On December 12th I threw some clothes and belongings for the four of us into random bags, not quite sure where we were going, or how long we would be gone. It was a strange packing experience. We had to go to my company Christmas party that night, so I had to find Dennis a tie, a dress shirt, his jacket. I remember shivering in the cold bedroom, looking for something that I could wear that fit me and would work for a party. In the end I didn't even care, but grabbed whatever and turned my attention to packing stuff for the kids. The house had that odd quiet quality it gets when there is no electric current running through it. Its true that even when you have everything turned off at your house, you can still "hear" the electricity. All you could hear outside was the buzzing sound of chainsaws, my husbands included, as he tried to clear us a path out of the driveway so that we could make our escape. It was surreal driving out of our driveway, in the minivan with the dented hood and the cracked windshield, all of the trees bent and broken, everything in our world covered in ice. I remember I kept saying to Jack and Abbey, "look around you, look at that, look at this. You've never seen anything like this." It was amazing, and I knew they may never (lets hope) see a storm like that again in their lifetimes.
I never could have imagined on that freezing cold Friday back in December that it would be 3 months before I slept in my bed. That we would sleep at my cousins house, my great-aunts, and spend 3 weeks at my parents, sleeping on blow-up beds and couches, displacing everyone there. I never imagined that we would actually have to live in a big trailer in the yard. But we did. We were gone for 3 months and 3 days to be exact. 3 months and 3 days before I would give my kids a bath in our tub. 3 months and 3 days before I would do laundry in my own house. 3 months and 3 days before I would run my dishwasher, cook a meal in my oven, grab some water from the door of the fridge. 3 months and 3 days before I would plop down on the couch after tucking the kids into bed in their snug rooms. 3 months and 3 days before we would be . . . Home. I never could have foreseen the damage that the Ice Storm was going to bestow on us, on so many people. Even though our house is at last fixed and put back together (better than before I might add), the yard is still a mess. Trees, branches, our broken dead animatronic Christmas deer still under a bit of snow and trees. There will be cleanup for weeks and weeks. The trees may never look the same, every time you look up you are reminded of that December day of last year when mother nature kicked our asses.
But it's all over now. We are home. Home. I tell ya, it is a mighty nice place to be.