Monday, August 29, 2011

How a Hurricane Totally Ruined My Hurricane Party

Like quite a few other people, I prepared for the hurricane by doing pretty much absolutely nothing until the wind picked up and it started to rain. It was only then that ML and I rushed to the market so we could buy some booze and snack-y foods. Or, whatever was left at that point.

The thing is, I'm not exactly a panicky person when it comes to stuff like this. I usually assume that the news media is attempting to scare the fuck out of us with all their "HURRICANE IRENE: WORST STORM OF THE CENTURY ON THIS PLANET AND POSSIBLY OTHERS" or "YOU'RE ALL GOING TO FUCKING DIE IN HURRICANE IRENE."

 Oooh, pink! I love the color pink!

I wasn't buying it, which was why I bought more wine than water. Okay, okay, I bought it a little and moved all the twi-gear to a higher location and unplugged the washer and dryer in the basement.

The rest of our preparation mainly consisted of me reading books and ML furiously refreshing and spouting off little survival tidbits here and there because I'm pretty sure he's secretly waiting for something catastrophic to happen so he can a) show me his mad survival skills or b) kill me and blame it on the zombies.

In the end, we did what we usually do on Saturdays, impending hurricane or no - we had people over.   Doesn't everyone throw a party when there is a potentially dangerous storm heading their way?

For awhile, we all hung around and munched on pizza bites and sipped some wine, commenting on the horizontal tilt of the rain and remarking casually about the 30 mph winds from the safety of my covered porch.

Maybe Irene thought we were making fun of her. Maybe she thought we thought she was a pussy. Or maybe I should have read the forecast. Whatever it was, Irene decided to show us all that she was, in fact, NOT a pussy.

That's when the distress calls started coming in. Snarkier Than You and I are very lucky to have an amazing group of friends who are always willing to help out when they can. So when the first call came in from the OPattz's, we were on it. The OPattz's, in particular, seem to have some rotten luck when it comes to storms. Either that or their house was built on an indian burial ground and holyshit are those spirits pissed. By the time we all showed up with buckets, a tree was resting against their house and their basement was rapidly turning into an indoor pool. We stayed and worked on their basement for a couple of hours until ML went home to check ours and realized ours was flooding as well.

There is something very unnerving about walking into your basement with nothing but flashlights and seeing shit float around. It also makes you feel pretty damn helpless. It's literally a sobering sight.

I won't bore you with the details of those six or so hours because it involved repeatedly filling up buckets with water to remove it from basements, and bailing out a basement is about as much fun as having someone kick you in the vagina over and over and over again. Unless you're into that sort of thing. I'm not.

 It was like this but I was the broom, there was no wizardy mouse, and the background sound was my perpetual garbled cursing and wheezing.

I should point out that the power was out during this whole thing and I was holding a small flashlight between my teeth for the majority of this exercise. My jaw feels like I just gave a 24-hour blowjob. Without stopping once.

In the end, we managed to grab a few hours sleep and everything turned out more or less okay, albeit soggy. We lost a few non-major things in our mini-flood and our house currently has a very unappealing wet dog scent to it but all in all - we did just fine.

Once the wind calmed down to a manageable level, ML and I decided to go and check out the neighborhood. I can honestly say I will never, EVER poo-poo a category one hurricane AGAIN. EVER.

Our park is now a lake...

The bridge going over the Raritan River

The towpath is now a lake

ML standing in the middle of a highway because he could without dying. 

Our highway is now a lake

Some nutjob riding his bike through our new highway lake.

Our other highway is now a pond. (Not included in this picture was some dude who was walking through that mess. It came up to his armpits)

Some house/wire/tree damage across the street from our friends' house.

We'll be back to our regular program soon enough. I know many of you also weathered this storm and didn't come out as luckily as we did. I am truly sorry for any loss you've suffered.

If there is one thing I've learned from this weekend it's "Mother Nature will fuck you up. And there ain't much you can do about it but brace yourself."


  1. Nothing sucks worse than wet basement smell. Also, there is a risk for hope everyone gets there undergrounds properly cleaned.. we went to the ocean last night out to a really cool costal rocky lighthouse..the waves were tremendous..the power of the ocean is truly impressive.. The storm was not as bad as predicted in my area..Glad all our tweeps made it out ok.. Now onto other excitement....FOORKS!!

  2. We literally just got our power back a few hours ago. Me, Hubby, and 3 screaming kids had to share a scary silent, pitch dark, house. It made me realize just how horrible the age before technology really was. We found a police scanner on his cell phone and huddled around it for weather updates. We heard someone say that 119,000 people in Maine alone are without power. But did CNN or Fox News reprot that? Nooooo. It's as if theres nothing beyong Boston. People from New England could be running around on fire and the major news networks still wouldn't notice us. It's as if we don't exist.

