Saturday, December 31, 2011

Top 10

I love the lists at the end of the year – nice reminders and a countdown of sorts. We live with lists every day with our house projects – we have separate lists, a combined list on a dry erase board and a working spreadsheet on the computer. Even with all of those lists, I can’t help but do a list to capture all of the reasons I am glad we moved here, so here goes and in no particular order….

10. Our next door neighbor who clears our driveway after it snows – every snow storm (we offer a bottle of honey Wild Turkey in return).
9. The same neighbor throws parties for any reason – separation party, reconciliation party and a divorce party (all in one year and we are always invited!), but also lights fireworks on random days. Mostly Sundays and Tuesdays.
8. Drivers used to stop and ask if I needed help when running through the streets. Once they realized I did it on purpose, those same drivers stop to offer encouragement.
7. Harry, the heron, who has become the closest thing we’ll have to a pet. He stops by daily to eat from the pond.
6. The liquor store that offered toilet paper during the Hurricane. Also, Hurricane related: all of the neighbors who ignored the mandatory evacuation offered whatever they could to help one another.
5. The local crabbers (Mark and Earl) who always offer me deals and tell me when I should skip them because they don’t want to upset a “local.” Never thought I’d be so happy to be called a local, but that is a huge deal on Kent Island where folks that moved here 20 years ago are still called “chickenneckers.”
4. The family down the street that just got electricity and sits outside all summer long drinking beer always offering us one as we walk by. I said yes once, and I will have friends for life in them.
3. The older couple next door (the other side) that always offers me cuttings of plants and extra vegetables from their garden. Since I’ve started gardening, I’ve been able to return the favor.
2. All of the dogs in the neighborhood – Duke who used to run with me and his illegitimate offspring, Angel, who doesn’t have the personality that Duke did, but is a good reminder of his father; Raven the huge black lab that may be the stupidest but sweetest dog around; Libby who ignores us as we walk by and is just like her family; Frick and Frack, basset hounds, that protect their yard as fiercely as slow, fat, friendly dogs can. Unfortunately, there is one exception. We call him “Yappy.” Enough said.
1. Last but not least, we’re calling this our house now, not Bob and Mary’s. That doesn’t mean we don’t still blame them for some of the crazy things done in this house, but we celebrate every one that we fix in our house.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Come on, Irene

We’re catching up on the blog so there will be some random, out of sequence posting.

In September, our area was under a mandatory evacuation for Hurricane Irene. Sounds pretty scary, right? We did a bit of research that consisted of polling our neighbors on what that meant. Most importantly, we found out that that doesn’t mean you have to leave your home. However, you have to understand that it means you will have no access to services provided by the county – fire, medical, etc. – until the evacuation is lifted. We also found out that the only neighbors that were heading off the island were all elderly folks and planned to use those emergency services. They took off, the rest of us stayed.

As the hour of mandatory evacuation and bridge closures neared, we prepped our house and ourselves. We made a list of what we had to do. We took off of work early and began our preps.

First? A trip to the liquor store where we stocked up and the local merchant handed out toilet paper to its customers. We already liked the owners, but this made us customers for life (as long as we survived the storm, that is!).

Next up was the hardware store. With wine and beer out of the way, we could concentrate on other preparations. I should note that the liquor store was way busier than the local hardware store. Anyway, we bought a new chainsaw (we needed one anyway) and five gallon buckets to store water. At the grocery store (by far the most crowded stop we had), we purchased ice. I’m still not sure why there were such lines to buy food when the likelihood of losing power was so high – why buy more to spoil?

Having learned our lessons from Hurricane Isabel (September 2003) at the old house, we felt pretty confident with our planning. That storm had a huge surge that flooded the neighborhood. We knew our current house didn’t get swamped in that storm – the former owners told us so, but I didn’t believe them so I checked with their insurance agent to confirm. Our house is 14 feet above mean low water and the last surge was seven feet above. But, the frenzied meteorologists were calling for a much larger surge, and we would be prepared.

We also knew if the roads flooded, our cars would be useless so we had kayaks and bikes set up by our front door and the boats in the backyard tied to the deck. We moved all of the deck furniture indoors so that they wouldn’t fly around and crash into the house (the meteorologist were calling for high winds). We were sure we would lose power so we had ice in all of our coolers stocked and filled tons of containers with water including the new buckets and stationed them in the bathroom and the kitchen. Back in 2003, our power was out for six days. Given that we are in a more rural area now, we thought this could be longer.

We hunkered down and waited. And waited. And nothing. Yes, it rained and there was some wind. A few old or dead trees around the neighborhood fell down and the power was out for about 14 hours. We weathered the storm just fine, and I didn’t tell my mom about the mandatory evacuation until after it was lifted.

One more thing, we know we were lucky as the storm was devastating to the north of us.