But, no reason to change our plans. Eden went to Amah's, and Nathan and I headed to the conference. The sleet kept coming down, and by the time we went to lunch, there was probably an inch of ice on the windshield. We went to a local bar and grill which had the TV on to local news, all of which was about the sleet and ice and the damage it was doing. The central part of town (where we live) was hit the hardest because that's where most of the mature trees are. At one point I even caught a glimpse of our house as the news showed a picture of a car damaged by falling branches.
Although we had several offers from friends to stay at their houses, we decided to try to weather the storm in our own house. So that evening we pulled out the blankets and the candles and were thankful that the Kindle's battery was fully charged. All schools (Seminary, USF, and Robert Frost) were closed on Wednesday, so we slept late and then went to eat lunch with some friends who still had power. But by then we were ready to throw in the towel, so we went home, packed our bags, and headed to the home of one of Nathan's colleagues. They have a fully finished basement which they gave entirely to us, and we ended up staying there until Saturday night, which is how long it took for the city to get our power back on. School across the city was cancelled for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (amazing!), and given the circumstances, we had a very nice time staying with the Stricklands. The kids especially loved it since there was no school, there was lots of tv, and every morning Gary made pancakes and bacon and sausage just for them. When we finally did go home on Saturday night Z said, "Let's just dump our home." And just before bed I found him weeping into the couch pillows. When I asked him what was wrong he wailed, "I want to live at the Strickland's!" We are so thankful for their generosity in sharing their house and time with us!
The damage done to the trees of Sioux Falls was incredible. On Thursday Nathan dropped me off at our house to do a few things while he took the kids to the Seminary. I walked the four blocks from our house the Seminary, and it was eerie. Creaking and falling branches, streets and sidewalks littered with branches, many of them large, trees literally split down the middle, and people out in the streets with chainsaws. One newspaper headline said, "Grief over trees palpable in Sioux Falls." How the prairie dwellers love their trees!
It has been cold and snowy every since. We had 5 inches of snow this past Wednesday, and it snowed again yesterday afternoon. Oh spring, where are you???
You can see the branches piled around the trunks of the trees, waiting for the city to come pick them up. There are piles of branches like this up and down all the streets of central Sioux Falls. The clean up will probably take a couple of months.