Peace Out, Irene!


Posted by Rebecca, August 29th, 2011

We made it through our first hurricane and let me tell you, it was not fun. We were in the family room Saturday night and around 9, we decided to head up to bed and bring the cats with us (meaning, lock them in the bedroom for the night). As we gave Darwin his fluids for the night (which we now do while he’s eating), the lights began to flicker. We grabbed everything we would need for the night and climbed in bed, only to have the lights go out minutes later. We were congratulating ourselves for our timing and our decision to confine the cats to one area. We had the cat carriers in our closet incase we had to make a run for it in the middle of the night.

Turns out, hurricanes are not very fun on the second level of your house. I wouldn’t know this since a) I grew up in a one story house and b) I have never experienced strong winds. The sounds were awful and we learned via iPad news streams that we were issued a tornado warning. I knew that was fairly common for hurricanes, but it made me nervous about being on the second floor. A little bit after the power went out, a generator must have blown or something because the sky was lighting up all sorts of colors. Have I ever told you about my extreme fear of fire? I am terrified. I have 3 cats, we are only 2 people. I know that if a fire broke out, it would not be good for us.

Cue the panic. It’s now raining sideways, things are blowing up nearby and I am on the second floor of my house during a tornado warning. Oh, and my only fear initially was that one of the trees in the backyard would hit the house. So add that in too! I had a good few minutes where my teeth were literally chattering because I was scared…. and I am NOT easily scared. I couldn’t fathom how people in the south do this several times a year.

Then Mike asked if we should move to the office. We had thought about this before, as it’s low, away from the back of the house to avoid trees and it’s about as close to the interior as the 5 of us can get together, but we really didn’t think we’d have to do it. There were way too many risks (and 6 windows not counting the bathroom/closet), so we decided to move our troops.

Two adults, three cats and a litter box in this space…

But you know what? It worked. After that we didn’t hear/feel a thing. The cats were fine, in fact, Macky was snoring at one point in the middle of the night. We hardly slept (though Mike tells me I slept through some really strong gusts), but my blanket and pillow did just fine on the floor. We moved the chairs out of the way, of course, so we both fit quite comfortably.

Our families did fine as well, despite the fact that my parents live close to the shore and were concerned about some trees in their area. In fact, we may have ended up the worst, considering we woke up to this in our basement…

Those are just wires that Mike ran for the network, don’t mind those 😉

While our basement has never been flooded, us rookies never realized that if the power went out, our sump pump would stop working. We have now learned our lesson and will no longer decline that option on our homeowners’ insurance…

Thankfully, Mike’s dad, brother and his friend Chris came by with a back up generator and emptied our basement rather quickly. We’re very fortunate that our basement is not finished and there’s not too much down there. It may be a blessing in disguise as we’ll now have to go through whatever the heck is in that cardboard box up there 🙂

Many of our neighbors were not as lucky as I saw houses and houses with furniture and carpet at the curb today. Another thing I didn’t know is that you can’t just clean up a flooded basement. I thought you can just shampoo those carpets and go about your day, but apparently not when 6 inches of water sits down there for 24 hours. I will be keeping that in mind when we finish ours…

Our power didn’t go back on until late last night, so late that we were in bed and Mike happened to see the street lights kick on. For those more than 24 hours without power, we showered at Mike’s parents’ place and had a few things that made life easier.

First, this USB charger than runs off of a battery, genius for keeping phones charged…

Then, the classic cooler…


There’s milk down there too… somewhere. Glad we have our priorities in order.

All in all, we’re glad everything worked out as well as it did. The only thing in our yard was someone’s plastic flower pot and some leaves. Which is quite amazing, considering even 12 hours after the worst of the storm had passed, we were still experiencing 30 mph winds…

Now you know why my initial fear was that tree falling into my family room windows 🙂

ps- Lana from Making a House a Home posted some more pictures from the Emily Henderson event, since I literally took just one. I am the one with the… creepily red eyes.

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13 Responses to “Peace Out, Irene!”

  1. Lindsay says:

    Glad you guys made out okay!

  2. Cait @ Hernando House says:

    So glad you guys made it through ok! And I hope your basement is ok!

    And trust me, those of us in the south still freak out. I think it’s one of those things where if you aren’t scared then you get careless and less likely to take risks seriously.

  3. John says:

    That sucks about the water in the basement. You can get a battery backup system for your sump pump that’ll protect you in the event of a power loss. I think we’ll be getting one soon ourselves. Good luck with the cleanup!

  4. Glad everything turned out ok!..minus the basement. Ew.

    I did not know about this battery charged usb device. I need to invest in one….for the blizzards that knock our power out all of the time…darn mother nature!

  5. We were at my parents in NJ and it was terrifying. Joe and I spent the night in the living room (ie the room with the most windows) so we could keep the dogs calm. They have 2 sump-pumps at their house but they could barely keep up with all the rain. When we lost power at 10:30PM, the basement just started to flood. It’s happened a few times so everything was already pretty high but it did hit the bottom of the couches so they may need to get trashed.

    When you finish your basement, try going with that faux wood material or a tile. There will be less damage that way!

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