How my family literally looked into the eye of Hurricane Earl’s storm

(Originally published at Mile High Mamas)

Poor eyesight. Baldness. Big feet. These are all things that can be passed down from generation-to-generation.

In my family, our inherited trait is bad luck.

And also the aforementioned misfortunes.

We come up a wee bit short in the gene pool.

I hail from an uproarious, fun-loving Canadian family but if anything bad can happen, it usually does. That said, what do you get when your entire Murphy’s Law clan congregates for the first time in 10 years in North Carolina’s famed Outer Banks?

Hurricane Earl, that’s what.

And I only wish I was joking.

Our week-long vacation actually started out smoothly. My generous mother rented a beach-side mansion that accommodated all 15 siblings and cousins in the Outer Banks’ Southern Shores.

For five glorious days, we splashed in our pool, built sand castles, chased the waves, explored quaint fishing villages, kite-boarded, stalked crabs at night and collected sea shells at dawn. It was as close to utopia as The Bad Luck Clan has ever come and I never wanted it to end.

Hurricane Earl had other ideas.

We had been casually tracking the hurricane’s progress. We knew when we planned our vacation that it was peak hurricane season but, as my friend Tom queried on Facebook: “What are the odds of you being there when a hurricane is coming?”

Evidently pretty darn good because, out of all the destinations along the Atlantic Ocean, the Outer Banks was Hurricane Earl’s first stop.

We were unsure of what to do. As Canadians, the only natural disaster with which we’re familiar is having our nose hairs freeze in sub-zero temperatures.

The southern portion of the Outer Banks was evacuated in what meteorologists initially predicted would be a Class 4 hurricane. Our beach house was 45 minutes north. While we did not want to cut our vacation two days short by leaving, we also did not want to take any unnecessary risks.

The county made the decision for us by ordering mandatory evacuation of all visitors.

We hurriedly loaded up our cars. As the queen of worst-case scenarios, I was ready. We had bottled water. Ample food. A full tank of gas for our inland escape route. If nothing else, escaping Earl’s clutches would make for some great blog fodder.

Except the drama never really unfolded.

I had anticipated being stuck for hours in traffic with other desperate, fleeing tourists.

We easily cruised across the bridge to the mainland in record time.

I envisioned the storm leveling houses and flooding streets.

The area did not even lose power.

In the end, Hurricane Earl sideswiped the Outer Banks causing some flooding but no injuries and only modest damage. Though it was a huge upset in our family vacation, it was an instance wherein it was better to be safe than sorry.

Unless you’re my Crazy Canuck brother Pat who wanted to kite-board through it all.

My mother had wisely invested in hurricane insurance. She was not only reimbursed for the two nights we had to leave our beach house but also for the cost of our stay in exile.

Because even Murphy’s Law deserves a silver lining now and then.

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