Monday, August 29, 2011

Weathering The Storm

This picture is of a pier in Ocean City, MD after Hurricane Irene came through this past weekend bringing heavy rains and 60mph winds. I don't have a picture of my own to share with you because Ocean City was evacuated 2 days before Irene was predicted to hit. Ocean City is a little over an hour from where I live on the MD/DE line. Many of the weather predictions were calling for the worst part of the hurricane to hit right where I live.

Thankfully, Wednesday was my regular grocery shopping day and I was able to get a few extra things to have on hand in case the hurricane was going to be as devastating as the weather forecasters were saying it would be. I got extra bread, peanut butter, crackers, some bottled water, batteries and ice. If the storm was to knock out our power we'd still be able to see in the dark, have food to eat, water to drink and ice to keep refrigerated foods cold in a large cooler if needed.

The day Irene was anticipated to hit Maryland I was ready. The rain started at my house around 9am and it was just a drizzle. Charlie spent the morning working in the garage and I was in the house getting last minute prep done like making sure all the laundry was done, dishes were washed and some food was cooked that could be served cold/room temp (if needed). I vacuumed, got candles ready and put new batteries in the big flash light.

Around noon Charlie came inside. The rain wasn't any heavier at that point, but, he helped me finish some prep. Charlie went to the store to get some charcoal for our grill in the off chance we'd be w/o power for a day or two (he also got another loaf of bread and a box of doughnuts). On his way home Charlie stopped by our neighbors house to see if he needed anything. Our neighbor had a few 5 gallon water coolers (like the kind sports teams use for water/Gatorade) and let us borrow one to fill with water. Charlie filled the water cooler and then the tub.

We were ready for the worst hoping for the best and even thinking all the prep would have been overkill. The rain continued to fall. We sat around the house watching TV, periodically checking the news to see where Irene was and the impact it was having on the coast where we live. We were actually beginning to get bored with it all since nothing significant was happening. The day faded as evening approached. The kids got their showers, I made dinner and got the kiddies ready for bed. Everyone was tucked in by 9pm and Charlie and I found stuff to watch on TV. The rain was getting heavier and the wind was picking up slightly. So far, nothing worse then any other storm we've had before.

I remember thinking I'd be pretty disappointed if this hurricane turned out to be nothing more then just a long day of rain. By 1am Charlie and I were tired of watching the news and went to bed. We awoke around 5:30am to our son, John, yelling that he couldn't turn on his bedroom light and didn't like the dark. Our power was out. I grabbed the flashlight next to my side of the bed and guided John to get his spongebob couch, blanket and pillow and get set up to sleep on the floor on my side of the bed in my room. That was good enough for him. He got settled in and I called Choptank to report the power outage so we'd be in their system.

Around 9am our power came back on for a few minutes and we got excited. It was short lived and went out again a few minutes later. Fortunately it was morning and the daylight was enough to go on about our day. Church was cancelled as a precautionary measure. There was a heavy breeze lingering so we opened all the windows, the front door and sliding glass door in Charlie's and my room so the house wouldn't get hot and stuffy. Thanks to Charlie's thinking the day before we had doughnuts for breakfast.

The kids were busy playing with building blocks, playing tag, hide-n-seek and general goofing around. Charlie and I got in on some tickling fun with the kids. I called various family members to check in on how they fared through the storm and text a couple friends to see how they were doing. Lunchtime rolled around and I was going to make sandwiches for everyone. Charlie said he was in the mood for a sub from a store in the next town. I found the number and Charlie called to see if they were open. The store was open and taking orders. Charlie called in a sub for himself, a sub for me and nuggets and fries for the kids and went to go pick up the food. We enjoyed our lunch and a little while later Charlie went outside with John and Jessi to pick up broken branches that were knocked loose from trees around our property.

Charlie noticed that our neighbor was home from the place he stayed the night before and we all went over to visit with him and his girlfriend. She made us iced coffee and gave the kids some snacks. Tabytha was excited because Nick let her feed the goats, sheep and llamas all by herself. A portion of Nicks house is underground and had flooded but there was nothing to be done about it until the power was restored so the sump pump could work to flush out the water from the basement.

Then we heard it. Water gushing into the yard. That meant one thing. The electricity was back on and the sump pump was working. Charlie went to our house to get his wet/dry vac from the garage to help get the water out of Nick's basement faster and called our buddy, Harold, and asked him to bring his wet/dry vac over, too. About an hour later most of the water was gone except for some mopping to finish the cleanup. Nick decided to let it wait and we decided to go out to dinner at a chinese buffet we all like up in Dover.

Charlie, the kids and I went home to get cleaned up and headed out with Nick, Ria, Leo and Harold to get dinner. After dinner we all said our good nights and headed home. Got the kids to bed, then Charlie and I watched some tv and went to bed.

Looking back I may have been "overly prepared", but, at least I know we were ready for whatever came. Praise the Lord our house stayed in tact and we suffered no flooding of our own. The only inconvenience was most of a day without power and even that wasn't that bad.

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