Saturday, March 13, 2010

Dangerous with an SUV!

Tonight, Handsome Hubby and I had planned a date night.  We were going to drive Tootsie Roll and Curly Jones to my mom's house (about an hour and 15 mins away), visit with her, my sister and her husband were going to stop by too, then we were going to leave the girls to stay overnight (Curly Jones' first overnight... I remember being a basketcase on Tootsie Roll's first overnight, but I guess that's a first child/second child thing, and also a "my second child is not nearly the drama queen that my first is" thing).  We haven't seen my mom since Christmas, which is an unusual amount of time, but she doesn't live close enough to visit on school/work nights and our weekends have been full of Saturday dance classes and Sunday field hockey clinics and birthday parties and SNOW.  So we were all set to head on down 95 to Philly with Girl Scout cookies in tow (along with Curly Jones' potty and half of our belongings).  And then. There. Was. Rain.
(not a shot from our actual rain, but it could have been)
We're not talking pittery pattery pretty spring is arriving rain.  We're talking ah crud there's water coming in the basement rain and uh oh I just watched our neighbor's tree crack and fall rain and whoa baby it can rain sideways rain.  Tootsie Roll's dance studio lost power so class was cancelled and we ran errands (oh yeah, um, maybe we should buy Easter dresses errands) and we literally could not walk in a straight line to the car because the wind was pushing us around.  Wait... how come no one told us a Nor'easter was coming?  So we still weren't getting too crazed about it.  Yeah.  No one told us we were going to be having 70mph winds and 3 inches of rain in one day (up to 5 forecasted by tomorrow).  Thanks, weatherpersons.  Your Doppler 10 Millions are very impressive.  Next time, you may wish to tell us that a roof could blow off of a building not too far from here before it actually does.

(Bolaris, I've done Toys for Tots with you.  Could you not have warned me?  Glenn Hurricane Schwartz would not have used me and thrown me away like that)

So, naively unphased, we wanted to leave around 2 for my mom's, but ended up leaving closer to 4:30 due to Curly Jones' late nap and Handsome Hubby having to cut out part of the basement drywall to shop vac the water coming in.  The lights were flickering.  I figured we were going to lose power, so the girls would be better off at my mom's anyway.  We got in the car and started off, dodging potted plants from our front stairs that the wind decided to use as ammunition.  A few minutes later, HH called and said that he had the leak under control and if I wanted to come back for him, he'd come with us.  That got a resounding YES.

A few minutes later, HH in tow, we started again.  This time we made it about 5 minutes down the main road of our town (we live in a small borough), past huge amounts of fallen branches and giant trees that had literally uprooted from the soaked ground and fallen completely over, taking whole sections of sidewalk with them.  We saw trees in front yards, trees that had hit houses, trees everywhere.  We were stopped by the sight of police cars and a bunch of maybe 3 giant oak trees that had come down across the entire main road, pulling all of the power lines with them. 

So we decided to try another way.  We turned around and went back and down a smaller road.  This time we ran into a flooded lake.  We live in a very quiet suburban area that is heavily wooded.  Trees and lakes are everywhere, and drainage is not always the best.  This particular lake decided to pour itself across the road that we were on.  No biggie, I thought, and very slowly began to drive my SUV through it.  Not often traveling this road, I didn't realize that it dipped at this spot.  We ended up fording a flooded road with water up to the SUV doors.  Oops.  Fortunately, we made it to the other side of the flooded part and back onto the road.  Whew!  We kept on driving and saw that, of course, the road was blocked at the other end so that cars could not come down (why it wasn't blocked on our end is a good question, but roads were being closed everywhere, they probably just hadn't gotten to that one yet).

In this very roundabout way, we finally got to the next main road, the one that would take us to 95.  Sadly, the number of emergency vehicles that flew past us was a foreboding sign of the closure ahead of that road as well.  We turned back but the road back to our house was now closed.

So we used our trusty GPS to try smaller roads.  I ended up driving over tree branches, under a downed wire, over a downed wire (HH assured me they were cable or fiber wires, not electrical ones).  We had to turn around more than 10 times on smaller roads for downed trees in the road.  Many of these roads are dangerous on a good day because they have ravines on either side or random small rivers and lakes on the sides, which today, were flooding all over the place.  Several of these roads really do not have space for an SUV to turn around.  I thought we were going to end up in a ditch full of water on more than one occasion.

When we finally found a road that allowed us to get back home, all of the traffic lights were out (which did not bode well for our power at home) and it was still pouring and getting dark and impossible to see downed trees until we were practically on top of them.  On this last road, we literally drove around about 8 huge downed trees - luckily there was room to get by them, either on our side or by swerving entirely over to the oncoming traffic side of the road.  When we moved to our town, we called this long stretch of road through a tall forest of trees the Fairy Tale Forest, because it's often foggy and full of deer and silver foxes in the road.

The children, all the while, were remarkably well behaved... eventually.  Tootsie Roll was cranky that we weren't going to get to Nana's and then decided to try to help us navigate.  When HH told her nicely to can the Backseat Driverdom, she decided to go to sleep.  Curly Jones wailed for a while about not getting to see Nana because she really didn't understand why we were on our way and then... not.  Then she wailed because "I HAVE TO GO POTTY!" and although we had had a pull-up on her for the drive, she didn't want to go in it.  She's been doing great with potty training for a solid month or two now and hardly ever has accidents.  But we kept telling her it was ok to do it, and when she finally did, she was delighted enough to sing about it for a while.  Until we drove over a giant tree branch that flipped up and hit her window and she decided to sing about that instead.

