Hurricane Irene started impacting us up here in New Hampshire late on Saturday night the 27th. It howled all night, but not so bad as to keep us awake. But even though we got very lucky right here, hundreds of thousands lost power for days.
Saturday, knowing that the storm was on track to pretty much hit us directly, Sue and I spent the morning clearing the deck of furniture (just as well as the maintenance company was supposed to come around the following week to spray wash and then re-strain all of the decks) and pulling all of the screens out of the windows (as, again, the maintenance company was coming around to power wash all of the siding).
Around 1:00pm we drove over to Burger King for a sandwich, and then off to Hannafords for food shopping - storm food shopping, actually. Other than a case of bottled water, bagels and deli meat for sandwiches, I bought the fixens for a ham and noodle dish that I figured I cook that night rather than taking a chance that the power would not be out Sunday.
Good thing we did it Saturday, as after we got back from shopping, we had a great time playing out several sets of backgammon on the deck (after hauling a couple of chairs back out there) and sipping some wine. We made it until about 4:00pm before the rain started spitting at us, chasing us inside. Didn't slow us down at all and we played on until 5:30pm or so before I started fixing dinner.
That's the good news. Here's the not-so-good - well, for me, anyway: First game, first throw to see who would move first we threw doubles. Threw doubles again. Threw doubles AGAIN. So, the cube is up to 8. And guess what? WE THREW DOUBLES AGAIN! So, we play for 16, she catches me dancing on the bar for about 8 throws, and ends up gammoning me for 32! Thirty-f'n-TWO! But... what can you do but keep throwing the dice and moving your checkers....
While I cooked dinner and steamed about my backgammon misfortunes, we listed to some Neil Young and Phil Collins, sipped our wine, and then had a marvelous dinner followed by the rather interesting movie, The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill.
Our lights started flickering around 10:00am Sunday morning, and I just figured it wouldn't be long before they went out. Since it was really starting to blow hard and rain steadily, I suggested to Sue that we grab some lunch at Burger King up the road from us and then head down to a spot she knows about in Rye to see the surf and get some pictures. Well, she was all over that and we were off!
She had me take the back way down in case the main roads were blocked off as tree branches and even some limbs were all over the place. And when we got to the point at Wallis Sands State Beach, I just couldn't believe the waves that were coming in.
The whole beach was gone; covered with water with three foot chop smashing against the far beach wall. And then there were the ten or twelve foot monsters that surged against the rocks along the roadway and sent sheets of spray 20 or 30 feet in the air only to be blown horizontally and down on us, soaking us like someone was dumping out a bathtub over our heads. Man, that was some spectacular stuff, and the heaviest storm waves I have ever seen. It was more than awesome.
We got back in the car and drove a little further north up the beach road to a parking area Sue had me stop at. She said there was a path to the beach over a sand knoll that led to a point of land out on Odiorne Point State Park where she said the surf would be spectacular. It was, again, just an awesome sight. She got some pictures, though there is no way they can convey the power that we felt being there. The wind was really strong and, because we were soaked through, we hurried back to the warmth of the car and headed home.
By the time we got back, just after noon, the power hadn't gone out, but the lights were flickering every now and then. We both took quick hot showers to warm up and rise off the salt water and sand spray. We just got back into the kitchen as the power went off. So, we sat down in the living room and started with a long series of backgammon games. The result of all of that is Sue's still got me down 23 points. She's getting pretty damn good at this backgammon stuff now; even to the point of throwing the cube at me! The nerve.....
At 5:00pm I was hungry but in no mood for cold sandwiches. So, we jumped in the car and drove down to the Olive Garden in Newington for dinner. They, of course, were packed and we had to wait about 25 minutes before we got a table. We ordered a bottle of Pinot Noir and had a nice chat before ordering dinner. By the time we got home, the power had fortunately come back on. We ended up the night watching the movie, The Spitfire Grille and getting to bed about 11:00pm.
As dramatic as the power of the waves at Wallis Sands and the local damage that was caused by Hurricane Irene, it paled in comparison to what happened in VT. Sue had an overnight trip 9/15 to 9/16 for business in Middlebury, VT and had to drive north all the way up to Burlington, VT and then back down south to Waterbury because there was absolutely no east-west access in the entire middle of the state. There were so many roads that were washed out that Sue said her heart just went out to all of the people she saw along the way trying to put their lives together again.