Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Hurricane Sandy


So after we got everybody out the door, we surveyed our cabinets and determined that we had enough chickpeas and coconut milk to survive for weeks.  (Seriously.  We eat a lot of chickpeas and coconut milk.)  We lined up our candles, filled up the water bottles and pots, made sure we had plenty of stickers, crayons, and other art supplies to entertain a housebound toddler, and....waited.  And waited.  We went out for a walk finally, and it was a bit windy, but sunshiny--and nobody was out.  The hurricane wasn't close to hitting yet, but still nobody set a foot out of doors except some restless teenagers and people with toddlers. 

So we threw leaves and ran around being owls we collected leaves and brought them home and painted them because I had to do something with all those art supplies.  Plus, might as well let her get all paint-covered, because I needed to bathe her because what if we lost water and she never bathed for weeks?!  


And then we waited some more.  It did start to get pretty freaking windy, but still, a toddler is a toddler, so out we went.  Or rather, out Dave and Willow went to the porch to blow bubbles (I was not so self-sacrificing).  The bubbles blew up, the bubbles danced around in the wind for a while, and then three or four minutes later, the bubbles came back.  A hilarious and very informative demonstration of hurricane wind patterns.  And therefore Willow decided Daddy was just the best thing ever and so insisted he put her down for a nap (unsuccessfully, but hey, at least Mommy didn't have to do it).

But then there was more waiting.  We set up a tent.  We pretended we were camping.  We pretended we were birds.  We listened to lots of Bruce Springsteen.  We watched the wind.    We read the news obsessively. 

And then we put her to bed and watched the power flicker and waited and waited and almost wanted it to go out because then the waiting would be overBut only the cable went out so we went to bed.


I woke up in the middle of the night to discover that the power had, in fact, gone out.  And despite being more than prepared for this, I was totally freaked out.  Which makes no sense!  I grew up with the power going out all the time, it was a blast, it was yay cream cheese for dinner and my Dad playing guitar!  But do you know what my issue was?  Not the dark, not the sense of aloneness in the wilderness....That I had NO IDEA WHAT TIME IT WAS.   It could have been nearly morning, it could have been midnight.  I had no way of knowing, short of, you know, getting out of bed and clicking on my cell phone, which I was totally not going to do because what if it was midnight and I woke the toddler?!  On the other hand, what if it was nearly seven am and I didn't wake the toddler an she slept too late and then I'd miss a nap for a second day in a row?!?  Control freaks do not do well when time goes missing.

The thing was, we had no idea what was going on.  When we went to bed, a crane had been dangling, and lower Manhattan was flooding slightly, and Atlantic City did not look so good there fella.  But other than that?  Not much.  And being hyper-cautious control freak type people (who totally would survive the apocalypse!) we refused to use any kind of internet-searching devices like, say, our phones, but instead sent curt text messages to family and then told them to stop texting us and not to call us because we wanted to save our batteries.  In fact, we turned my phone off.  (One family member risked a text message to say "Yo, dummy, don't you have a car charger?"  At which point we turned my phone back on.  Still, how long would car chargers work in the apocalypse, huh??)

In the daytime, the lack of power was still sort of weird, because some rooms in my house are kind of dark...and they stayed that way.  And it was all just so deathly quiet.  Except for outside, where people were roaming the streets shouting
...because they could.  We went out for a brief walk, before the speeding cars fleeing the city frightened us back home, and saw that the park near our house had flooded, and that wires were down all over the place.  (Later we found this two-foot long fish washed up about a half mile from the river).

But we went home and we ate lots and lots of eggs and drank lots and lots of milk, and though I still don't know what time Willow woke up, she did take a nap but of course our monitor didn't work so we had to huddle quietly outside her bedroom so we could hear her but not wake her playing mime Trivial Pursuit which Dave won but I'm convinced that's because I couldn't mime my answers properly.

I knit a cozy, bulky, squishy vest that I really wished either fit me or could be given to Willow permanently because it was very warm and without heat our house was getting very, very cold.  Here is Sandy, knit in Rowan Alpaca Chunky on US 15 needles.  Brrr!

And we painted the bathroom because it has a skylight so we could see and we were pretty seriously bored by this point, and we were birds some more...and then it got dark.

Willow thought it was the best thing ever.  She had her own flashlight, and she loved eating by candlelight, and in fact thought this whole power outage business was just such a fantastic lark that it should happen every day.  And frankly, heating aside, she was right.  We had plenty of food, we had hot water, we had a gas stove.  We were as comfortable as we could possibly be.

And so we finished off the bottle of fancy Scotch we'd been saving and then went to bed.


The cold was getting a bit wearing now.  I could not warm up.  I was in several layers, and we dressed Willow in her fleece owl Halloween costume, and still we shivered.  We ventured out for Halloween--even got in the car and braved the anarchic streets--to go trick-or-treating with Toaster and RockNoodle.  Their Mom's neighborhood suffered some flooding, so things were a bit grimmer down there, but everybody was safe and comfortable enough.  And within an hour of our visit down there, we heard there was power back in our neighborhood.

I have to tell you, I resented every minute of trick-or-treating after that.  Willow was running up and down the block taking the same people's candy over and over (because we weren't going to cross streets) Dave was chatting with former neighbors and I was thinking of nothing other than "Oh my God, we have power, that was so fast, I'm so amazed by PSE&G and everybody involved--all of this is being handled so well--we have power, we have power, we have power." 

And then we got home and went online and the full extent of the damage became clear.

I feel so incredibly lucky.  What was for us a minor and slightly anxiety-producing inconvenience (and for Willow, one hell of a good time) was devastating for so many people.  The images of the Jersey Shore and Staten Island are frightening and so very sad, and, closer to home, we worry about our neighboring town of Hoboken with its vile floodwaters, not to mention so many people still without power! 

Given how very difficult it's been, I have nothing but respect and sincere appreciation for the way the storm was prepared for, responded to, and dealt with.  If you can, please donate.   And vote to continue FEMA and quick governmental response.  Thanks everybody for your good wishes.



Gina said...

I think there is a sort of survivor's guilt when you weather a disaster relatively unscathed. During the Loma Prieta earthquake in the San Francisco Bay Area, there was so much death and destruction, but we only suffered the loss of a box of tea bags that slid out of the cupboard. While so much of the area was in the dark and without water or power, we had both and felt both relieved and guilty for our good luck.

Besides giving to the Red Cross, etc., my local knitting group is gathering yarn and knitting supplies for those who have lost theirs -- just a small comfort for those who need some yarn in hand to make it through these anxiety-filled days.

Nikki Van De Car said...

That's a wonderful idea! I had such anxiety over running out of yarn, I can't even tell you.

And you're absolutely right about the survivor's guilt. I almost wish we were still without power so that somebody who needed it more could get it sooner, though of course it doesn't work like that.

Renee Anne said...

I didn't realize until sometime over the weekend that you lived on the east coast.

Why on earth were you replying to Ravelry messages?! We could have waited :)

Glad you all came out okay!

Jonathan & Ashley Post in New Zealand!!! said...

That vest is SO cute!