Best of luck and God bless you, East Coast friends, as you brace for Hurricane Irene.
I am not in danger here in the upper Midwest, but my brother and mother live in the Virginia suburbs of D.C. And my California sister just arrived yesterday for a long-scheduled visit with my mother. Good thing she wasn't planning to fly in tomorrow!
Today, to go get more groceries and supplies in case of an extended power outage, my sister, still jet-lagged, got in my mom's car and it wouldn't start. Grrr. (The car is ten years old, but has only a few thousand miles on it, since my mom barely drove and now doesn't drive at all.) My mom's neighbours, absolute angels, brought my sister to the store. My brother left work early to come take a look at the car; sounds like a dead battery (probably it's the one that came with the car; I guess they get old even without being driven much). My brother plans to spend the night on his boat at its marina, where it's docked in an arm of the Potomac just south of D.C. He said a bunch of his other boating pals at the marina are going to have a hurricane party and hang out until it looks too dangerous. They're hoping it'll just [literally] blow over and they can stay and party through the whole thing. Guys.
The "angel" neighbours, who gave my sister the ride, themselves just got back yesterday from visiting family that live near the Maryland shore. They helped battened down the hatches before they drove back. His family has farmed there for two hundred years, so they have weathered many, many storms and don't plan to evacuate.
Apart from family, I have friends and acquaintance all up and down the middle Atlantic seaboard. New York, Philadelphia, even tiny Manteo, NC, a town near the ocean now bracing for the coming landfall. I worked in a summer theatre there during my college summers. I know a lot of you internet friends live in the path of the storm, too. Stay safe, and I hope you aren't put through too much hardship. May the storm weaken, better, may it go out to sea. Yeah!