Us, Ourselves, and Irene

I cannot believe this is my second post in a week about a significant weather event completely uncommon to the Washington, DC area.  While many would argue we dodged a bullet with Hurricane Irene, not sure we’d agree…  Yes, technically it could have been far worse and there are any number of scenarios that would have been worse.  But, it was still a LONG night.  Here’s about how it went.

11 am:  Pre-hurricane showers arrive and seem to hit only our block.  Scott and Sammy are at baseball practice while Jack opts out of his nap and I begin the activity Greff has coined the “bucket brigade.”

~4 pm:  Grancy arrives just as the rains start to pick up.

4:30 pm:  Just as the rain really gets going, Greff arrives with a substantial quantity (~40) of 5-gallon drywall buckets in hand and many towels.  Grancy and I take the boys to a birthday party down the street while Greff and Scott really get the bucket and towel party started.

6:10 pm:  The birthday party team arrives home to find Greff has left to go pick up more towels and buckets.  It’s awfully early for this… not a good sign.

7:00 pm:  Greff arrives with reinforcement towels/buckets.  First round of towels goes into the dryer.

9:30 pm:  Bucket brigade continues – moving buckets, replacing towels.  Call in good friends who live down the street for back-up towels and buckets.  Discover a new towel drying technique – first put wet towels in washing machine on spin cycle only to shorten the drying time.

11:00 pm:  During a dryer run to move towels through process, Scott discovers the basement window is leaking as the window well is collecting water above the window line.  Quickly grab the only things left to sop up the water and collect inflow – a bath mat and a bathrobe.  Greff and Scott go outside in the pouring rain to dig a trench to redirect the water downhill and away from the window well.

Midnight:  Naptime.

~2 am:  Scott and Greff empty buckets, move towels, and assert it’s not really raining that much.

4:00 am:  Jack wakes up (from the loud wind or wet diaper, not sure) and the team arises to again empty buckets, move towels, and get a quick weather update.  Luckily, the 24×7 coverage of the storm did not disappoint.

4:30 am:  Ready for nap #2.  Grancy climbs in bed with me.  Greff decides this is reminiscent of the grandparents-in-bed scene from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory when Charlie finds the golden ticket and starts singing,  “I’ve Got a Golden Ticket.”

Clearly we’ve reached the point of delirium.  Sammy wakes up.  Grancy falls asleep in bed with me, Scott falls asleep in bed with Sammy, Greff goes to sleep on the couch (next to the air mattress set up in the family room).  I post on facebook for the first time regarding the situation.

6:30 am:  Scott arises to again assess the situation.  The light of day shows we’re sufficiently soaked, but achieved our goal of no water coming through to the first floor.  Damage is contained to a few warped plywood panels in the second story sub-floor.

8:00 am:  Still raining…  When all else fails, I do what I do best… cook.  Homemade waffles somehow make everything a bit more tolerable.  The elephant enjoys some fruit.

Obviously we’re still punchy.

10:00 am:  Rain ceases and the sun comes out.  Here’s what the scene looked like by the light of day:

We lift and wring the towels, empty the buckets, and start up the fans.

Second facebook post goes up – a call for de-humidifiers to help remove moisture from the air, floor, etc.

Greff and Scott begin to drain the “moat” (aka footings for the porch).

Sammy’s “fish” from the moat didn’t quite make it.

The final stats:

–          107 buckets (empty drywall spackle and chlorine buckets, pots, pans, Tupperware, mixing bowls, trash cans)

–          72 towels

–          ~75 gallons of water dumped

–          4 sleep-deprived construction lovers with a good sense of humor and practicality


One Comment on “Us, Ourselves, and Irene”

  1. Anne de Fontenay says:

    Hilarious. It sounds like a long, brutal night, and I’m sorry we were not around to help. I love that the porch footing really turned into a moat. All you needed was the alligator. Love the co-sleeping.

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