The Best Laid Plans: Remembering Hurricane Irene

August 21, 2011 – August 28, 2011

Hurricane Irene was the ninth named storm and first hurricane of the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season.

A trip, August 25, to begin the many trips of my retirement, began with a leisurely journey to the airport for a non-eventful flight to Kansas, not the final destination but a brief visit to the daughter who landed there after graduate school. Kansas was meant to be the stop-over on the way to Sacramento August 30 to pick up our retirement dream, an RV with 3500 Ram Truck to be the transport around the United States, fulfilling a lifelong dream of seeing this amazing country.

Relaxing early Sunday morning, August 28, having coffee with the family, my cell phone rang. Simple, just a ring connecting me to friends and family, yet it wasn’t. This was a neighbor asking if I knew my basement had 18 inches of water in it. Remarkably I calming determined that the entire cul-de-sac was under water and the electricity had been off since Hurricane Irene had swept through, apparently two days previously.

A rush to pack, schedule a flight home, canceling reservations, calling RV Dealer ensued. A trip to the airport and an expensive unplanned flight home with the oppressive fears of what we would find, overshadowed any concerns about money or time, yet off we went.

Finally arriving home, generators and pumps littered everyone’s yard and the street. Furniture laid strewn about. The house looked normal as we entered. With dread as we walked down the stairs, the entire basement was beginning to smell, water was at least up to the second step and floating loose materials bobbed about. The sump pump was not working due to the electricity being off for several days. What followed is routinely what faces victims of floods, calling the Emergency Clean Up companies, the insurance company, and on and on.

All of the drywall and doors required replacement and most of the furniture and belongings were not able to be reclaimed. Sadly, thirty five years of memories ended up on the massive pile of lost debris on the curb. The whirl of dehumidifiers and fans going 24 hours a day drove me to the edge. Just as the mold treatment was completed and the drywall reinstalled, Tropical Storm Lee caused another power outage, resulting in another 4 inches of water and a redo of the entire process.

We sold the house two months later, deciding retirement, with the responsibility of a house was unlikely to be a carefree and relaxing period of life.

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