When Hurricane Sandy hit, we were prepared. I don't mess around with high winds. We took down Halloween decorations, cleaned up the yard, spent the weekend loading our freezer with ice, stocked up on supplies and secure everything as well as we could. Having just experienced a bad hurricane last year, I think we knew what to do and had learned from any mistakes we made last time.
But nothing could have prepared us for those winds. They started picking up in the early evening. I was concerned for our large oak in the front, but I did not consider the smaller trees along the east side of our house to be threatening. They are usually very sheltering and block the wind. This time, the wind pushed against them. When a gust came, the wind shook the house as if it would blow it off its foundation. To lighten the mood, I made the mistake of saying this was the weather's way of celebrating Halloween. I started telling the kids, "It was a night just like this...a long time ago..." and then I laughed.
And then doors blew open with a bang. Everyone jumped. Cats ran. You could hear booming sounds in the distance. In hindsight, that was probably the sound of many trees that the storm took down in neighbors' yards and on streets nearby. By 7:30PM Monday night, our electricity was gone. During the worst of it, we huddled in the hall in the middle of our house and read to each other. That helped. By 11:30PM, the winds began to ebb. We had made it through the worst of it. The days that followed were filled with the uncertainty of not knowing when the power would come back on. Our street was blocked by a downed wire. In the city, a tall oak tree in front of my parents' house fell, landing across their four lane street. Sierra's anoles had no heat, and the weather was getting colder. I spent a lot of my time filling a jar with hot water to keep in the cage. One of our cats has been sick and tends to pee where he is when his mouth hurts. Cleaning up after him and not knowing when I could do laundry again was making me a little crazy. Everyone was sniffling and shivery from our cold house.
The worst for me was having little access to the news. Most of the radio news seemed to be sound bites with little actual information. We were hard pressed just to find a local station reporting. Words like devastation came up time and again, but were meaningless with because of the lack of descriptiveness. Too many radio newscasters would talk about some video on YouTube without considering that some of us had no access to the internet. Even after we started getting a newspaper again, the photos were not very telling for the most part. Pictures of trees on houses or cars were common. I've seen that before. It did not give me a complete feel for what had actually happened. That came last night when I could watch the news for the first time in three days. It left me utterly sick and sad.
I'm probably not terribly coherent right now. This is all just starting to sink in as I make my way back onto the roads and try to return to some of my routines. We had a scary ride to church on All Saints' Day with roads full of angry drivers that didn't know how to deal with stop signs. Our church had no power, so Mass was held by candlelight and shortened since there was no heat. After that, I brought Marina to the library for work and found it was full of people. Most of them stared at their various electronic gadgets as they caught up on emails and work. Our area has very high-tech refugees. Too bad so many of them didn't think to pick up a book to read while their phones charged. Reading has been my greatest escape during this.
Thursday night, I had started mixing up a batch of brownies when the lights blinked on. We all cheered. I like to think that the smell of chocolate brought the electricity back. Sierra's lizards seem to be doing well. Chase caught a cold, but is on the mend. Even the cat looks better. I'm going to count my blessings because I know we were lucky the storm didn't do more damage. I pray for my
family and friends who are still without power and hope none of them
suffered too much loss of property. I'm thankful that they are simply
If you are a reader who was in the storm's path, please give me a shout out in the comments to let me know you are all right. I hope everyone's electricity is restored sooner than expected.