Monday, August 29, 2011

Home at last

What a weekend, one for the record books for sure. First, back to Friday. As you may know I did not want to evacuate, I wanted to stay home in my own home and ride out the storm. I’ve been riding out hurricanes most of my life and had no intention of doing otherwise for Irene.

My boys had different thoughts. Jonathon started nagging us on Wednesday to come up to his place in Newark and Michael joined in on Friday asking us to come to Maryland. Then the governor ordered evacuations for everyone 3/4 of a mile from a major waterway… which did not include us they nagged more. Then he changed his orders to 1 1/2 miles, and although that still did not include us, the constant nagging of the boys got to me. We packed up important papers and life time memories (small binder of old family videos) and packed the car. Last things in the car were computers, Mufasa and finally us. We headed up Route One along will several million other people, or so it seemed from the traffic, making a normal 1 1/2 hour trip take 3 hours. But we arrived safely which was what counted.

The next day we were pretty much glued to the TV watching coverage of the hurricane. It didn’t start raining until after dinner time, and although it was windy, it was hardly what I considered hurricane force winds. We were very prepared for what the power companies had told us would be up to five days of power outages… we had two generators, about five days worth of gas for at least one of them, and lots of food, including our favorite snacks. Steph and I did a lot of talking and John and Jonathon spent a lot of time preparing the thousands of gallons of fish and corals for the outage.

At 1AM power was still on and Irene was just leaving Virginia. But I couldn’t keep my eyes open so I went to bed. Two and a half hours later Mufasa woke me up and when I reached for the light to see what his problem was I figured it out… the power was out. The guys were checking the tanks, they were running safely on battery, so they decided to wait until daylight to turn on a generator, which I’m sure the neighbors appreciated. About 7 Jonathon went to check the tanks and the basement was wet… the tanks were good but their basement’s sump pump didn’t have a battery back up and it wasn’t working at all.

So one generator was turned on and the sump pump hooked up to it, then fish tanks to save the batteries, then the frig. Then a neighbor knocked on the door, they had two feet of water in their basement and were carrying it out in buckets, could they please hook up their sump pump to the generator, then another neighbor.

While this was all going on, I was on the lap top keeping track of the storm via the local Philadelphia CBS affiliate, and our local CBS affiliate here at home. That and frequent calls to John’s Dad and Arden kept us up on home and the rest of the world. Power came back on around 1PM and the clean up began. Steph crashed from exhaustion sometime in the afternoon and napped for a few hours, as did John. Jonathon kept sucking up water with the shop vac and keeping the sump pump going, then finally fans and the dehumidifier to try to dry things up. Finally we all relaxed over dinner and sat down for some good face to face chatting. We all went to bed extremely exhausted and thankful for a safe Irene adventure.

FYI, power never went off here at home, not once. Michael and Kelly in Maryland lost power early Saturday and still didn’t have it when we talked at 9PM last night. As we drove home this afternoon I saw very little damage until we turned off the main road. First sign was one of those HUGE rolled bales of hay parked on someone’s front lawn on the opposite side of the road from the field it belonged in. Then more and more trees down, some pretty large ones too. On the corner to our street there were missing trees, broken branches all over the yard.

Neighbor's damage, click to enlarge

Our neighbor across the street had a tree split right down the middle… I was terrified of what I would see when I pulled in our driveway….

Nothing. Just a few small branches on the lawn. The spot on the back porch that ALWAYS gets wet when we have a strong nor-easter was dry, and there was nothing out of the ordinary here at all.
Our home from the end of the driveway, safe and sound!
Yes, we could have stayed home. Yes there was no damage. But I know for a fact that the Miller family whose home was hit by the tornado that touched down a few miles from here said they were glad the governor had ordered evacuations. And I know that my boys were thankful we were not home when that tornado went through with Irene, and they didn’t have to worry about us. And I know that Jonathon probably could have handled the mess they had in their home without his Dad… but having him there made it a lot easier.

I hope that like me everyone else was only inconvenienced by Irene but made it through with just stories to tell.

4 comments:

  1. SO glad you made it safely home, and only had to deal with WET and power issues. This too shall pass! Some trucks from our local power co. here in Minnesota are out in Connecticut and Vermont right now, love how people pull together. Take care, Marge!

    - Mary

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for posting this. We have a cabin in VT that we got word on just a couple of hours ago. It is dry but all around us is total devastation. To know that you could go to a shelter and be safe versus the unknown is a small price to pay. For all those people that say the storm was 'over hyped' I say I bet those people that flooded or lost their lives don't think that! SO glad you and yours are SAFE!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow, sounds like a very busy time and I know the kids sure appreciated the help!

    ReplyDelete
  4. marge, we were fortunate as well, only lost our power for 3 hours in the afternoon on sunday; we are very thankful as i am sure you are also.

    ReplyDelete

Comments are moderated because of spam.
Thanks for understanding,
Marge