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Hurricane Sandy Wrap-up

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.

LIPA – Grrrrr. LIPA workers – Thank you!!


Power Down – The only up side of the hurricane

Hurricane Sandy has come and gone, leaving devastation as a “thanks for having me” parting gift. My entire town has no power. Massive trees lay heavily across streets, strung with power lines like a Christmas tree. Schools are closed… indefinitely. We’ve spent the last three days, hunkering down in our basement, then in our living room where we are lucky enough to have a gas fire place.

The house is cold. Internet and phones are out. Cell power is almost non-existent, although sometimes if you found just the right spot and stood with one arm out and your neck strained in the right direction while squatting low, you might, might just get service for maybe a minute. There’s no warm food or water, and my three boys are jumping all over each other in pent up energy, yet… It’s kind of nice.

In our daily lives, we just do as we do. There’s a schedule filled with homework, play dates, sports and school, and now, there’s nothing. Just me, my husband and kids. There’s no Wi-Fi or texting. No phone calls or work. We have one crank radio, that I bought years ago for “just in case” as our only outside contact. We walk around the neighborhood as a family. We visit friends and neighbors and help out anyone if we can. One friend has a generator for charging phones and such, another needs a ride because they’re blocked in, someone needs bread, we all need a little time for our kids to play. We do what we can. It’s our own small disaster, and we’re in it together.

They’re saying it’s going to be possibly two weeks or more before power may be restored. Right now, it’s quiet. People are walking the streets looking around in awe, snapping pictures. There are three restaurants in town, using generators to pump out food. Yesterday, we sat in the semi-dark enjoying a nice pizza at a local joint, while at the deli that was open, people waited congenially and patiently in line for hot coffee. It’s amazing to see, and, there’s a strange sense of appreciating the inconvenience. We’re all okay. Cars and houses were destroyed. The town is in some upheaval. But we’re all okay.

Another day passed into night, our third, and we once again huddled in the cold, dark waiting for morning. Every five minutes, Howard would crank the radio and we’d listen to the real disaster in Breezy Point and Long Beach and Lower Manhattan. My back was cramped and my body a bit twisted since we were on a futon mattress on our living room floor in front of our fire place. But, cuddling my babies close in the security of my home, certainly felt like a luxury.

So now I write from my in-laws home in Brooklyn. I’m back on the computer and my boys are back hooked up to their games. We have power, heat and hot water, all which certainly feels like a luxury as well, yet, I kind of miss the ‘we’re in it together’ huddle bubble. Oh well, maybe I’ll just take a nice, steaming hot shower to console myself.

Just missed my house!

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