At A Loss

Hurricane Sandy happened and fucked the shit out of New Jersey.

I don’t even know where to begin.  I don’t have any personal photos to share.  I’m very lucky to have gotten through the storm with no property damage.  We have not had power since Monday night.  It is Thursday morning that I am writing this.  I know that I am lucky, and I’m not complaining about being without entertainment.  It’s just all so unnerving.  It’s started to get colder and I heated up the house yesterday by boiling several pots of water on the stove and it worked well.  We have a gas stove so we are still able to use that.

I miss taking a hot shower, that is for sure.  Power estimates for my town are November 5th.  Other sources say it could be longer.  I have no idea.  I just go by day to day and see what happens.

My office doesn’t have power so I’m not working.  I can’t work from home because I have no electricity.  I had the bright idea to come to work with my boyfriend who is in one of the remote offices that doesn’t have any of these issues.  I thought I could get some work done, but then realized that if my office does not have power, our servers don’t have power, and I can’t get remote access to any of my shit.  So I’m out of luck as far as keeping myself busy goes.  I’d say that this trip with my boyfriend to his work was a bust, but at least I get to charge up my phone and laptop and mooch some free internets for the day.

There is also the added bonus of being out in society!  I get to see people, be in a warm building and drink coffee that I didn’t make pioneer-style.  Pioneer style coffee, by the way, is not a french press or an open fire for me.  It’s using a match to light the burner on the stove, bringing water to a boil in a tea kettle, then pouring that into the filter basket with the coffee grounds in the coffee machine.  Coffee made out of hardship and strife is the most delicious coffee ever.

The weekend was filled with preparations for the storm.  First came grocery shopping on Friday night.  We were still under the arrogance of “eh, nothing will probably happen.”  It was kind of fun at first because it’s just shopping.  But as the weekend got scarier with the warnings, we bought some more food.  Sunday we did all of our laundry.  Then we went and saw Argo and got some last minute items at Target:  cat food and nail polish.

It was scary windy all day on Monday but not much rain, honestly.  We had heat, TV, internet and all our creature comforts.  The lights dimmed a few times and I knew it was only a matter of time before we lost it all.  I’d been on the internet the whole time, seeing horrible scary reports.  Buildings falling down, fires, Manhattan slowly but surely becoming engulfed by the East & Hudson rivers.  The Jersey shore was a nightmare with pieces of the boardwalk getting carried away while the storm was still 500 miles away from making landfall.

We lost power about 8:30 on Monday night.  I lit candles, and had all of our emergency supplies at the ready on a tray table in the living room.  Without the din of our electronic entertainment, we could hear the panic rising outside.  I looked out our window and saw a bedlam in our parking lot.  Everyone was trying to move their cars to the highest point (right in front of my building) as the water was overtaking all ends of the parking lot.  The street that borders my building to the rear was a river.  It was 5 feet high and thankfully the water crested and halted right at the back entrance door.

I was panicking on the inside.  We hadn’t had flooding like that with Hurricane Irene the year before and the water had came on so quickly.  We weren’t even given a voluntary evacuation order.  While all this was happening I was just so scared.  I saw how fast the storm surge was coming upon us, and I worried for our neighbors on the first floor.  I knew the couple below us had newborn twins, so I knocked on their door and let them know if they take on water to come up by me and my boyfriend.  I guess the water stopped short enough and didn’t breach their home, thankfully.

On Monday night when it became apparent that the power wasn’t coming back on, we put perishable food we could keep or use in the cooler and topped it with the ice we were smart enough to pick up before the storm.  As of yesterday morning, everything was still keeping well, but I’m betting today is the limit.

Tuesday was a day of shell shock.  Seeing the devastation everywhere, seeing that the entire shore has been completely fucked.  It’s depressing on a level few would understand unless you went through it.  Since the estimates on when power came back could be up to 3 weeks, it was time to throw out the rest of the contents of the fridge.  Then we headed to the store and got some more non-perishable food.  Mike cursed out a lady in the soup aisle who wouldn’t get out of his way to some canned goods.

After grocery shopping, we stopped at my office.  With my lantern and a flashlight I made my way into the office to grab some paperwork that I could sort through that didn’t require any energy.  I also had the good sense to empty out the refrigerator there before things got too funky.

The novelty has worn off.  The heat is gone, our hot water is not hot.  Yesterday I slept as late as I could to just cut some more bored hours out of my day.  Then I cleaned the fuck out of the house.  I worked on some paperwork I brought home from work after that with a lantern at the dining room table as four pots of water boiled away on the stove warming the house.  I saw on Facebook that the local brewpub was open and we headed there.  I didn’t realize it was Halloween all day yesterday until I saw one lone person in a “costume” at the bar.  Some sad fuck in a witch’s hat drinking a beer.  We were all just glad to be somewhere, to get some hot food and some cold beer.

I don’t have it that bad, I know.  I think what is unnerving is the complete lack of normalcy.  What is even more unnerving is the constant stream of disaster photos that I have access too at any given time.  Our state is in shambles.  It is going to be a hard recovery.  I came out of this very lucky, but there are people who lost everything.  Not just their property, their homes, but their whole town is just a jumble of boats and houses and trees and poop.  I wish I could help more.. but I’m in it too.  The state is running out of gas, literally, we are running out of gasoline and we won’t be able to go anywhere soon if things don’t change.  I’m just shell-shocked and weary.  I’m not sleeping well from this.  At least I have pioneer coffee.

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