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What Not To Do In A Hurricane

Hurricane Sandy was barreling towards us. My husband was in full protection mode, gathering food and supplies into the basement. The boys were excited since school was closed. Right now, it was all flashlights and fun, but it was only 9 am on Monday and the real storm was not supposed to hit for hours. Did I mention there wasn’t any school?

My crazy brain was figuring out my schedule for the week that was already off schedule. There were class trips, a party and dentist appointments. Plus, my cousin was in NYC for the week. And oh, yeah, Halloween was Wednesday. Without the storm, it was already one of those jam-packed weeks that I was going to be working hard to get it all in, especially my gym time.

Hmm. There’s an idea. I look outside and it doesn’t seem so bad yet, so I call the gym.  They are open and have assured me that there are actual people there. I can’t believe it. Maybe I’m not so crazy.

Afraid of my Safety Patrol husband, I gently broach the idea of me sneaking out for an hour. He looks at me as I knew he would, but actually just rolls his eyes and gives the okay. Wow. I wasn’t expecting it to be that easy. Before he changes his mind, or the storm changes course, I head out.

The roads are pretty deserted. It’s not really raining much and the winds are mild to moderate. The only thing that makes me nervous is the water. The gym is right on the Sound, and it looks dangerously close to running over. I feel a rush of anxiety and keep thinking, “Really? You had to go to the gym this bad?”

Apparently I did, and so did the other 15 or so people there. I recognize a few, and it calms me a little. Okay, I’m not super crazy. But then I see him, and I know I am. You know him, even if you don’t know him. He’s the guy in your town who’s a little tightly wound. He shouts the loudest at the kids’ sports games. He’s a little too intense and calls attention to himself in just that extra way that makes you go, “Hmmm,” and take two steps back.

Great. Now we’re bonded as one of the elite crazy people who decide to go to the gym during a hurricane. 40 minutes I tell myself, then I’m out. The storm isn’t really supposed to hit till later, and the radio had just said that high tide ended and the water was receding a bit. Calm. Calm.

I get on the elliptical, listening to the news, moving my feet faster in some warped way thinking I’ll finish faster. The front doors of the gym have the garage guard down, so that the glass doors are protected. It isn’t a big deal, except without the outside lights, the gym feels like a tomb. The whole time, I’m imagining scenarios of death.

About 25 minutes in, the lights go out. Most people calmly get off their machines, but there’s a frightening few that continue to pedal like mechanical Stepford wives. I head straight for the door, afraid that some kind of apocalypse awaits outside.

It’s pretty much the same as before, with moderate wind and some rain. I jump into my car and spy intense man doing the same. We head in the same direction, since there is only one road along the water and we live blocks apart about 5 minutes away.  We are almost at our turn, when I see him quickly U-turn and head back toward the gym. Huh?

Oh. There is a cop standing in the road, blocking the way. I lower the window, but before I can ask anything, the officer barks, “Turn around!”

“But I live there. How am I supposed to get that…?”

“Turn around!” he barks in answer. It makes the last thin nerve I’m working with snap and tears pool in my eyes.

“You could be a little nicer, Officer!” I squeak at him and make a U-turn.

Going back the other way, I keep one eye on the road and the other on the water, trying to keep it together. I’m never going to see my children again, because I needed to go to the gym. Okay, I tell myself. I can just take Radcliffe. It’ll be okay. With a plan, I calm, for about 30 seconds. That’s when I saw the other road block straight ahead. Sirens start to wail, and not just in my head.

As far as I knew, there was water to my left and a bunch of dead ends on my right.  I was trapped. Intense man was in the same position, and I watched him make a quick right on a road that said No Thru. Panicked, with nowhere else to go, I followed. I had never been on the road before, but it whipped somehow around the water and connected to another road that brought us back on higher ground, close to home.

I breathed a deep heave of relief. Safe. I’ll never leave home again! Thank you, intense man. The water was now behind me and my house in front of me. Oh, and Dunkin Donuts right here in the middle. And, it’s…open. I really should get home. I never should have left. A hurricane was coming. But…it would only be a minute, and really, who knew when I’d get a nice, hot coffee again.

Tomorrow is 9 days  since I’ve had a cup of heaven or seen the inside of the gym. We’re still waiting for our power to return.











