His and hers hurricane prep: In anticipation of Sandy's arrival Matt stocked up on non-perishables like beef jerky, while my main concern was making sure every device in the house was fully charged.
This was hurricane week. We spent Sunday making last minute storm preparations, Monday at home waiting for the worst of the storm to hit, and Tuesday and beyond dealing with the aftermath and storm clean up. School was canceled for the entire week, and we were actually one of the only towns in the area that was able to open up schools the following Monday.
When your four-year-old starts drawing pictures of a person in the middle of a hurricane, it's probably a sign that you're watching a bit too much news coverage. Cute and a little disturbing all at the same time.
In all honesty though, the storm did cause some anxiety for the kids, especially Ella. Our town periodically made "Code Red" telephone calls to residents to update us on the storm, which I would put on speakerphone so both Matt and I could hear. I didn't think anything of it until I started noticing that Ella would cover her ears whenever we got one of those calls.
The girls had a sleepover in the living room on Monday night because we didn't want them sleeping upstairs near the windows or in the potential path of falling trees.
We thought it was inevitable that our power would go out for an extended period of time, considering we lost power for two days during Tropical Storm Irene last year and Sandy was a much stronger storm. At the height of the storm the winds were quite frightening, and as the evening wore on our lights did flicker off and on several times. Each time we thought the power was out for good, but then it would come right back on again.
The lights were still on, but Lucy was out for the night.
We were amazed to wake up on Tuesday morning with power, even more so after we checked online and saw that 92% of our town had no power. Then when we started seeing pictures of the devastation throughout the tri-state area, we honestly felt a little silly for escaping the storm unscathed. We were extremely grateful of course, but it honestly felt a bit ridiculous that so many people lost everything and yet we didn't even have to deal with the inconvenience of a cold shower.
I will say that I am always really impressed with the way our town comes together in circumstances like these (sadly, since March 2010 this is the fourth instance of widespread and extended power outages and tree damage, although this was by far the worst). Our library was amazing, staying open late for device charging, offering movie marathons for the kids, and even organizing a potluck so those without power could enjoy a warm meal. Our YMCA opened up to the public for hot showers, and everybody who was lucky enough to have power was looking for a way to help those without it.
We were happy that Matt's sister and family let us feel useful by providing them with dinner, baths and showers, and cousins to entertain their kids while they were out of power for several days. We just wished we could have done more for Matt's brother and family down in New Jersey who were without power for thirteen days.
Although the coastal areas of our town experienced significant flooding, downed trees were the cause of most of the damage in our area. Enormous root beds like these from trees just toppling over were an extremely common sight all over.
For me the most surprising - and frightening - effect of Hurricane Sandy was the shortage of gas. Things were especially bad in harder hit areas of New York and New Jersey, but the shortage eventually reached us up here in Connecticut as well. Matt and I even saw New York City taxi cabs that had made the 45 minute drive here just to fill up. By the end of the week all the gas stations in town were out of gas. It definitely made me think hard about how much we rely on gas, and how quickly things dissolve into mayhem when there isn't enough to go around.
With the kids out of school for the week and trick-or-treating canceled (it honestly didn't even feel like Halloween on October 31st), I had to find creative ways to keep the kids entertained. Heading to Target and letting them each pick out a costume from the 70% off clearance rack seemed like as good an idea as any. Ella chose a pirate, Lucy picked a fairy, and that's Claire above all decked out as a Southern belle.
In all seriousness however, we ended this week extremely grateful for the very basics: our home, heat, hot water, electricity, and most importantly our safety during the storm.