Saturday, September 3, 2011

Weathering Hurricane Irene

Hurricane Irene 2011

When Hurricane Irene came storming her way up the east coast, I'm not sure we thought we'd actually be in the dark...or at least not for as long as we were.  We prepared as best we could; we bought gallons of drinking water, froze Ziplock bags full of water, stowed all the outdoor chairs, tables, soccer nets, etc.  Hubby filled the second propane tank for the grill, and bought some canned goods and non-fridge food.  I did extra loads of laundry ahead of schedule, filled up the dishwasher and ran it, and gathered every candle and match book in the house.  We charged the electronics and cell phones, gathered the flashlights and batteries, and filled the bathtub with water.  We were prepared for the worst, and hoped for the best.  And then at 10:50 am on Sunday, we lost power.

I'm proud to say we weathered Hurricane Irene and the loss of power for 82 hours with as much green grace as we could muster.  We lost several trees, and large branches, and a section of fence was knocked down, and ultimately had to toss several pounds of meat, but luckily there was no damage to the house, and we still had running water.  For the first few hours, it felt like we were on an adventure, "Survivor Irene", but when the hot water ran out, the electronics ran out of charge, and the kids got bored playing board games, the forced "green" adventure turned the adventurers a bit grouchy.  Personally, I'd never experienced a power outage for 82 hours, and it really made me appreciate all the everyday things that we all typically take for granted in a developed country. 

We made due with less.  No electricity.  No hot water.  No microwave.  None of the modern conveniences we are accustomed to, switching on the lights, running the dishwasher, toasting a bagel, boiling water, reheating food, cooking, making coffee, throwing in a load of laundry, watching TV to name a few.  Keeping food cold in the cooler, washing dishes in cold water, and drying them in the sunlight, and later reading and functioning by candlelight made us feel like we'd stepped back into the 1800's.  At 6am on Monday morning, hubby began searching for more ice for the coolers.  He drove all over to find it, (none of the surrounding stores were open or had ice, so he drove further to a town we knew still had power), and to look for a generator at Home Depot or Lowes.  Of course they were sold out, but he put us on a waiting list to rent a generator to keep the food in the main fridge/freezer from spoiling.  28 hours into the outage he was able to rent one, and we were able to plug in the fridge, and a second extension cord to recharged cell phones, iPad, and iPods. 

As time went on, we developed a great appreciation for the power and appliances that we usually take for granted.  On the fourth day without electricity, we decided to try to boost morale (we were all quite grouchy by the time evening rolled around), and used the second generator plug to watch one of my favorite chick flicks,  Sweet Home Alabama.  We'd just about finished the movie, when the lights and fans came on!  The kids whooped and hollered, and we breathed a collective sigh of relief that we'd weathered Hurricane Irene.  Let's hope that the predictions from NOAA, for a higher than usual incidence of hurricanes and tropical storms, misses the mark, and we can pick and choose green choices a la carte instead of "a la Hurricane". 

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