We weathered Irene over here fairly well all thing considered. I hope you and yours did also. Our neighborhood was beaten up a little with several downed trees, blocked roads, no water, and power-outages that spanned my entire little town for several days. Everything is moving back towards normal now though. We don’t have major weather incidents here very often, although I know for some people, the threat of hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes are relatively common events by my standards, so we took the threats seriously- by that I mean everyone stocked up on 1,000 rolls of toilet paper, pallets of water and, most importantly, pantries full of pastries, just in case. I was shocked by how many of my friends, many of whom consider reheating leftovers the definition of home cooking, turned to baking just before the storm. I guess the theory was, we might not have power, but at least we have brownies.
I started to write you a list of “What I Learned from the Hurricane” filled with metaphor and cliche, but I’ve scrapped that because I found myself rolling my eyes as I wrote it. Instead, I decided to share with you what I really learned from Hurricane Irene.
So here is my list, in no particular order:
1.If the power can stay on just long enough for the kids to fall asleep the first night, half the battle is already won.
2. If you spend an hour moving all your breakables out of your dining room where the roof leaks in several spots every time it rains, 5 inches of rain in less than 24 hours and sustained wind speeds of 50mph will produce only one, small pancake-sized puddle on your dining room table.
3. My kids adapted to no television or computer much faster than I would have imagined.
4. Boy am I glad I filled the tub with water.
5. Water from the tub does last nearly as long as you’d think when using it to refill toilets.
6. Being a vegetarian means there is no meat to spoil in the fridge/freezer taking a lot of the pressure off making sure everything stays perfectly cold.
7. Eat the ice cream first…just in case.
8. Lights aren’t nearly as big of a deal to live without as the AC.
9. A shower at a friend’s house can make a world of difference.
10. It’s really useful to have a meteorologist for a friend who can update you about what’s going on around you. (Thanks Dan!)
11. Dining out on the back porch with a grilled breakfast and my daughters is just about the most perfect way I can spend my time.
12. Kids are much more willing to finish up thank you cards when there’s no power.
13. Continual water on my kitchen floor from melting ice irritates me to no end.
14. I can sleep well to the white noise of a neighbor’s generator.
15. Utility workers are the last people to get their power restored (according to the Baltimore Gas and Electric worker in my neighborhood commenting on why his wife was so mad at him during the storm.)
16. I have a lot of generous, kind friends who worry about my family’s safety. (Thank you all!)
17. With the inability to open the fridge every five minutes to ease anxiety, I turn to purging clutter.
18. Without an internet connection, I lose track of every task I am supposed to complete.
19. It was sort of fun to go to the doctor’s office where there was no power, just for the camradarie of a silly situation.
20. Corn does not weather hurricanes. My green beans however, still look gorgeous on their trellis.
There’s my list: nothing earth-shattering in there and hopefully nothing that makes you roll your eyes for being trite or cliched. We were fortunate around here with no major distruction, no tradgedies, no need to rebuild our lives from the ground up. I know that others weren’t so lucky and are learning a lot more difficult and important life lessons. I have the luxury to notice the little things that came out of this experience. When the power returned I learned just how much worse it could have been around here. And so, with a huge dose of gratitude, I am glad for the lessons I learned and the ones I can hold off from experiencing for now.