Hurricane Snooze, Says the Girl with No Electricity

It should have been called Hurricane Boring. Or, Hurricane Eat and Drink Too Much.

Either way, I wasn’t too impressed with Hurricane Irene. At least, at first. But like a certain snooty cat who twirls around your ankles, only to move away when you try to pet her, Irene had the last laugh. A long, annoying hyena laugh.

"We're all gonna die!!!"

Let me just start by saying I’m very glad that the whole thing was so underwhelming. It’s not like I wanted death and destruction and looting in the streets of genteel Old Town (I totally would have hit up a few boutiques myself, if that had been the case. What can I say? I’m a lemming.) 

But as with the “earthquake” last week, I’m a bit underwhelmed. To hear everyone talking, Mother Nature was about to take a colossal dump on us. All over DC there was a mad dash to get supplies, a clearing out of store shelves by Friday night, and (at least within our house) talk of buying generators. All tweets and Weather Channel hysteria pointed to impending doom and the need for an Ark.

Here’s how we spent the weekend. On Friday, my emergency-disaster-preparation-partner XFE ran all over town like a crazy person procuring supplies. For us, this included brisket (trip to the butcher), liquor, lots and lots of non-perishable snack items, and flashlights. Somehow, even though we’re two grown adults, we don’t have flashlights. Obviously, this last fact required trips to several stores, until XFE tracked down the probably last two flashlights in the greater DC area at a sporting goods store. Good. We were all set.

"There are no flashlights to be found!!!! We're all gonna die!!"

On Saturday morning, we looked out the window and saw a slightly overcast sky. We made a last minute dash to Trader Joe’s for champagne and yet more tortilla chips. We were quite worried we’d run out of tortilla chips, a national disaster in the making. Then we went to Chipotle for our last meal. And other people’s tortilla chips.

XFE put the brisket on the smoker, I did laundry, and we eventually assumed our positions on our designated couches and waited for the worst. It finally started to rain and it kept raining, but it was like any other storm, really. The brisket kept cooking. XFE made trips out to the patio to check the brisket. Returning from one of those status checks, he reported that the shed out back was starting to get some water in it.

Now, this shed is a pretty important and large structure. It’s not really a shed as much as a second little house. It’s fairly large, has electricity and windows, and would make a lovely office if it had air conditioning and heat. As it is, we store all of our multiple pieces of luggage, my winter wardrobe, two barbecue grills, various tools, ladders, and most importantly, our wine fridge out there. Everything is up off the ground via shelves, pallets and wood beams, but only about an inch and a half, and well, we were expecting big things from Irene.

We quickly assembled some cat litter sand bags to put under the door. Yes. You read that right. Cat litter. Don’t laugh – although I certainly did when XFE first suggested it. Those sandbags totally worked. Even after hours and hours and hours of boring, steady rain.

Pleased with our inventiveness, we settled back on the couches. And continued the slow, long slog through the afternoon. Seriously, the ever-so-slight, possible-wine-fridge-disaster was the highlight. It just continued to rain, and we continued to be bored.

I’m not sure exactly what we would have been doing instead, but being housebound made the whole thing just extra boring. I mean, we’d already run all of our errands by Friday, basically, so that was already taken care of. I guess we would have washed the car, but that doesn’t take all day. It’s not like we had a list of things to do. But for some reason, just not being able to go outside made us both very antsy.

"I'm so bored cuz everything's closed!! I'm gonna die!!!"

We were so bored we even watched a couple of terrible movies on cable, including “Unstoppable” with Denzel Washington and Chris Pine. And the very bad “Going the Distance” with Drew Barrymore and Justin Long. We spent some time debating whether they were dating or not during the filming. I don’t think they were, but maybe they hooked up again during the filming. I’m not sure. Their whole timeline is confusing to me.

Then, things got rull interesting. At around 11 pm, the power went out. For no discernible reason. Nothing had struck the pole or transformer, as far as we could see, no lines were down. Houses a half a block away seemed to have power, but we, and a few of our neighbors, did not.

We called and reported the outage and went to bed. The rain continued all night long, along with some pretty high winds, but our bored selves slept like babies.

On Sunday morning, we looked out the window expecting total carnage. And, I guess, for the trees in the neighborhood, it was. Every leaf on every tree was now in the street. But that was it.

We hopped in the car to go buy emergency ice (same as regular ice, but used in emergencies) and tried to look for damage. We did see one car that had a tree on it, but that was about it in Old Town. Everyone appeared to have electricity except for us (and a few other neighbors).

Once back home, we settled in for more boredom, fully expecting the electricity to kick on at any minute. After all, there wasn’t a lot of damage in our area, so they should be right out, right? Right?

One of our neighbors stopped by mid-day and we compared notes. No, we don’t have any power. Yes, we reported it. Yeah, it shouldn’t be too long till it’s restored. Yes, it’s weird that only our five houses appear to be affected.

By 1:30 pm it was gorgeous outside, so we mobilized Operation Get Out of the House and went and played tennis. We came home (still no electric) and took cold showers (thanks electric water heater!). Finally, we made an escape plan: thanks to Twitter and Kimpton Hotels, we booked an “Irene special” and proceeded to eat what we could out of the fridge. Including lots of cheese. Lots and lots of cheese.

"We gotta get outta here or we're gonna die!!!!"

By 5 pm, we were enjoying the nice wine happy hour at the Hotel Palomar and I began Twitter bombing Dominion Power. To no avail. We still have no electricity.

So now I’m annoyed with Irene AND Dominion Power. Word on the street is we’ll have power by Wednesday. Which is just so patently ridiculous I’m rolling my eyes.

Anyone else less-than-impressed with the annoying, moody teenager known as Hurricane Irene? However did you survive the “storm of the century?”

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