In the end, we were able to get home about two hours after we left, although we never made it more than maybe five miles from home.  The power was on.  We were, as we always are during crazy storms, grateful that we always keep up with yearly tree service and that we had a few cut down and others cabled this past summer, because we have more than enough trees and we really don't need them in the house.  (On a side note, I hate having to cut down trees, and I always fight to keep them - I'm like the Lorax, I speak for the trees! - when the tree guy comes.  I'm always like, "Really?  But it looks fine!" and HH is always like, "Lindsey, see how it's growing this way or leaning that way or has giant carpenter ant holes in it?  Yeah, that's bad.")  HH discovered by taking out a chunk of the basement drywall that the leak is actually coming in the seal where the water pipe goes out through the cinderblock in the basement and down into the ground.  So he will be able to clean it and reseal it and fix the drywall and best of all THERE IS NO MOLD.  So, craziness abounds, but silver linings prevail.

Oh, EXCEPT - this was the third date night that HH and I have had to cancel!  We only get to go on "dates" a few times a year, because you know how it is with work and kids and life.  Our last plans were cancelled by a sitter cancellation, SNOW, and now Mad Crazy NJ Hurricane.  And we had pre-bought tickets to see Alice in Wonderland in IMAX 3D!  So bummer on that, even though we are going to try again in two weeks.  I kinda expect to hate it... seeing as Alice has always been my most favorite book EVER, and Tim Burton has really annoyed me lately, and I'm not a huge Johnny Depp or Helena Bonham Carter fan and REALLY, TIM, DO YOU KNOW ANY OTHER ACTORS?  (Oops, that's another post)... but I'm willing to give it a shot. :)

By the way... I LOVED reading all of your comments about the sunflowers!!!  I had something to post in response today but, you know.  The weather and my dangerosity got in the way, as they will do.

By the way 2... Pre-teen boy who knocked on our door today in the midst of Hurricane of Doom to hand us a handmade flyer... I hope you found your poor kitty Romulus. This was not a good day to be a lost kitty. :(


Christine Danek said...

I know I was out in it too! Much crazier than I expected. I am sorry your date night had to be cancelled. I know how that is.:(
Glad everyone is o.k.

Mary Campbell said...

Wow -sounds crazy. So sorry you had to miss your date night. My hubby and I don't get out much either lately. My first child was a major drama queen too.

SonshineMusic said...

Oh my goodness gracious - what an adventure!

Oh, and that picture of the mailbox - I think that might be one of ours (not really, but it could be) We were on vaca at the Outer Banks when the ocean and sound decided to meet each other across the island. Craziness! We've got pictures like that from then :)

Kit Courteney said...

Beautifully written.

You should give this writing thing a go, ya know ;0)

Talli Roland said...

I feel your rain pain. Believe me! I live in London where this winter we've had rain, rain RAIN! I should be used to it, but... well... I'm not!

Sorry you had to miss your date!

Jen said...

I have an award for you over at my blog!

Shelley Sly said...

Wow, what a crazy adventure you've had! I hope it gets better and you and HH get a date night eventually!

By the way, "we were all set to head on down 95 to Philly" -- I didn't realize we're on the same side of the world, so to speak. (I'm from NJ, but live in MD now) Everyone in the blog world always feels so far away, but when you mentioned 95, that made me happy. :)

Dangerous With a Pen said...

It's a little better today... we got some big time rain and hail this morning but it seems to have stopped. Now I have to call my neighbor to talk about the tree limb that cracked our fence.. :/ I hate doing stuff like that.

Christine - Glad you are ok, too!

Mary - Lol, I always wondered why as a second child I seemed to receive much less fuss from my parents than my older sister. Now I know. ;)

Sonshine - Oh my gosh! Rivers crashing over roads are bad enough, but the ocean and the sound? Yikes!

Kit - MWAH! Thanks :D

Talli - A good friend of mine is moving to London in two weeks. I asked her what the weather is like there now, and she said she wasn't sure. I always think of Oliver Twist! Lol... I seriously need to travel more.

Jen - Thank you! I will try not to hoard this one for long... :)

Shelley - Hey, neighbor! Christine is not far from us, either. You're right, people are probably closer than we think they are! Where did you live in NJ? We are central, near Princeton.

krislincour said...

Sounds like Shelley is really close.

P.S. You know from old school days what a dog Bolaris is. I would never trust him over "Hurricane". :)

purpleunicorns26 said...

So sorry to hear about all that chaos. Mostly about all the water and fence problems. Dad suggests calling your home insurance. Hope that helps. We had to deliver two cakes in that monsoon yesterday. Try keeping dry a baseball field cake that was 2 ft by 2 ft.
Then dad and I went down to Andrene's for dinner and cards. Didn't think we'd make it but managed to get there and back safely even though some roads were closed.

Dangerous With a Pen said...

Thanks for thinking of us, Moms!

I appreciate both of you suggesting calling our HO insurance, but HH doesn't think that the repairs will meet the $500 deductible with the fence. He is waffling between fixing it himself and calling the neighbors now - he doesn't want bad blood, but at the same time, they asked us to remove a tree last summer because they were worried about it hitting their cars in a storm - and we did. Before they moved in, one of their trees crashed through their fence into our backyard, remember? No need to worry about HO for the basement leak, HH thinks he can make the repairs for only about $20 in materials. :D


Mom B - Can't WAIT to see pics of both of your bday cakes (that we were so sad to miss, now we have missed both Nanas in two weekends!) and this awesome sounding baseball cake! Dani's book must be gorgeous... it already was the last time I saw it and that was several cakes ago!

Shelley Sly said...

Hey, not sure if you're still checking comments here, but I just wanted to answer your question. I'm from north Jersey (Bergen County) but my husband is from south (Camden/Burlington Counties), so I'm familiar with both. I know 95 from visiting his parents, who live across the river from Philly. I miss NJ sometimes. :)