November 6, 2012
8 days post Sandy. Still in the dark. Getting cold outside. It was 29 degrees last night, but we have managed to keep the house above 50 by keeping a fire going and boiling 4 pots of water from the moment we get home to the time we go to sleep. We’re very lucky to have gas and hot water. We are warm when we sleep with piles of comforters and our 95 pound yellow lab. Our cat warms himself up by sleeping with my daughter every night. He’s typically not a lap cat, but has become one as he’s cold, too.
I hit the wall today- with frustration, exhaustion- and wanted to leave here for a warm friend or family’s house- we have lots of wonderful offers to do so. But we fear if we don’t keep the house warm our pipes could freeze and then we could have a worse issue.
On a positive note, the gas crisis seems to be getting better, at least in NJ. Was able to top off my tank today with no line, and no police presence. From what I hear, it’s still an issue on Long Island- long long, lines, still. My sister-in-law texted that she was number 70 in line and hoped they’d still have gas when she got up there.
Today I pulled up to a group of utility trucks to ask if there was any hope of getting power today or tomorrow- and encountered a Texas ranger- yep, a Texas ranger, up here in NJ to help get the power restored. He was here with a big group to help out, and said that they could move faster, but the power company (PSE&G) is keeping everyone waiting for sign offs and approvals and paper work before they can do anything. He said, ‘so if you see people sitting in trucks, it’s because we’re waiting on them. We just want to get to work.’ Wow. How awesome that they’re here. How awful that they are unable to do what they came to do. The inefficiency of it is astounding.
On the one hand, I get that PSE&G needs to protect the quality of the work, and maintain standards- but to have people and trucks waiting to work for hours on end- that’s a serious management problem. We had a line hanging down in the middle of our road- low enough to touch- for 8 days. They finally moved it today when I called for the 3rd time to say it was a danger. They moved it off to the side. They didn’t fix it.
So, we wait. We have a new routine when we get home, my daughter and I. We go out and collect kindling, get wood for the fire, set the pots to boiling, and then pile on the sweaters and jackets for the evening. She has been an amazing trooper through all of this. Not a single complaint. Just layers up and sits there and reads with her headlamp on. I am so impressed by this,
In spite of my temporary meltdown, I can’t help but remind myself how good we have it. We have hot showers and a gas stove that is working. We have our home intact and our family safe. We have jobs. What’s a few days of discomfort in comparison to the lives lost- the homes and entire communities destroyed, and forever changed? We’ve seen more and more images showing the devastation- houses and boats strewn along the beach like tinker toys. Mounds of garbage from flood-wrecked homes in Staten Island. A new inlet made by the storm surge that will forever change the geography of Mantoloking.
We are the lucky ones and we must never forget our good fortune.
I have been so touched by your many comments and expressions of support. For those of you who have asked what you can do to help those less fortunate, I can tell you that the Red Cross is taking donations, and the FEMA website has a link to organizations that are collecting as well. They advise that sending money is better than clothing and supplies, as the organization and distribution of the contributions becomes difficult. For those of you that are local, lots of churches are collecting, and volunteers are needed in many locations. I’d suggest google or local websites for ideas.