wind, tulips, fire and hail

Well, this weekend was not short on excitement.


I woke up on Friday morning to the sound of fierce winds and rain and knew that Bob’s flight would be canceled. Or at least hoped. I really didn’t want him flying in one of those tiny commuter planes in this kind of weather. In an ideal world, the weather would clear and he could land at 10:00 AM as planned. But no. Not today. Flight canceled.

He hopped a shuttle from SeaTac that would take him to the ferry terminal in Anacortes. There he’d walk onto the ferry and I would pick him up in Friday Harbor. A long delay, but these are the things you deal with when you choose to live on a remote island.

Want to know another thing you deal with when you live on a remote island? Power outages. We’ve experienced them before. No big deal.

Around 9:45 the lights flickered, then went out and all was quiet. No more roaring sound of the furnace. No heat. No lights. No internet. As soon as the power went out, I took my breakfast up to the bedroom and crawled back under the covers where I would stay warm. No big deal. I could handle this. I could always go to town if things got too cold out here in the house.

I was somehow able to text Bob to let him know that the power was out. A minute later the hamburger rang. The hamburger is a phone that my little brother and sister gave me for Christmas a couple years ago. It’s the only phone in this house that works during a power outage because it’s the only one that’s not cordless.

So the hamburger rang and I answered. It was Bob suggesting that I meet him on the mainland just for fun. Since the power was out anyway. I suggested we go see the tulips in La Conner. The Tulip Festival was going on and I’d been wanting to see it. Plus, I had heard that La Conner was a really cute town and only a 15 minute drive from Anacortes. So with our new plan cemented, I raced to get out of the house and to the ferry.

On my way to the ferry, I stopped at the Opalco offices to pay our power bill and inquire about the outage. I was told that it was county-wide. The entire county was without power! See, the power to the islands is supplied by Anacortes. When the line is cut or disabled (I’m so not technical,) it cuts off all of San Juan County. Which means of course, no power in town. No power anywhere on the island. It was, in my mind, a good time to hit the mainland.

The ferry ride wasn’t terribly rough, but was definitely tossing us about especially through the straights of Anacortes. It was by far the roughest ride I’ve been on so far.

We (Pablo and I) found Bob right away, scooped him up and drove to La Conner. Everyone was right. It’s adorable. There we had a leisurely lunch and just relaxed. Bob drank some kind of Pale Ale that I smelled. I do this. Whenever he gets a glass of wine or a beer I ask, “Can I smell it?” And then I inhale the aroma and somehow that’s good enough. It’s a pregnant lady thing. So I sniffed his beer and… Okay, I also sipped it. Just a sip. It was yummy.


Next on the agenda: tulips. My thinking was that because of the terrible (cold & blustery) weather, we wouldn’t have to contend with massive crowds that normally terrorize the tulips. I was right. But we did have to contend with the horrible weather. Bob was not happy about this. Apparently he wasn’t as thrilled about seeing tulips as I was. Hmmm.

It was seriously frigid. The wind was cutting. I don’t know how the tulips survived. You can see them leaning in the wind.

I wanted to be able to walk the entire fields. But that wasn’t happening. Bob might have divorced me if I insisted on that and I wasn’t in the mood to get wind burn on the only exposed part of my body: my face. So we agreed, one last photo and we’d head back to the car…

Back on the ferry we heard that several ferries had been canceled due to the weather. The ferry we planned to catch was actually canceled which meant we were stuck on the “local” stopping at every island. Bob slept while I finished reading Middlesex, which by the way is a remarkable book. By the time we got home, the power was on. Our kitchen clock was flashing 8:23. Which means that it had been back for 8 hours and twenty-three minutes, right?


It wasn’t until Saturday that we heard about the fire in Anacortes. Apparently early Friday morning there was an explosion at the oil refinery that killed five workers. This had nothing to do with the power outage. Or the weather. Just a terrible tragedy I thought worth mentioning. I have no idea what the environmental implications following an explosion like this. But they don’t seem good.


We spent Saturday morning in Roche Harbor walking Pablo and enjoying the nice weather. It’s amazing how the weather changes day to day. Sometimes hour to hour. Or mile to mile.

After our morning at Roche, we headed into town to look at lawnmowers. This is a fifteen minute drive. As we were headed into town we passed a car covered in what looked like snow. I asked Bob if he’d seen it. He hadn’t. I thought perhaps it was my imagination. Until we got into Friday Harbor proper and the whole town was blanketed in white.

It was hail. According to the owners of Harbor Rental, it came down so hard they couldn’t even hear anything inside. I don’t have pictures, but Ian over at does.

Oh- we didn’t have one drop of hail out at the house and we’re only ten miles outside of town.

Sunday Bob was clear for take-off. But before he left, we enjoyed a little bit of Easter together at South Beach.

This is South Beach…

And this is Pablo at South Beach…

(that’s his happy face.)

If anything, the events of this weekend gave me a greater respect for this island. It’s “bigger” than we are. It can be just as hard to get here as it is to leave (like LOST… sort of.) I feel this sense of empowerment living in a place like this that is so subject to the elements. At the same time I feel small. Like I do when I watch the ocean raging in the face of a storm. It’s alive… and so am I.

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7 Responses

  1. Cute pic of you guys. You can barely see your eyes.
    I did the same thing with the smelling. Funny.
    and..maybe sips too. 🙂 Can’t wait to see you.

    • We look like such dorks! Can’t wait to see you too!

  2. Great re-cap post. Tulips, ah, so amazing over there, eh? Did you eat at Seeds? Love it. Glad my hubby restored your power.

    Amazing such a tiny island surrounds itself with so many elements. Never a dull moment in this corner of the country – this rural corner… Way to capture it all.

    I have crazy hail pic, and après hail with little ladies sledding down Spring Street.

    • Jenn, I thought about your hubby when the power went out. I thought to myself, “Well, looks like Luke will be busy today.” At Opalco they said some trees were down on the lines and they were removing those. So I assume Luke was removing trees from power lines that day, yes? I’m glad your hubby restored our power too. Tell him thanks from the Walkers.

      I’d love to see your hail pics. Seriously, sledding?

  3. Steph,
    I love those tulips!
    What is it about the Northwest and hail storms???? I remember one in Portland that was at least 6 in deep…I have never experienced that in the midwest!

  4. LOL! I’ve never seen anyone so grumpy at the tulips! 😉

    Stopped by to see how life on the island is treating you. I know that winter in the Northwest can be a trial. I’m glad you’ve made it thru to the otherside.

    You look fantabulous preggers!

    Lots of Warm Wishes,

    Rachelle (Magpie Girl)

  5. […] Stephanie for blogging about tulips and providing the inspiration for our family […]

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