Nov 9, 2012

Halloween and Hurricane Sandy

Monday October 29th was a scary day for most of the east coast, especially for those in New York and New Jersey.  Like most people, I thought the news stations were over hyping this hurricane.  I was sure the storm was going to be a mild one with just some rain and maybe higher than normal wind.  Boy was I wrong.  Monday morning came with high winds early in the day and some rain.  By the late afternoon the winds were starting to shake our windows and make us worry about the large tree in our yard.  We all kept our eyes glued to the TV to stay updated on the hurricanes progress.  When we saw what was going non down the Jersey Shore, we knew we had to be prepared for the worst.

Monday night we could barely sleep.  Every time the wind blew, the house would shake and the windows sounded like they were going to blow out at any minute.  At around 9pm, while watching the hurricane coverage, our electricity went out.  Thankfully my mom had flashlights ready and waiting just in case of a power outage.  At least we had some light, even though it wasn't too bright.  That night we all went to bed as early as we could due to the fear of the rest of the storm and due to our loss of electricity.

The next day was sunny and beautiful but we were afraid to go outside our home and see the damage.  We eventually worked up the courage and saw that all of our neighbors were out doing the same thing.  We were very lucky -- we only had minimal wind damage to our garage, some tree limbs down in our yard and my kids Fisher Price playhouse and plastic swing set was now on its side in our alley instead of the grass in our yard.  The front of our house had no damage and our street was clear.  Keep in mind, we live right on Newark Bay and there is no retaining wall between the bay and the end of our street, just a fence.  It seemed as if we may have had some flooding from the storm surge but the water receeded by morning.  We all just stood there talking and listening to the many sirens that pierced the eerie silence.  Some neighbors spoke of worry about their shore houses while others worried about friends and relatives that had to get evacuated in our own town.  One neighbor came out and said his boat and the marina it was docked at was completely gone.  All this worry in our small and insignificant town where nothing happens. 

We were very lucky.  Around the corner from us is a small community of townhouses called Boatworks, they had to evacuate and the storm surge sent a huge save throughout the small community.  Houses were flooded and properties were destroyed.  All from the same bay we live on as well.  Why were we the lucky ones?  Why did the storm surge destroy that community and  not ours?  As frustrated as I was about not having electricity, I was counting my blessings.  There were so many parts of our small town that were destroyed.

We decided to take a ride over to my grandma's house that afternoon, which is 4 blocks away, to check on her and also to see the state our town was in.  As we were driving it was eerie.  No electricity, no stop lights, hardly any people out unless they were surveying their property.  Our one small but important highway was a mess.  Wood was all over the road, billboards falling apart, store signs were hanging on by a thread and dirt and garbage that was pushed onto the road by the storm surge from the Hudson River.  Our town seemed like a ghost town.

The days without cell service, due to flooding of their towers and wireless stations and being without electricity was hell.  The days and nights were absolutely freezing cold.  We could barely eat anything after we finished what food we had in the house because the stores were completely closed and there was nowhere to pick up even the essentials.  We could barely see at night without the electricity and my kids were sleeping in layers and layers of clothing to keep them warm.  

Our town had no stores open for a week after that and our schools and offices were all closed.  We had one gas station open in our town on that Wednesday that had a 4 and a half hour line for gas.  We all just wanted some normalcy back.  

Halloween came and went in our town, it was not rescheduled and the kids had nowhere to wear their costumes.  Our town decided it was too risky to trick or treat, even a week later.  My kids school just had their Halloween party today...10 days after Halloween.  At least they were able to have some Halloween fun, but it still wasn't the same.

At least normalcy is finally returning... A lot of my town still has no electricity but offices, schools and stores are open again and gas stations are finally without long lines.  I know it's going to take a long time for most of New Jersey and New York to recover, but I think normalcy is returning to the majority of the state.  For those who were not as lucky as us, I will continue to pray for them.

I am just thankful that we are alive, our house is ok and that we were fortunate to not have lost anything.

If you were in the area of Sandy, how did you all fare?  Did you have any damage or have to evacuate? Leave us a comment and let us know.

Here are my kids in their Halloween costume at their Trunk and Treat for school two weeks ago.  Right before Sandy hit.

Olivia is Doc McStuffins from the Disney Channel and Alayna was CeCe Jones from Shake It Up, also on Disney Channel.  I put both of their costumes together all by myself. :)