Our voluntary evacuation ahead of Hurricane Irene Friday morning morphed into a mandatory evacuation as our entire island was ordered to leave. Our 7:00 a.m. departure allowed us to avoid long lines at gas stations and longer lines on the parkways and expressways. We sailed along and three hours later arrived at our temporary destination. My girlfriend and her husband, currently residing in Las Vegas, were spending one week on the East Coast visiting family. Las Vegas girl, another friend and I were lucky enough to nab a few hours on Friday to enjoy a long lunch and rehash old times.
Hub and I spent Friday night with friends and Saturday night with my sister.
By Sunday morning Hurricane Irene was north of our home and everyone had had enough of staring, eyes glued, at the weather channel. It was time to head home.
We were very lucky. Our house was intact and there was minimal damage to our area. Fallen tree limbs and other debris were the extent of the damage and cleanup. When we saw our home still standing we heaved a long sigh of relief and headed out to one of the three places in town open, ordered a pizza and settled in to enjoy a peaceful evening.
One of the reasons we love our home and town is the kindness and friendliness of our neighbors. One neighbor who lives across the street remained on the island during the storm. We had called earlier in the day for a report on our home, and were relieved to hear everything looked fine. Later that evening, obviously alert, he noticed an open window and called the police, concerned about looters. Looting after the storm was a major worry and a reason people were reluctant to leave in the first place. We pulled up in front of our house, pizza in tow; he was relieved to see us as we explained we had come home, checked everything out, opened the window to get some fresh air in the house and left to get dinner. He had also gone out to get dinner, returned, saw no car and an open window. It is comforting to know we look out for each other in difficult times and care.
Our deserted street has slowly come back to life. It is a relief to know everyone is safe and everything intact.
And so we get back to everyday life and routines. Hub's business trip was rearranged as flights were canceled, rescheduled and one meeting missed. He will be able to attend a second meeting later in the week.
We anticipate enjoying a quiet Labor Day weekend at home as 'official' summer winds down and fall activities begin.
We feel blessed and relieved to have avoided what could have been anything from a major headache to a catastrophe.