The restless routine. Tromp upstairs and go window to window, looking for leaks. Grab binoculars and look out to sea. Do the window-to-window thing downstairs and looks out to check the trees and plants. Make a drink. Repeat as necessary.
All the cellphone calls! Mark and Lynn check in regularly. Aggie's in touch with the Bahamas. Homeowners who are in the U.S. call. "Are you all right?" "How's the house?" "What's happening?" My Internet service stayed up long enough that I was doing the same thing via Facebook and e-mail.
Meanwhile, in the U.S., my husband Tom is experiencing an earthquake. What?!
Three people, 1 1/2 bottles of vodka, 3/4 bottle of rum.
Movies for a hurricane: "The Devil Wears Prada" and "Mrs. Henderson Presents."
Early on, a walk up to the ocean. Very impressive. A neighbor's seawall is taking a beating. "That sucker's gone," we agree. Seawalls mess with Mother Nature, and you don't mess with Mother Nature.
After one power outage, we take advantage of the juice to flush toilets, make more ice and start dinner. Aggie makes a huge amount of spaghetti Bolognese.
Power really goes out halfway through "Mrs. Henderson." Flashlights, the oil lamp, and we might as well try to sleep.
Restlessness and poor sleep, fully clothed. What is that bang? What was that? I swore I could hear individual shingles detaching themselves from the roof.
The day after isn't yet the day after. Irene is still blowing. She won't go away. Tom's flight to the islands is canceled and there's still no power or Internet. OK, I'm ready for this to be over. Between the bands of wind and rain, we try to do some mopping, call people and take a look at damages.
Restless and tired of it, we make small journeys. I get out water shoes and we wade through the moat that used to be a lane to look at the sea again. Yes, the wall is gone. We take the truck I am "sitting" for friends who went to the U.S. on vacation and make our way past and over downed wires to check on their farmette. Islandwide, damages don't seem as bad as they could have been.
People are good. There are calls as everyone checks on everyone. Agnes sends over a pot of hot water for tea. Lynn Rae leaves a cooler of ice and food while we're out.
Aggie, seeing my worry at whether Tom will get here, starts singing, "Every little thing's gonna be alright."
Finally, the power comes on and we try to reassemble life as it was before.
There's more to the story. On Thursday, two days after Irene arrived, Tom is still trying to get here and I am trying to get to Provo to meet him. Since Provo took a heavier hit than North Caicos, services are spotty and everything is iffy. But the airport finally reopens, I manage to get there, and although we have to spend the night on Provo we are together ... watching the hurricane on TV make its way toward other homes, other coasts and other lives. More people to be left singing, with hope, "Goodnight Irene."