Sunday, September 11, 2011

Hurricane Irene

Once, while I was pregnant, a tornado was sighted outside of Kinston.  My mother-in-law called me to tell me this, since at the time we had no TV.  She told me to go into our tiny bathroom (the most interior part of our house), sit on the toilet, and wait until she called me to tell me it was OK to leave.  I quickly did so.  A few minutes later, the hubster called me.  Our conversation went something like this:

Chad -- Hey, where are you?

Katie -- I'm sitting in our bathroom.  Your mom just called and said there's a tornado watch for Kinston.  Where are you?

Chad -- I'm out in the parking lot watching this storm.  This is awesome!

That's when images of me as a single parent began flashing before my eyes.

The husband and I have a very different outlook on the power of mother nature.  That's why when the weather channel started covering Hurricane Irene's approach to our coastline 24/7, he relished in it, while I contemplated quitting my job, taking Kaden, and moving in with my parents until the mess blew over.

This was my first hurricane, and I've got to tell you, I don't like them.

We were very lucky.  The damage we suffered at the hands of Irene consisted mostly of an emotional kind, as we yearned for the power of electricity to restore air conditioning to our lives.  Our car took a heavy beating from the masses of shingles that fell from Bruce and Joy's house, so we will have to pay for a new paint job, but we still have a car.  The four massive pine trees on the corner of our lot were still standing when we came home to survey the damage, and our house (other than flooded air-conditioning ducting) was fine.  We are so grateful for the huge blessing this is. 

Others, didn't fare so well:

We moved in with my in-laws the Friday before the big storm, because we knew it was going to get ugly in the wee hours of the morning on Saturday.  Fearing the giant pine trees in the corner of our lawn, and our single-paned-stone-age windows, we packed for our weekend getaway and left our house behind.

After we lost power early on Saturday morning, we enjoyed watching the storm from the safety of the back porch.  Kaden thought it was awesome watching the trees bending back and forth.  He just kept pointing and staring. 

No power from Saturday through Tuesday meant we had a lot of time to bond as a family.  We cooked on Tyler and Lauren's camping stove, Kaden became Poppy's shadow (that boy loves his Poppy), and we played lots and lots of Fill or Bust.  Kaden got to take all of his baths with his daddy in Gigi and Poppy's jacuzzi tub, since the other tubs were mid-renovation.   

Bruce and Joy have a generator, which we used to run the fridge and freezers (we all moved groceries from our individual houses to one central location, trying to save some of our food) and an occasional lamp and fan.  They were so generous to let all of us invade their home for so long.

Power lines were down everywhere.  Driving around after the storm to survey the damage showed just how powerful Irene was.

Our house didn't get power until late Wednesday night and we didn't move home until Thursday.  School was cancelled for students until Friday, but I had to go on Wednesday and Thursday as "work days."  I have never realized how much I love being able to turn on a light switch, turn down the thermostat, and plug in a fan.     

This experience also made me realize how important it is to be prepared for a state of emergency.  We were very blessed to only have to deal with a loss of electricity.  I can't imagine how difficult this would have been without running water.

Hurricane season runs through November 30th.  I hope we don't have to get on a first name basis with any more.

For your viewing pleasure, here is Hurricane Irene, just gearing up:

Here she is with a little more zest:

And here's Kaden, composing his first concerto with the help of his uncle, while we were waiting out the storm:


  1. I'm with you one hundred percent on hating hurricanes. I still just get sick to my stomach when I think about Ike, the hurricane we went through. You guys are lucky you had a generator!! Thank goodness for being prepared.
    Glad you guys are okay and that you had minor damage. I've been wondering about you...

  2. I can't imagine. I'm so glad you came through it okay. I really enjoyed the video of it...of course, I'm cool, dry, and have electricity, too.

  3. That is crazy! Las Vegas just earned a "why anyone would live here" point... no hurricanes.

  4. I'm glad you're okay =)

  5. yikes! crazy! we were in houston when hurricane ike hit in september 2008. i agree-- hurricanes are NO fun. i'm glad you guys made it through okay.

  6. It's crazy how bad Kinston got hit! Glad you guys were ok and that you got to spend it with family!!~

  7. well written, well designed, inspiring, informative and entertaining. Keep it up.

  8. I totally understand the difference between your husband's response and yours! That is so typical of a man in my opinion. My fiance is the same way about danger!! I'm with you - I like self-preservation. :) We have a lot in common. I, too, am a writer and I'm going through the process of editing my 2nd novel. My blog is at:

  9. Good day,

    I'm studying a master in Digital Media at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and I'm writing you to ask for your permission to use the entry titled "Hurricane Irene", published on September 11, 2011 on the blog A Trivial Smorgasbord of Insights Into My Life (

    My graduation project is an interactive map of stories about hurricane Irene. It's intended to motivate people at risk of disasters (such as hurricanes) to start thinking what to do about them now, instead of waiting until they are about to happen, which most people do. The project will show a map with the trajectory of hurricane Irene, and different search criteria to access stories within the map. Those stories can be annotated with comments from other users different than the author's story, in a similar way a blog entry can be commented. In my system though, the intent is to purposefully direct the discussed topic on how to handle disasters taking each story as a starting point.

    One of my graduation requirements is to demo my project to my committee. For that purpose, I've built a database of blog-posts to fill in the system. I'd like to add your story to that database. I can provide an image of the interface if you want to have a better idea of what your story would look like if included in the system.

    If you grant me permission, your entry will be used exclusively for non-commercial and educational purposes while the project remains in its demo phase. If this project is ever used for other purposes different than a demo, your blog-entry will not be included.

    I'd really appreciate if you allowed me to use your experience from Hurricane Irene to make a better project, and potentially help other people in the future.



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