Good News, Bad News, No News
13 Nov 2012
Who knew? We all did. Sandy was coming, and the news inundated the airwaves with predictions and warnings that declared that this was going to be a bad storm--maybe even the worst in history. Often the difference between hearing and listening can be the same that it is between understanding and not. Who, today, pays attention to the car alarm that goes off in the middle of the mall parking lot, versus 20 years ago? Certainly fewer. Some, like myself, escaped the extreme damage and loss from Sandy through an unmeasurable amount of luck and good fortune--not so much wisdom. Like so many other times, we 'rolled-the-dice' and 'rode-it-out'; however, this time was different--just not that noticeable right away.
This time the fence didn't make it. I was furious. I stayed up most of the night to watch it slowly disintegrate into the wind, and swore I'd find a way to get even with the handyman who installed it years ago. (In actuality, it had been disintegrating over time, and made it through several Nor'easters and Irene) To digress a bit: During the day several of us from the neighborhood took a tour of the area around the Raritan Bay, and (at about lunchtime) we were already getting 3-ft waves where 6-in. waves were and are rarely common. At about 2:30, the waves were at about the same size, but became rougher and more frequent. At about 4:30, I could no longer hold a camera to take a shot, and several trees had had already fallen in the middle of our existing, very narrow path to the water. The waves were now about 6-10 ft high--coming in through 3 sections, one right after another, and it was at that point that I knew we were in for the storm of a lifetime. I was officially scared out of my pants for our lives. (As well as for those things that what we had worked for- for over 30 years- that was about to be destroyed and scattered to the wind in about perhaps a matter of hours.) We did not venture out after 5:00 PM, and the power went out somewhere soon after. We sat on the second-floor bed -with the 3 dogs- for the next 10 hours, and rock-and-rolled with the rest of the house. During the span of the night I sat by the bedroom window (as it were a poor substitute for our TV) and noticed out in the distance, over the waters between the Raritan Bay and NYC/Staten Island, blue lights silently, exploding. It wasn't till the next day that I found out that these were transformers circuming to the storms relentless intensity. Surreal is the best word I can use to describe the whole night. We got a few hours of sleep, and woke to the first signs of daylight. The fence didn't survive, but, much more importantly, the house and we did.
At some point that next day, the local radio station came back on the air, and it was only then that we got an idea about the magnitude of the storm that was in which in the process of passing through the northeast area. The 'Superstorm' brought little rain; however, the wind damage, just in our neighborhood alone, was the worst I'd ever seen--first hand. Because the storm landed at about high-tide and under a full-moon, the water damage was specific to those things on and/or right next to bodies of water. The radio broadcasts could not prepare us for the reality of the true measure of damage caused by Sandy, until days later when we ventured out past the Keyport Marina off of Route 35--in search of food and gas. We saw several cars pulled off to the side of the highway, and were shocked to see boats piled one on top of the other--spread out all over the place in various positions--few actually in the water where they belonged. Little was actually the way it should have been normally. I balked at taking pictures, and still do--especially when people are around.
Our power came back last Tuesday evening, the same day I was able to get my hands on a (cancelled-order) generator from Sears. (That experience was a nightmare unto its own) With weather patterns, the way they've been, I think it was still a good investment. (especially, since we're moving to Florida....ASAP......pleeeeeaaaaassssse!)
Camping-out sucks, and the time without the amenities of modern society really blew; however..........after listening to the horror stories of others and seeing just some of the damage to surrounding towns I have gotten in touch with some real and genuine gratitude. It's been only a few weeks, and the stories continue to filter in. Like with all tragedies, the best and the worst of humanity is always revealed; however, the 'best' is all that I'm interested in and can handle right now. Over time I've come to believe that one is either part of the problem or part of the solution, and that ' real recovery' can not be done alone. There is 'good news' and there is 'bad news'; however, over the last several weeks I've come to find that the most painful thing is 'no news'.
I pray for peace and a speedy-recovery for all. JamesHarmon