Sunday, November 4, 2012

Surviving Sandy...

Sophie made me this.  Awwwww.
 Sorry I've been AWOL for a while.  Things have been a wee bit hectic around here.  It's my busy season at work, which means a lot of travel. Last Saturday I left my home in New Jersey to fly to Chicago  for a business trip.  While I was winging my way westward, a sh!tstorm of galactical proportions was bearing down on my home.

Hurricane/Post-Tropical Storm/Post-Tropical Cyclone/Superstorm (?!?!?!) Sandy pretty much pummeled New Jersey and surrounding states. She left tremendous devastation in her wake as I watched helplessly from Chicago, in fear for the health and safety of family, friends and four-leggeds.  When I was finally able to get through to my husband I learned he and a good number of our neighbors were at our house waiting out the storm and having what he called a "Hurricane Party."  The next day I called home to find out much of the neighborhood was at our house again, having a "No Power Party." The next day was the same, except it was a "Power On Party."

Don't get me wrong.  My husband was actually making sure everybody stayed fed, showered, in clean clothes and good spirits while everyone helped dig each other out.  We were one of the few homes that had power, as many of the lines were downed by fallen trees. We live in an old neighborhood, one lined with many old and magnificent trees, a good number of which are now chunks of firewood that my husband his buddies chainsawed into bits.

Tree-1, Schecter's Pool-0

My parents were in the process of selling the home I grew up in and moving to the beach home my grandparents had left them.  Their home in central New Jersey has been without power for almost a week, and their shore house, located on one of New Jersey's barrier islands, is currently several feet under water.  Many of the means of access to the island are gone (see Mantoloking Bridge) and the island is a war zone, with gas fires breaking out amongst the flooding. Officials say it may be a month before they allow non-emergency workers out to assess the situation. (To get an idea of the damage, check out these before and after pics taken by satellite). My parents are staying with us for the moment, which, despite the sad reasons behind the temporary living arrangement, is quite nice.  It's giving us some good bonding time with my folks, and I hope it's providing my parents some much needed support during a difficult time.

One of the many fallen trees at my parent's place

This is the end of my parent's road at the shore.
The ocean and the bay are now one and the same.

Throughout this time Sugar and Cookie have been safe and sound at their barn.  They are on high ground, so no flooding, and the trees are far enough away from their fields that there was no damage and they were able to be turned out.  The power has been out but thankfully there's a generator.  Bless her heart, my trainer has been in regular contact with me, which has alleviated much of the worry and helplessness I've been feeling.  What makes things difficult now that roads are passable is that we are experiencing unbelievable gas shortages, so I haven't been to the barn since my hurricane-delayed return home lateThursday night.  It's killing the kids and me not to go, but we can't justify the gas expenditure during this time of rationing and shortages.  We tell ourselves the girls are being well taken care of and that we're tremendously lucky and leave it at that.  I feel guilty even saying this, as I have power, and so many I know do not.

That's the amazing thing I've taken from this experience.  People are so amazing and resilient.  We can experience tremendous difficulty, and yet still be willing to extend a helping hand to others.  My family has been tremendously fortunate, sadly others haven't been.  We are lucky to be able to offer our home as a place for friends to eat a hot meal, take a shower, or do laundry.  Yet despite it all, I still see so acts of kindness. One of the restaurants I know of is not charging patrons who are displaced or without power. Can you believe that?  I'm trying to witness these acts, and remember them when I'm not feeling like Miss Sweetness and Light.

The inside of my "Welcome Home" card.
I guess maybe that's what they mean about silver linings?  If there can be one in this situation. In any case, my thoughts and prayers go out to those who have been less fortunate throughout this experience. 


  1. Glad you guys are okay even if the shore house is under water.

  2. Glad you all came out safe and sound!

  3. I'm glad you wrote this because I was wondering how you were faring. As you may or may not know, I'm from Middletown (Monmouth County) and many of my family members still live in NJ. My cousin in Chester STILL has no power post-Sandy, and post-Nor'Easter yesterday. However, despite the fact that I've stayed warm and dry way out here in the Midwest, my family and I have spent the days since Sandy in an uproar over our Shore home (today is the first day I've even had time to look at blogs). We're in Normandy Beach. From the photo it looks like your parent's place is in Ortley? It is just practically Armageddon on our island, isn't it...

    We all knew this could happen but I don't think any of us thought it would ever be *this* bad. My family is incredibly lucky - we did get water but not the 3' your parents appear to have gotten, and our place is still standing. So many others are not so fortunate. It's heartrending to see what's become of our beautiful towns and beaches we love so much.

    I hope you and your family stay safe and your parents are able to fully recover from their losses. Best wishes!

    1. Hey RW - so sorry to take so long to reply to your very sweet message. We are all well, thankfully. The folks stayed with us for a while -- they just got power back on 11/11. I have friends who just got it back today, the 13th. Crazy. My parent's beach place is in Ocean Beach Unit 2--just down the road from Normandy. I feel so badly for you and your family -- I hear Normandy was particularly hard hit. It'll be a long time rebuilding. if you ever get out this way, holler at me!