  3. Well JJ, it's good to know that you kept your awesome sense of humor throughout that debacle. It would be a tragedy if that got destroyed (or your computer **gasp**).

    This storm really did get played up as the water version of Armegeddon. I don't know why we continue to put stock in weather forecasts. You just can't predict mutha nature. Not to downplay the suffering of all, like you, that had to do bucket brigades to save their shit. TWC is trying to justify themselves by saying they caused everyone to prepare thus preventing untold tragedy. Who knows.

    I wonder if the government will now try to charge waterfront property taxes to all those who now have lakes in their front yards?

    I guess, if the end is near, why not go out with a party?

  4. Sorry that you were one of the unlucky ones. It's pissing me off that just because WE didn't get much, that somehow nothing has happened.

    I'm like "Um, EVERY road in Vermont is closed from flooding! Towns in the Catskills are GONE!" Etc.

    It's like some huge disappointment that nothing worse happened because preparations were made. And if they didn't scare people and it stayed a Cat. 2 or 3 without prep or evacuation, then everyone would be bitching about that. You.can'

    Was your "wet dog" comment a deliberate New Moon reference...giggle.

  5. I tried to call my next door neighbors today to apologize for my tree limb crushing their truck, but they didn't answer their phone. Do you think it was because they were outside with a chainsaw trying to get it into manageable pieces? Or maybe they have caller ID and don't want to speak to me?

    Times like this make me wish the ex was still around, so I could make him deal with it. But, not really. We would have killed each other cooped up together in the house all weekend!

  6. Well, I finally have something to talk about being from quiet little Vermont, where it's peaceful and idyllic and nothing much ever happens. Until yesterday. Geez did we get whacked! What the fuck did we do to piss of mother nature?? We live in Newfane, VT (just 10 miles north of now famous Brattleboro, VT). My kids and I had to evacuate our house due to flash flooding from a brook that I have never even seen running a ways behind our house. Every water way in the state is connected. Each little trickle of water ends up in the Atlantic ocean via the Connecticut River. My brother in law lives in Jamaica, VT and they lost their road, it literally got washed into the river, along with 4 of their neighbors houses. Whole houses, floating down river until they hit a bridge and fucking EXPLODED. As in flames from gas pipes in the homes. Our house is ok, we are fine, but this is incredible. This is my 3rd natural disaster, I was in SF for the Loma Prieta earthquake in '89, Miami for Hurricane Andrew in '92, and now Irene. Can I be done now?

  7. I lived in Hawaii when Iniki hit (I think it was '92). Lucky for us (but not for them) it went over a different island.

    In '03 my mom's house burnt down in a wildfire. It sucked, but changed my life. I now work for a small non-profit ( that helps people (in SoCal... did I mention we're small?) with their insurance claim after a disaster.

    I now know more people who lost their house to a fire than any one person should ever know. @vermonstermom4edward I give you permission to be over. Damn.

  8. JJ please see my comment on the previous post.

    That is some crazy shit...I hope everyone faired OK.

    I am with @Double_Dippin. Go buy a de-humidifier now. It will save your basement and house. Something tells me they me be on backorder.

    Love the photo of ML in the middle of the freeway....he doesn't know you posted that does he JJ? ;-)

  9. I only metaphorically bail water, so I can never own a basement. Those pictures are crazy.

  10. Glad you're safe. Hugs to you and everyone that had to deal with this.

  11. So glad you all are safe. Those pics are CRAZY. I can't believe that guy riding his bike through Lake Highway. LOL! the pic of ML in the middle of the freeway. I hope all of you get back to business as usual quick!

  12. JJ I am glad you are safe! It looks like areas north were hit harder than here in Maryland. I'm sorry your basement was flooded, but relieved nothing was severely damaged!

  13. Glad to hear everyone is safe, flooded basements suck! I can't beleive the damage that Irene has caused.

  14. vermonstermom4edward - you could say three strikes and you are out but you have made it through all three so I am going with three's a charm and you are now done. I am glad you are safe. I am sorry to all those around you though that are/were not and have lost much.

    JJ - I am so glad you are ok and that you could help your friends. I was very worried about my Jersey kids but it sounds like you all just got a bit soggy.

    I was listening on the weather channel this morning about people complaining that the news just hyped up this storm. My question would be - what would have to happen to make you think it wasn't hype? 41 people dead? 7 billion dollars in damage? Homes, roads and town completely washed away? Oh wait, that IS what happened and that is just as of this morning. I am forever grateful that they 'hyped' and that because of it people were smart and actually prepared or got out. I think that is also why the storm didn't seem as bad - people didn't do as many stupid things as usual so we didn't have as many tales to tell. Thank goodness!

