Sunday, February 08, 2009


  • Almost 2" of ice
  • 13 days with no electricity
  • Land line down for 2 days
  • Cell tower down for 5 days
  • Rural Water tower ran out of water on evening of day 2 (water recovered on day 5)
  • Major damage to every tree
  • Chimney fire on day 2

Lesson's learned

  • Electricity is nice, but not essential to survival~The first thing that grabs your attention is the lack of computer or TV. Everything just goes quiet. Next you realize that there is no hot water for bathing and dishes. You quickly learn how to heat water on the stove. Next you realize that the newer digital cook stoves won't light (if it's gas), and forget the oven; if you have electric appliances...stove, refrigerator, or freezer...not only will you not cook, but you will also lose most of your food. If you have electric heat you are out of luck as well. Lights? enough said.
  • Water "IS" essential to life~When it stopped flowing, panic set in. Fortunately for us, as the water flow slowed, my wife had the good sense to start filling everything she could find. Then come the realization that the toilet needed flushing and the animals would need a supply of water as well. Me and the son set out gathering ice to thaw in the bathtub. It was a chore and not very convenient, but served our purposes well.
  • Fire is essential to life~Without having a fireplace/insert, we would have frozen half to death. The lows hit 12 degrees and staying warm became a challenge. We have a propane heater down stairs that seldom see much use, but worked well to stave off the cold. Back to the fireplace, with no electricity, the blower's didn't blow and keeping warm required a large fire going at all times. On the second morning of the ice storm I rose early and stoked the fire, then the good wife gets up a little later and re-stokes it as well. About fifteen minutes later we heard what sounded like a jet and I ran out to see fire shooting five foot out the chimney. I ran back in and had the wife wake the children and take them out to the van to stay warm while I tried to figure out what to do. All I could figure to do was to shut down the damper. I then went out and prayed as I watched it roar. I couldn't call the fire department due to no phone access, the roads were blocked, and there was no water. I prayed a bit more and the fire finally burned itself out with no damage.
  • No contact with the outside world is scary, but somewhat peaceful~Not being able to call our loved ones when the mood hit was a concern. The cell's worked very sporadically, but did serve to allow a few limited calls in our network. On another note, we will be buying a radio that uses batteries. Not knowing what was coming or happening in the world around us drove us nuts. Thanks to the ingenuity of my daughter, we did manage to get a radio going. She took her mp3 player and rigged it to a karaoke toy and used it's speaker as an effective combo to receive the news.
  • Ice is beautiful but deadly~This much ice not only took down power lines/poles, but also caused many trees to go down also. One such tree fell through my nieces house completely crushing one bedroom and bath in their house. Had it hit where they were sitting, they would have most certainly been killed. While out trying to water the animals, an ice chunk fell out of a tree and guess who it hit? I hate the taste of blood!
  • MRE's (Meals Ready to Eat) are actually good~Due to losing all our food, we were so happy to find that the Cherokee Nation had purchased and was giving out MRE's and bottled water. They made a very stressful situation of feeding six much easier. Thank you Cherokee Nation!
  • Books are beautiful~During this time, books came to the rescue by providing an escape from just sitting and waiting.
  • A battery powered radio will make life much easier during a disaster~This one's obvious
  • Family is family regardless of the struggles life throws your way~The nice thing I observed was how children really don't need convenience to survive well. They are so inventive and intuitive that they can have fun in just about any situation. We really didn't have a problem with cabin fever. We did get to know each other a little more, which was nice.
  • Know your Neighbor~We've been here for about two years and despite our efforts, many people just don't feel the need to know who they live next to and it's difficult to get to know the people in our community. We found much opportunity over the last couple of weeks though. Realizing that people really didn't expect to be so knocked out from this storm, and they probably wouldn't be prepared, I called around making sure everyone had enough wood for heat. We ended up giving wood to two families. One family had the use of a generator and after we took them some wood, they in turn allowed us to share their portable power plant with us. Suddenly we could have the TV, do laundry, and have some light. This rural neighborhood worked together to clear the roads and make sure nobody was in peril. Daily check's of each others well being was routine and much appreciated. While we liked where we live, we now LOVE living here!

While this might seem like a "poor me" post, it really isn't. I got to see so much resourcefulness in my family and community. I saw that people really do care about each other. I also got to see how well we can live without what we would normally consider essential equipment such as electric appliances/lights. Regardless of what happens, we can and will survive. I am grateful!

What I didn't like:

Our electric coop, Ozark's Electric, is based in Arkansas and while Oklahoma took the hit first and likewise lost the power first, they were the last to receive service. Rather than having our local electric crews work here, they pulled them into Arkansas. We had watched as the service truck's rolled into Arkansas and the news reports from there were lauding the noble efforts of the Oklahoma workmen. Not only did they leave us in the dark, but they also left us in life threatening conditions for almost two weeks.

Our good governor Henry, when asked by the President if we needed Federal assistance, refused saying that we needed no help. Maybe he forgot that eastern Oklahoma is actually part of Oklahoma. There was no call for the national guard to come in to help, which was greatly needed. Governor Henry, want to guess who I won't be voting for next go around?

The Rural Water Association was established to ensure that access to water would be ensured. Get rid of the private water wells and get online. Well, everyone did just that, and wouldn't you know it, someone didn't have the foresight to realize that an interruption of the electric service would shut down the electric lift pump that supplies water to the tower. Everyone was furious that there was no back-up generator for such an occasion. Again, the national guard could have provided one...but we didn't need their help Governor Henry!

We also found that the state's that were declared a disaster area by the federal government would be able to get tax credit for anything extraordinary that was purchased as a result of said disaster. Thanks again Governor Henry!

President Barak Hussein Obama, Thanks for you support also; or lack of.

I'm happy though that the good people of Oklahoma proved that we can and will survive despite the state and federal government's.

Okay, I'm done bragging, crying, and ranting...back to my regular happy self

Be good by DOING GOOD!