Hurricane Sandy – What I Learned When We Lost Power

November 12th, 2012 by melissa g

When Hurricane Sandy came raging through the New York area on Monday, October 29, 2012, I thought I was prepared. I had batteries and flashlights ready to switch on. The laundry was done. I had given my kids clear instructions to refrain from their usual 3-outfits a day routine. We even cleaned up our usual mess so that we could ensure clear pathways once the lights went out. We knew it was coming.  We were ready. Really. Ready.

That is, until the lights actually went out. And the phones. And the heat. And even, very often, our cell service. In a matter of seconds, we had gone from 2012 to 1612! OK, maybe we weren’t so ready after all. I looked out the window and could see nothing but branches blowing in the wind and scraping dangerously close to our house. It literally felt like we were going to get picked up and whisked away to Oz.

OK, change of plans. By the light of our flashlights, we grabbed our pillows and blankets and set up camp in the basement. The sound of the wind was somewhat muffled, but it was still incredibly eerie. We rationed our cell usage, but still our batteries were dying fast, so we soon turned off all of our phones. We found an old transistor radio, circa 1979, and, although the sound was a little scratchy, we felt connected, once again, to the outside world. Given how entrenched we are in modern day technology – our house is a constant buzz of TV’s, iPhones, iPads, iTouches, desktops and laptops – it was surreal to be at the mercy of a 30-year old radio, but we somehow made it work.

By now, it was about 7:30pm – although it felt like midnight – and we started to wonder how we were going to get through this long night. Luckily, the week before, I had purchased a package of four book lights from Costco, and they were our savior. By the way, they’re not only good for reading. They’re an excellent guide to the bathroom in the middle of the night! We huddled under the covers as the temperature dropped, each of us with a light and a favorite book, and settled in for the night. Even my husband, who, let me tell you, would much rather have his hand on the remote than a book, had little choice but to join in. And believe it or not, as we each became engrossed in our different stories, we soon forgot about our fears of trees crashing through the roof or flood waters rising.

We realized that, while Sandy could shut down modern technology and deny us access to Xbox, SportsCenter, Facebook, Twitter, Reality TV, and CNN, it could not take away something as simple as a book. So, while we all fall deeper and deeper under the spell of modern technology and rush to read on electricity reliant gadgets like Kindles and Nooks and iPads, let’s remember that “tree books” are a reliable old friend that should not be forgotten. No plugs. No charging. No problem.

So, how will I prepare for the next Superstorm or whatever else comes our way?

10. Shop early – supplies run out surprisingly fast. Did everyone lose their old flashlights?
9.   Have plenty of batteries, flashlights, and especially lanterns, handy.
8.   Dedicate extra space in the house to store all those batteries, flashlights, and lanterns.
7.   Keep cell phones charged – long battery life is clearly not a feature on all phones.
6.   Keep the car filled with gasoline – gas shortages are, apparently not a thing of the past.
5.   Don’t overstuff the fridge – it’s so sad what gets thrown away.
4.   Stay on top of that never ending pile of laundry.
3.   Google: generator options.
2.   Buy a new radio.
1.   Keep books and book lights in a very safe place!

Posted in News, Parenting & Reading, Random Book Thoughts

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