By 3:30, it was like an inland hurricane out there. My mom was the first in our family to lose power. By 4, one of my sisters had also lost power. By 4:30, when J and Coco went to pick up my mom at her house, there were downed trees blocking roads everywhere. Later reports confirmed that one woman had been killed by a falling tree in my mom's neighborhood. Over a thousand trees went down in the city parks alone. This is tall tree country around here. Ponderosa pines are super tall and just as treacherous when they're falling over. The destruction the next day was insane. It's still insane. School was cancelled for three days. So many houses and cars were smashed by trees. Over 200,000 people lost power.
The house across the street from us was bashed in by a ponderosa at the back. Then, the tricky thing with those tall ponderosas is that the top snaps off after the impact and goes on to cause further damage. The house next door to the house across the street had a huge portion of the roof damaged and the small gable roof over the side door was completely knocked off by top of the ponderosa that snapped off when it hit the other house! The people in the house across the street were renters and the house was uninhabitable after the smash. So the next day, there they were with a U-Haul, just moving out. Crazy.
We were so lucky. We didn't lose power and our house was just fine, except for a few shingles that blew off of the roof and into the backyard. Our house has been like a revolving door ever since. My mom is staying with us. Thankfully, our couch is quite comfortable, she reports. Every morning, my uncle comes for coffee and my sister and cousin have been coming regularly to recharge phones, drink coffee or tea and stay warm.
All afternoon Wednesday, my cousin was here. We didn't sit down and focus on one another like we normally do when we get together. She had a FaceTime call with her boyfriend. She played with Coco and Theo for a bit. She worked on some knitting she had going, and between loads of laundry and scrubbing the bathroom sink, I helped her cast-on and pull it out and cast-on again. While I loaded the dishwasher for the third time, we chatted about one thing and another. As I swept the floor, I noticed from across the room that she was knitting all wrong and we laughed and she pulled it all out and I helped her start again.
I was doing dishes Wednesday evening, feeling so full of love and happiness and I realized, this is what I thought living in Spokane would be like. I thought there would be family around all the time. I thought there would be this constant feeling of togetherness. But it took an historic storm and widespread power outages to make that happen. Why is that? Are our modern lives really that busy? Is it so rude to stop by unannounced that we don't bother anymore? Is anyone ever home anyway?
I'm so grateful for this storm. Granted, we fared very well and didn't suffer in the slightest. But it also gave me a huge dose of love and family closeness that I've been craving. Coco announced at dinner last night that she would like Grandma Joanie to move in forever. We will never forget it.