Power's on. Building's Standing. Very Tired.

Shortly after I finally got to bed (after 1 a.m.), I woke up around 2 a.m.  What's that weird whirring noise? I asked myself after a minute.

It was the building's fire alarm.  I sat up.  At this point in the night, the rain was heavy and steady.  Did I really need to leave the building?  And haul The Cat out in the rain?  Where would we go?  The Cat, who was on "her side" of the bed, opened her eyes and looked at me sleepily.

As I contemplated, several emergency vehicles pulled up in front of the building, including a fire truck.  I walked up to my door and felt it.  It wasn't hot.  I didn't hear anything in the hallway.  The alarm is blaring the whole time still, but I figured if I opened the door, it would frighten The Cat and make it impossible for me to find her if I needed to stuff her in a carrier.  So I decided I would start to get dressed and wait for a knock at the door or some other indication that we had to get out.

I watched through my bedroom window blinds as a few emergency personnel went in and out of the building while the alarm continued to blast.  It sounded like angry bagpipes at 500 dB.  Finally, at about 2:20-2:25, the alarm stopped.  Tried to restart a couple times, and then was quiet for good.  All the vehicles left except for the fire chief's and the fire truck (which moved over to park directly in front of the building).  Of course, I did not feel completely ready to go back to bed until all the rescue people left, so I waited another 20 minutes for that to happen.  God bless 'em, they were out in probably the worst point of the storm.  Which might have been why the alarm sounded, but who knows?  I hope we don't get a scolding from management (via memo) for not evacuating the building, but at the time it made little sense to do so.

Not me! I went back to sleep until The Cat got me up, usual early time, for meds and breakfast.  Tried to go back to sleep, but she kept crying every hour on the hour.  Out of sorts, I guess.  Kind of how I felt for the rest of the day!  I did go out in the early evening for a walk around the community--saw a fence smashed in by a fallen tree behind one of the other buildings--and then I ventured into one of the adjacent neighborhoods.  Everything looked pretty good, actually; people were walking their dogs and putting out their trash cans for collection tomorrow.  I think I saw maybe one rug out for the trash so maybe somebody did get some flooding.  Mom and Dad said they got a little water in their basement but it wasn't anything the sump pump and the wet vac couldn't handle.

I called them to check in on them (and to get Mom's help with a crossword puzzle I couldn't quite finish), and they reported that Older Brother also called to check on them and let them know his family was O.K.  I texted Younger Sister last night (casual conversation but really I was making sure she was O.K.) and Sara was kind enough to check up on me.  Very kind, actually, because she had been dealing with managing four kitties in a tornado warning!  So while it is scary to be riding out the storm as a singleton, having the cell phone around was a big help.

Bottom line: Good riddance to Irene, hooray for our emergency response people, and now on to even scarier things.  Like a trip to the vet and faculty meetings.




Dave E. said…
I'm glad to hear that everything is reasonably good for you and yours. I've read some second-guessing today, but I think those people should just chill and be grateful that it didn't turn out as bad as it could have been.
Sara said…
Good riddance indeed! And hooray for the Delmarva power folk who fixed everything so quickly!
Rob said…
Big weather was a lot more fun when I was a kid. You have a lot more nerve than me, Kate. I would have made my way outside if the fire alarm was blaring. Did someone figure out what set it off? You really don't need something like that crying wolf.
Kate P said…
Dave--thanks. Yeah, well, being prepared does lessen the intensity of the effects, too, doesn't it? And plenty of people still have stuff to clean up and, unfortunately, loved ones to bury. I would rather be over-prepared and have "nothing' happen than be under-prepared because I didn't believe the warnings.

Sara--major props to Delmarva power!

Rob--I remember walking down through all the puddles after Hurricane Gloria as a kid with Younger Sister and a friend and her mom. That was fun. As for the fire alarm, well, I didn't see or even hear anybody ELSE making their way out the door, so. . . discretion is the better part of valor?
I haven't heard any explanation for the alarm, but I know sometimes high humidity can set off smoke detectors. Or, for all I know, some idiot partying into the night pulled the alarm. There was a bit of that going on Saturday night.

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