Friday, November 2, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

Well, Superstorm Sandy has come and gone, and we are ok. But there are a great many people hit much harder than us, and many of whom are still suffering through the aftermath on what is now day 5...

Monday 10/29 - Due to the impending weather, I worked out of my home office on Monday, and had a fairly productive day, at least until the mid afternoon. We had gotten the call from the school district on Sunday that everything was closed Monday and Tuesday, so the kids were more excited about the time off than anything. They had some questions about the storm, primarily because of all the TV coverage, but weren't very concerned. For them it was more of an adventure at this point than anything.

As the day wore on, a dreary and ominous sky gave way to increasing rains and increasing winds. By late afternoon, it had that "freight train in the yard" sound and the rain was hammering the house hard. At one point I noticed that the wind-blown rain driving into the front of the house was coming through a large window over our front door in the two story foyer. Water was running in small rivulets down the wall under the window, bubbling the paint and soaking the drywall. Once I noticed this, it was easy enough to take care of by getting out a ladder and placing some rolled up beach towels on the window sill, changing them once an hour, to prevent more damage to the walls.

We had a simple dinner of reheated leftovers, figuring that if we were going to lose power for a while, we might as well use up some of the food in the fridge while having a hot meal at the same time. After  dinner, we lost TV, internet and phone service, but the power stayed on. After checking a bunch of things, I figured out that the garage outlet that ran power to all of the Verizon FIOS services was on the same GFI circuit as the outside lights, and something had tripped that circuit and prevented it from being reset. Once I figured out what the problem was, a few extension cords solved that problem. You can't not have internet after all...

By bedtime, the wind was howling, but we got the kids showered and into bed with some difficulty. Grace especially was milking the "I'm scared I want to sleep in your bed" angle. Unsuccessfully. The lights flickered off and on throughout the night, but stayed on until we had turned in at around 11:30. The wind was hammering the house hard now, and at 11:55pm, the power went out. The wind noise made it impossible to sleep, and I could see exactly when the digital alarm clock went out. Despite the noise, I eventually fell asleep sometime after 2am (according to the last time I checked my cell phone).

Tuesday 10/30 - I first woke up sometime after 6am, and it was still raining hard, but the wind (which had peaked in the 11pm to 2am timeframe) had died down noticeably. It was chilly in the house, and with no particular reason to get up, we stayed in bed and dozed off and on until near 9am. That part at least was nice; I can't remember the last time I stayed in bed that late and wasn't sick. We got up, got the kids up, and had a cold breakfast. As we were figuring out what to do next, the power came back on at around 10:30am. Text messages and work emails were going around with people checking on each other. My boss in New York state and one of my team in north Jersey were both without power, but doing ok. As we watched TV updates, we were able to see how bad New Jersey and New York city had been hit. Much worse than us. It continued to rain throughout the day, but we were dry and safe. As emails went around, I learned that our Madison NJ headquarters was flooded and without power, and might be without for days.

With the whole area seemingly in limbo, we had a relaxing day around the house, watching the news of the rest of the area. We got the news that schools would be open Wednesday, but going in two hours late. The rain continued, I kept monitoring leaks, but other than that it was a fairly normal day. This will be a vacation day for me.

Wednesday 10/31 - The kids got to sleep in because of the delay, and the power went out again overnight (but came back). Minor inconveniences, but nothing compared to what others are going through. We still have some leak concerns, but the rain is winding down, and we have power, food, etc... An employee of mine in north Jersey was still without power and was being told it might be Monday before they had it back. Ugh. No heat, no power, gas stations running low on supplies, and hot meals hard to come by... Madison is still out. This will be a second vacation day for me.

Thursday 11/1 - School is back to regular schedule. I go into work at normal time, and it seems like a usual day. For all practical intents and purposes, Hurricane Sandy is over for us. My team member still has no power (she will get it back Saturday, but gas stations will be rationing and/or out of gas). It seems tremendously petty, but I start to wonder whether Fall In, the hobby convention scheduled for this weekend in Lancaster PA, will be affected. This is a very minor thing, but here in this neighborhood, we are back to worrying about minor things... in other words... completely back to normal.

By Friday, it's like nothing ever happened, and I take my scheduled vacation day and drive out to Fall In...

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