The predictions for this past weekend were ominous…meteorologists and news anchors and politicians warning of the worst hurricane to hit our area in a century. They were talking flooding, damaging winds, possible tornadoes…the word “catastrophic” was used a lot. Basically, they were predicting Armageddon.
A lot of towns around us were hit very hard and many, many people are dealing with quite a mess today. In fact, I hear that this is the worst storm damage in New Jersey in history. At the peak of the storm almost 2,000,000 people were without power in the tri-state area and some don’t expect to get their power back for about a week. People a few towns over had several feet of water on the first floor of their houses. There was a flash flood in a town in upstate NY and Main Street turned into a raging river, trapping people in their houses. There is no commuter train service from Westchester and parts of Long Island. In some places it was definitely a mess.
But we were lucky. For us, Irene was more aggravation than Armageddon. Basically, we had some downed tree limbs and there are leaves everywhere. The power is out in CT, but we never lost power in NY at all. Mostly, this was just a big rain storm. We are so grateful that we didn’t have worse damage.
It’s been a busy few days…getting ready for the storm and getting through it. Even I’m bored by all the details…but I thought I’d share with you all the highlights. So I give you now…
What I Learned During Hurricane Irene…
- You shouldn’t wait until the last possible second to go to the grocery store…because they will be out of water and bread and milk…and Diet Coke. Luckily, we had bread and water and milk. We were only out of soda. It still sucked.
- When the news is on for 30 hours straight, they eventually run out of things to talk about. They also get a little punch drunk and giggly around 3AM.
- Even five feet of water and 30 mile an hour winds don’t stop Chinese food delivery men. One reporter on the news witnessed a delivery taking place in one of the most flooded towns in Westchester.
- Politicians get really mad when they issue mandatory evacuation orders and people ignore them. At one point the governor of NJ was practically cursing at people on TV and I think it was the mayor of NYC that called people “idiots”.
- When there’s nothing to do but drink someone will end up getting so drunk they will fall off a bar stool and hit their head. This happened in a hotel bar in Long Island.
- After 24 hours of stupid questions from reporters, emergency personnel end up losing their patience and giving very uncooperative interviews. There was one firefighter that looked like he was going to hit the reporter with his own microphone.
- If you feel the need to secure your porch roof from flying away in the storm, you might want to secure it BEFORE the high winds and driving rain begin. Also, you might want to make sure you have a step-ladder in your house. This is a very long story, but it ended with J and I standing together on a folding chair with a screw gun and a 2×4 at 2AM. I almost fell off twice and we were both soaking wet when we were finished. But the porch roof stayed intact.
- Sticking to a diet when you are stuck in the house with chocolate cake and chicken fried steak is next to impossible. After securing the porch roof, we were both famished, so I made a pizza…and ate it…at 2:30AM. I probably won’t lose any weight this week.
- A dog that is afraid of the rain will go 20 hours without peeing or pooping during a hurricane. The same dog will poop on the floor if you get home 20 minutes late from work.
- Some people are assholes. During the storm, several cars were broken into and had GPS units and CDs stolen.
- Some people are awesome. It was really nice to see neighbors coming together to help each other out. Not my neighbors, of course…but some people’s.
- If you are going to ask your neighbors for a bolt cutter to get into your house, make sure you have ID to prove that you live there. We went to CT last night after the rain stopped to check out the damage and make sure the house was OK. When I pulled into the driveway and hit the button for the garage door, nothing happened. We had no power. We also had no way to get into the house…because there is a chain on the front door. J went to a neighbor that we’d never met before to ask to borrow bolt cutters to cut the chain and get into the house. The guy was very suspicious…but did eventually give up a hack saw. We were able to get into the house and rescue the freezer full of food before heading back to Westchester and a house with the lights on.
And that’s what I took away from this experience.
If you were affected by the hurricane, I hope you are safe and you didn’t get too much damage.