|Fence at my mom's house in a NY coastal town.|
I got Sandy-ed in two states people.
I am fine and so are my loved ones but it was one hell of a ride last week and blogging just wasn't an option. Other people have it so much worse. So I am not complaining. I was only majorly inconveninced. That's all. After day 2 of the insanity I reluctantly said goodbye to all the cupcake liners, Halloween themed sprinkles, candy decorations, cookie cutters and that fabulous Wilton skull pan I got in an after Halloween sale at Michael's last year that I was waiting all year to use. I packed everything up, took a deep breath and focused on the tasks at hand.
|House Around the corner from my mom|
My 83 year old mother lives in a barrier island off of Long Island. On Thursday evening before the storm I went out and spent the night in order to take to her to an early dental appointment on Friday morning. Afterward, I drove her back home and after listening to the weather reports, spent the next hours putting everything in the front and back gardens of her house away in sheds and under the house I got most of it done in time to make a train back into the city to jump in the car with Dr. B to go out to the house in Pennsylvania for the weekend. Before I left, I pulled a suitcase out and told her to pack a go bag just in case.
|National Guard cruising through my hometown|
On Saturday, the storm reports turned dire so Dr. B and I secured everything around the PA house. I bought $150 worth of groceries and supplies, prepped the guest room for my mother and roasted a ton of butternut squash to make puree to soup (no hurricane would stand in the way of my squash obsession.) Sunday morning at 7am-ish I took a NJ transit train to NY Penn station and then with 4 minutes to spare, ran to the other side of the station and hopped a Long Island Railroad train to my hometown.
Once there, I found my mother all packed and ready to go but I still had to finish securing the house. Finally, we wheeled the garbage cans into the living room, locked up the house, jumped into my brother's jeep he keeps there and had a smooth ride to PA. Good thing. A few hours later her town was under a mandatory evacuation.
|Our River was swollen and rushing like the Amazon|
Once in PA, I took in the last of my outside decorations, pumpkins, etc., made a huge pot of soup, garaged the fully gassed up jeep and smugly settled in to ride out the storm. My office had closed it's doors on Monday and Tuesday as a precaution so there was plenty of time to bake.
Monday we were bracing for the storm and did some last minute shopping and socializing with neighbors. I finally settled in to my cache of baking supplies and pulled out my bowls, measuring cups, etc. to create 50 cupcakes and 50 cookies for a UN Spouse bake sale the following week. Ha! At 4pm the power went out. Crap! I lit the fireplace, still had my gas range to cook on and we managed with candles and flashlights. But I was so afraid my mother would fall and hurt herself and with medical facilities taxed with no power, I feared what would happen if I had to get her treatment. The doctor was not in the house.
|We lost a few small trees|
Dr. B had driven back to our apartment in the city on Sunday evening (we smooched each other in passing in PA) and rode out the storm there. The power soon went out in the East Village so he moved uptown to friends on the Upper East Side. The UN sort of broke and he was busy from then on in emergency meetings in NYC.
In the meantime my crap iPhone battery crapped out and I had no way to communicate. My mother had packed 2 extra flashlights and a battery operated radio all of which came in handy.
|Next street over at PA house|
When the storm had passed I had lost a few trees down by the river but our PA house had sustained no other damage. There were, however, several downed big trees all over the area. I went to check on my friend's house (the one Dr. B was staying with in the city) and this is what I found. Took pictures, sent them to her for insurance and we brainstormed who she could get to cut up the downed trees.
|My friend's house|
I desperately needed to charge my cell and set out once the roads were clear to find a car charger. I drove to Lowe's which was open but were out of them. Walmart and Home Depot were completely closed but Kmart saved the day. They had no power but bless them they had a skeleton staff of employees who let people who had cash in a few at a time. The employee at the door asked what you needed (emergency supplies only) and one staff member went by flashlight to get it. In 15 minutes I had a new car iPhone charger.
Tuesday evening friends and neighbor gathered at a house with a generator for warmth and a potluck dinner. I made a big salad to use up the fresh produce that was going to waste in my powerless fridge.
in the meantime, Dr. B had to find his way back to the East Village to collect our valuables because there were reports of looting in our area.
|Sane all over the streets|
Wednesday morning, we still had no heat. The power was estimated to come back on in 7-10 days. Still without power, and getting colder in PA, I packed up the contents of the fridge, my mother and shut up the PA house. We drove up to my brother's house in the Berkshires which was unaffected by the storm and made it in about 5 hours. Happy to have heat, electricity and showers,I spent the last hours on the evening on the Internet trying to get some information about what happened to our home town which was hit hard.
The next morning friends informed me the power was back on in PA so my brother and I made the decision that he would care for my mother and I would leave immediately to drive to her house and see what condition it was in. I had to then drive from the island back to PA because although the NYC apartment was closer, there still was no power on in our East Village apartment. We made a list of valuables and sentimental items I would remove because we had read there was also looting in her neighborhood. What's WRONG with people?
After stopping at Target to get some rubber boots, I drove 4 +1/2 hours to the beach. The National Guard did not want to let me in because I had no ID that said I lived there. They relented after I explained the situation and (I guess) convincingly plead my case. I arrived at the house to find no damage except a busted fence. BIG relief. No flooding and everything was just as it was when we locked it up the previous Sunday. My neighbors were not so lucky.
I had only a short window before curfew so I quickly went to work gathering everything on our list, double bagged and threw out everything in the fridge and gathered up the boards that used to make up the front fence of the house that were strewn all over the neighbors properties. I righted one side of the downed fence and propped it up with full garbage cans. Spoke to a few neighbors and then bagged up my boots (I had to walk in contaminated water to get to the house), drove around the block to snap the few pix seen in this post and high tailed it out of there only to sit in traffic for hours. It took me twice as long to get back to PA.
What I saw was devastating. Everyone had their soggy belongings on the street. Damaged houses, debris and burnt out cars everywhere..and the beautiful beach I grew up on was, well, just gone. The streets were piled up with sand.
In NYC my office is in the building next door to my apartment and there was still no power. So I stayed in PA. Dr. B joined me on Friday evening. Boy was I ever glad to see him.
I went back to the city early Sunday because power was back on and we worked for a couple of hours in the office. It felt good to get back to normal.
So now that everything is pretty much back on track (except for the lines at the gas pumps and our home internet is still knocked out) I am trying to make an effort to get back on track with blogging.
Like I said at the top, my loved ones and I were only majorly inconvenienced and I was a bit stressed about taking care of my mom. There was the uncertainty of what happened to her house but all is fine now. She is still not able to return but we're hoping that will happen in a few weeks.
So many people lost everything. I am devastated for my hometown and everyone else in neighboring barrier islands who have suffered so much.
If you can please make a donation to the RED CROSS.
Below are the food blog posts that made me smile this past month pre Sandy. Worth a look because we all could use a few laughs.
Cake Wrecks' Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!
Smitten Kitchen's Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
Anger Burger's Stupid Asshole Chestnuts
Eats Well With Others' Pumpkin Almond Cake with Almond Butter Frosting
The Color of Indian Cooking's Bananas, No dramas. Fast and Easy Banana Salad
Mad About Macarons' Macarons at the Club House with Specialty Teas
David Lebovitz's The French Dictionary
The Extraordinary Art of Cake's Buttercream Bakery's RIP DIET Halloween Cupcakes
Girlchef's Spicy Crystal Head Bloody Mary