Irene was anticlimactic, but I’m not complaining. I know that the coastal areas got hit much worse than we did, as did North Carolina, and it could very well have been much worse here. Boring is just fine with me.
We actually had power for much of the storm. We even had internet access (if you “like” my Facebook Page, you already know this). Aside from refreshing the online weather radar images every five minutes, we also played a family game of Sorry (there was a blood feud going on between my husband and me. I won. In your face, love of my life) and watched Dinosaur Train before we lost electricity.
One thing I don’t get about Dinosaur Train: The characters are all dinosaurs, and they appear to exist in a time when the only mammals and birds are the earliest, tiniest little critters. There is only one train there, and yet they all refer to it as the “Dinosaur Train.” I’m incredulous that they’d actually call it a “Dinosaur Train.” We don’t call the Amtrak a “People Train.” But, from what I understand, the conductors on the Amtrak do use their toenails to punch tickets, just like troodon Mr Conductor does on the show.
The other thing that occupied my time during the storm (aside from the continuous loop of the “rather blustery day” song from the old Winnie-the-Pooh movie playing in my head) was rearranging and emptying the containers I’d placed to catch leaks in the sunroom. My caulking adventure did not stand up to the rain and wind Irene brought with her. We’re going to let the roof dry out for a few days, buy a better caulk-removal tool, and re-caulk this week with my six-foot, not-afraid-of-heights husband helping me this time.
If this one doesn’t work, we’re hiring someone.
After the power went out, I took a nap. I don’t know what my husband and the kids did after the first hour when my son kept coming into the room, snuggling with half-conscious me, asking me to read him books, then leaving the room, slamming the door behind him. I did get a solid thirty minutes of dreamless sleep. I woke up rested but with a plugged milk duct (a product of staying up too late, worrying too much about hurricanes, and postponing nursing while doing all of the things necessary to prepare for a big storm).
By the time I woke up, the storm was essentially over. We had a dinner of cold cuts, hummus, and ice cream (“ten honey pots he’d rescued, enough to see him through. But as he sopped up his supper, the river sopped up Pooh…”), then collected branches from around the yard.
It wasn’t strictly necessary to collect the branches this evening, but my son had fallen asleep around 4:00 and we needed to run him a little so he’d go to bed at a decent time. Collecting branches was just the kind of task he really gets into. Before we started, he and my husband had either rescued a living worm or relocated a dead and bloated worm from the sidewalk to the flower bed. Each time we walked to or from the stick pile in back of our house, we passed the worm. On the way back from the pile, my son would say, “There worm. Bring more sticks to pile. I helping.” Then he’d laugh and run, trip over the one step between the front yard and the back yard, and go sprawling on the pavement.
“I am okay. Get more branches and sticks,” he would say, as he brushed himself off and went for more sticks. (If you recall my earlier post about the hockey game his aunt and uncle bought him, you know that the word “sticks” didn’t sound like “sticks.”)
On the way to the stick pile, this was reversed (trip, “I am okay, I helping, more sticks to stick pile, there worm.”).
After about an hour of working amid the sounds and smells of our neighbors’ generators, we pulled my son away from the sticks and went for what my husband termed a “joy ride” around our town to assess the damage.
It didn’t look too bad. Lots of branches down, some quite big. Lots of debris in the road, but no flooding and the roads were all passable. There were absolutely no lights on, though. There were several electric company trucks parked around, giving at least the appearance of working on the outage. One of the trucks was parked with two guys inside looking at their phone. Of course they were texting each other, or perhaps posting about one another on their Facebook pages.
All of the businesses were closed except for the grocery store, which was out of ice (we checked), and all of the traffic lights were dark. Dark traffic lights are bad in most parts of the country, but we were surprised to find that the drivers here were downright aggressive at these dark intersections. There weren’t that many people on the road, but at every intersection, there were folks stealing the right-of-way, almost colliding with their neighbors, and honking angrily whether they were the aggressors or the aggressees.
On the short trip home, we did our best to psych ourselves up for a dark, dark night. My husband and I mourned the loss of The Office. We’d just joined Netflix last night and were well into Season Three before we tucked ourselves in to be kicked on our sleep by our children.
My husband had just set the parking brake in our driveway when the outside lights came on.
“Hey!” we said, looking at each other with goofy, open-mouthed smiles.
My husband tried the garage door, and it opened! Callooh callay! O frabjous day! Our seven-hour frontier experience (in a 1963 split-level with an electric stove) was over!
We called our moms, we poured a couple of beers, we checked our e-mail (nothing but a customer satisfaction survey for Netflix and an ad for clothes we ought not to afford right now), we got the kids a bath, we repeatedly explained to our son that we were not going to watch any more DVDs tonight (not even his “pease, pease, pease!” softened our hearts to his cause).
My husband and daughter discussed the matter and both agreed that they like electricity.
At least that’s settled.
Now let’s get these kids to bed and watch some streaming video!