Wednesday, November 21, 2012

How We survived Sandy!

So my wife and I were talking about what we need for the future, when another storm or other event happens again. We have a list of items that will will be getting, and keeping in good order, but let me lay out what we did to survive Sandy.

What we got before the storm:

  • Food, but we were not thinking long term loss of power, and did normal shopping. 
  • We got 4 cases of water. 
  • Our medication re-filled.
  • Gassed up both cars.
  • Checked all my camping gear. Coleman white fuel lantern, camping stove.

  • Batteries, Batteries, Batteries, and more Batteries
  • Propane for grill, and camping stove.
  • White fuel for lantern, one gal (we needed more).
  • Glow sticks.
  • Some more odds and ends, like movies for our Android tablets, and other entertainment.
The night of the storm:
Well I was not sure why my company closed the day of the storm, but it did. Sandy did not pick up till late in the day, but she did pick up. Monday gave us time to make sure we had what was needed for a few day with out power. So the storm hit in force, and by 7:30 PM our power was out, and little did we know it would stay out for 9 cold days. Bare in mind that almost to the day last year we had a killer snow storm, and lost power for only 12 hours, and we were thinking the same would happen here. So out came the camping stove, and lantern.

Now my stove is not the one above but very close to it. Also it was broken, and thanks to a toy I was able to fix it. The rubber O ring was missing, and in a pinch I used a Bendaroos to make one. A Bendaroo is a wire covered in a sticky wax, and I wrapped it around the connector and it filled the gap. It lasted till Saturday before it blew out on me.

Ok it is now Tuesday, and there was nothing but leaves, and a few branches in my yard, no damage that I could see. I made my coffee (use camping stove to heat water, then pour the water through the filter on my automatic coffee maker), then made eggs for breakfast. It was not till noon that we ventured out, and were totally shocked at all the damage.

This is just three streets over from mine, and this is now common on all most all streets in my town. I have never seen as many trees, and power poles knocked down. I know all of the photos of the storm came from the shore areas, and as bad as they were, it was terrible in the northern New Jersey as well. So back to the house and break out the games.
It got very cold at night, and the house lost all its heat, so we were forced to bunk up and stay warm at night. For the most part we all slept well under a number of blankets, and unzipped sleeping bags. In the kitchen we were cooking, and that is where the lantern was. With both putting off alot of heat, I decided to hang blankets across the opening to my kitchen, and we were all warm, and watching movies on my tablet.

With the keyboard dock I had 15 hours of battery life. Also a good board game after dinner help pass the time till bed. Our dogs and cat were also going in and out the kitchen to stay warm. We did end up getting sweaters for the dogs. We kept this up through the week.

Friday night brought some really bad news. My Mother was very sick, and not doing well. So I called my brother, left work to see her. I work less that 5 miles from the nursing home she is in, and it took me at least 45 minutes to get there. With all the downed trees, and power poles I was forced to change my route a number of times. Well in the nursing home I was told to say my good-byes to my Mother, and my brother and I did just that.
Saturday November 3, 2012 my Mother passed away.

Now to outline Saturday:
We started the day by taking showers, and this is my own home made shower. We start by putting pots of water on the camping stove, and the side burner on the gas grill. Next we use large bowls for snacks on football days, and a 2 gal watering can. We wash up and rinse off with the watering can. Not a great shower but we are all clean. This takes us two hours, and now of to get breakfast. We found a diner open and that took over an hour to eat, and get back on the road to see my mother. Well we missed her passing by 10 minutes, and I guess that was OK as my kids are to young to see this.
So now what do I do, I asked my self. The nursing home contacted the funeral home, and it all started. The best thing is I took care of the funeral plans 10 years ago, and this process was very simple and not taxing on my already stressed out self. So a big shout out to Par-Troy Funeral home, and the staff. In this trying time of no power, and the loss of my mother they were a great help and comfort to me and my family.
Thank You.

So now that my Mother passed the day is still not over. I end up going home and my bother is there to meet us, and try and get a handle on what needs to be done. So I go to make some of my Hurricane coffee, when my camping stove's toy O ring blows out. I ask my daughter if she has any more Bendaroos and no she does not. So it is off to the local hardware store. I get to Station Hardware only to find a line to get in, and it is full of people looking for plugs for generators, and kerosene. At this point one of the workers states they do not have kerosene, but they do have the heaters. My brother tells me he can get kerosene in PA where he lives so I get a heater, and an empty 5 gal kerosene can, and this is when the magic really started. The father (owner of the store) tells the son to get me the items, but makes a mistake and give me 1 gal of kerosene with the heater. So we go back and forth of the wrong items, and I end up with these items. Now there was no fight, and cross words, they made a mistake, and I now have heat.

As you can see this is a big hit with the kids.

So Saturday started out crappy, and ended up not so bad.... Thanks Mom!
Sunday was a great day only because we had some heat. Monday I was off from work to mourn the passing of my Mother, but the kerosene I got from PA was dirty, and stunk us out of the house. Then we took stock in our supplies, and found we were very close to no fresh food, very low on lantern fuel, ice, and I need clean kerosene.  Tuesday I set out to the polls, and to get more supplies. I was at the polls early to cast my vote, and all I have to say is YES for more years!!!! Next get more supplies! Well that did not go well. I found good clean kerosene, but not lantern fuel. My wife got some food but only small amounts as we could not keep them fresh long. Tuesday night was the coldest nigh of all, and the heater barley did any thing. Also my company mailed me an air card so I can get on the internet and see what is going on in the world. We ended up watching Captain American on Netflix.

Wednesday the last day with out power, oh and a new storm is set to hit:
We made it through the new storm, and we ended the 9 long days with out power. In the end we as a family did a great job of sticking together, and working together to get through this mess. My kids are 7 and 8 and I only put my son (7) in time out once during this whole ordeal. So I want to say here and now just how proud I am of my Wife Mary, Daughter Makayla (8), and Son Noah (7) for all you effort and work to survive Sandy and her aftermath.

I have so many people to thank for there help, and support during this time. My company Compucom sent some help in the way of a gift card to get some food, my boss was calling to make sure I got my wifi card, my co-workers for there support and some supplies, my brother Brad for his help, my wife's family for their help, the local hardware store, and the funeral home. There are more to say thanks to like the power guys and more, so I will just say Thank You to all who helped the victims of Hurricane Sandy......


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