We went into Hurricane Irene expecting heavy, heavy rain and power loss, rendering our fancy new monster of a sump pump useless, since we don't have a generator on it yet. Knowing this, we spent Saturday emptying the basement as best we could, and raising up/securing things. The storm hit pretty hard Saturday evening into this morning, though we didn't lose power until this morning.
We had about 5 inches of water in the basement at one point, but thanks to an extremely kind, generous and resourceful neighbor, a generator was hooked up to our pump and it remains under control. He knew we didn't have a generator, and he had an old one he'd never run. He was at our house last night from about 11pm to 12:45am, with Mike, getting it up and running for us. He brought it over, tested it, discovered it was missing a part (the governor - which, I gather, is quite important). So he went back over to his house and he built the part for it. It totally saved us.
The rain stopped, the wind has mostly died down, and the water is gone from our garage & basement. The generator has been moved to a new location between the two houses (pictured above), and it gave us some light, cold food/drinks and charged phones for a couple hours tonight. We don't know when we'll have power back or when the trains will start running again, but it doesn't matter too much.
Irene didn't leave nearly as much destruction as she had potential to cause. Our trees are still standing and our basement is drying out. The neighborhood was out in full force this afternoon; we are surrounded by kind, thoughtful, interesting neighbors. And there is cold beer in the fridge.