We’re Back – In More Ways Than One

I never planned on abandoning my blog. I’ve done it before – left a big gap because ‘real life’ took such twists and turns that I just couldn’t steel myself against it’s force to sit down and plink out a couple of lines about what was actually happening. 
Right before Halloween, we left for our much awaited trip to Disney World. I was obsessing about what a difficult trip it could be. I cannot wait to share out trip with you, but the time is not now. I meant to blog about it as it was happening, but circumstances changed our priorities.
Upon our arrival to Florida, in our home state of NJ, friends and family were being hit hard by Hurricane Sandy. I cannot imagine what they went through weathering this storm. I have heard stories of hundreds of popping transformers, fires, cracking trees, falling wires, flooding and terrifying winds. I was really strange to be so far away. I know that many of you reading this were suffering.
I was incredibly thankful, that because of Ethan’s car accident, our trip was moved and we happened to be safely sheltering in sunny Florida. I know it would have been really difficult for us to be home in the midst of it. It was hard to be happy for my immediate family while the storm raged. Due to our tight ties to social networking and the fact that we remained connected to the internet through the entire thing, we were able to stay constantly connected. That was a very distracting and disconcerting thing. 
I worried about people, places and things. I worried about our family, our house, and our neighborhood – all while visiting Animal Kingdom. When I should have been present with my kids, I had my phone in front of my face way too much. I just had to know what was happening. 
Our house was spared any physical damage, but our neighborhood ended up looking like a war zone. No one we knew had power, essentials that they needed, and gas was impossible to get. I think if you did not experience it – you can only understand it so much. I was floating in a pool, feeling warm and relaxed, guilty and helpless. 
An interesting facet is that because our internet connection was not interrupted, we were able to pass on info that other people could not access. I knew more about support our town was offering than those still trapped in town. We were able to be helpful in only that way. My neighbor moved our rabbit, secured items in our yard and generally watched out for our house. My mother eventually went and emptied the rotting food from our fridge and freezer. Others gave us advice about not returning home as our vacation was coming to an end, so we tacked two additional days onto the end of our trip. 
We knew that we were returning to no power, no heat, no food, no gas and it was a mad dash to figure out to assimilate to our new surroundings. My mother purchased a generator for us, we order a cord of wood and had it dropped on the front lawn and stocked up on gas cans and propane heaters in Florida. Weird. 
We pulled into town to darkness and snow and an open pizza parlor. Once fed, we headed back to our house. We spent two hours passing out flashlights, lighting candles, starting a fire, moving furniture, planning sleeping arrangements and boiling water as we had been told it helped the air temperature. Two hours into our ‘ordeal’ our power snapped back to life! The only thing is, the rest of our street and neighborhood or our friends, or family did not. Again, we were grateful and blessed, but sad and desperate for everyone else. 
We commenced with offering what we could to who we could. Food and heat and a place to charge a phone. This storm really had a way of snapping into sharp focus what is really important – I’d love to know what you found that to be. 
We still have friends without power. We know people who have sustained significant damage to their homes and belongings and those who lost vehicles. We know people who need homes for beloved pets. We have seen photos and video of our favorite beaches washed, literally, into the ocean.
My hope, for now, is that we can be a small part of helping those in front of us and then part of the larger effort to restore NJ to it’s pre-storm state. I hope life gets back to some semblance of ‘normal’ for you and yours and me and mine.

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