In Massachusetts for the summer, we prepared there. Our house sits a half-mile from Buzzard's Bay, just south of Cape Cod. It had survived Hurricane Bob. We took everything off the deck that could possibly fly around, stuffed the freezers with anything that might survive without electricity, checked the sump pump, notified a neighbor we'd be gone, and gave him our cell phone number. We got cash from the ATM and made sure we had gas in the car and prescriptions for a month.
Oh, yes! We were scheduled to babysit our thirteen-month twin grandsons that weekend in N.J., while the rest of their family were in a wedding in Chicago. Into the car we piled lanterns, boots, a battery-operated radio, non-perishables, and a few bottles of wine. We knew the drill.
Arrived in N.J. and helped our son prepare his house for the storm. Deja vu! We not only stuffed the freezer, we stuffed the garage. All playthings for the older sister came in - plastic playhouse, swings, bike - as well as the toddlers' wagon, water table, and double stroller. Diapers, paper products, and water gallons were piled high. Somehow we got the outdoor furniture, grill, and two cars in there.
The neighbor next door came running over. "We don't get hurricanes in New Jersey!" she insisted. "I didn't know what to do, so I went to Home Depot at 7 a.m. looking for kerosene lanterns. The guy working said, 'What hurricane? We don't get hurricanes in New Jersey.' I just finished pulling six mattresses into the basement for tornadoes. My daughter, Sarah, woke up at midnight and asked me if I'd brought the hammock in. She is really nervous!" I can't imagine why?!
The storm raged for two days, delivering pounding rain, but no severe wind. We never lost electricity. It was a good thing - one twin developed a raging fever that mocked the storm outside. "There's no way in hell we can take him anywhere! What did we do back in the old days?" Charley and I asked each other. Turns out there are some things that never change - stripping a child to lower his fever, using cool compresses, making sure he drinks cool water. We took turns rocking him under an a.c. vent, and called his parents at 2 a.m. for permission to give children's Ibuprofen.
On the fifth day, Charley and I climbed into our car for the six-hour drive back to Massachusetts. We stayed awake by drinking Diet Cokes all the way. Thankfully, the twin's fever had subsided. His parents and sister had returned on a rescheduled flight. Our home in Massachusetts remained intact, along with electrical and phone lines.
I married an Irishman, my only explanation for our good fortune! Loss of electricity or damage to a house? There are some things that can be replaced, and others that can't.