Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Post-Hurricane Irene 2011

In one week, James had his first earthquake and his first hurricane.  Though technically, by the time it reached us, Irene was downgraded to a tropical storm.  James was less well-behaved for the hurricane than he was for the earthquake.

Even though Hurricane Irene didn't reach Long Island until sometime around 9 a.m. on Sunday, the strong winds that had began Saturday evening.  We took the air conditioners out of the windows sealed everything tight and kept the fans circulating air until we lost power at 3 a.m. Sunday morning.  Most people wouldn't even notice losing power at that hour but I got up with the baby several times that evening.  He had a sleepover with us in our room in his play and pack, so that in case there was some damage to the house, he would be in rescuing distance.  I kept looking out the window all night and it was strangely eerie, almost how I would expect a movie to depict the time before a tornado.  That's why at 5 a.m. when I got a phone call that there was a tornado watch, I nearly jumped out of my skin.  Thankfully, there was no tornado.

Hurricane Irene 2011
A tree in our neighborhood didn't make it

Without power and thus no air conditions or fans it was hot hot hot. My guess was that it was quite comfortable outside but we didn't dare go outside or open any windows until we were certain everything was over. I think we were more cautious than we would have been if not for the baby.  Thank goodness for the battery pack on the breastmilk pump, since James refuses to breastfeed, and going cold turkey on feeding/pumping can result in mastitis and other medical complications.  We had no news of the hurricane except for some limited lookups on Kevin's phone because we didn't want to use up the power. We didn't know how long we'd be without electricity, so we tried to not even open the refrigerator. We had cranked the cooling up to high the night before because we were expecting to lose power and wanted to keep the food as cold as possible.  Luckily we had power back on by dinner time so we were able to make a hot dinner. Sadly, we lost power again RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE JERSEY SHORE. So sad. So terribly sad.

We were lucky though because many homes in Long Island still don't have power.  In retrospect, I wish we had had this emergency radio so we would have known what was going on outside.  In a more serious emergency, or a longer one, relying on one cell phone would have been unideal.  Also, I didn't know the time all day. That's a minor issue, but one that a cheap wristwatch would have cured. (When  did everyone stop wearing watches? Definitely in the last decade.) Finally, I wish I'd made some food in advance that we would have been happy to eat for dinner if we hadn't gotten the power back. We had sensible hurricane supplies like milk, bread, cold cuts, and peanut butter (and of course wine and beer) but really none of that sounded appealing for dinner.  Next time I'd make or order some food the day before that works well as cold leftovers.

Hurricane Irene 2011
Tree close-up

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