Advance apologies if this post is a bit all over the place, but that’s kind of how my mind has been lately. I tried to corral the thoughts as best as I could.
When Hurricane Irene struck last year, we had less time to prepare. And didn’t know exactly how bad it was going to be.
This time, with Hurricane Sandy, we knew differently. We knew it was coming, exactly when it would hit and where, and that it was going to be bad. Really bad.
We had a solid four days to prepare. Really prepare. The days leading up to it were eerie. People going through the motions of collecting necessary supplies. Schools closing before the hurricane even started. We were sitting ducks in the worst possible way.
Knowing it was coming, and just waiting.
There was no ambivalence. It wasn’t a case of weather forecasters downplaying its significance. They weren’t disagreeing. Saying all different things. They were united in one message.
Prepare for it.
The hurricane couldn’t have been tracked more precisely. It was said to hit New Jersey land at 6 pm. At 6:01 pm, it struck. We heard the wind start to howl outside. Trees shake. Rain. At 7 pm, we lost our power.
I had prayed we could just make it to bedtime with power, sleep through it, and begin the steps to restore the next day.
We were prepared but we weren’t ready for all that was to unfold.
As I laid down with my kids that Monday night, in the center of our living room (the safest place in the house, away from trees that might fall on it), I tried to sleep.
Hell, I’ve been trying to sleep ever since. I haven’t slept since last Sunday. I don’t think I’m even running on fumes any more.
As I tried to reassure the kids that night, it was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. They said the worst of the storm would last for six hours. I watched the clock resolutely, counting down. Five more hours to go. Four more hours to go. Three… They were scared. I tried to be strong for them. I do believe that was the scariest thing I’ve ever gone through. At the very least as a mom.
Or at least in the top three for sure.
The next morning, we peeked outside. Luckily, this time, we were spared flooding. Oh how we prepared for flooding, especially after Hurricane Irene.
Thank God we received far less rain this time.
But the damage?
Traffic lights out (and still out). The air outside thick with silence. Heavy. As we were told to stay indoors. Stay off the roads.
Down wires and trees everywhere. Roads impassable. You (still) need to know sixteen different ways to get to where you’re going because there are so many roads closed. I still can’t make a left to go out of our town, seven days later.
We ventured out to meet up with friends at a diner for a warm meal. An hour wait. But friends that got there before us, and waited in line.
We sat glued to the news station that was on in the background. (The diner two towns over was one of only a handful of establishments that hadn’t lost power)
The next day we were at the mall, where rumor quickly spread that they had power.
Lunch at Red Robin. Where out of the entire staff, only one employee had power. They had called in all their resources to handle the overflowing crowd. Apologized for the 90 minute wait.
We didn’t care. Heat and warm food awaited us. I told them I would work for them.