Exactly 25 Years and Three Months Ago…

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.

Global News (click on the image for article on the comparison between the two ice storms)

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!)





What Happens When You Procrastinate

Last Wednesday I spent the afternoon with my long-lost cousin, Sonya, and when he got home from work, her hubby, Gilles.  A mere one-hour drive and I was back in a winter wonderland.  Yes, granted, this is ski country but still.  It was a shock.  Sonya and Gilles live way out in the boonies but once you get there, one discovers a little slice of paradise.  Let’s face it, if one chooses to live here, one accepts the weather that comes with.  Somehow I did not take a decent picture of the humans so I have stolen this picture from my cousin’s FB page.

Lace, Eagle and Sonya on Lac Dominique

We hadn’t seen each other in fifteen years and honestly, I don’t know who was happier to reconnect.  So I’ll say it was in equal measure and now that we have refound each other, we are not letting this happen again.

We went for a walk on the lake, basically in her backyard, which turned out to be quite the adventure.  We learnt to walk where the snow was packed otherwise we sunk down (up?) past our knees!  The dogs had a blast chasing each other and getting their freak on.  Too bad the sun only occasional peeked out so, forgive me for the crap photos.  To give you an idea just how big these beasts are, below is Eagle just standing next to the kitchen counter…

I regaled them with my “Mick” stories and it was determined that I have a talent in telling stories – such a polite way of saying I hog the conversation, albeit at their urging, dontcha think?

Skip ahead a few days and it brings us to Saturday.  Sitting in my office, doing computer work, I spotted movement in my little tree/bush.  Managed to grab my camera and capture these two from my window before they flew off.  There was a party going on but opening my window scared most of ’em off.  As you can see, the female wasn’t so read to step out into the open, so to speak.  My knowledge of birds is extensive. Red bird, not a robin, female, not so colourful.

Sunday.  The day I was going to post but then did, whatever it was that I did, besides post.  Which means my post about the beautiful spring weather has become something else entirely.  Because, well, you’ll see.  Sunday was gorgeous!  I had no more snow on my front lawn (advantages to living on the sunny side of the street) and Zeke and I were going to take advantage of this 11ºC (52ºF) and go for a good walk.  I figured our usual destinations would be rather mucky so, where to go?  I decided on the Parc de la Freyère, completely forgetting that there was a birding thing going on.  On our way there, I passed by the streets in my old ‘hood and could hear a major loon partay going on.  What a ruckus!  We stopped and yep, there they were hanging out on the bit of ice still or swimming – Canada geese.  Trying to get Zeke to not scare them off, we made our way quietly.  I managed to snap a few pics but it didn’t take long.  They were on to us and took off like the hounds of Hades were after them.  I’m not what you would call a nature photographer but I tried.  They were quick and I just clicked away and prayed.

The damage done, we continued on our way to the park.  There were quite a few birders there with their big-ass telephoto lenses (I look kinda poor with my 75-300mm lens but hey, better than nothing!)

Now THAT’S how you get great shots…

But I did manage to capture a woodpecker – sure it has a formal name.

There were more Canada Geese raising hell but nothing to write home about.

And then came Monday.  Rain.  Freezing rain.  Electricity goes out at 8 am.  I start work at 9 am.  Thankfully I don’t need to blow-dry my hair and it’s bright enough, sorta, outside to do my face, what little I do, do.  First day of work.  Great. I have to scrape my car.  It is April friggen 8th!  Whatevs.  Get to work, meet the new peeps, do my day, all goes well and leave by 4 pm.  (By the way, electricity came back on at about 12:30, I’m told.)

Walk outside.  What?  I come out from work to see this?

OK, OK.  It’s April.  We know foolish things can happen in this month.

Then today happens.  Andrea and I decide to go for breakfast.  It’s chilly.  Back into the negatives.  Sigh. Put on a thicker coat and off we go.  Enjoying a nice breakfast with endless cups of coffee and look outside.  What in the name of all that is holy is that white shit falling like it was bloody Christmas Eve?  For realz?

Umm… April SHOWERS bring May flowers, my ass.

Sorry folks, apparently we are gonna skip that shit this year.