There are good things and bad things about living at the shore. Life is good when the weather cooperates. Life can be a bit more challenging when disaster threatens. Nor’easter Sandy is slowly, relentlessly making its way straight for our southern Jersey shore. Predictions are the storm will break records and cause enormous destruction. We are right in its path.
Under mandatory evacuation orders, we are on the road heading west. The problem is: where do we go? We have friends and family graciously offering us shelter. Looking at the map of the storm’s track, however, we would have to travel a long way to avoid it. So we are driving away from the shore but not necessarily away from the storm.
We will keep in close touch with our neighbor across the street, a city employee, who is staying and will watch our house.
Saturday morning looked like our street hosted a block party. Neighbors commiserated with each other, discussing unpleasant scenarios and hoping for the best. Everyone was out moving stuff into his or her garage and house and packing cars, preparing for departure. One neighbor cut down branches of a large tree, hoping to prevent branches from falling on electric wires or onto his house.
We could have stayed, but that might prove foolish. If anything happened to one of us and we needed medical assistance, we would be on our own. We undoubtedly will lose electricity – we often do when it rains – but what worries us is the sea and bay water flooding the streets, meeting at our house, and unceremoniously inundating our home.
Our house, according to local lore, has never flooded. But there is always a first time. I have bizarre visions of the two of us – 60+ years old – scampering onto the roof, waiting for rescue. Realistically I do not think there is any way we could make it onto our roof. It seems pretty funny, but it would definitely not be fun if we actually had to attempt the feat.
We evacuated over a year ago during Irene. We were very lucky and avoided damage. This time forecasts are dire.
Fortunately and luckily and I cannot believe we actually did this, this past weekend we spent time cleaning our garage, throwing stuff away, putting away the kids’ summer toys, beach chairs and other paraphernalia. I even swept the garage floor. Then just a couple of days later we were filling the garage with our outside paraphernalia – table, chairs, potted plants, bird feeder, and other miscellaneous outdoor stuff.
Wednesday evening is trick or treat in our town. At least I have not yet stocked up. We get mobs of kids. I do not buy candy early because we would be tempted to eat it. My sister solved that problem by buying candy she does not like. But then what do you with the leftover candy?
We parked one car on an upper floor of a parking garage on our island, hoping for the best.
Our evacuation vehicle contains the following:
· A cooler full of freezer and refrigerator food.
· A couple of bags of fresh vegetables.
· Two small suitcases, one for each of us with enough clothes for four or five days.
· Coats, raincoats, umbrella and boots.
· Hub’s essential work supplies. Working from home has its advantages. He can continue working wherever we are, although he already canceled a Tuesday business trip. No one in the Northeast will be flying anywhere.
· My computer and a couple of books and magazines.
· Several folders of records, including bills, insurance and house papers. I did not take any of these things last year, but since learned it is advisable to have information available when – and if – it is necessary to contact these companies.
We are trying to condition ourselves to the possibility of property loss. We just hope we have a place to live when returning home. If there is damage, the worst problem may be contacting insurance companies and getting everything fixed. With thousands (maybe millions) of others in the same situation it may take days, weeks and months to receive compensation and complete repairs.
But I am getting ahead of things. We are supposed to celebrate Thanksgiving at our house this year, and I am still planning on it.
One additional, unrelated note:
My son ran in the Javelin Jundred 100 Mile Endurance Run in Arizona Saturday. I know, it sounds crazy, and yes, he is. But he came in fourth, completing the race in under 17 hours. Congratulations Jason!