About Ice Scream Mama

Mama to 3 boys, wife to Mr. Baseball and daughter of a sad man. I have a double scoop every day.

37 responses »

  1. I am glad you’re safe. I think I would have cried too. Good for you for speaking up.


  2. I know “that man”, he’s at my gym too! So glad you got home. Hope your power gets restored soon. I’m in NJ, our power came back Thursday. It’s been a long week!

  3. Glad to see that you made it home in time! I think we all have one of those crazy guys at the gym. I hope you get your power back soon and that you can start to go to the gym again. Good luck!

  4. This is soooo good! I completely relate to going to the gym at unusual times! And don’t get me started on Intense Man (though I love that he saved the day)! Such a fun, engaging post as always. Next Dunkin Donuts trip on me!

  5. crazy mom but desperate.

  6. I saw trucks on channel drive. Hopefully training station will be up and running soon.

    Sent from my iPad

  7. This has been such a weird week in NY/NJ hasn’t it? I don’t think that I have felt like myself since the storm started kicking up last Monday. Here’s hoping for power back soon, hot coffee, and a nice calm winter.

  8. Intense man is your new BFF!! So glad you got back. I had a friend that went to the gym at noon during Sandy. I thought she was nuts but she made it back ok. It’s true the bad part wasn’t until later. Great post!

  9. I’m so glad you’re safe, and I’m so sorry it’s been nine miserable days. Ugh. Turns out it was lucky you live so close to a workout addict. And next time, you can skip the workout and go straight for the donuts, right? It’s closer to home.

  10. This post is 18 kinds of fantastic! Really well written. I’m so glad you made it home safely. And I *totally* know intense man. My thoughts and prayers are with you guys especially with the nor’easter coming. The northeast just can’t seem to catch a break right now.

  11. I’m glad you made it home and I hope you get coffee soon!

  12. I would have been at the gym. I know I would have and then I would have freaked out when the ca ca hit the fan and I was there. I am glad you are ok, and your Dunkin Donuts detour was hilarious.

  13. I bet your husband had a big, fat “I told you so” waiting for you! How scary, and I’m so glad you and your family are ok!

  14. I would have been terrified and crying. So glad you are okay though!

  15. This sounds like something I would have done. Glad you were OK!

  16. I would have followed Intense Man, too! I’m glad that you’re safe and snuggly in your home and that you got a hot coffee. Coffee is very important to my life. I’d be risky for it.

  17. I’ve done stuff like that. Once I pulled up in front of a pizza place just as the tornado sirens went off. I went in and picked up the pizza before driving home. I figured we needed something to eat if we were holed up in the basement, right? And a whole little league team was eating their pizza in the restaurant as if nothing was happening. Couldn’t be that bad, could it?

  18. Gym and Dunkin Donuts? You totally have your priorities correct. I remember freshman year of college in VA when a hurricane hit (I’m pretty sure it was barely a tropical storm but they ONLY called it a hurricane) and they closed our campus and people were all supposed to stay in their dorms in the dark and a friend from New York was crying on the phone to her mother saying, “But I don’t have any hurricane pants.”

    Loved this!

  19. Excellent, excellent post. I was enthralled the whole way through … seriously. How did you manage to make Hurricane Sandy so damn hysterical? And the way you describe that man is simply perfect. This was my favorite line: “He shouts the loudest at the kids’ sports games.” Spot on.

  20. I was waiting for you to say you ditched your car and ran home or something. I love that you stopped for coffee!! Probably a good move considering what the rest of your week would be like. Glad you’re safe.

  21. Pingback: Lessons Learned (Vol. Five) | ateachablemom

  22. Alisa, Just playing catch up on the simple pleasures of life. Your blog is one of them! And yes I too go to the gym so I can eat!

  23. I shouldn’t admit this, but part of our hurricane preparations is that we go to Dunkin Donuts and buy a huge box of coffee. We’re prepared to drink cold coffee all week basically. However, our section of the grid is so small that we are the 10% who never loses power. I wouldn’t admit this except that we’re moving. So our luck is changing regardless.

    • well i can appreciate that – dunkin is part of my every day happiness.. it was a smart move stopping for coffee, i didn’t see that cup for over a week!! now that’s a disaster! 😉
      i hope you’re luck stays lucky.


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