Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Baby Shower Without Power

The final event of our four month long celebratory season was Amy B.'s baby shower up at Jane and Dale's house in NH last Saturday, and let me just say that this year's Fowler Family Festivus Fiesta definitely ended with a bang!

It started Thursday night with a huge storm that hung in the air circling above all of New England and the Mid-Atlantic states. One weather forecaster was calling it a "Snowicane." Down in NYC, Amy and Roger were getting snow and were worrying about their Friday travel plans, as well as all the other people travelling in to NH for the party. Up in Boston, we were just getting torrential rain and howling winds, so Mike starting calling it a "Rainicane." (Although, isn't that what a regular old hurricane is?) Our neighbors were supposed to be taking the train to NY the next morning and leaving their boys with me for a few hours until their grandma could come pick them up, so we went to bed worrying more about how our morning was going to go than the fate of the baby shower.

Friday dawned dry and sunny. Our expensive new roof was right where it ought to be. The basement was dry. The trees were vertical. Owen and Charlie showed up bright and early and everything seemed to be right on track. But right in the middle of four kids under school age gleefully dismantling my home, Jane called to tell me that they had no power - and therefore also no well water or heat. They were unable to even leave town as all roads out were blocked by road crews. Uncle Bob and Aunt Sandy were grounded in Albany and not sure how to get out. Amy and Roger were thankfully still on their way up, but would anyone else be able to make it? Would there be a party at all when they arrived? How were they even going to be able to pick up the cake? I could hear the stress in Jane's voice.

Birons to the rescue!! The Fowler's dear old friends the Birons showed up with a generator and even fixed up part of the roof that was damaged and took Ana for a sleepover. When we showed up Saturday morning, Bob and Sandy were there (having rented a car and driven in), and Amy and Roger, Whit and Brian, and Laura and Clifton (Amy's friends who were hosting) had all made it in the night before. Coffee was made, flower arrangements were on the tables, a fire was lit in the fireplace, Clam Chowder was warming on the grill outside (and it was delicious!), the cake was displayed, the snow was shoveled, and people were headed out to pick up the hot food that had been ordered. The generator was able to keep the lights, heat, and water on. Everything turned out beautifully and only a few people didn't make it in the end. The falling snow outside gave the house a lovely snow globe appearance. Only when night started to fall and you could see that the neighborhood was unusually dark all around us did it seem that something was wrong. It was the best baby shower with or without electricity I've ever been to!

Our only failure ("our" referring exclusively to me and Mike) was a fairly foolish decision that we made while basking in the glory of all this success. By the end of the day, the girls were exhausted and ready for bed early. We toyed with the idea of heading for home, but we had brought our overnight stuff just in case the power came back on. Everyone encouraged us to stay as we were all having so much fun and we rarely all got to spend time together, so we decided to stay. We really did have a great evening and stayed up late into the night drinking and chatting. We joked that we were setting ourselves up for disaster because the girls were surely going to wake up at 4 am and we'd suffer. Ha. Then as we got up to go to bed, we realized that they were going to have to turn the generator OFF while we were all sleeping. No heat. No lights. Buckets of water by the toilets to flush them. All the food went into ice chests in the garage. Yikes. We slipped into bed and prayed for an uneventful night. No luck. Both girls were awake for HOURS, Kate screaming for part of that time. We never did figure out what was wrong with her. Mike and Jane were out in the garage with flashlights looking for milk. People were bedded down all over the house, and I don't know how any of them got any sleep, especially Jeannette and Ana who had to get up super early for their flight home. Luckily, the house did stay remarkably warm. We toyed with the idea of just packing up and leaving at one point, but Maggie was actually asleep by then. But we made it to morning, and once the sun was up everything seemed much less dire. Oh well. I guess we've probably just ruled out camping with the girls any time soon as a vacation option.

The Fowlers are still without power, but it's got to be a lot easier now without a house full of people. Amy and Roger headed home with a carload of lovely new baby gear. And we hear that all the guests made it home safely with no problems. Good memories were made.

We also are at home now, safe and sound, and March - the month of quiet recuperation - has begun. Thank god for March!

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