Friday was weird.
It was Gal Smiley’s birthday, so I was going to make cupcakes, and pizza pockets from scratch for dinner. And I did that. We were going to send the cupcakes with her to Pathfinder camp, which was supposed to be that evening in tents at Camp Woolsey, which is Dunrobin, about a half hour from here.
All day long the weather got weirder and weirder. It was very windy, and cloudy. They said a thunderstorm was coming in. Some of the moms in the Pathfinder unit were worried about the tents, but Girl Guides are a hardy bunch so they planned to go anyway, and we were fine with it.
Then we got a tornado warning on our phones, which frankly I thought was overkill. I wondered if we were going to get one every time there was a bit of windy weather around here. We haven’t had a tornado in Ottawa as long as I’ve lived here.
It’s not exactly Kansas.
But due to the warning, the guide leaders decided not to go up to camp after all, but rather to head up first thing in the morning.
Now we were home with Gal Smiley on her birthday, and no plans. So we ate a few of the cupcakes and let her pick out a movie to rent.
Ten minutes into the movie we lost power – along with most of Ottawa.
And about that same time, a tornado touched down in Dunrobin, minutes from the camp, destroying several houses and businesses.
So it was a weird night. We spent her birthday in candlelight. The kids built a fort. We played some cards. We ate ALL the cupcakes. We checked the Hydro Ottawa Twitter feed compulsively on our phones.
We were grateful our brand new fourteen-year-old was not at camp in a tent.
Then we all went to bed early because it was dark, and it’s weird how your body starts to think about sleep when it’s dark and there are no glowing screens to keep you distracted from your own exhaustion.
By the next morning our power was up, but it was still out a few streets over from us – we had no idea until this event how localized power supply can be. Some in our local neighbourhood were without power for a full 48 hours. Some parts of Ottawa are STILL without power, and it’s been almost three days.
The camp was cancelled.
It does make you think, about how plans can change, about how the earth is a mysterious place, about how lucky we were to be at home and together on the Blackout Birthday.
Hopefully wherever you are, you are safe and warm and well fed, too.