Houses and Hayride with Neil and 5 other boys. It had rained the night before, but the weather cleared up and was perfect for the occasion. And my boys ain't afraid of no ghost.
And then on Saturday… IT SNOWED. On Halloween weekend no less. This was just the beginning, but the grumpy pumpkin kind of sums up how we feel about snow in October.
Much less THIS MUCH SNOW. On October 29th 11 inches of really wet, heavy snow fell on trees still full of leaves from Autumn is not a good thing.
My poor River Birch was opened up like four petals of a flower. The large branch on the right, blocking the driveway was a loss. It bent to 90 degrees and broke. Thankfully two of the branches rested against the house and the left hand side rested on a table on my front walkway. It miraculously has made its way back into position.
My cherry didn't fare as well. Pretty much the entire top split and the rest is spread out. I may have a tree expert look at it to see if there is anything to be done for it.
We didn't lose too much in the front yard. And in perspective, it's just landscaping.
The back deck, had a tree 'deck'-oration, however. This big bad boy came down hard around 3 in the morning.
It felt like the deck was going to snap off like a matchstick, but lucky for us, the hot tub (hiding under that tree), also means that the deck is very well constructed and reinforced along the side where it impacted. So we didn't lose the deck. It even graciously forked at the barbeque and smoker – which we desperately needed while the power was out for the next whole week. Neil was able to get all the smaller branches off so we could access the grill. The rest we left for the contractors sent by the insurance company. We didn't want to risk pushing off the heavy limbs and having it take out one of the columns supporting the deck, or we'd lose the whole thing.
After being without power for 6+ days during Hurricane Irene, we had invested in a generator since the former owners had installed the necessary electrical for one already. It took some hunting, but Neil didn't come home empty handed. The buyers' remorse we'd felt about making that purchase was quickly overcome when just a little over 8 weeks later we had ANOTHER week long power outage with this early snowstorm.
This time we were able to offer hot showers, coffee and simple light and warmth to friends, family and neighbors. And because of the generator we managed to salvage Brianna's birthday party, postponed to Sunday due to the storm. Those who braved the downed trees and somewhat plowed roads were greeted by lots of treats and the trick of getting a chocolate fountain, a karoake machine and some disco lights to work off the generator. We did manage to have a breaker trip on us once – but the party went on with flashlights until it was back on.
The next day was my birthday. Still no power and the kids were home from school. But we had a nice day, and went out to dinner down on the coast since Orange had power. After dinner I browsed an art supply store with Neil watching the kids and giving me freedom to pile the shopping cart with Fredrix 'floating' canvas, the current Somerset publications and some General Pencil charcoal. Woo Hoo!
The weather was surprisingly cold all week and the power continued to be out, with some businesses starting to get power around Wednesday on the main thoroughfares through town. I had amassed WAY too much laundry and scouted a coin-op about 25 minutes away that was in an out-of-the-way shopping plaza. It was the great undiscovered laundromat — and I got six machines going, at once! So at least it was quick work.
A week had elapsed since the snow fell and the next Saturday evening we held Courtney's birthday party at The Bead of Roses jewelry-supply shop, which had power restored a few days prior. So another birthday party was held with only a minor time adjustment for the any rescheduled Halloween festivities. Here is the final birthday girl, waiting for her guests to arrive.
And at last when we got home from Courtney's party, we noticed that our cul-de-sac was showing signs of life and light. Yes, finally the power and cable were back on!
These are four birthday celebrations that won't be forgotten!
I'm thankful for neighbors that let me use their gas cooktop to melt chocolate. I'm so glad that I baked the cake and cupcakes the night before it all went nuts. I'm grateful to have a generator this time (that we wondered why we'd bought) and that through its use I was able to give the simple comfort of a hot shower or a cup of coffee to friends and family while things got back to normal. I'm blessed to have a friend that was willing to help others with his chain saw. He made quick work of a HUMUNGOUS tree for people he doesn't even know.
And with NINE snow days already racked up before we've even hit Winter yet — I'm praying that it is a mild one this year. But if we get another bad storm…I've made sure my neighbors know to come over without hesitation and we'll keep cozy again and let friendship light the way.