Monday, August 29, 2011

Weekend highlights

I was scheduled to work on Sat but I got a call at 8am letting me know the office was going to be closed. Turns out the Governor requested all businesses in our area to close on Sat so that employees could evacuate or at least prepare for the arrival of hurricane Irene. All non-essential driving was banned.

Vacationers were told NOT to come or try to check into their hotels or homes on Sat, and residents who live within .75 miles from water (ocean, bays, tidal lagoons, etc.) were told to evacuate further inland. We checked with our neighbors and found that none of them were evacuating because "we live .8 miles from the beach".

Spouse & I didn't want to evacuate anyway. Although it might have been fun to hang out with friends at their house, no one knew how long it might be before we could return to our house. Would it be a day? A couple days? A week? Remembering what it was like after hurricane Katrina, we just didn't want to impose on friends for an unknown amount of time. Plus we have Jordan the dog. It might have been easier to stay with friends if it were just the 2 of us, but bringing a dog along seems like a much bigger favor to ask. But mostly I didn't want to evacuate because I wanted to be here to try and fix something relatively small so it didn't turn into something huge. For instance, if a tree limb crashed through a 2nd or 3rd story window, I could throw the limb outside and cover the window up, preventing hours and hours of rain from coming in the window, ruining the wood floor and drywall on that level and the one below it.

So we made the decision to stay. Spouse went to the grocery store several times and purchased food that didn't require refrigeration or cooking, like Poptarts, pretzels, apples, and cookies. He also bought 24 bottles of water, a box of 16 candles, and 2 lighters. Seeing the box of 16 candles I asked him "Instead of 16 small candles, why didn't you just buy 1 of those large jar candles?" to which he responded enthusiastically "Oh, I did!"

My husband, the drama queen.

So while it rained and the wind began to pick up we watched TV and ate. Then at 6:15pm on Sat the electricity went out. Shortly thereafter Steven called us to say that a tornado had touched down about 2 miles from our house, destroying 1 home and damaging several others. Ironically, after having an earthquake on Tues. and the the hurricane on Sat. folks had joked "What next - locusts?" No, a tornado!!

The news of the tornado nearby amped up Spouse's anxiety level and he declared that we needed to prepare a "safe room". He informed me that we should find a place nearest the center of the house on the 1st floor with no windows and be prepared to seek refuge there if we heard or suspected a tornado. I usually accuse him of over-reacting and he usually accused me of under-reacting so this time I just decided to 'go with it'. I told him the closet in the TV room was the best place. Using a flashlight he removed the vacuum cleaner and carpet cleaner stored in the closet and placed bottled water, candles, and a knife in the closet.

"Ummm, exactly what is the knife for?" I asked him, picturing the 2 of us trapped in the closet for weeks and weeks after a devastating tornado, him being forced to stab me to death and eat me to save his own life.

"Oh, that's just in case... the door got jammed and we needed to cut the drywall to get out" he replied. Thank goodness it was dark and he didn't see me giving him a suspicious eye.

Once the "safe room" was prepared we returned to the living room and sat in silence. Just the sound of the relentless pouring rain and the leaves being raped by the wind. It was only 9pm or so but I started getting sleepy so I laid on the couch and dozed off a few times. Spouse got his mp3 player and listened to news reports on the radio. I was awakened over and over again by text messages from friends who'd seen the news report of the tornado or were simply concerned about us being so close to the coast with Irene. I assured them we were fine and were prepared. At 11:30 I suggested we go upstairs to bed but Spouse said we should remain on the main floor, near the "safe room", until the eye of the storm had passed us at 1am. Apparently he'd heard this on the radio. So I dozed off again, still on the sofa, until I was awakened again by a friend checking on us. At 1am we went upstairs and climbed into bed with our flashlight and cellphones on the night stand.

Sun morning the electricity came back on at 8:30am. It was still raining a little but you could tell the worst had passed and the clouds wanted to break up. Eventually they did. We went outside to assess the situation and were a bit surprised but happy to find our house and our neighbors' houses intact. We had definitely been spared. We learned that the hurricane had shifted a bit to the east so the more destructive winds were over the water instead of over the coastline.

The driving ban was lifted at 10am but the decision had been made to keep the office closed on Sun so we met up with Steven & Thad and drove to the beach. Again I was surprised that the water wasn't more wild and that the waves weren't as high, but it was low tide. It could have been a very different scenario if Irene hadn't shifted to the east or if Irene had arrived during high tide.

So, within 1 week we had an earthquake, a hurricane, and a tornado! Shouldn't we get some sort of award for that?


Bugsy said...

Loved the post! Glad you all made it through!

anne marie in philly said...

I am so glad you are safe and well, and did not experience any serious damage to your lovely home. I am also glad my other new friends in DE are well.

so, no saketumi on saturday? or the blue moon? bwhahahaha!

smooches to all of you survivors!