My mother's name is Irene, so I have had an odd few days seeing people all along the Eastern seaboard telling my mother to leave, go away, f-off, and other such pleasantries. Hurricane Nate is on the docket for later this year - I'm hoping it's not a big one (if it happens) because I really don't want to see things telling my son to go away, even if "go away" is one of his favorite phrases these days.
(Like the other day, he was standing at my brother's bedroom door, wanting him to come out so they could play. I said, "Hey Nate, waddya doing? Waiting for Uncle Kenny?" Nate turns to look at me and goes, "Go away" and goes back to standing at my brother's door. I was stunned for half a second and then I laughed because, really, did he just tell me to go away? Already? I thought I had a good fourteen years before that happened.)
But anyway, back to Irene. I have to say that we - my family - were very, very lucky. Our home sustained no damage. My parents' basement got some water, but nothing terrible. My sister's home is fine, although she was hoping for a tree to hit her garage so she could file a claim to build a new one.
However, her husband's business equipment wasn't so lucky.
He owns his own business and those are his trucks, submerged. You can't see his trailers, two other trucks, backhoe, mixer, compressor and other equipment because they're completely submerged.
To me, that is terrifying. That business is half of what sustains their family. Without it, they can't keep their home or much else, for that matter. I don't know exactly how they'll proceed from here, but I know the water's receded so hopefully he can take stock today and start whatever repairs and claims will get his business going as soon as possible.
Yesterday, from my dining room window, I could see people in the next town (just a block away, basically) being taken from their homes by raft. People I grew up with have entire first floors of their homes flooded. The flooding in the areas around a local river is, overall, really bad. As of today the water has receded from the roads, mostly, but those homes - the damage doesn't just disappear.
I feel so incredibly lucky that our home held up, we didn't sustain any damage, and I don't know anyone who was personally injured in the storm.
Last night, as I spent some time in the kitchen cooking up some dinners for the week, I thought about how much I learned about preparation. The hardest part was probably food. What in the world do you stock up with when everything in your kitchen is electric (including the stove)? I don't want to make a casserole or soup and then eat it cold. Mostly everything else would go bad after a few hours without power. Before this weekend, I hadn't ever contemplated this before.
So I stocked up on plenty of dry snacks for Nate (crackers, veggie sticks, cereal bars), his baby yogurts that don't require refrigeration (no, I don't know how that works), and I had some plain cooked pasta in the fridge for him for the first day. For drinks, I bought him juice boxes and extra milk (which we could keep in a cooler w/ice for extra days). For us, I had plenty of water, bread, peanut butter, and jelly (and I happened to have Nutella and marshmallow fluff on hand, but I didn't go out and buy them for this - just had them and kept them in mind if need be). I baked chocolate chip pecan cookies and then... that was all I could think of. Nate eats pb&j, too, so he had that option. To be honest, I was mainly concerned with Nate. We could deal with whatever. Who cares about us, as far as I'm concerned. I wanted to keep his life as normal as possible if the power went out.
Thankfully, we never lost power, which surprised me. I was sure we would, but we didn't. We had flashlights, extra batteries, and a corded phone ready to go. But some people in my area have lost power and won't have it back for days. If I were them, would I be eating PB&J until Friday?
Lesson to self: figure this out before the next storm, just in case. For today, though, I did make myself PB&J for lunch because I had psyched myself up for it! And, well, it was delicious. So maybe five days of it wouldn't be too terrible, if need be.
I hope you and your loved ones, if you were in the path of this storm, have not sustained any terrible damages or injuries.