Monday, September 22, 2003

Hurricane Isabel

Well, I'm finally able to post about how we survived the hurricane. We lost power around 3:30am Friday morning. I had to go to work without showering after getting dressed in the dark. I didn't realize until Friday night that I had on two different earrings all day. We spent Friday night at my parents' house, who were virtually unaffected by the storm, other than losing a few shingles off the roof. Our power came back Saturday around noon, but we didn't have cable until 2:30pm on Sunday. Luckily, the Ravens were the 4 o'clock game on Sunday! Our only loss was a few perishables in the refrigerator. We were even able to save all of our meat from the freezer by storing it at my mother-in-law's.

We consider ourselves extremely lucky considering what is happening all around us. We made an appointment back in August to have our trees pruned before winter because there are many dead limbs hanging way up there and we didn't want to have one fall on the house. How we managed to escape any damage during those high winds is beyond me! Our neighbors across the street weren't so lucky. They had a tree go through their roof that caused some serious damage. How did we not hear that? Around the corner from us, another neighbor had a tree fall across their above-ground pool.

But by far, the worst is the damage my sister has suffered. She and my brother-in-law live on the water in Baltimore. On Friday, they had close to 2 feet of water in every room of the house. They couldn't see their backyard at all, nor the pier that usually sits two or three feet above the water. The water did recede Friday afternoon and didn't return with high tide - a small blessing. And somehow, it didn't leave behind a lot of mud, mostly sticks, leaves and other debris. But all of the carpet and furniture is ruined (and they just had new carpet installed in the entire house back in the spring). She told me on the phone that all of the floorboards and some of the walls were buckling, but I couldn't imagine it until I saw it in person Saturday afternoon.

Her hallway was like a rolling, wavy miniature golf course. In the center of the one bedroom was a giant hump like a pitcher's mound. Their back deck was no longer attached to the house. Railroad ties that had surrounded gardening areas were 20 or 30 feet from where they should have been. You could see the high water mark all the way around the house, both inside and out. They still had about two feet of water in the crawl space, which is the only thing that saved them from having 4 or 5 feet of water inside the house instead of 2 - the crawlspace filled up first. And, of course, the smell was awful - that sour, stagnant water smell (those of you from Baltimore would know it as "Back River").

They are still waiting for the insurance adjuster to come. You can imagine how backed-up they are! She's afraid they're going to have to tear down the house and start over. I was surprised at how well she was handling everything. Nothing of great sentimental value was lost (she put their wedding album in her truck) and amazingly, most of the appliances were still working after the water receded. Ironically, they never even lost power, but had to turn it off once they found the water.

So we spent the weekend counting our blessings that everyone was safe and sound and hoping for the best for my sister and her house.