Little Bear, Elephant Hunter

Irene Sucked.

And not because I haven’t done the hurricane thing before. I lived in Hampton Roads, Virginia for eight years. More specifically, I lived on the Willoughby Spit, which was created by a hurricane. Floyd went through there, and the water was so high that when the eye went over us, people were walking, knees deep, in the middle of my street.

I lived there in 2003 when Hurricane Isabel. Let me tell you, there’s NOTHING like knowing a category 5 is coming at you. It weakened before it hit, but still. It’s scary. I did not stay in Willoughby for that storm, because it was a mandatory evacuation zone. Instead, I stayed with friends. When I got home the day after – which was kind of a nightmare in and of itself because of all the down trees I encountered trying to get back to my house – I was shocked at what I saw. The 1500 foot fishing pier that was half a mile from where I lived – Harrison’s – had come down in the storm. I’d known about it because my dad called me to tell me, but seeing the reality was . . . just outrageous.

Before:

After:

It took weeks to clean up the debris.

So, I’ve done this before. I knew what to expect. Kind of. Power outages [ours went out for a second just before 2 a.m.], possible loss of water pressure [guess I should drain the tubs now], wind damage [there is none at our house], etc. I’m sure you can imagine my irritation with M when I got home Friday and discovered he hadn’t taken any of the furniture off the deck.┬áHe did it Saturday morning, and I was probably over reacting, but again, I’d done this. I checked the DEMA evacuation map on Friday evening and noticed we were kind of close to where they were calling for mandatory evacuations. Someone from Governor Markell’s office was kind enough to double check with DEMA for me [because you totally couldn’t tell by the map] that our area was not in the evacuation zone. We were right on the line, and M and I know our house and the area around it. We’re not prone to flooding, so we decided to stay.

I’d done the no power, no water pressure, tons of wind damage thing. But you know what I hadn’t done during a hurricane? Tornado warnings and watches. Scared doesn’t even put it mildly. Around 10 p.m., we took the boys to the basement to wait out what we thought was a tornado warning expiring at 10:15. By the time we came back upstairs, it had been extended to 11 p.m. And let me just say, my kids handled being dragged out of bed remarkably well. Butter sat in the Ab Lounger and played with a flashlight while Little Bear kept shooting me dirty looks, probably because I kept smushing him against my chest and repeating, “Lord, keep my family safe,” in his ear. They also went right back to sleep with no problem, and I’m completely grateful for that.

I knew the weather forecasters had said the worst was going to be around 2 a.m. and we have two sump pumps in our basement to worry about. I looked at M shortly after we came up from the basement and told him to make sure he slept, because I certainly wasn’t going to, especially after hearing the tornado watch had been extended to 5 a.m. When the wind was so loud I heard it over our fan around 1:45, I got up, grabbed a flashlight, and walked the house. I went to the basement again to make sure the pumps were still working [they were]. I finally went to sleep around 4 a.m.

We are lucky enough to have no damage to our house. I’ve seen a few branches down in our neighbor’s driveway, but that’s it. M walked the exterior of the house after I got up and said everything was fine. Thank you, M, for designing and building a secure home that kept our family safe.

Others in my state were not so fortunate. There was confirmation that a tornado touched down in Lewes, Delaware. And here in Northern Delaware, well, this picture is not far from the first house M and I lived in when we moved here in 2005.

The major road near our house was shut down going both directions because of mudslides. But the sun was shining when I woke up this morning. M is at work right now. The boys are safe and happy, and I know we are so, so, so lucky to have come through this storm unscathed [except, maybe, for Mommy’s exhaustion today].

If you were in Irene’s path, how did you fare?

We’re Ready

We’re as ready as we can be. Bring it, Irene.