The other morning, I awoke in my own bed, snuggled under my own covers. I went downstairs and made myself a hot cup of coffee and prepared lunches for my kids for school. School!! After almost two weeks, except for two days where I schlepped back and forth from my moms, my boys were going back to school. I could dance with glee.
When Hurricane Sandy whipped through our town, taking down trees and flooding houses, it left my town cold. Literally, our entire town was without power. Days for some, weeks for others. Many, still are in the dark. And up until yesterday, there was a gas shortage. Most days, there was no gas to be found. It was beyond odd. Even if the stations had power, they had no gas. If you were lucky enough to find an open station, you could wait on line for an hour or two.
But the experience has not been without its benefits. For the first week, I really enjoyed the adventure of it all. The brush with disaster left me filled with appreciation. It could have been much worse. But, after days in the dark and cold, and then days cramped at my in-laws and finally, at my mom and step-father’s, it was enough.
We were all off schedule, out of sorts, pent up with energy and frustration. We missed our friends, we missed our lives. Some of us, ahem, missed our freezer full of ice cream.
And then Thursday we were told power had been restored to our house, so we packed our kids, cat and lizard and drove back home. Pulling up to our house, we stared out the car windows, moving in slow motion with faces full of anticipation and fear. It was day time and no discernable lights could be detected.
Oh no, what if we didn’t have power. I steeled myself. Whatever it was, we were home – and we weren’t leaving. We pulled around to the garage. It was the moment of truth. Howard pushed a button, and… the garage door rose. Like magic. Like electricity. Like wow!
We gaped, oohed and ahhed. We had the Power. We all tumbled over one another to get in and flick on lights. Gee, in the light, my house was, well, disgusting. The mattress we had slept on covered our living room floor and was blanketed in toys. In the kitchen, some congealed something was spilled on the table, along with a leftover piece of cold half eaten pizza. Dirty clothes were littered everywhere. Or maybe they were clean, didn’t matter, they were certainly dirty now.
The next hours, days even, was a return to order. Or at least what normally passes for order in my house. So, I thought I’d share a few of my highlights and nolights (tee hee) of the past 2 weeks.
* Taking a run with Howard to Coney Island and Sheepshead Bay while at my MIL. At Coney Island, the boardwalk couldn’t even be found, nor the street or some cars, under mounds of sand. At Sheepshead Bay, the businesses that line the Bay were literally drowned. Horrible.
* Waiting on line for gas in my town. The local deli had a guy taking orders at people’s windows. I got some hot coffee and read my kindle for an hour. Not so terrible.
* Seeing the trees that crashed literally through houses and onto cars! One even on our lawn. Insane!
* Eating at Franks, a local pizza place, where Linda, the owner pumped out pies in semi-dark with an oven and a generator.
* Our children, playing through the house with flashlights, giggling the whole time.
* Trick or Treating (against the police commissioner’s orders) over the trees and under the wires to houses for candy we go…
* Going from neighbor to neighbor, checking in, offering a hand or anything we could. It was like Hurricane Caroling.
* My first after power shop!
It is a whole other post about how LIPA dropped the ball. At first, everyone was supportive and sympathetic to the overwhelming need and disaster, but after a week or so of absolutely no presence or seemingly any hope of power, the tides began to turn. People became angry, and loopy… no one was fixing anything. At night, there were no lights to be seen. Our town was a black hole in space. Gas became scarce. Then there was another storm…
Overall, it’s been crazy, but not as crazy as for some. So we are thankful that the disaster was not a complete disaster for us, and praying that those still in need are somewhere warm while they wait for their lives to return to some kind of normal.