    Keep safe still and pray the next one blows the other way.

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  22. Sorry for all the deletes. Not sure what happened there but my comment posted all those times. Yikes!

  23. @Lila -- I was in Hawaii (going to school at UH) when Iniki hit in 1992 -- Sept. 11, 1992 to be exact! I had no idea after the fact it was the worst hurricane to hit the islands. Kauai was devastated. I was in college so my priorities were a little out of whack. I went to the store for Oreos, vodka and jello. I was gonna make hurricane jello shots!!

    Nothing too traumatic up my way in Maine except for being without power for 26 hours. I'm not good at the no power thing. I nearly snapped.

  24. @LKW - OMG! That's what I was doing there too! What was your major? The guy I was living with at the time was an architecture major and the produce manager of that health food store right near University and Beretania and I was just liberal arts.

    We were also living right at the base of the hill from UH in Moiliili on Isenberg (I sold my car to move to Hawaii and didn't have one for years so we lived/worked/schooled within a couple of miles). Not only was it probably below sea level there, but you had to walk 2 or 3 steps BELOW street level to get to our apartment. We would've been so screwed if there was a storm surge.

    It's a small world!

  25. I'm still bummed that I missed pizza bites and wine while I was getting everything up off the floor in my basement Saturday night - you owe me some pizza bites, JJ!

  26. @Lila - I was on National Student Exchange from a university here it Maine. English major. I lived on campus -- Gateway House -- on Dole St. I was only there for a semester but it was SO much fun! Not sure I could ever live there though... I missed the seasons.

  27. @ilikeitlemony - My computer was tucked away under a pile of blankets where I could easily grab it if I needed to flee. No way was I taking chances with that! LOL!

    @vermonstermom4Edward - I've been reading just how insane it's been up there in VT for you guys!! It's really terrible what happened to everyone who got completely fucked by this storm.

    @LatchkeyWife & Lila - Holy shit it's a small world. Or maybe there are just a lot pervs who do semesters abroad in Hawaii. :P

    Thanks again for all the well wishes! :)

  28. Sorry for all the sucky water. Stoopid Irene bitch! We don't really do basements here in South Africa. I can't think of anyone I know who has one. But we do do floods. Nothing on the scale of a hurricane though, touch wood.

    My small ground floor flat flooded twice in 2 years because of stupid drainage. ie there was none, and all the gutter pipes, I swear from the whole complex emptied into my little courtyard, resulting in a dam in said courtyard where the only outlet was under my front door, through the living room and out the backdoor. Filling kitchen, bathroom and bedroom on the way. The 2nd (and last flood) I was standing in my living room, in water almost up to my knees rushing past like a river to get out the back door and onto the stoop ending in a waterfall that filled the weeny backyard. That river ran through my house for a coupla hours. And left behind mud. Fortunately less stuff was damaged this time, past experience getting me to act super fast, but I quickly moved to a larger flat that has, so far, never flooded. It has a hulk sized manhole type drain, so I remain optimistic.

    But I know how much it sucks. And smells. One piece of advice I got to get rid of the wet smell was to place tubs of vanilla essence around the house? Like it sucks up the smell or something. I dunno if it actually helped get rid of the smell, but it sure did make things smell purdy for a while. However, considering the scented candle issue metioned last post, maybe not....

    Another thought (I have had pretty strong painpills & that always makes me chatty, so deal with it): perhaps if we had more basements in SA, our living areas would flood less as the water would have somewhere to go....?

  29. @LKW - Wow, we were so close yet so far...

    I grew up on SoCal so the lack of seasons wasn't as intense. I just couldn't stand how small the place was... and that the best shopping they had was equivilant to Macy's. Not that I could've afforded anything better on a student budget (or hell... even know), but I like to watch!

    Did you ever make it to Bubbies? It was the icecream place right next to the University theater. They had the ice cream sandwiches called "screaming orgasms" a coffee milkshake called "keep it up all night" and cookie dough covered ice cream bites called "bite me". I miss it so much that sometimes I have stuff shipped to me at an exhorbatant price.

  30. @Lila - I don't remember the ice cream place. I do remember Moose McGillicudy's in Waikiki -- I loved that bar. Especially when the guy-girl ratio was like 10-1. LOL!!

  31. LMAO!! @Lila and @LatchkeyWife, holy shit, lived in HI for 8 years, you make me all nostalgic!

    Moose's is still the same! 10-1 military guys to girls. :) LOVE me that place! :) I went to HPU, not UH, and I think it was called something else back then. Not to make you feel old. ;)

    I'm so glad that all of you are safe!


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