Monday, August 29, 2011

Irene's Evacuation

Evacuation is a scary word. I never thought about having to evacuate - never thought I would be "one of those people". Thanks to Irene I had the opportunity to know the word evacuate very well. I hope none of you get to know it that well. On Thursday I was busy. The governor had just issued the mandatory evacuation notice to all the barrier islands in Cape May County. That meant I had to tell the people already staying here, that they had to leave Friday morning. I also had to contact all the people coming in for the weekend - and I was filled - that due to Irene we would be closed. Between trying to reschedule and refunding those who could not reschedule, took my mind off the evacuation. Friday was spent putting away everything that was outside that could blow away - beach chairs, chairs and tables on the porch, outside furniture in back, all the flower window boxes, chimes and the list seemed to go on and on. I had Karl, the young man who cleans for me this summer, come and do all the rooms. So I also had laundry to do. I wanted everything done so I could come back and not have to worry about cleaning the rooms because who knew what other cleaning I was going to have to do. Eventually all that was done, the people had left and the only thing remaining for me to do was pack a bag. One of the hardest things I have had to do was pull out of my driveway. I took another look at my home, not knowing what I would find when I returned, hoping that any damage would be minimal. As I drove off and across the bridge I just asked God to take care of me and my home.
I was very fortunate that my son and his wife had offered me a place to stay. They live about an hour away. Surprisingly both the parkway and the AC expressway had very little traffic. I did take advantage of the forced time off and did some shopping on Saturday. What a novelty - shopping on a Saturday morning in August! I also tried to sleep in. I know I had been hoping to be able to sleep in soon, but I meant the end of September, not August.
Listening to the weather reports was tough. You kept watching and hoping they would talk about Ocean City so you could see what was going on. Fortunately I had a friend whose crazy brother had stayed in Ocean City so I did get a few second hand reports. The best report I received was Sunday morning around 8:15 am. Irene had passed, there was hardly any flooding and best of all - Serendipity looked intact! No flooding outside on 9th St and the power had not gone off all during the storm! This meant that my sump pumps had probably been running all night and hopefully were able to keep the water from getting to my furnace and hot water heater.
Coming over the bridge into Ocean city was a fantastic feeling! I was back home and everything looked the same - except there were no people around on an August weekend :) As I pulled into my driveway I could see from the debris on the driveway how far the water had come in. It probably came up to the first step on my porch. During a recent rain storm it came that high. I walked into Serendipity and checked from the attic to the cellar. Except for water in the basement - which is a normal occurrence during a storm - everything looked just the way I left it! Thank you God for sparing Serendipity and Ocean City! How wonderful to come back and everything was fine. I am very lucky!
My next trip was to the boardwalk and beach. I fully expected to see the beach all eroded. But it looked just like it did the day I left. The waves were rough but there was a nice slope to the beach. On the boardwalk stores were removing the plywood they had put up to secure their windows. Litterers was open for business! There were some people strolling on the boardwalk and riding bikes. Although it was a bit rainy and very windy, it was a beautiful day to be in Ocean City. And later on that day the wind died down and the sun came out. Time to put out the porch furniture, the beach chairs, hang the chimes and put the flower boxes back. Time to welcome guests back to Serendipity and Ocean City!

Serendipity Bed and Breakfast
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  1. Karen, thanks for the blog post and the proactive phone call and reservation change. My wife and I have been walking past Serendipity for years with our kids and now that their grown, we can't wait to stay there. See you Wednesday

    Terry and Patty Crouse

  2. Oh Karen, I am sooo glad it wasn't that bad but know your nerves had to be shot!

    I know God looked after you and all of OC and all of us. It wasn't as bad as predicted and we made it through.

    I am so looking forward to my visit in will be my one year anniversary of when I started coming there and how many times have I been there? MANY and wish there were more!

    What a's a HOME! I love it and will go NOWHERE ELSE!!

    God bless you and your kind and caring heart!