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Let’s face it, vacations are rejuvenating. But not when you’re away from home during THE historic trifecta of environmental events. Rehoboth gets an earthquake, tornado and hurricane and this writer is out of town, out of touch and missing the action.
Luckily, there was not that much action. The earthquake was but a tremble, the hurricane, thankfully, a no-show, and the tornado, while scaring many, mercifully produced no injuries and only property damage. All in all, not bad.
At word of the earthquake I was in a campground in Ogunquit, ME. We felt nary a shiver. Had I been home, I’m sure I would have run out into the street like Jeannette McDonald in San Francisco, shrieking and singing (although in her case, they were one and the same) “Nearer My God to Thee.”
When we got news of impending Hurricane Irene, though, Bonnie decided we should head home a few days early to batten our hatches. When I whined, she suggested I batten my hatch and think about the six foot dolphin on our stoop that could become airborne. Not to mention the gnomes in our kitsch garden.
So the traveling circus, me and Bon, the pups, the RV and the Jeep in tow, lumbered home down I-95 just in time to hear that Reho was being evacuated. Great. With thousands of cars pouring outbound on Route One, this was no time for us to be driving the Hindenburg head-on into the mess.
Quandry. Is there an insane pal along the route willing to harbor us, our dogs and our rolling house for a four-day minimum? Luckily, there was a brave and generous soul in New Jersey. So we headed off road, pulling our convoy into the driveway and descending, like refugees, with two weeks of laundry, two freaked-out dogs and two women fearing for the Reho homefront.
Just like Who Wants to be a Millioniare, I phoned a friend, and she offered to stash my dolphin in the garage and batten whatever other hatches seemed appropriate.
Then, our quartet spent the first day of our double date engaged in grocery store hand-to-hand combat. Too late for toilet paper, bottled water and “D” batteries, we stocked up on critical supplies like wine and chocolate pudding. Then, not homebound yet, we went to see Rise of the Planet of the Apes. I’d always wondered how the Tea Party got started.
Over the next three days we stayed glued to the gusting weathercasters. One hapless Jersey anchor reported a Code Gray situation. That seemed a bit, well, bland to us. What’s a Tsunami, Code Beige? Dive! Dive! Dive! It’s Code Taupe!
The reporters did a masterful job of reporting absolutely nothing new for three days running. Wind was coming, water was coming. Code Gray!!!!!
Frankly, I tried to avoid Code Yellow. I know how my dogs hate wind and rain, and feared they would befoul the carpets so I put them in Huggies. Moxie has such a biscuit belly that the Velcro tabs sprung and he looked like he was wearing a tutu. Code Gray Schnauzer plays Black Swan. Imagine his humiliation.

On the Thursday and Friday night before H-Day, my family huddled at home in the RV on the driveway. But by Saturday morning, with ominous tornado warnings afoot, we fled to the brick and mortar house. Our first clue to the severity of the situation was that none of the piercing warning sirens coming from the TV offered the statement “This is not a test.” Tornadoes were spotted all over Delaware, Jersey and points north and they would continue overnight Saturday.
Heeding advice, we ruled out second floor sleeping and pitched base camp in the windowless side of the living room. A sofa and loveseat would do for me and Bon, and we’d bring a blow-up mattress downstairs for our hostesses. Rise of the Planet of the Idiots. Laurel & Hardy should have deflated the inflatable first.
We wrestled the awkward queen size balloon onto its end, coming within millimeters of slicing it in half with the ceiling fan. Lunging to get it out of the way, we nearly put the mattress through the window. By this time we were gasping for air and crying from laugher, sure there’d be a flood, and not from the hurricane.
When we finally slid the amoeba down the staircase and situated it in our make-shift refugee camp it was time to hunker down and say Goodnight, Irene. That’s when we learned that even if you mute the TV, the warning siren does not mute. Tornado be damned, we turned off the television and it was lights out at girl scout camp.
Come dawn, a clown in the group woke us to strains of “There’s Got to Be a Morning After.” Very funny. All was quiet on the western front, as the storm missed us entirely and headed for the unlikely target state of Vermont. The Posiedon was still in place on the driveway and we were all above water.
That’s when the comedy show began. Those poor on-air bastards had been broadcasting live for days and now they were left to report that pretty much nothing at all had happened. News anchors stood in half an inch of water, hairdos akimbo, as gawkers stood off left on perfectly dry land. Talking heads begged people to send photos or video of any storm damage. We had reports of twigs down and umbrellas ruined. Reporters groped for any kind of news.
“Hey, let’s go outside and knock over a tree, we’ll be on the news,” Bonnie said.
Such was the dearth of reportable information.
But that was a good thing. And the fact that the hurricane missed us and Rehoboth was grand news – although several people did call me to report my missing dolphin.
I am not one of the folks who complained about overkill regarding the evacuation, the dire warnings and the calls for preparedness. It’s great to know that city and town governments, all up and down the East Coast, were ready, locked and loaded, to provide bailouts, and this time it was the literal kind.
And ya know, if the BIG ONE, an earthquake, hurricane or tornado had hit, those hypocritical Tea Party Poopers would have been right there in line with us, grubby hands out, waiting for the government to rescue them and provide services.
So I hope it’s bye bye hurricane season real soon. I’m glad Rehoboth was spared and sorry for the devastation up in Vermont.
But the good news is that following the earthquake, hurricane and tornado, I got home just in time for the ensuing pestilence of Labor Day traffic.
This is Fay J. reporting live from the beach. Code Tan.

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