Irene: our before & after

80-year-old sea turtle

Last summer, when my family came to visit, we purchased a membership to the New England Aquarium, allowing us to bypass the long line. And, we reasoned, we only had to go one more time to make it pay for itself. We did, kind of: I took Stewie. Four tickets not purchased, membership worth it. But Ian and I had only gone together once, and Ian loves aquariums. With an impending expiration date of August 31, we knew we had to squeeze our final aquarium date in on Saturday before Irene hit.


Ian spent the morning studying for his upcoming LAREs, and then we hopped on the T. For two and a half hours, we wandered past our favorite exhibits (penguins, jellies, and the giant ocean tank) and spent some time at the new shark and ray touch tank.

ian touches cownose rays

I have a new favorite aquatic animal: cownose rays. How can you resist a perpetually smiling creature that enjoys interacting with humans?

For the exhibit, the aquarium clips their stingers (as painless as clipping fingernails). You place your hand in the water near the edge, palm down, and they swim under your hands as they school around the tank. One even turned around to get an extra touch from Ian. There's plenty of room for the rays to avoid visitors, but most are eager to glide under waiting hands.

anna + ian at the aquarium

After we finished our circuit, we headed to the McArdles' going away party (Phil is going to serve in a New Hampshire church and eventually lead a new location for them). It was a great send off, but the first Irene downpour hit as we were leaving.


The next morning, we woke up to howling winds, thanked REUNION for wisely cancelling the gatherings, and fell back asleep.

Irene left Boston in time for us to still have community group, so at 6:45pm, we finally left the apartment. And immediately noticed the damage from a fallen tree just down the street. The tree was already gone, but the aftermath remained.

fallen tree

Several scrapes ran down the side of the building, but the tree only broke one window and smashed a few fence sections. The sidewalk and street did not fare as well. The granite curb, asphalt paving, and sidewalk uprooted along with the tree, jutting up at strange angles. We were extra-thankful our only issue was a hiccup in electricity.

And just like that, Irene was gone. Now we just have to eat through our emergency preparedness Clif bar stash...