Oct 30, 2012

A little storm won't bring us down, but it will bring us together!

We live in New England so are very prone to wild and crazy weather and we would never let a little something like the recent "Superstorm" Sandy get in our way! We are fortunate to not have been in any of the devastation near the coastline and having grown up here I know what to do to get ready for things like this because you never know when mother nature is going to call your bluff. 

We took some time on Saturday and Sunday to get the yard prepared and I baked some treats to hold us over. I always have KM's lessons prepared ahead of time, so when we lost power on Monday afternoon I felt pretty okay with it. She had put off her morning routine to get a few things done on the computer before the internet was gone - a very difficult blow for any teenager!!! - so she got to work on her chemistry and applying algebra while I got the last minute things together before it got dark. About an hour and a half in it started to get chilly so we built a fire and nestled up with Hakim's A History of US Book 7, which KM still likes me to read aloud to her. It was so nice to just snuggle up with the book and learn about the reconstruction of our nation after the devastating civil war. 

When we were finished with that KM decided to play some solitaire, she has been quite addicted to the computer version lately, but she busted out the real cards this time. After a winning a few hands in a row, she asked if I wanted to play something. Generally we play Go Fish or War, as she has never really had the patience to learn other card games - too many rules that I have to keep on her about because I can't always remember them all -, but I decided to push my luck and see if she wanted to learn to play rummy. Four games in and she had the hang of it and didn't want to stop playing! 

At about 7p we decided to get the generator going so that we could get the fridge on, make something for dinner and watch a movie or two. I had picked up The Lost Boys & Lost Boys The Tribe to watch on Halloween, but since we had watched every other movie in the house about a billion times we decided to bump these up a bit. CJ and I had a hard time not giving away the storyline in The Lost Boys, but KM has gotten used to that with pretty much every 80s movie we watch - along with giving up on the hope that CJ won't start belting out the lyrics to each and every song! We had a great time and the evening flew by until still without power we shut everything down and headed to bed sometime around midnight.

I awoke in the morning to the hum of generators throughout the neighbor and realized that we still didn't have power...well this is a new experience, I hadn't been without power for more than 8 hours since Hurricane Gloria in 1985 when it was out for 4 days - I was only 7 and remember more from stories that others told than actually remembering it myself. I started the day with getting the generator running and making pancakes on the electric griddle. Shortly after KM got up I realized that we had some ground beef in the fridge that needed to be cooked ASAP, so we discussed what we could make with it. CJ piped up that he really would love american chop suey....UGGH OK, but we have no stove...KM suggested the crock pot, but with no internet access I had no idea how to get that one done right....HMMM what to do, what to do. We put our minds together and realized we could cook the noodles and ground beef using the side burner on the grill and then throw the veggies, sauce, and everything into the crockpot to get it to meld together nicely. KM and I worked our magic and  about an hour later had everything done - sometimes you just need to use some problem solving skills and team work!!! 

The rest of our day went along pretty normally, with KM doing her lessons and adjusting where needed - like swapping her chemistry experiment and videos out to work on her cosmetology. She dropped what she was doing to help with whatever was needed and was really great about it. After lunch we were all getting a little stir crazy and feeling a bit electronically deprived, so we decided to take a ride to library to collect our emails and maybe see if we could find some movies to watch if the power was out much longer. While there we ran into a few of KM's friends from around town - two home ed buddies who had met up to play Pokemon on their DSs and one of her bowling league teammates who was catching up on some schoolwork - schools were closed for the second day - they chatted and discussed their own highlights and disappointments with the storm.

I also ran into some acquaintances who were discussing their experiences over the past 24 hours and I was shocked at many of the comments, scenarios and complaints that I heard. I often don't allow myself to get sucked into these types of discussions as they never turn out well. I heard the usual myriad - "Oh I HOPE school is back on tomorrow!", "[child's name] is driving me CRAZY!", "All [child's name] has been doing is complaining", "[child's name] won't do anything I ask them to," and "I had to pay [child's name] to get the yard ready for the storm and now I have to pay them again to clean up from it." I tried to politely nod and stay out of it, but I was standing in line to check out our items so I couldn't avoid it.When I was asked how things had gone for us in the storm, I smiled and said "No real problems. KM helped me make dinner, we hung out and had some really great family time together." The other people just stared at me for a second, as if they were waiting for the punch line, but there was none. That is all that happened. No arguments, no bribing, no hassle, no real inconvenience at all on our end. 

I try very hard to not have the so common elitist/better than "homeschool" family mentality, but there are just some situations that make me so very, VERY grateful that we choose this path. We have an incredible family, we are connected in a way that was not there 5 years ago before we regained control of our lives. We can adapt, solve problems and deal with whatever comes our way TOGETHER. My daughter knows that being part of this family means that we work as a team - none of us is more valuable or less valued than the other and we all need to do whatever it takes to make OUR lives content and comfortable.

On our ride home, I relayed the conversation to KM to see what her take would be. She had heard the same types of things from a number of her friends that she had been texting with throughout the storm. I asked what her biggest drawback had been with the storm and she said "It would have to be that I only beat you once at rummy!" 
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