We did not manage to escape the wrath of Hurricane Irene as she barreled up the East Coast last week. The news reports were frantic, frenzied, and over-played throughout many of the days preceding her arrival. It was all I could do to turn on the TV and not see yet another variant of a computer model depicting extreme winds and devastation for our area.
I am no cynic and we were prepared for the storm, I was merely overwhelmed by the media saturation of the ordeal. Regardless, arrive she did on Saturday afternoon with rain and wind aplenty. It was not near as intense as predictions had called for, but it remained a Hurricane nonetheless. There was one tense moment Saturday night when a Tornado warning was issued for our area. My Uncle had called to let us know it was on the way, and our weather alerts were going off seemingly every minute. We erred on the side of caution and woke Cutter to bring him downstairs in the interim. The tornado did not materialize which was relieving but anxiety producing all the less. Cutter went right back to sleep though I did not have as easy a time relaxing. The news reports were revving me up and it was all I could do not to jump out of my bed every time I heard a limb fall or tree creak. Worrying is exhausting – and futile (I know).
Sunday morning we surveyed the damage and it seemed we had escaped relatively unscathed. There were a lot of branches and limbs down but nothing that some old-fashioned manual labor couldn’t fix.
Until lunchtime that is, when the lights suddenly dimmed and then diminished. Our power was out. A trip down the driveway revealed the culprit – a Poplar had fallen across our street taking the power line down with it. Unbeknownst to us, another tree, a Red Oak, had fallen further down our road trapping the power line underneath it. My husband and father joined with the other neighbors to cut up the trees to make the road passable, but it was painfully clear we were going to be without power for quite some time. We are a small neighborhood with only eight homes – we were certainly not a priority of PECO’s amidst all the other outages. We utilized our generator to the fullest and were able to preserve all of our food, but not having lights and hot water gets old real fast.
Crews from Chicago came late Tuesday night to remove the tree from the line, and I had the unusual pleasure of watching their operation first-hand. I had come home later than I had thought from a meeting and was unable to get through our street while they worked. I patiently waited as there was no way I was interrupting their operation!
On Wednesday afternoon a crew from Milwaukee and Georgia arrived to re-set our poles and hang the lines back in place. They were some of the most kind and not to mention professional men, and I was happy to showcase Cutter. One of the men hadn’t seen his twelve month-old in over four weeks and he was fawning over Cutter’s unrefutable cuteness. I was more than happy to oblige.
Our power was restored Wednesday evening and I have never been more thankful for electricity – and more importantly – hot water.
Needless to say the rest of this week we have been in catch-up mode doing laundry and cleaning the house. Cutter was quite distraught that he was unable to vacuum for four days, as was I, his ever-anal mother. We’ve returned to normalcy quite quickly, but with a deeper appreciation for the infrastructure and willingness of so many across our country to serve those in need. Though the circumstances were not ideal, it was a timely reminder of how great it is to be an American and live in the United States of America.