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Power Down - The Only Upside of the Hurricane

When a storm knocks out your power, and there's no wi-fi or tv, no wii or iPads, just you and your family in the dark and cold, there's only one thing you can do...

Hurricane Sandy has come and gone, leaving devastation as a “thanks for having me” parting gift. My entire town has no power. Massive trees lay heavily across streets, strung with power lines like a Christmas tree. Schools are closed… indefinitely. We’ve spent the last three days, hunkering down in our basement, then in our living room where we are lucky enough to have a gas fire place.

The house is cold. Internet and phones are out. Cell power is almost non-existent, although sometimes if you found just the right spot and stood with one arm out and your neck strained in the right direction while squatting low, you might, might just get service for maybe a minute. There’s no warm food or water, and my three boys are jumping all over each other in pent up energy, yet… It’s kind of nice.

In our daily lives, we just do as we do. There’s a schedule filled with homework, play dates, sports and school, and now, there’s nothing. Just me, my husband and kids. There’s no Wi-Fi or texting. No phone calls or work. We have one crank radio, that I bought years ago for “just in case” as our only outside contact. We walk around the neighborhood as a family. We visit friends and neighbors and help out anyone if we can. One friend has a generator for charging phones and such, another needs a ride because they’re blocked in, someone needs bread, we all need a little time for our kids to play. We do what we can. It’s our own small disaster, and we’re in it together.

They’re saying it’s going to be possibly two weeks or more before power may be restored. Right now, it’s quiet. People are walking the streets looking around in awe, snapping pictures. There are three restaurants in town, using generators to pump out food. Yesterday, we sat in the semi-dark enjoying a nice pizza at a local joint, while at the deli that was open, people waited congenially and patiently in line for hot coffee. It’s amazing to see, and, there’s a strange sense of appreciating the inconvenience. We’re all okay. Cars and houses were destroyed. The town is in some upheaval. But we’re all okay.

Another day passed into night, our third, and we once again huddled in the cold, dark waiting for morning. Every five minutes, Howard would crank the radio and we’d listen to the real disaster in Breezy Point and Long Beach and Lower Manhattan. My back was cramped and my body a bit twisted since we were on a futon mattress on our living room floor in front of our fire place. But, cuddling my babies close in the security of my home, certainly felt like a luxury.

So now I write from my in-laws home in Brooklyn. I’m back on the computer and my boys are back hooked up to their games. We have power, heat and hot water, all which certainly feels like a luxury as well, yet, I kind of miss the ‘we’re in it together’ huddle bubble. Oh well, maybe I’ll just take a nice, steaming hot shower to console myself.

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