Back at home

Our new house is pretty much at sea level and a block away from the ocean (technically, Sandy Hook bay), so we had to evacuate Saturday morning before Hurricane Irene arrived. We went to stay with our wonderful friends who have a house a few towns inland from here.

We had the good fortune to stay in a lovely room with our guinea pig, cat and accessories. Even the cat was comfortable, to my great surprise. Our friends were so generous with their hospitality. Another couple with their German Shepherd also took shelter in the house.  There was a birthday party for our hosts’ two year old daughter on Saturday. Hugo had a great time. By all indications he felt like a king!

The batteries in my camera died a day or two before the storm hit, and there were no batteries to be had anywhere. Except for AAAs and nine volts. I have no pictures to share.

Our friends lost power around 11:00 PM Saturday night. There was a lot of leftover food from the party to eat on Sunday. In the evening, we went to another friend’s house who hadn’t lost power to charge up cell phones and order pizza. My cell phone really died this week. It wouldn’t charge and wouldn’t boot up after months of struggling and regret.

We were originally told that there was a curfew lasting from 8:00 PM Saturday through 9:00 AM Monday morning. I thought we would go home on Monday, as long as everything was OK at our house. We found out on the town’s website that the whole town was out of power and there was extensive flooding. My brother in Atlanta would check the site and text me the announcements since I didn’t have an internet connection.

Monday morning, we went home to check things out. The house smelled like mildew and the yard was flooded with saltwater. There were several feet of water in the basement up until yesterday when our landlord came to fix the sump pump. No water got into the upper levels, though. Our power came back on Wednesday, six days before we were told to expect it.

We still had hot water and cooking gas while the power was out. I only stayed in my house for one night without power but it was nice! We lit candles and went to bed early. The worst part of the outage was that my town had a curfew from dusk to dawn. That really weirded me out. I hated throwing all of our food out, too. We spent the day at my dad’s on Tuesday and the night at my sister in law’s in north Jersey.

The best part of the hurricane and aftermath was that Hugo really started walking on Sunday! He had taken a few steps earlier in the month but being around the big kids inspired him to toddle across the room. I still don’t have a good video of him walking, but here is one he took himself that includes some walking footage. And Hugo’s first tooth came through today! A good reason for his clinginess the past couple of days.

Evacuation!

Me and Mr. Go at the beach

The same week we found out that our new home was earthquake ready, we have to pack up and flee for higher ground when hurricane Irene hits this weekend. The Highlands has mandated evacuations by 5:00 PM tomorrow. Fortunately, we have friends inland who are taking us in – guinea pig, cat and all.

I was nervous about packing this evening, but I feel better now that I have tupperwares of pet food ready to go. Hugo will have fun playing with his lovely two year old girlfriend and Maggie the pig seems to enjoy traveling and a change of scenery. I think the cat will have the most difficult time. Our friends have six cats. Stash has never been around another cat, other than to hiss through the window.

I hope everything about this charming town is intact when we come back! I just read that there is a curfew from Saturday at 8:00 PM to Monday at 9:00 AM. It will be good to be at a hurricane party that originated as a two-year-old birthday. It’s easier to laugh away your fears with good company.

I could have mentally railed about moving a block from the beach a week before the biggest storm of my lifetime hits New Jersey, but it turned out that the town we moved from is also being evacuated. I wonder if the boxes we have left there will stay dry.

Hugo just started napping well in this new house today! Oh, well. Maybe he’ll sleep even better after we get home (on Monday?). I hope we have power.

Best of luck and God bless everyone who is in the path of Irene.