Hurricane Sandy is history; at least here in Long Island. My thoughts and prayers go out to all those people who continue to suffer from the effects of this monumental storm and who have experienced damage, loss and extreme hardship.
Several minutes ago, our power was restored after almost 30 hours; it could have been much worse. Using flashlights, being without heat or having to use cold water to bathe were inconveniences I’ve previously faced. This was not the first hurricane I’ve encountered, however it was worse than any other I recall. The extreme wind did more damage than any storm or blizzard in recent years. Thankfully the rain was less than expected; we were spared flooding in our area this time.
When the wind began to intensify and the power went out, I knew the storm was violent but did not anticipate her wrath. Most of my Halloween yard decorations were safely inside; only a couple were left standing. Some of them got damaged and several flood lights broke. More importantly, trees were uprooted, limbs were split and branches littered the lawns and streets. Power lines swayed limply from their supports. The entire town was drenched in piercing darkness.
I thought I was properly prepared; food, check, water, check, flashlights, check, candles, check, batteries – everything but C’s. This was the first time not having some form of communication like a radio made me extremely anxious. We had no cell phone service. This morning, although it wasn’t entirely safe to do so, my husband and I drove around town trying to find any place open that may sell “C” batteries. It was a fruitless effort. We were able to listen to the car radio and discovered 90% of all Long Island was without power.
With the exception of two grocery stores, an Ace Hardware store, one Italian restaurant and a 7-Eleven, all of which operated on generator power, everything else was closed. Every gas station was closed. Traffic lights were out. We traveled four miles in either direction. People were out driving, similar to us, assessing the damage and trying to find needed supplies.
Arriving home somewhat dejected, we donned our old clothes and proceeded to clean up the yard. Five hours and more than a dozen bags and countless stacks of tree limbs and branches later, we decided to call it quits for the day. We had only had some yogurt and a banana in the morning and believe it or not, after all that physical work in the afternoon, we came inside without much of an appetite. My husband managed a jelly sandwich and slice of the chocolate cake I baked before the power went out and I settled with some crackers, hummus and a little slice of cake too.
After scouring the house one more time, I was thrilled to find the two additional “C” batteries I needed for the radio. The radio became our lifesaver. We were finally able to listen to what was happening as far as power, transportation, schools, emergency shelters, etc. in the Tri-State area. Becoming slightly bored, I decided to play a few games of solitaire and then settled on the couch for a rest as the power was still out. Suddenly, right before 11pm, the kitchen light turned on. What a relief!
The next steps we took were to check the heat and hot water systems as well as refrigerator; then the house phones, cell phones and computer. All systems were okay. Besides a few fallen trees and some food to discard, the storm left us unscathed. For that, I am grateful. I’ve listened to heartbreaking stories of those who lost their lives during Hurricane Sandy and it deeply saddens me. Once again life teaches us a lesson about what is truly important in our lives and never to take anything for granted.
My next task is to see if there is anything I can do for those in my area who are still in need of assistance. I’m blessed to be given that opportunity.
“There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm.” ~ Willa Cather