Last Friday night, we just had dinner and sat down to watch a movie. There was no sign of a storm coming, no rain, nothing. About 15 or so minutes into the movie we hear a loud crash at the front of the house and the power went out. We jumped up to look out the front door and noticed a large limb had broke off one of the trees and the wind was whipping like crazy. It was scary enough that I actually took the boys down to the basement which we've never retreated to the basement before. Ash was at work, she works about 10 minutes away and I called her to see what it was like over there and told her to wait it out there, not to drive home in this. I was watching the back yard from the sliding doors in the basement and could see the trees just bending from the winds. The wind would suddenly change direction and come towards the house and it was so strong that I'd move away from the sliding doors for fear of them breaking. This storm brought wind gusts in excess of 80 mph.
We didn't have many candles and really thought the power would go on sometime during the night while we were sleeping. I ran down to Kroger after the storm to pick up a few more candles and in the short drive to the store I was shocked at how it looked. It looked like a war zone, broken trees everywhere, some laying in the road, broken telephone polls, downed wires. I have never seen anything like it. Saturday morning is when we started to hear how severe the storm was and the damage it caused and that we possibly would be without power till Wed, then that started to change till Sun/Mon of the next week. We still weren't really believing that we'd be without power for that long. We cleaned up the yard as best we could and headed to Roanoke to find some lunch as most of our restaurants were closed due to no power. We were surprised to find Roanoke the same way. So many restaurants were closed and without electricity. Some that did have power were having problems with their air conditioning. We ate at a Sonic that we found open and decided to head back to Botetourt and look for a hotel to stay the night in and swim. Unfortunately EVERYONE had the same idea and there wasn't a hotel room available ANYWHERE, all through Botetourt, Roanoke, and even an hour in any direction outside. We still were quite clueless about the aftermath of the storm since we had no power/news.
We ended up finding a hotel (thank goodness Nick has wi/fi on his phone)in Roanoke, near the airport. Since we don't really know the area all that well, we figured it can't be too bad, it's near the airport....wrong! NEVER, EVER stay at the Airport Plaza Hotel, ever...it was gross, scary, but it had working a/c. It was dirty and reeked of cigarette smoke, and noticed the cleaning lady cleaning the room next to us while SMOKING! They even have ash trays in the room which surprised me, I thought you couldn't smoke in hotels? We ventured on down to the pool and the pool was the dirtiest public pool I have ever seen so we were all too leery to even swim, as hot as it was. Nick tried and tried to find us another room somewhere else but couldn't. We even considered just ditching the place and going home to sleep in a sweltering house but in the end a/c won and we stayed the night. The next morning as we were leaving we saw a man being arrested and taken out of the hotel by police...yeah, stay far away from the Airport Plaza Hotel. We did find a hotel to stay in for Sunday night in Salem that was much nicer and the pool spotless! Then we came home Monday morning and just decided we'd make the best of the week and it would be like camping and at least the basement stayed cool that we could sleep down there. It was really starting to look like we would be without power until Sunday or Monday like the said we would. Tuesday night I took the boys to the Salem Fair and after a couple of hours received a text that the lights were back on!
We did get our power back on Tuesday evening but so many are still without. We ended up losing everything from the freezer/fridge but are very lucky that we still have a house that is undamaged and nobody was hurt. Yesterday we went to Lynchburg and so many houses that were destroyed because of HUGE trees falling on them.
Ice, water and fuel was in high demand and running out everywhere with people coming as far as West Virginia looking for these necessities since they ran out or couldn't get due to power outages. Some employees at Kroger were telling Nick of a local man who bought the ice that was supposed to be delivered to Kroger and was selling it for $10 a bag. They told him he's pretty well known around here and I would really love to know his name. What a jerk (to put it mildly) but karma will get him in the end, I'm sure. We also saw a billboard on our way back home from Lynchburg yesterday, somewhere between Lynchburg and Bedford on 460. The billboard was an advertisement for Days Inn and someone hung something over the "Days" and painted "Gouge" over it. Gouge Inn. Stories of people taking advantage of others during these times just make me crazy angry. We also were taken advantage of during this. Nick got a phone call from the fraud protection service of our bank. The bank said someone had our card and had charged fuel twice in Philadelphia and also a purchase at a Right Aid in Philadelphia, while we had purchased lunch in Roanoke. Luckily the computer catches these things since we can't be in Philly and Roanoke at the same time. They must have taken the numbers from our bank card and have their own card making racket. We are thinking this could have happened from our gross stay at Roanoke Airport Plaza hotel, or the Howard Johnsons in Salem, or Travelocity. Those are the only sketchy places we were at and used the card. Travelocity was a call center in India. I hate call centers. So beware and check those charges to your bank account carefully!
So that's what's happening around here! Linking up with Nancy and Lisa at Rural Thursday!
Blue Ridge Gal . She stopped by on Saturday to check on us. To offer us her house to come stay in. She called daily to see if I needed anything. She also wanted to make sure Ozzy was keeping cool and even invited him over! There is a special place in Heaven for people like her!