Thursday, November 1, 2012

"Sandy, Can't You See? I'm in Misery..."

Oh, my dear, sweet Internet! It's been ages, hasn't it? No? Well, it certainly feels like it has. Seventy-two hours without you is far too long, my love.

In case you didn't hear, there was a hurricane. A big one. It made landfall just a couple hours south of where we're living on the Jersey coast, devastating the entire area &, I'm told, as far west as Cleveland & as far north as Toronto. We stocked up on food & water & alcohol, fully preparing to lose power. We took showered late & filled our (leaky) bathtub with water. We watched everything on our DVR assuming we would soon not be able to watch anything at all.

Our power flickered a few times, went out & then came back, & finally bit it for good (or at least for the duration of the storm) around 4pm on Monday evening, right before Sandy made her grand appearance. Nathan of course fell asleep at 8pm, just as things got crazy bad, so I stayed up with the cat until about 10:30, just sitting in the dark & shaking & hyperventilating & hoping for the best. There is absolutely no hyperbole involved when I tell you that I've never been so scared in my life.

When we woke up on Tuesday morning, all was quiet. Like, eerily quiet. When you fall asleep to the sound of winds as loud as freight trains & jet packs, anything quieter than that feels like both a relief & a concern. It looked safe outside, though, so we walked downtown to see what the damage looked like. Though it definitely looked like a storm had passed through, Red Bank seems to have escaped any severe damage.

Our backyard sits on the Navesink River, where a number of small docks were severely damaged in the storm. The worst one is on the left, crumpled like a... really crappy nautical accordion. The one on the right seemed fine except for that newly created drawbridge that, you know, doesn't go down.

There was a downed tree in our backyard, along with some pieces-parts from aforementioned docks. The fence you see was significantly damaged, & the matching one on the other side of the yard  disappeared completely, leaving an open pathway from our backyard to the hotel next door.
 
 
These trees have definitely seen better days.

Part of this nearby boathouse toppled onto some of the boats nearby. I don't even know what kind of boats these are because I am an indoor kid. Kayaks, maybe? Whatever they are, I think they were originally stored in a boat rack of some sort, which was in pieces a few feet away.

Across the street, a billboard of some sort blew across the top of an apartment building, & the wind shredded it to pieces. At the time of this photo, its splintered wooden spine dangled precariously over people's decks.

It wasn't just the billboard. Some other things were in places where they didn't belong, too.

Of course, nothing downtown was open yesterday, as nobody had power. A few places had taken pre-storm precautions & boarded or taped their windows, but there was very little visible damage to any of the storefronts.

This was actually the only instance of broken glass that we saw, where the large window of an empty storefront shattered all over the sidewalk. Weirdly, everything around it was intact. I guess nature knows no order.
 

Some of the worst damage we saw was on the road outside our apartment building , which was closed around a downed power line &... our neighbor's roof, which blew straight off their condo & into the street, atop a downed power line. See that picket fence on the left-hand side? Our cars are back there, & that's a dead-end road.

We initially thought our cars would be trapped back there until the mess was cleaned up, but glory, hallelujah! We discovered a secret passageway of sorts from a nearby business's parking lot out to the street. Upon realizing this, we set out for an ill-fated drive north to see if the local mall was open (um, it wasn't), in which we got stuck in mad amounts of traffic due to downed trees & literally hundreds of cars lined up on the highway waiting for gas at the few open stations. People lined up on foot, too, & while we were stuck, I of course snapped a few photos.
 

Despite our power company's estimated seven- to 10-day restoration timetable, our lights turned back on yesterday evening - & our heat & hot water came back with them. We're just about back to normal. But here's a little twist: Nathan & I were supposed to attend the wedding of one of my very best friends in Iselin, N.J., on Saturday, but because of storm damage, it's been moved... to Washington, D.C. In the wake of widespread disaster, I have no idea if we'll be able to make it there. Are the roads open? Are there enough gas stations operating along the way? Beats me, but we're going to try.

Above all else, we feel fortunate to be safe & dry & together - but of course, we realize that for many others, this was not the case. Now that we have TV & Internet, I'm learning more about what's happening, watching the news, reading the stories, & it makes me sick to my stomach to see how this storm has affected others, how it's taken lives & wiped away livelihoods. Yes, we were so, so fortunate - but so many others were not. If you are so inclined, PLEASE consider donating to an organization like the Red Cross to help our East Coast & Midwestern neighbors who were less lucky.

How'd you fare in the storm, friends?
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