January 5, 1998, I was quite pregnant with my eldest (he would arrive March 31 – almost three weeks late). And our world froze. For some, there was no electricity for over three weeks. For us, it ended up being over two weeks.
My sister Lisa chose to haul her three toddlers up to my mother’s, because, even though she had no electricity either, they were better equipped to handle things. Plus, misery in company always goes a long way.
My sister Tracy was also pregnant with her eldest (arrived May 28) and, living next to the refineries, was only without power for less than 24 hours so we were invited to stay with them, bringing our dog, Chakotay, along. We had just bought a quarter cow and half a pig so there was meat galore… Iain and Nicolas definitely were not lacking in iron! Sébastien told us that we were welcome to bunk with them any time if it meant eating like kings like that! We ended up burying lots of it in the snow and ice and lost nothing. My houseplants did not fare so well. Every last one of them froze to death.
Unfortunately, I did not venture out to take my own pictures of that crazy time. There were no risks to take. We ended up staying with my sister and her hubby for two weeks, in all.
Fast forward twenty-five years and three months to the day.
On Wednesday morning, April 5, 2023, I had a job interview at 11:00. It had started raining just before I left – a freezing rain. By the time I got out of the interview, around 11:30, this was the state of the cars in the parking lot.
After scraping off my windows (quite a sight, surely) while trying to hold my umbrella and finally deciding “screw that!” and shoving it in the car, I caught my breath, drove the five minutes home and was ever grateful for my garage because no way was I leaving my car out in that!
Before closing the garage door, I had to take this. My goodness, not an hour of rain had created this!
Just before 1:00 pm, I stuck my camera through my back and front doors to capture these:
Around 4 pm, I heard “BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!” and the lights went out. Surely they were transformers blowing up left, right and centre. Crap. I was pulled back to the windows then, and again later, to get more shots. It was so impressive to watch the ice accumulate.
The lights came back on five minutes later and I sighed in relief. Made myself a lovely pasta supper and enjoyed my date night. Till 8 pm. And that was it. Lights out.
I woke up to still no power and was grateful I had already filled up my wood bin so I got a good fire going. Then I was grateful that I insisted I get myself a gas stove so was able to make myself coffee and breakfast.
I decided to go for a morning walk, to capture the results of this crazy weather phenomenon before it all melted away. I was not disappointed. The frozen branches, the unfortunate broken ones lying all over the place (nothing compared to the pictures I saw of Montreal), the fog. It was all surreal.
As I was photographing the trees (it is SO hard to choose which ones to share) I heard a splash. Darn! I missed the landing of this lovely couple!
I just wish the day was not so grey. Then again, if it had been sunny, I would have had nothing to photograph! And this would not have popped quite in the same manner.
I was walking through one of my favourite parks to run through, on my way to my friend Linda’s to catch up, see if she was also without power and if she needed anything. Her neighbour and neighbour’s neighbour suffered damages to their trees.
After chatting with Linda for a bit, and helping her bring in some wood, I left her to enjoy her book and returned home.
It’s crazy. As I was returning home, through the same park, I was struck by the sounds. Just so you know, this is NOT rain!
Of course, I did not dilly-dally under any branches during the filming; nor during my walk! There were no chances to take! As I turned towards home, the fog really came in.
Hard to believe that by my 3:00 pm run, there was not a single sign of the ice from that very morning. (And I was still without power.)
Was happy to go to my sister Tracy’s and brother-in-law’s for supper, along with my mother (hardly ran out of power) and my sister, Lisa (whose power had come back) and her hubby. Just before returning home, we checked the Hydro-Quebec site and it showed that power had been restored in my home. Hallelujah!
Way to end this saga! (To this date, there are still people without power. What in the blessed hell is up with that?)
I know I went a little overboard with the photo exposé and I thank you for sticking with me to the end! I just had to share this with you all. (And, this is just a small sample of the 200+ photos I took!)