Hurricane Irene: I believed the hype. And that’s okay.

I’m looking out the window this morning at sideways rain and wind as bad as I’ve ever seen. I’m safe inside- but just barely. I’m awesome! I’m braving it! I’m surviving Irene!

Kind of. A confession: I am writing this a hundred miles west of New York City. I loaded up the minivan a few days ago and drove my kids quite far from the center of the excitement. But make no mistake: there’s a distinct possibility of some flash flooding! And one downed tree! So, pretty thrilling, right?… Never mind.

All the thrills around here are me watching CNN and refreshing Twitter every five minutes for news of New York City and eastern Long Island, where I could have been instead. But even there, my sister (in NYC) and friends (on Long Island) are shrugging at the whole thing and playing cards by candlelight. Nothing much else to report. “Overrated,” one friend has already tweeted unequivocally (I guess she had the foresight to fully charge her cell phone pre-storm).

And so, stupidly I realize, I am feeling a little sorry for myself. I wish I was with the cool kids, making memories my kids could share with their grandchildren. I will get no “I survived Hurricane Irene” props here in Pennsylvania– I’m sitting here in a quiet house blogging while my husband has the kids out bowling, for Pete’s sake.

But at the same time, I know that’s ridiculous. People HAVE died. People HAVE lost their homes. This may not have been the storm of all time, but that’s nothing but wonderful news. All the snark and eye rolls at the overhype seem to me like the snark and eye rolls of a million teenagers at a mother’s overprotectiveness: she thinks, like, you can’t even drive ONE BEER and then get behind the wheel of a car, and we did, and it was totally fine.

I guess what I’m saying is: I’m thrilled my home and my friends’ homes were spared. (So far; some people aren’t out of the woods yet). But I’m not so sure the worriers among us were so wrong to worry. If we were, let’s be thrilled about that, instead of annoyed.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Shannon W. August 29, 2011 at 5:34 pm

I think that as a parents, we have an obligation to take the safe road. You wouldn’t want the memories “your kids share with their grandkids” to be the time the scary storm flooded the house or the little sis got hurt but the ambulance couldn’t get to her for 2 days. 

We had to evacuate our home in the Houston suburbs when Hurrican Rita came through in 2005.  It took us 8 hours to drive 70 miles further inland.  Rita ended up hitting to the East and there was almost no damage in our neighborhood.  But I would do it again in a heartbeat to ensure that I don’t potentially put my kids in a dangerous situation. 


Anonymous August 29, 2011 at 8:26 pm

You’re right, Shannon, and I would definitely do it all again. Our painful commute was actually back to the city today- a 4 hour trip for what usually takes 2. But as we passed over swollen rivers- and partially submerged houses- I felt nothing but grateful.


Co_herrin August 29, 2011 at 5:55 pm

I find it fairly ridiculous that people are annoyed more bad things didn’t happen.


Anonymous August 29, 2011 at 8:26 pm

Right? To steal a line from @lizzwinstead:twitter on Twitter: “are you really complaining about having taken precautions?”


Karen September 5, 2011 at 1:29 am

Amen, sista! You are one of only a few people who shares this same sentiment with me. Maybe we didn’t need to buy every loaf of bread in the supermarket, but we were right to be prepared and a bit worried.
We should be breathing a sigh of relief, not making obnoxious comments. Your snarky teenager-like comparison is dead-on!


molliesy03 September 13, 2011 at 4:41 pm

Just wanted to say, we may have stayed put, but we did brace for the worst! I was counting on a couple days at least without power or water, eating granola bars and peanut butter and flushing the toilet with buckets filled from the standing water in the tub. (We filled every pitcher and container we could find.) Kept waking up overnight to see whether it was time to move us all away from the windows to avoid the gale-force winds that never came. And yes, after all that, it was a teeny tiny bit disappointing that “surviving” ended up meaning staying indoors and getting a little squirrelly on a rainy day that was just like any other rainy day.


Leave a Comment