Saturday, November 03, 2012

Hurricane Sandy


This past week has been a bit of a blur, a bit unreal and a lot crazy.

Hurricane Sandy blew in on Monday but prep began Friday when Oliver and I began a mad search for D batteries. I don't understand why D batteries, which power most large flashlights, lanterns and emergency radios, are hard to find when the weather is good. So, it was near impossible to find them with a hurricane bearing down and impending power outages.

Oliver and I also went to the grocery store on Saturday and filled up the tank at the gas station in the car and for the generator. Lines were long in the grocery store and bottled water was gone from the shelves. The gas station had waived the full-service Jersey gas laws and were allowing people to pump gas on their own.

Matt and Chloe arrived back from the regional race early Sunday morning and we headed to OVRP to secure the RV and karts and to get the generator. Back at home in the afternoon we prepped the generator and ran extension cords to the refrigerators. We also secured our patio furniture and potted plants.

Then the waiting began.

School was canceled for Monday as Sandy was supposed to make landfall in the afternoon. Sandy made her arrival known. Howling winds and snapping branches. It was relentless and seemed never-ending. With every gust and howl we looked to the lights and out the window at the trees, waiting for the power to cut off and to make sure the massive trees surrounding our house didn't come crashing down.

Even before Sandy made her official arrival in the afternoon, the wind started and the tree across the street came crashing down.
We had the kids sleep in the basement for safety.

By 11:15 the massive winds seemed to abate. Our power remained on and we knew we were lucky and our power would remain on. We could see from the images on tv that  the city and the Jersey shore didn't fare as well and we knew through Twitter and FB that many of our neighbors and friends were without power and had sustained damage.

Some scenes of destruction in our neighborhood:




Tuesday was still a quiet day. Chloe actually had a friend over to play who had lost power. About 75% of our town was without electricity, 150+ trees had fallen and 16 homes had been damaged by fallen trees. Our street was blocked by a tree that fell across the street.

Matt didn't even attempt to go into mid-town for work for the week and he worked from home. Thursday was crazy with people trying to get into the city and around the city. The majority of mass transit was down and in a city as enormous as NYC, its a necessity.

Needless to say, Halloween didn't happen on Wednesday and has been rescheduled for Monday, November 5th.

Gas lines began growing on Wednesday. Its estimated that 60% of gas stations are without power and the blocked roads and damage are keeping supplies from arriving. Driving on Tuesday was hazardous due to downed trees and wires, driving on Wednesday and the rest of the week was dangerous due to the cars blocking the roadways as they queued for hours for gasoline. It was announced Friday evening that NJ is now on gas rationing. Even-numbered plates can fill up on even-numbered days and odd numbered plates and vanity plates can fill up on odd-numbered days.

Restaurants in town are also running out of food as swarms of people without electricity dine out and restaurant supply companies have lost power or cannot make deliveries due to gas shortages and road blockages. I took the time at home to complete Oliver's room renovation and had to run up to Ikea on Thursday to pick up his new bed. The store was busy but most people were milling about the store, very little people were actually buying, but the massive amount of people were lined up in the restaurant to eat.

School remained closed for the remainder of the week and the district has hinted that there will be no school on Monday as well. I am beginning to consider home-schooling, especially with word that a nor'easter could be headed our way next week. Polling places for Tuesday's election have been changed. Many remain without power and the temperatures have dropped drastically.

We count our blessings and consider ourselves very lucky as we sit in the shadow of so much destruction and death. I worried the kids would be scared or frightened, but they handled it like troopers and thought it was all one big movie-watching, Halloween candy eating party.

As Chloe and I sat watching the news one morning, I said to her, "You know many years from now you will be able to say you survived Hurricane Sandy. You are a first-person witness. In your old age, you could be interviewed about what it was like to live through Sandy. What do you think you would say to your grandkids if they did a report on Hurricane Sandy and it's destruction for history class?". Chloe looked at me oddly and replied, "I remember I ate Halloween candy, heard some wind and had a sleepover with my little brother. Other than that it didn't do anything."

Dear great-grandchildren: I don't think your grandmother makes a good first-person account. Perhaps I need to give my daughter some perspective and am searching for an appropriate charitable activity for us to participate in--STAT.

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