Irene has been a major pain in the you know what, but basically we came through untouched. One large limb down (which Lee got down to bare wood on Monday):
And a tree that fell into our neighbor's yard (but missed their house unlike the branch that came down from another neighbor's tree onto they car and poked through their roof a little):
Here's our major property damage. The heavy duty vinyl cover on the patio furniture (the only thing we couldn't fit in the basement or shed or lay flat) broke off two of it's velcro ties and flapped pretty good in the wind. Those chairs are pretty heavy though, so they didn't move far. This reminds me of that photo that made the rounds after the earthquake with the one chair that had fallen:
Like the majority of Branford we still don't have power, but we do have running water and a functioning water heater (gotta love natural gas). I have more than a few friends without both. Our neighbors came back up around 5:30pm this evening (who knew we were on different circuits?) and have graciously run an extension cord over to our house.
What are our essentials? Well we already had to trash everything in the fridge. I look lovely in candlelight and the flashlights are holding up well under heavier than normal use. We decided that we would plug in the cable-box and see if we had internet and telephone. Shockingly it works. So we're sitting in our candlelit living room watching the Yankees/Red Sox game and counting ourselves lucky.
We did a few things right during this whole thing. We did all our laundry on Saturday. We are not good about stocking up when food is on sale, so it was easy for us to eat what we had in the freezer and fridge that we would be sorry to lose. Condiments however are goners, but looking at the dates on some of those bottles as we tossed them made me not so sad to see them go. We brought the coolers up from the basement before the storm and bought 4 bags of ice between us on Friday and Saturday. That let me give the neighbors a 10 pound bag of ice on Sunday when they couldn't find any, which might have made them slightly more amenable to running an extension cord over to us tonight when they got power.
I'm not good about saying I need help, so it took a lot for me to ask a friend in North Branford with power if I could come over and charge my electronics on Monday. But the few hours with her in civilization recharged more than my computer and cell phones.
May I also say a big thank you to Pacileo's here? Grabbing a hot pizza and a few cold beers on Sunday after the storm and charging my blackberry there will always be a happy memory after more than 24 hours of extreme anxiety. Chatting with the other people from the neighborhood there while we waited for our pizza was the only source of information we had after cell phones stopped working that afternoon.
I'm still not convinced I wouldn't have been happier driving out to Chicago, but I do think I would have been worrying about everything and everyone here. Seeing the scale of the damage to areas not far from us has been shocking. We went down to Guilford on Sunday to check on SS1 and his grandparents -- all fine. He told us we had to go down to the docks. Not sure exactly how this happened, but think the storm surge must have washed away the base of the parking area and picked up the asphalt?:
I was very happy to see that Grass Island survived (a lot of things in Madison, Guilford, Branford, and East Haven along the shore didn't). Anyone who grew up in Guilford has plenty of memories associated with this view:
I hope you and yours are safe tonight and if you need a hot shower...