The night Irene hit, I went to bed expecting to wake up to a house with no power and a basement full of water. I figured by morning we’d be surrounded by a moat and the yard would be littered with downed power lines and tree limbs. When I got up to assess the damage, I discovered that both the wind and rain had subsided and it was almost still.
In spite of the relative calm, Annie, my fearless, or maybe neurotic, miniature dachshund, took up her post at the front door. She started her ‘guard’ duty sometime on Tuesday after the earthquake shook the house and stood her ground until the weather returned to normal on Sunday evening.
She stood on her hind legs, front paws positioned on the bottom window sill, her nose pressed against the glass, she cocked her head from one side to the other as she watched and waited. I’m not sure what she was looking for, or what she was going to do about it if she found it, but she was persistent.
Truth is, we were lucky. Aside from the fact that my front yard and the driveway look like an experiment on how to grow kindling, we made it through Irene unscathed. Our preparation paid off and the storm didn’t hit as hard as it might have.
The trench drained the water away from the front of the house and we were in no danger of having to swim through a moat to get the mail or the newspaper. Everything on the porch from the trash cans to the new furniture and even the gas grill survived the driving rain and wicked winds.
We had no flooding and were without power for only a few hours. Our biggest hardships were the mini-fridge starting to defrost in the den and being without cable or internet for seventy-two hours.
It’s an experience I won’t soon forget and not one I want to relive any time soon. It felt like a combination of preparing for the destruction of a tornado combined with the potential for power outages that accompany a blizzard.
We now know how to ‘batten down the hatches.’ Although I’m still trying to figure out why people were stocking up on microwave dinners at the grocery store when the biggest threat of the storm was the possibility of a two-week power outage. We also know that after the storm there will be ‘the morning after’ and life will return to normal even if we have to spend a few hours without internet.
Now for the cleanup; that’s what fifteen year old boys are for, right?