Monday, August 29, 2011

Irene: How it went down

First of all, I never thought myself to be an over-reactor.  If anything, an under-reactor.  And then this hurricane business was going on.  As in previous post, we've had freakish weather for a year straight and then months ago we eastcoaster church-goers were given special instruction to prepare for a hurricane.  When i heard we were having a special lesson on that i said, "Oh great. I hate these lessons. I always get so paranoid! I just want to live in ignorance. Let me enjoy that."   And then we had the lesson, and everyone kept listing things that would be handy to have in a life-saving situation and the spark of paranoia grew and grew.  Someone mentioned a solar-powered battery charger hooked on a backpack. Well that sounds handy.  Every hypothetical situation you can imagine was being presented to me as a possibility to our reality/impending DOOM. 

 And so I began buying stuff, as i mentioned earlier.  Cans of this here.  Boxes of stuff there.  And I'm going to blame a large part of my crazy on now having a wee one to look after.  I feel so inept so much of the time just in the day-to-day. Like, oh maybe i should be teaching him things that will help shape his future and potential for success in life.  It weighs on a person, you know?  I'm pretty sure if it had just been me and Sean, i'd be tempted to buy a canoe just to float down the river-streets because--wahoo! I like being in places doing things that were never meant to be done there, i.e. i used to hang upside down on the living room furniture and imagine rolling across the ceiling in my roller skates (but who didn't do that).  And I liked to sit in the bushes when it snowed, making the bushes habitable and even comfortable. I'm pretty sure I talked about this already. Yep.   Anyway, but yeah, not so much this time.

Watching the news is a ridiculous mistake one should never make.  The city's in lockdown. They shut down the MTA for the first time EVER (not due to strikes or things like such as).  Everything's unprecedented and mysterious.  Every precaution is being made under words like "disaster,"  "mandatory evacuations,"  "catastrophic,"  and "inevitable doom." Friday afternoon i ran out and bought the corner store out of their gallon waters and had them heave a flat of 1-litter water bottles on top for good measure.    Every channel is showing nonstop storm coverage.  And all we can do is wait.  Wait and watch the sky.  It gets darker. The clouds start swirling.  Pretty sure i'm imagining things--did i just see devil horns in the clouds??  We wait.  We wait and we wait and we wait.  And the wait is awful.  I nearly went mad from it.  We tried to enjoy our last momentsr   the Saturday but the tension was thick and itchy. 

They tell us the hurricane will arrive in our area around 10pm that night, getting increasingly stronger until the most intense part, coming at around 8am the next day.  Then they tell us to go to bed and we'll just "see what happens in the morning."   Well, as the night progresses Sean and I get a little bit more jumpy, a little bit more insane.  He's feverishly packing the 72-hour kit and everything I'm doing makes zero sense whatsoever, but all in the name of emergency preparedness.  
Checking facebook every 3 seconds, feeling the need to confess all my wrongdoings.  I had a g-chat with a friend who was feeling similar feelings of giddiness.  I'll paste it here:

We'll change her name to "Minsey" and her husband "Mrian" to protect the innocent:

