I’m getting back on the proverbial Blog-horse after a long break, getting married, honeymoonin’ etc (more on that later) with a rather dramatic post—My brush with Hurricane Irene. I was scheduled to go to a dog training intensive up at Sue Sternberg’s Roundout Animal Shelter in Accord, NY the last week of August. The week before everyone starts freaking out in NY about Hurricane Irene coming. They started evacuating parts of the 5 boroughs that were near the water. We were next to an evacuation zone in Brooklyn but not necessarily in it. On Thursday 8/25 (I’m supposed to head to Accord 8/26), I get an email that they’ve cancelled the dog training course. I already prepped to take the week off work and put a deposit down on a cabin on a farm upstate so I email the people to ask them about it and if their property is in a flood zone, safe if there is a storm etc. They reply that the deposit is not refundable and that it should be safe up there—no flooding. So since everyone is freaking out in NYC we think, maybe we’ll be safer upstate so we go to Accord.
When we arrive in Accord we go to the farm. We drive on a little bridge over a creek onto the property. It’s a nice little cabin decked out in cowboy style décor. When we get there the owner is chasing chickens out of our yard, there are horses grazing, dogs, cats, and rabbits running around. Things are great Friday and Saturday. We go to Pizza Barn in Accord which is good Friday Night and hang out on the property with our dog and all the other animals they have on the farm. Phoebe our dog is psyched to chase the chickens and rabbits around. Saturday we go to Sweet Sues in Phoenecia for pancakes and we wind up going to Shandaken Day in a big field in town.
Pre-Hurrican Chaos, Shandaken Day
There were all kinds of booths set up and we wind up getting our pictures taken by this wild Parrot Lady. Then we drive to Woodstock. We head back to Accord for a while to rest. Then go to Saugerties to Fez for dinner and Lucky Chocolates for desert and had a nice chat with Rae the owner. Then the rain starts so we head back to the cabin thinking it’ll just be a bad rainstorm.
WE WERE WRONG! In the middle of the night the power, water, sewage goes out. We have no ability to flush the really full toilet that is backed up from all the water. There are crazy sounds outside and we and the dog are freaking out but can’t see anything because it’s so dark. We wake up early when it starts to get light out. It’s still pouring rain. We go outside. A tree fell crashed through our fence and just missed the cabin.
Tree in front of cabin
Another fell up by the main house and took out the main power line.
The horses are running around the property. Then we look down towards the road we came in on. The small creek we went over is now a rushing river that has covered the bridge and is inching up the property to the barn and our cabin.
Road into and out of Farm
I’m freaking out that we’re basically trapped and I want to get in a fistfight with the farm owners since obviously the property floods and they lied to me to get my deposit instead of letting us out of it due to the coming storm.
We start talking to people in our building in Brooklyn on our cell phones, they haven’t even lost power but our basement is flooding. They are taking shifts sweeping the water out. We ask them to go upstairs and check on our apartment and cats and everything is fine there. Only one small leak we already knew about and it’s not too bad.
We hang out in the cabin and try not to freak out more even though we have to go to the bathroom in the yard next to the fallen tree since the toilet is screwed up. Periodically, we go to the car to listen to the radio news. Apparently, the city is fine but upstate NY (where we are) and New Jersey are getting slammed with flooding. I’m keeping my mouth shut and not fighting with the people on the property even though they have a generator running in their house and we’re in the dark.
Finally, in the afternoon the rain stops. The water goes down enough for us to wade through and walk to “town” to see what damage has been done. The main roads are flooded and no one can get anywhere. We make it through another night hoping the water will have gone down enough for us to drive back to Brooklyn Monday morning.
On Monday morning, we get up and pack the car. The water has gone down enough for us to at least get off the property. I go up to the main house to try to get some of our money back since clearly we aren’t going to be staying here with no power, water, toilet for a whole week. I have to fight with the people to get our money back, but I’m from Brooklyn and I don’t take no for an answer! What assholes! We get out of there and drive back but instead of 2.5 hours to get home it takes 6 because there are all these roads closed and the news isn’t reporting it so we don’t know it till we hit traffic. When we finally get back to Brooklyn I want to kiss the sidewalk. I’ve had occasional thoughts about living upstate but I think after this I’m happy to stay in the city with my working toilet and electricity for the rest of my days.
The Catskills area got really messed up by the storm. More info can be found on how to help here.