Irene Wrap-Up

First, I always feel bad for people who have the same name as a disaster. That’s no fun. So if anyone’s in the mood for shopping for stylish, handmade, mostly-silver jewelry, check out my friend Irene’s Etsy site, Irene C Studio.


So, how’s everybody holding up? Do you have power? Is your house dry? Trees mostly still standing?

We were fortunate to continue our disaster tradition, which, you may recall, is:

Nothing that’s seriously threatened life and limb for us (knock on wood), but a couple were serious enough for a bit of adventure.

Yep, that about covers it. We lost power just after Cute W had mixed up a big batch of waffle batter but, alas, before he’d heated the waffle iron. The power was off for several hours, and with no back-up for the sump pump, things started looking ugly down in the basement, which has a large finished room as a playroom and some unfinished storage. Pretty soon we were dragging storage items into the middle of the already-messy playroom.

The girls enjoyed this. For example, they had fun pretending that they were skiing on large wooden blocks:

Still the water kept rising, and we remarked ruefully that we only needed about ten minutes of power for the sump pump to catch up.  We were just about to make an early lunch of burgers before the meat started getting too warm when the power came on. Oh, joy! The sump pump hummed along while we quickly made waffles and whipped cream for lunch.

The girls loved the waffles, but they were confused. They were ready for burgers. No, we explained, you had waffles for lunch. But, they protested, waffles aren’t lunch. They’re breakfast. This conversation went on for way too long. I started getting huffy. “Listen, girls. This is not a normal day. Let’s not get all caught up in labeling what’s lunch and what’s dinner. We might not have lunch at lunchtime or a normal dinner or any of those things, but you are very fortunate, because if you are hungry, you will eat. We have plenty of food, we just have to prioritize a little here.”

Almost as soon as the waffles were finished, the power was out again. Somehow, having the power go on and off really helped us out. Every time things got a bit monotonous, there was a switch up. When the power went out for the second time, M cheerfully advised J: ” Just think, what would Mary & Laura do?” I couldn’t help thinking that Mary & Laura would be sewing clothing for their corn cob dolls out of quilting scraps instead playing with 8 different Polly Pocket dolls, but I still appreciated the sentiment.

We actually had a pretty productive day cleaning and organizing around the house. All the stuff that you don’t bother doing when you can, oh, I don’t know, leave the house, work on your computer, or watch tv. M even cleaned her room and J did some homework.

Anyway, the second power outage was hours-long, too. With everything saturated, the water in the basement inched up over the concrete floor even quicker, and it was just lapping at the edges of our playroom carpet when we were saved again. Hooray! Seriously, we had excellent timing. By late afternoon, beyond little flickers, we were powered up and drying out.

Over dinner (those burgers), Cute W said, “So, what did you girls think of Hurricane Irene?” M answered, “Well, it didn’t really come, did it?” Uhhhh, hello? Did you miss the lack of power? The random sirens? Your dad carrying buckets full of water out of the basement? I guess so.

Oh! And the funniest part! Another piece of conversation at dinner:

J: “So, if the power goes out again, will it get cold tonight?”
Me: “No, it’s still August. It might get a bit chilly, but it won’t get really cold.”
[There’s a pause, and both girls look disappointed.]
Me: “Wait a minute. Were you thinking that if the power went out again we might all have to sleep in the living room like the time when there was the ice storm?”
[Both girls grin.]
J: “That would be so cool!

So, we were unscathed. I hope that all of you were, too.We’d just spent Friday night in Vermont visiting family, and things are really bad there, with businesses flooded and roads and bridges washed out or impassable.

Schenectady isn’t looking good. I’m sure that most of you saw this photo of Jumpin’ Jacks, but if you didn’t, it’s pretty appalling. Those 4 circles between Route 5 and the buildings are the roof-canopy things that provide shade for the tables. There are actually several more (you can see them in photos on the Jumpin’ Jacks site) that are completely submerged. And the big watery space between the tennis courts and the circle of trees is the playground. To compare, you can type “Western Gateway Bridge, Scotia, NY” into Googlemaps satellite and zoom in.

If anyone knows of folks who are trying to gather volunteers to help with clean-up, I’d love to hear about it and spread the word.

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