The morning after we moved, we checked into a local hotel, because we were having our floor sanded in the new house. I stuffed the car trunk with randomly packed bags for ourselves. I had massively over packed, because I knew that nothing could be found in the mess of boxes in the new house, and I didn't know how long we would be gone.
At first, we had a great time, as my boys always do, in a hotel – even a hotel that is eight minutes from their house. There's the indoors pool and the vending machines and the glasses with the plastic around them. My children are very easily amused.
Everything was dandy, until the rain started at around 4. A grim faced bride emerged from the elevator and was ushered into her limo. A Bar Mitzvah party from Brooklyn made last minute reservations for the night; driving home was going to be too difficult.
I paced around nervously thinking about the towering boxes of crap in the new basement. Would we come home to find a soggy mess? High school yearbooks floating down stream?
I called family. My sister's gang was all sleeping on the first floor in case a tree fell on the house. My parents had the sump pump ready. The Weather Channel reporters braced themselves on windy beaches in North Carolina and showed graphics of downtown Manhattan under water.
The next morning, the lights went out in the hotel. The generators kept the lobby lights on, but the rooms were dark and stuffy. No TV for compulsive news watching. We checked out as soon as the rain let up.
Then we drove to the new house. The route from the hotel to the house takes us through one of the wealthiest zip codes in the country. I knew there was going to be trouble when I saw 5 million dollar homes surrounded by water. Then came the yellow tape. Roads were blocked off and we made our way through unfamiliar back roads to the house.
There's a small stream that runs on the neighbor's yard, which is about 30 yards from our house. Most days, it shouldn't be called a stream. It should be called a pile of damp rocks. That day, it was white water rapids that burst the edges of the stream and took over half the side yard.
We opened the door and raced down to the basement. There was a small trickle of water in a far corner of the room. Considering the mess at the end of the street and in the basements of others, we were very grateful to see just a trickle.