Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hurricane Irene

This post was started yesterday.

I sit here on my couch during nap time, more grateful than ever for the luxuries of electricity, air-conditioning, Internet, and COFFEE! after being without them for nearly 48 hours.  I was sound asleep last night at 11 when the whole house suddenly woke back up, with hums, beeps and glorious light.  I practically danced around the house closing windows so I could turn the air back on.  I remember a long time ago, when I was about 10, there was an ice storm that had us without power and without school for at least two or three days.  Mom remembers it as awful, and I remember it as awesome.  Now as a mom myself, a power outage of more than a day can bring me to my knees.  I rely more than ever on my many amenities, and I have been ever so thankful to have them back.  Tim and I are talking about investing in some real disaster supplies, like a generator and a camping stove.  We're going to be in North Carolina for two more years, and these things happen.  I was ready for a hurricane, but not adequately prepared for a power outage of more than a few hours.

Unlike most of my friends with deployed husbands, I opted to stay for Irene.  I couldn't imagine packing up three little kids and cramming us into a hotel room without an order to evacuate.  Our county wasn't even under a voluntary evacuation (what is the point of a voluntary evacuation anyway?  We all know we can leave any time we want to.).  I was also reassured to see that neither of my neighbors to the right or the left had run for the hills.  Just knowing they were there made me feel good about my decision.  There was a friend of mine down the street who was sticking around with her three little ones and deployed husband.  We had a drink together over the phone the night before, in anticipation of a long day inside with the little hurricanes we had spawned.  It was comforting to be in the exact same boat as someone else.  I of course talked to Tim, and as always he helped me as best he could from afar.

Still, at 4 in the morning when I woke up to pitch blackness and felt the house shudder under those powerful winds, I wondered if I was crazy for being here.  I'd never felt so alone in my life.  I started to pray.  I looked at the sleeping bundle of Timmy next to me, and thought about the girls all the way across the house in their room.  I took my flashlight and went to check on them.  They were sleeping soundly, oblivious in the way only little kids can be, even though it sounded like someone was trying to eat our house.  There is a huge window next to Delaney's bed.  I stood there, uncertain what to do next.  Finally I decided I couldn't rest until we were all in one room.  I picked them up and took them to my room, where we had a little "sleepover" until 7.  And they actually did go to sleep!

The hurricane lasted all day into the night.  For us, it only caused minimal damage -- a broken tree in the backyard and a screen door blown off the hinges.  A lot of people around here were not so lucky.  The hardest thing for me was how long we went without power.  I was such a grump in the morning when I couldn't brew my coffee.  As I watched the girls' play house blowing across the yard, I said, to them, "I bet if I went out there, I'd blow away.  Would you be scared watching me blow away?"  Delaney said, "Yeah, but then Daddy would come home and take care of us."  I said, "That's right, he would!"  Smart kid.

The day after the hurricane it was hot, and we just baked.  Timmy was a sweaty little ball, but bless his heart, all he did was sleep all day, waking only to eat.  He was like, 'Wake me up when this is over.'  I called around and couldn't find a single place to take the kids to eat dinner and just relax in some air conditioning.  I started to melt down.  I later found out that there were a couple places open, but by then it was time for bath and bed for the girls.  Watching the sun set on another day in a hot house with no electricity killed my morale.  But the girls were so good, entertaining each other for hours, very little fighting, not even aware of how miserable it was.  I was the only one with a problem.  Sometimes I think I could learn something from these kids.

Phew, glad that's over with.

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