It happens

Having lived in the US for only a few months, we were preparing for the big Halloween event.  Yes, Halloween is celebrated in Europe, but it’s nowhere near as of an event as over here.  Everything and every house is decorated, and it’s a family event to go pick up the pumpkins from the local farmer’s field.

But, this post is not about Halloween, but something that happened just before Halloween.

In months leaving up to Halloween, we had been blessed (or cursed depending who looks at it) with amazing and yet mesmerizing weather;

  • extreme heat wave lasting for weeks, and me creating pools of melted fat footprints, and reducing my bodysize 2 sizes.
  • Earthquake that caused panic on the East coast of the US, with massive destruction such as tipped over garden furniture – pure devastation
  • Visit by Hurricane Irene, who shook the big Apple, flooded lower parts and riverbeds and of course knocked out essential power grids.

Then close to Halloween, we had our first snow storm.  Well, it was more like a freak snow / ice storm, which only last 24 hours.  However, the damage was pretty bad.

Keep in mind, fall hadn’t finished (or even started) so the trees were still standing tall with green leaves.  And, we got about 8-10 inches of snow in a short time frame + the temperature dropped to below freezing drastically.

This was more than the trees could handle and branches of all sizes were snapping of the trees, no matter how big or small.  It was dead silent in the neighborhood, so all you head was the cracking of branches and the big thump as they landed on the houses or lawns.  Large trunks impaled the ground, and would’ve killed any living creature.

The local emergency services were scrambling to react to this freak storm, and police warned residents not to venture out – unless absolutely necessary.

My son had swimming that day, and my dear wife felt it was best if he went, given we had paid for his lessons.  So, we ventured outside and jumped into the 4×4 beast.

Roads were already covered and the snowplows couldn’t clear the road fast enough. To be safer, we went slowly by car, and had to manuvre around broken off branches, ditched cars and emergency vehicles.  It was like driving through an apocalyptic landscape, and reminded my a little of Mad Max – except we had snow and he had desserts.  I was expecting to be ambushed by rogue snowplows any minute, as we moved towards over target.

After 20 minutes in the car, which would normally take no more than 20 minutes, we were only half way there.

Suddenly I got this weird feeling that something was wrong.  Not with us or the car, but something back at the house.  Before leaving the house, I had filled up the kettle and placed it on the gas cooker to get a cup of coffee.  The question that roamed in my dark brain was “had I turned off the gas cooker?”

I started to doubt myself and felt I had to go back to the house.  But, we were so close to our target that I might as well drop off my wife and kids, and I would drive back to turn off the gas.

The journey back was another 40 minutes, with snow getting deeper, and I decided to tank the car as well.  The gas station had lost power, so they had to process the credit card manually, which for some reason was extremely slow.

As I arrived back at the house, my fears were realized.  Not that the house was on fire, but the kettle was still on.  Unfortunately so was the gas and the kettle, which once was read, had started to turn black.  The handle was too hot for me to hold with my bare hands, so I grabbed a ovenmit and quickly ran into the garden with the kettle.  I threw it into the snow.

Steam and crackling noise rose from the kettle.  It soon disappeared into the snow, with extreme sizzling.  It was like watching the beginning of a geiser, before it explodes – thankfully the kettle didn’t explode.

With the crisis averted, I made my way back to the family, who at this stage had no idea where I was and had been waiting for almost 2 hours.

As I pulled into the car park, the hobbits were standing there cheering and jumped into the car to greet me.

The journey home was equally slow, but at least we were back together.  I’m not too sure how many punches my wife placed on my shoulder for leaving the kettle on, but I lost count after 9 and my shoulder got numb with pain.

That evening we watched “Day After Tomorrow” to get tips on what to do during freak weather phenomenons.  It’s apparently based on true events…I think!

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