After six days without power and seven without internet access, Hurricane Irene (that rat bastard) is now just an image in my rear-view mirror.
Kitty and I lucked out; no property damage whatever aside from a few broken branches. Somehow a goodish sized tree trunk was lodged underneath our shed bu the shed was untouched. The neighbors across the street had a humungous tree filling their yard horizontally, but it missed hitting their house. The people next to them had the same thing happen but the tree crushed their car. Three or four trees fell across the road about an eighth of a mile from us, taking down a utility pole and a lot of wires.
We live in a neighborhood of over four thousand homes. Every exit was blocked by fallen trees. An old one-lane road that had been closed off was reopened and we had to wind our way through six streets (some unpaved) to reach the exit which was four or five miles from our house.
After the first candle-lit night, we opted to try for a hotel. There are three hotels in our area. The first was booked solid and the second sold their last room over the telephone while I waited at the desk. The last hotel had only one room left -- something they called a "jacuzzi suite" even though it was just a single room -- which (IMHO) they overcharged for. (The jacuzzi didn't work, someone left a window open during the hurricane so part of the floor was wet, and the pullout sofa bed smelled suspiciously of urine.) My daughter had also lost her power and, since she was on well water, her toilets did not work. So, for the first night we had her two children and her foster child sleeping on the dry parts of the hotel floor. (Her power -- and toilets -- were restored the next day.)
Because power was out in so many places locally, keeping a hotel room was a day-by-day crap shoot. The hotel refused to book for more than one night at a time. The room we stayed in was "needed" the next day, but they were always able to find us another room in another area of the hotel each day. They would also erratically give us coupons for a compimentary continental breakfast -- two coupons one time, just one another time, usually none though. Cleaning service seemed almost as erratic.
Since my perfect-ten accidental dive into the Bay the Sunday before Irene, the gashes on my leg became infected and have been some time healing, making it painful to stand or walk. (Not to worry, my doctor told me I'm healing fine and slowly.) Now the hotel is a five-story building with its rooms on two wings. If you've ever seen a movie where a corridor gets longer and longer, seemingly without end, you've seen the wings of this hotel. Inevitably, our rooms were always far down the corridor with the only elevators at the beginning of the corridor -- perfect for exercising a swollen leg.
We stopped by the house every day so that Ninja could tell me that I was pond scum because there was no cat food in her dish. We also checked the guest bedroom. Empty. Did I mention that my son-in-law's brother was due in sometime for a two-week stay? Each day we watched more and more trees being removed from any road that was not ours. Patience, thy name is us.
Luckily, power came back late Friday afternoon. I doubt if we would have been able to manage another day at the hotel. The Pax River Naval Air Base was sponsoring a large air show the next day with expected crowds of several hundred thousand. Already members of the Blue Angels were filing into the hotel.
So we are back. And darned glad of it.