The power came back on sometime this afternoon, well ahead of schedule. How long it'll last remains to be seen, as I am still hearing generators, which means that there still parts of the area not restored.
For some strange reason, our electrical substation is located in the middle of an area prone to flooding in the next town. Why utilities build substations in flood plains and nuclear power plants on faults and areas at risks of tsunamis is a mystery to me.
But our Grand Seepage Adventure of yesterday seems to have paid off. We were doing just fine, and the sump pump was doing its thing until 8 AM when the power cut off. Immediately we started getting seepage, not into the unfinished part of the basement, where it would have been easy to clean up, but the finished part. So we spent the day putting down towels to soak up the seepage, wringing them out, putting down fresh towels, and running to the laundromat to dry the wet towels. Not exactly a fun day. I'm lucky in that my employer has an on-site gym with shower facilities, so I was at least able to go in early and take a hot shower, something poor Mr. Brilliant wasn't able to do until this evening. But while driving to work this morning, feeling grubby and without my morning caffeine jolt-o-rama, I was reminded of that Simpson episode that's a parody of "The Shining", where Homer is muttering "No TV and no beer makes Homer something something." Only for me it was no TV and no coffee.
We were lucky. No trees fell on neighboring houses (Thank you, Almstead Tree Care, for monitoring our old oaks so well; yes, I'm paying you $1500 a year for the privilege, but no houses were destroyed by them). We didn't have so much as a branch fall (again, thanks to Almstead Tree Care, who takes care of these branches when they need cutting), and when I look at photos of the area and people with five feet of water in their basements for the third or fourth time this year, I count my blessings.
I think Ken at Down with Tyranny put it best:
First, to those outside Irene's path, forced to put up with all our yammering: So sorry! I realize how tedious are impending natural disasters that may permanently change the lives of other people. And then when they turn out to be not such a big deal, well, jeez! (Though don't tell that to the folks in Vermont and upstate New York, suffering "Worst Flooding in 100 Years," but what's 100 years really? And heck, they didn't even get a hurricane, just a ratty tropical storm!)
And speaking of the hurricane turning out to be less big a deal than the worst-case scenarios, to those inside Irene's path who were dissatisfied by the outcome: Again, so sorry! What's the point of planning for those worst-case scenarios if they don't happen? This group, by the way, includes people who are offended by official "overreaction," like shutting down New York's transit system, which -- to add insult to injury -- then took hours and hours to begin to restart. Just because these folks are too stupid or too lazy to try to understand (a) why it was thought appropriate to shut the system down (and never mind all the damage that was done by the "disappointing" storm, or what would have happened if, say, populated subway trains had been trapped in flooded tunnels, or populated buses had been struck by some of those 600-plus trees that fell), (b), why the shutdown had to be announced so early and put into effect so long before the brunt of the storm was expected, and/or (c) why the system took so long to reboot (including, for example, the tiresome requirement that every foot of subway track be walked before the trains could be restarted), well, I truly am sorry.
Sorry, folks, next time we'll try to arrange a disaster that lives up to your exacting specifications -- and then just keep it to ourselves. So sorry!
The media is taking no end of crap for hyping this storm, and the excellent response by NYC Mayor Bloomberg, New York governor Cuomo, and yes, even our own bully-in-chief, Chris Christie, are being chalked up to "post-Katrina paranoia." Well, I for one would rather see an excessive preventive plan that turns out not to be necessary than to have to see images like this one (warning: graphic and disturbing image) ever again.