Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Calm Before (and After) the Storm

"Hope for the best and prepare for the worst." You hear that all the time, but no more often than the last several days here in New England. An Atlantic hurricane named Irene was gunning for us and she had the meteorological folks all a-twitter. Literally. I'm not one who is easily alarmed, but by last night, I started to get a little concerned: our house is surrounded by large, swaying trees and strings of electrical wires. We sit in the middle of a downhill bank and water streams past our house during every rainstorm. What would a full-fledged hurricane do to our basement? Also, I had a house full of people: my parents up from Florida and my 7-months pregnant daughter and her husband. Their plans were to all go together up to Maine, but Irene canceled their trip by Thursday night.

So, here we all were. By Friday night, the warnings were posted and we were stocking the larder; mini marshmallows and Teddy Grahams. I had baby shower favors to make and being stuck in the house because of a storm seemed like an opportune time to get them done - especially as I now had a small workforce trapped with me! Angelo and I still had some clients yesterday morning, but we were done by noon. Okay...Hurricane Prep time.

We took down all the hanging pots and lanterns. We secured loose cushions and gardening implements and stowed the porch furniture in the back underneath the garage. The AC unit in our bedroom was removed and shoved in the office and we didn't remember to shut the storm windows (duh....STORM windows...) until 11pm. Dinner was easy - just some simple grilling as a rehearsal for possible days without power. At bed time, Angelo passed out PELDs to each of us (that's Personal Emergency Lighting Devices to all you unfamiliar with Hurricane Prep. You know...flashlights) and we went to bed feeling pretty safe and sound.

This morning Annie got up early and manned the post on the couch watching the Weather Channel. My job was to get breakfast on the table before the power went out; scrambled eggs, bacon, apple-maple syrup chicken sausage, cheddar cheese biscuits and English muffins. Done. After a few tense moments when the microwave went out - but not because we lost power but because it's a cheap little oven that stops working when it gets too hot - we enjoyed our breakfast and discussed what the aftereffects of Irene might be.  We decided to go look and survey the damage:
What a mess! 
This is going to take minutes to clean up after!
Oh, no! Angelo's sculpture is down!
That tree wasn't there yesterday....Irene decided she wanted that branch right there!
The peonies seemed to actually benefit from the storm.
Now, before anyone gets mad at me because they actually do have a flooded basement (my neighbor) or a tree inside of their car (my sister), I realize that we were very lucky to have been spared some of the really aggravating and damaging problems. With my pregnant daughter and my over- and nearly-eighty parents here I am very grateful that the biggest calamity was that I didn't defrost the chicken for dinner yet tonight. There are lots of people cleaning up, picking up, making do and dealing with all manner of predicaments that I was spared. This time.  On the other hand, maybe I'd better go check the basement again...

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