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Parenting through hurricane Irene—with photos!

As I’m sure you heard (or experienced) we had a hurricane on the east coast on Sunday. It wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been but it was bad enough that we, the Ruddy family, are still without power. There are tons of trees and power lines down all over our neighborhood. We lost a few big limbs off some of our oaks but none did any damage. We also got away without a drop of water in our basement. We are lucky that for us it’s been more of an adventure/lesson in preparedness than anything else. Here’s how Irene went down for us….

Saturday night before the storm hit, we all went to my parents’ house for a big pre-hurricane party. I cooked a bunch of stuff that had been in my freezer and we talked about what to do if/when/then and tried to stay away from the weather channel (it’s like crack, isn’t it?). Our lights were out before we woke up Sunday morning and the storm had been raging most of the night (Nick was up and down checking the house; the kids and I slept like babies). The storm didn’t really hit until late Sunday morning and it was intense—the rains whipped, the wind was gusting and we watched from our couch as branches fell all over our yard. But it wasn’t until we drove over to my parents’ later in the day that we realized just how bad the damage was for some people. My parents live six minutes from us but it took us 20 to get there because we had to keep turning around and finding new ways thanks to the giant trees lying across many of the roads—and in houses. And power was out everywhere.


One of the major roadblocks on the way to my parents’ house after the storm


This is the marina in our town—the water was right up to the parking lot. Crazy, right?


Fortunately the tide receded soon after this photo was taken so the boats were okay.

What made the storm—and continuing power outage—much more bearable for us, as parents and as people who don’t really like to rough it: flashlights for the kids to mess around with (we had enough that we could spare a few for them to keep on too long and play flashlight tag with), a fully-charged ipad loaded with Gnomeo and Juliet, among other movies, Goldfish, chocolate chip banana bread (Alex and I made this on Saturday in anticipation of the storm), patience, wine, a garden full of great food to eat (we made BLTS at my parents’ house yesterday—they have a gas stove so I brought my giant heirloom tomato over and we feasted), board games (we tried a family game of memory but it only lasted 10 minutes), more patience, more snack food, more wine. And the fact that I’m not working on any big projects right now—on purpose—has made it really chill bonding time with the kids, as opposed to a how-the-hell-do-I-work-with-no-power-and-no-childcare-nightmare.

Oh, and there’s one major thing that has made this whole experience way more tolerable and pleasant: A generator. Guess I should have put that first! Last week we experienced both an earthquake and hurricane so Nick, who has a slight obsession with the end of days these days, was on edge. And he wanted to be prepared. He went to a million stores, called a million more and finally found a generator at Costco Saturday morning (he is still unclear about whether he accidentally took it from another customer, since the thing was sitting in a flatbed all by itself, but at this point, we’re over it…). He was definitely the hero of the hurricane. Big time. All our food is perfectly fine. We could fire up the Keurig to make coffee (we made a cup for my neighbor and brought to-go mugs to my parents and sister yesterday morning), we could charge our cells, listen to the ipod, watch a DVD on our flatscreen.

Nick and Al setting up the generator to save the day

And because my parents and sister had no power, they brought steaks, shrimp and sausage from their freezers and we had a party here Sunday night. Nick cooked everything on the grill (including heating up spaghetti for the kids—we have an electric stove which is no good without electricity) and we sat around the table eating, drinking and enjoying life. We dug up lamps from all over the house and lit a ton of candles and really had a nice night.


Getting dinner ready!

Nothing stops our family from having good food and a good time!

Monday was cleanup—Nick got to wield a chainsaw, which was a highlight—and Alex and my nephew Andrew were a big help.


They collected a huge pile of sticks, which entertained them for hours. Score!


We took Nora and my nephew Gregory down to the beach yesterday—amazing to think it was this beautiful so soon after the storm.

All in all, we can’t complain. In fact, we had a pretty damn good time. Of course now that Tuesday is here and we still have no hot water and no power, the adventure is turning into a nuisance. So, were any of you in Irene’s path? How did the storm treat you? I hope everyone is safe and sound with no damage. Share your experience if you can!