I'm back in the Newtown Municipal Building, back to the same room I spent the better (really worse) part of week a year ago after Snowmaggedon hit the east coast of the United States. We lost power for almost a week. This was the only place to charge a phone or get WiFi.
We had no water for washing or flushing, no heat, no cooking. We lost all the food in our fridge, it was 49°F in the bedroom at night. I lost my marbles. Simple tasks like staying clean became a quest-where to find a shower that didn't mean staying on a line at the local middle school behind 75 other people, to wait for a 5 minute chance to get clean. I knew we were in trouble with the national news based their nightly newscast from our town.
A year later our state has been nearly wiped clean by the massive Hurricane Sandy, leaving a great deal of the state without power. Our town is 93 percent out. Most others are the same or completely out.
This time I hope I did a better job at preparing for the worst. I filled ziplock bags with water and froze them, filling the freezer in hopes to keep our stash of raw food from spoiling. It would be one thing if there was money in the bank to manage a loss, even as seemingly small as this one, but there IS no money. Losing a few hundred dollars in cat food is a tough blow after already being in a tough spot.
I washed every scrap of laundry. I cleaned the house. I scrubbed the toilets, then got every bucket I could and filled it with water so we could flush the toilets later. I bought shrine candles that last a week. I baked some cookies, some scones. I felt like I was having company come to visit only this one I hoped would never arrive.
I tried to think of everything I could, then at the height of the storm, for some reason I realized I was out of antibiotics for the kittens. I could only hope to remedy that by the morning.
I thought about all the other people in my position, nearly broke and with few resources to recover from whatever this storm was going to throw at us. I saw a photo of someone's house that used to be on Fairfield Beach. Now it's IN Fairfield Beach and I doubt their insurance is going to cover that kind of loss. What if those people only had a few bucks in the bank too? What would they do? It's tough enough to be terrified of a natural disaster, but what about the affect on the bank account? Are some people going to be suddenly homeless? Certainly MANY people have been flooded out of their homes.
I don't want to come off as whining, because I'm not. I'm just pissed, fed up, scared. I can't believe this is happening AGAIN. I can't believe the damage. For the NYC Subway system to shut down means the end of the world has come.
The storm arrived on soft paws at first, just a gentle mist and light wind. We were spared heavy rains but the roof still leaked. The winds picked up, then stayed strong for hours and hours. I'd heard a loud THUD, then not be able to locate the source. The next morning revealed a few trees had fallen. I was lucky, they fell up hill, not into my house. The cruel wind had spared me that.
The lights flickered. I'd yell at them to "STAY ON, com'e on now, STAY ON!'
I'd run around like I was playing musical chairs, hurrying to wash another dish or quickly flush before the power went out for good.
At 8:42pm it was over. The power was out, now the clock begins ticking...how long will it be before it's restored?
A lot of people are having a very bad time-far worse than I am. I'm basically ok and grateful it's NOT terrible cold outside, but because I know how it goes without power for days I'm fit to be tied. The cats are okay but suddenly started peeing all over and fighting. The foster kittens are a bit confused but are eating and playing. Our feral kitty, Bronte appeared seemingly no worse for wear, just hungry. Sam and I are talking, carefully, respectfully. Maybe the 75-80 mph winds forced us to put aside our issues for now? Maybe that will be a good thing? I can't say.
All I know is I have no idea how the folks in the south survive Cat 2 and higher Hurricanes. My house literally shook from the force of what Sandy threw at us. I can't imagine how anyone survives stronger events.
I read that the reason this Hurricane was so massive (and which is still blowing 24 hours later) is due to the huge melt of Arctic ice. It made me realize that you can't ever beat Mother Nature. You can think you override it, build a dam around it, destroy it, change its' global temperature, but in the end, Mother Nature wins out. It's a humbling reminder of the price we pay for our arrogance.