Saturday night started with the monkeys cuddled up on the sofa bed, in the basement, watching movies and eating popcorn.
It was a fun adventure and we were so ready for Hurricane Irene.
We had decided to sleep in the basement, just to be safe.
Flash forward to Sunday night, and Real Man and his brother and a friend of ours were just finishing pushing out 8 and a half inches of water from our basement while my Mother and I tried to figure out what to do with all of the stuff we rescued and brought upstairs.
Move ahead to Monday night and Real Man and our friend had just finished cutting up, rolling and tying the carpet from the basement and chucking it out into the lawn, where the insurance adjuster told us to leave it.
I had ideas about how I’d write the story of everything that happened in the wee, small hours of Sunday morning, but in the days that followed, seeing the devastation up and down the coast, knowing that many of my friends are still without power, knowing that some of my friends have lost absolutely everything…a fun twist on Irene doesn’t feel right.
Instead, I’ve decided to count my blessings with regards to Irene.
1. I woke up when the power went out.
It was around 1:30 am and I had dozed for about 15 minutes, but the beeps throughout the house that notify you of power being lost woke me. I went upstairs and watched the storm for a bit, then decided to wake Real Man, because he loves a good storm as much as I do. We lit candles and got the flashlights out in case any monkeys woke up.
2. I heard the water start filling the basement.
After being upstairs for awhile, we decided we should get some sleep, because Irene wasn’t going to keep Monkey in the Middle asleep past 5 am. We headed downstairs and cuddled up in the recliner. Real Man fell asleep, but around 4:30 am, I started to hear a strange bubbling sound. I woke Real Man and we looked at the windows and the ceiling and couldn’t figure out the sound, until we realized the carpet was getting wet from underneath. Water was seeping in through the floor.
Because we had been up before, we had flashlights at the ready and we started to pick things up and carry them upstairs to the kitchen. Monkey Girl woke up and started to help. Then, Monkey in the Middle awoke and also started to help. While Baby and Tiny Monkey slept peacefully on the couch and the pack-n-play, the four of us tried to get everything out of the basement that was possible. And, we did.
Had I been asleep and not heard the gurgle, we would have awoken to 8 and a half inches of water and much more loss than we did.
3. We get by with a little help from our friends.
On Sunday, Real Man’s brother was here with a cooler so we could empty the fridge, and when he saw the basement, immediately started looking for a pump for us, went home and put on his hip waders, and came back and began to help. One of our friends, from high school, saw our posts on FB about the basement and came over to help, as well as Real Man’s father. This was not a one person job, and there is no way we could have gotten the water out on our own. It eventually took Real Man removing some bricks to create a pathway for the water to escape and then all of them shoveling water toward the escape route to get the water out, but after many hours, they did it.
On Monday, our friend came back and he and Real Man cut up, rolled up, and tied the carpet to get it out of the basement. All that is left down there are the couches, the recliner, the entertainment center, the desk, and the exercise equipment all of which need to be disposed of, but insurance has asked us to hold on to them until they’ve been out to assess the situation.
There were multiple offers from so many friends of a warm house to sleep in, a hot meal to eat, fridge and freezer space in which to store out food, etc.
People are good.
We spent Sunday night at my father-in-laws house and he made us dinner and we collapsed and slept a good sleep in his warm, dry house.
4. Basements can be replaced. People can’t.
We’re healthy and we’re not hurt.
So, what did we lose?
We lost two sleeper sofas, an entertainment center, a computer desk, a recliner, a treadmill, a recumbent bicycle, and the carpet.
There is only one thing we lost that cannot be replaced, and that is my wedding album.
When Real Man carried that up the stairs I broke a little and finally cried.
However, I’m doing my best to dry it out, and although there is damage, it may not be a total loss.
We will have to replace the baseboards and most of the drywall, although we’re hopeful we can just cut and replace the lower section of drywall and not have to redo the entire walls.
We will buy a generator or a battery powered back-up sump or something to ensure this doesn’t happen again and we will also have someone in to see if we can do more to waterproof the basement.
We’ll use tile or linoleum with area rugs instead of re-carpeting the space.
We live, we learn, we move on.
We were lucky.
I simply cannot believe the devastation I am seeing across the area.
A neighboring town is still under water, and when I say under water, I mean that there is footage of people Jet-Skiing down the streets.
My friend, Darlene, lost everything and you can’t look at the pictures of the inside of her house with the water-line almost as tall as I, the mud on the floor, and the furniture completely knocked over by the force of the water without getting tears in your eyes.
And what does she say?
“…but we’re fine and we still have each other.”
It humbles me to witness such grace in such disaster and it reminds me again and again and again how very fortunate we were.
Here’s hoping that all of you who were touched by Irene were spared any physical harm and that your losses were minimal.