It’s a good thing that I am a pretty big planner, and all of my gifts were bought, most of them wrapped and all the baking was complete (and partially eaten)….
The turkey was purchased as well as all the other items to make for our traditional turkey dinner to be held the Sunday closest to Christmas (that’s how we do our blended family turkey dinner celebration) and we were awaiting Gran and Auntie Di’s arrival.
I guess it’s also a good thing that I lived through the big ice storm in 1998 in Montreal too, so when they announced an ice storm was heading to Toronto, I told Rob we needed to check all our supplies. We bought extra batteries, extra supplies and made sure the cars had gas.
Then the storm hit.
By Sunday morning we had no power, and our backyard was covered with tree branches that had fallen. A quick survey in the area showed us that we were lucky. Our house and cars were safe. Unfortunately, a few minutes after we did the survey, a huge branch fell from our large, old, ice laden front tree and landed on our neighbour’s car parked right in front of our house (we have street parking – I was a little disappointed the other evening when I came home that there were no spots right in front…I counted that as a little blessing now as that could have been my car, but still feel bad for my nice neighbour).
Word spread through the neighbourhood that it would be at least 72 hours before power was restored. Did I also mention that I had started to feel sick Saturday night and by Sunday morning was sure I had strep? No clinics open. Emergencies running on generators so not the place to be. Luckily, just south of us, many of the stores still had power. So google was my doctor and natural remedies are my friend (and hopefully my cure).
My Mom and Aunt Di were on there way, but I was finally able to reach them to tell them, sorry to cancel Christmas, but turn around! Go home to your warmth. Thank goodness they did.
We spent the night (no turkey dinner for us, but a local Chinese place delivered and we ate by real candlelight!) with the kids huddled in our living room in front of the fire, piled in sleeping bags and blankets as we braved the upstairs cold bedroom. A bit of a sleepless night, we were hopeful in the morning and found one of our favourite eateries open and had some warm breakfast.
The news reports were not promising so we needed to come up with plan B. A few great friends who had power offered up their homes for us to crash in. So grateful for their kindness. But we are a lot of people to house….
While contemplating what to do, Rob suddenly got on the phone and called a hotel we had never really talked about (or I had even heard of). He said the name just popped in his head. He called, they had two rooms (the city was getting sold out as everyone had the same idea as us), at a reasonable price, and one of the few hotels that took pets!
So we checked in.
We explored the area too and acted like tourists, checking out the market, walking around the downtown streets, looked at the lights in the main downtown shopping mall and ate hot dogs from the hot dog stand. I even took pictures on my iPhone to capture a Christmas I’m sure we will never forget.
Don’t worry, we’re not planning on turning this into a tradition.
So tonight, we are warm and cozy. We had hot showers and outlets to charge everything up (and now I can use my laptop!) Boy, am I grateful for heat and electricity.
But for tomorrow, we may need some prayers. The kids, like all kids, want to be home for Christmas – and I do too!! Hoping for a little Christmas miracle.
Regardless of where we spend it, I am wishing you all a wonderful Christmas to you and your families!