weathering the storm

We had a storm.  Whether you want to call it a hurricane, a tropical cyclone or a super storm-we had a storm.  Hundreds of homes were damaged or destroyed, thousands of people were displaced, millions were left without power and sadly there were casualties  from this devastating, whatever you want to call it, storm called Sandy.
Disaster no matter what form it takes always leave the people affected reeling and wondering how they will ever get through.  What amazes me most is that humans are extremely resilient and will  use the most creative ways to get through tough situations, and  even helping others along the way.  We lost power the first night of the storm about thirty minutes after Sandy hit land.  We had a blase attitude that first night  positive the electricity would return by morning.  It did not.  By the third night without power we were cold and  hungry ( we were eating all of our non-perishables for breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner with no way to replenish as all the stores and restaurants had no power and it wasn’t safe to venture out at night because traffic lights were not working, trees and polls were down or on the brink of falling down). On the fourth morning we left to stay with family for a couple of days but eventually leaving  as we needed to get back to our home.  By this time we were adapting to life without electricity.  We learned to separate our daily routine  into things to do before it got dark and things to do in the dark.
 Daylight hours  consisted of making the most of  light shining brightly through the front windows in order  to prepare meals and do light cleaning.  We also washed clothes at the laundromat which, like the gas stations and grocery stores were overly crowded.  I also used this time to catch up on reading.  We charged electronics at a relatives house all day and limited use of them in order to conserve power for use at night.  At night we’d watch a movie, two if we were lucky, before the lap top powered off.  And when we were really bored and not quite ready for bed my daughter and I made crazy  shadow shapes on the wall using  the flashlight. We were usually in bed by 7pm and up again when the slightest hint of light crept into the room. I noticed this pulling together and adapting all around me,  people going door to door to check on the elderly, checking on those without electricity to see if they needed food and extra blankets,  delivering supplies .  I saw people outside during the day, bundled up and casually  strolling around the neighborhood enjoying the beautiful sunshine gifted to us days after the storm.  With schools closed for the week  children became restless and actually went outside to play.  Food banks popped up at emptied schools for all to take advantage of.   There were reports  of miles long lines of utility trucks heading east to help restore power.  The man who came to check on our power had a warm southern drawl that was comforting even while he was telling us our power might not be restored for two whole weeks.
  Gas lines were unbearably long.  That was one bullet I dodged,  schools were closed for seven days so I had no worries about gassing up the car for work,  just for getting around.   When it became clear that we may not have power for 7-14 days we all just established a new  routine. A routine of living without electricity.  We purchased food that could be cooked on the stove top and eaten the same day we  kept all our water and milk and other dairy items on the balcony turned makeshift refrigerator.  We learned to prolong the battery life of our electronics.
We  got our electricity back exactly 1 week to the day after we lost it. I’m  hoping everyone else has or will be getting theirs soon.  Schools opened and I returned to work  along with hundreds of thousands of children across the Tri-state area.
This was devastating but for the most part we made it through.  Things will be rebuilt and lives will go on and we will all  prepare to be more prepared in the future.   As I sit and finish up this post I’m looking out the window at snow just now forming  a thin blanket on the ground-an approaching Nor’easter.   Possibly up to eight inches of snow and some heavy winds.  But, you know what?  I’m good and I hope you will be too,  Kat.

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