Surviving Sandy

tree damage sandy

This picture was taken just a few blocks from my house. Most blocks in our surrounding area have trees that look like this.

I didn’t know what to expect from Superstorm Sandy as we prepared for her to make landfall last week. Living in New Jersey and having experienced Hurricane Irene, we knew what kind of damage could occur here, but we didn’t know what was to come. Thank goodness we prepared. But even expecting the worst, I was still shocked at the devastation once we got out power back and I was able to reconnect with the world.

We lost power for four days. We were cold. Food was a hassle. We had little to no cell phone reception; still don’t. We skipped showers because we didn’t want to shower or bathe the kids just to get out into a freezing house. We wore the same clothes for days at a time so as not to pile up the laundry. Our only news was from the radio and word of mouth.

But we were extremely, extremely lucky. I had a house to protect me from the elements. I have a house that’s not flooded and that doesn’t have a tree crushing it. I have a car that runs and if needed I can stand in the hours-long lines to get gas. I still have a refrigerator, even if I had to throw its entire contents out. That four days of inconvenience is a blip on our radar compared to what others are dealing with. If I was stressed out and at times at a loss, I can’t imagine what other people are feeling—people who don’t have homes and for whom it will take months and years to recover.

A lot of my area still doesn’t have power. It’ll take days for businesses to get back up and running and stocked with essentials. Tree stumps will be reminders of what happened for a long time to come. But we were lucky. So if you can, consider donating to the cause. For me, life will be normal in a week or so. But as I enjoy my electricity, I will be thinking of others who were left with nothing.

I hope all of my fellow East Coasters fared as well as we did. Tomorrow, I’ll share a few lessons learned from our storm preparation and lack thereof. —Erin


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