Minsey: i am so hyper
  i feel like i will not sleep tonight
11:08 PM me: i know!
  i'm insane
 Minsey: i feel like we should be having a big partyMinsey: with all this nervous energy
 me: ohhhh i'm hyper in a different way
 me: just now i was like, "I FEEEEL... I feel like we should boil some eggs! for egg salad.. because..!! for sandwiches..!! and if we can't use the stove, they're useless.. yeah?? Yeah?!? I'll do it right now!!"
11:09 PM 
 linsey: hahaha
   Mrian went to CVS at 3 in the morning last night
  just because
  in case there was something there we might need
11:10 PM me: what did he get??
11:11 PM Minsey: more water, ibuprofen, paper goods
  all things we already had
 me: ha ha
 Minsey: but for the last three days i just felt like we should KEEP buying things
  KEEP preparing
 me: it's amazing the things you think you need to stock up on...
  stock stock stock
 Minsey: and even if you have an ungodly amount, you think--but i might need MORE
  or even if you KNOW you dont need more
 me: you just don't KNOW
11:12 PM Minsey: your body just urges you to keep hoarding
 me: yeah!
  now i know what it feels like to be a hoarder
 Minsey: or a squirrel
 me: ha ha, exactly
  i feel like we're in a war
  and we're in a bomb shelter, waiting for the enemy missiles
 Minsey: i know!
  you don't know where its going to strike
11:13 PM me: you can only wait
 Minsey: the only helpful thing you could do is build a forcefield
 me: or a fort
  maybe that's what we'll do tomorrow
  we'll make it a game--for julian.
11:14 PM and he'll laugh and squeal and won't see the fear behind our eyes
11:17 PM Minsey: haha
  what time is it supposed to hit us?
11:18 PM me: they say the worst at 8am i think
  so when you wake up and your bed is floating down the street
 Minsey: hahaha
  assuming i fall asleep at all
 me: right??
 Minsey: i have some MAJOR adrenaline
11:19 PM i should channel it into cleaning
 me: they're all, "so, go to bed, get a good night's rest.. but we're probably ALL GONNA DIE"
 linsey: hahahaha
 me: have you been watching the news? Ughsville
 Minsey: what is the point of being well rested for heaven
  no, Mrian is watching some depressing movie while i "work" aka chat with friends
11:20 PM me: work shmrk. you can't take it with you
 Minsey: right
 me: reminder to self: tape up garbage bag over AC
 Minsey: ooo good idea
  what other gems do you have?
  what are you doing with julians room
  i put my kids to bed with the ac going cause its so bloody humid
  and they get so hot
11:21 PM me: nothing. he's nestled between window rooms...
 Minsey: lucky
 me: lately we have been keeping our bedroom door open so he can get our AC and we shut off the big one in the kitchen
 Minsey: what do you suggest?
 me: so we'll just keep it going and hopefully not get sprayed in the face
  i don't know.. it is so danged hot
11:22 PM sean says he thinks you have to turn off the AC if stuff starts coming in
 Minsey: ok
11:23 PM i feel like sean knows much of survival skills in all circumstances
11:24 PM if he could build a multi tiered pizza oven on a dime i imagine he could fashion a raft or a fortress or even a new brownstone in a pinch
 me: it's true
11:25 PM i was like, "I'm glad we have all this wood in the hall now!" He said, "why?" "you know.. for.. building something.. if we need it. you can do that, right?"
 Minsey: i wish we were neighbors more than even tonight
  write a funny blog post to lift your readers spirits
11:26 PM the SECOND i read about that charger/flashlight contraption you posted about i immediately tried to order one
  but i was too late
  it wouldn't have arrived until tuesday
11:27 PM me: i bought it when it was CLEARLY too late
  i thought maybe somehow by just buying it, it would keep us safe
 Minsey: wait so it didn't come??
11:28 PM me: no! i bought it too late. i didn't even do overnight. i was like, "Ahh.. i don't want to pay extra shipping.." like an IDIOT.
  All of my actions are completely nonsensical
11:29 PM Minsey: haha
  oh well sean can build you one
 me: right
  and, sean dug around our bottomless storage shelves of wonders and mysteries and came up with an emergency whistle w/compass AND a headlamp
11:30 PM Minsey: even better!

7 minutes
11:37 PM me: ok i'm going to bed.. to lie awake... and listen to the trees falling and people wailing.
11:38 PM stay safe over there!!
  my eggs are done!!!
 Minsey: hahaha
  "stay safe" is the K.I.T. of the week
11:39 PM me: ha ha
  totally is

I thought that pretty well summed up the feeling of things over here. 

Anyway, so fast-forward to the next day, when we meet our doom. Except i woke up, having slept all night, to a bit of rain, a bit of wind. that's all.   I never saw anything.  Few twigs on the ground.  Sean said he got up several times in the night to check on things but he never noticed super strong winds.  Maybe because of the way we're situated. Maybe because we're on the ground floor.   So he had a restless sleep but i slept through the whole night!  And nothing ever happened.  No flooding, no power outages, no survival strategies required. I mean, there was some evidence of Irene--neighborhoods did get flooded and there were several downed trees around the city, from what i could see.  But for us it impacted us very little.  Am i disappointed? Kind of.  I'd like something to show for my Crazy.  But also, i'm glad we didn't have to actually do things like evacuate, eat nothing but cans of black beans and green beans and Cliff bars.  It was just such a huge emotional roller coaster; i don't really know how to feel. 

And that's what happened.  I don't know why; i don't know how.  I guess she was all bark and no bite? At least not for us.  Maybe we were in the path of her eye?   I don't know. But I do know that i have an insane amount of water and no real story to tell.  

And that's how it went down.  Thanks for thinking of us (and thanks for nothing to those who never commented--what if i had died, huh?? What IF).  I was truly and honestly very very panicky and nervous. I will probably spend the next few days coming down from that and might hoard bits of food here and there. 


Joel said...

I was working on the yard all weekend and kept thinking that I should have left a comment on your last post. "But my hands are filthy from compost," I would say. "Quit making excuses," I would respond to myself. And so on.

linsey said...

Minsey and Mrian sound like swell folks. You should hang out with them more, especially given the second shot at life.

Anthony and Rene said...

This is exactly how my brothers felt on Sunday when we talked to them....very anticlimatic. Joshua's youngest just said " oh man there wasn't even that much rain or wind". But it's better to be prepared and have nothing happen. I'm glad you are all safe!

)en said...

I know. Especially given how out of my mind i was. Except i wanted something to justify that level of Crazy. Oh well. Last year's tornado kicked this hurricane's butt for sure. Thanks for the well wishes!

Linsey: I concur.

Joel: a likely story.

Natalie R. said...

Yeah, it all sounded pretty scary from the news, I'm glad it ended up not bring so bad. I can only imagine how scary it was being in the city!

There's a ady in our ward who's really great, and who has EVERYTHING for emergency preparedness, she even has her own personal porta-potty made out of a bucket! So she does RS things all the time, which are great except that I leave completely freaked out and paranoid and wanting to spend or entire savings on porta potty buckets and solar ovens and all kinds of crazy things. This whole emergency preparedness is a bit scary...