The nightmare was indeed over for our family. We walked into our house all lit up like a Christmas Tree (the holiday is quickly approaching, but I am not ready in the least for that, read more about that here though) and heat turned up to temperatures close to that of the Bahamas. For those who don’t know, we share a mother-daughter home with my parents, who live upstairs with my younger brother. My husband, I and the girls live on the first floor. My mom, more than graciously, turned all our lights on and put our heat up so we would come into a nice warm, well-lit home. I swear I was never so happy to not be in the dark and walk into warmth in my whole life. It was truly amazing.
We checked our TV, Internet and phones, all worked, too. It was a miracle and my prayers had been heard and answered in full (I had a hotline to heaven and my grandparents for days now). However, now my guilt was setting in, because all of Kevin’s family (his parents and siblings), were still without power and heat, as well.
We asked if anyone wanted to spend the night here and everyone seemed to be hopeful that their power would return shortly and would brave another night without it. By the next morning, it was clear that they were still without. Kevin and I called and/or texted cell phones of all his family to invite everyone over for hot showers and a nice warm meal in a lit up and heated home (ours).
During the day, Kevin’s younger sister and her family came over to shower. They stayed to watch the kids with their girls also, while I shopped for dinner. I went to our normal grocery store and picked up everything for a nice Mexican Taco dinner minus the chopped meat, because the meat machine was broken. So I braved two more supermarkets and long gas lines to get chopped meat finally at the last one I visited. Chopped meat is never a thing that I thought I would have to worry about finding, but it indeed was.
Once I returned home, I made brownies, cookies and began cooking dinner, as well. By 6 pm that night, we had a full and packed house. It was like a party, but no one really was feeling particularly like having a party. Showers were had and dinner was now being served. Then, dessert also.
Everyone stayed on until about 8:30 that night, because nobody other than my husband and his dad had work in the morning. We offered for anyone to sleep over, but again everyone went home that night. Then, Kevin turned to me and said, “I need gas for my car. Even though I had a full tank before the storm, I am now almost on empty and will not make it to work if I don’t fill up.”
So, out he went to brave long gas lines, but returned about a half hour later, hoping that if he got up in the middle of the night that he would get gas for his car quicker.
At 4:30 am, he woke and ran out to find a gas station. At 7 am, I had to bring him cash in case they didn’t take his debit card and he was still waiting. The girls were still sleeping and my mother thankfully kept her ear open for them. I parked on the local street and walked over to give him cash. We set talking in the car for a few minutes. It looked like a scene out of a movie and the gas lines were wrapped around the corner and then some. I had never in my life seen anything quite like this. By the way, the poor guy had had to go to the bathroom earlier before I even arrived and found an empty container in his car. I won’t go any further, but leave that to your imagination. All I have to say is I wish I was guy in times like that!
By the way, he did get gas for his car by 8 am. Came home showered, dressed and went to work. I had scheduled a hair cut on Wednesday, when I thought we might not have power back to at least get my hair washed and kept the appointment, because I was in desperate need of a hair cut anyways. Once there, I started talking to a young newly married girl, who lived in Lindenhurst on the water, lost her home and all her worldly possessions. She set there crying for a good portion of her conversations with us all. It was truly pathetic and was once again reminded that so many were so much worse off that we ever were or could have imagined right here in our almost backyard! By the way, we again we had everyone over that night (Boboli Pizzas and salad), too.
Saturday was now upon us. The girls went to dance, because the dance studio had power and we thought we could at least give them a bit of normalcy. Then, it was off to the grocery store for another large family dinner to be enjoyed in our home by all. Tonight would be London Broil, veggies and mashed potatoes and gravy, too.
At the grocery store, I was reminded how fortunate we really are, by hearing all sorts of tales from downed trees, houses destroyed and others still without electricity, heat and hot water. Yet, again, I feel just that much more guilty for ever having complained about being without electricity, hot water and heat for 48 hours. I truly feel like a heel when I think about how I reacted at first and hope god can just forgive me for a few selfish moments I had earlier in the week.
In any event, I have been informed by my cousin that in New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is releasing free gas in certain towns in each borough and/or county for all without, click here for more information. A total step in the right direction for the gas crisis hopefully (However as of Sunday still there was no new news about this and the gas had not be released to these locations unfortunately). The Red Cross is apparently on the way, too. LIPA trucks and even some out of state electrical trucks have been all over town and hoping more power will be restored sooner rather than later. I am also praying right now for all who have lost and are in need to get some form of help. We have decided to go through the girls toys (they have a ton and could rival a small Toys R Us store) and donate to kids who may have lost all their toys. I am also going to go through my closet and see if I can donate some more clothes to those in need, too.
I know many say let someone else do it, but my good friend Richard Rumple said it best that if we all just donate a dime, those who lost could be rich indeed. The old saying applies here in this situation that it takes a village!!! I hope you too can find it in your heart to help in whatever small way you can. And to indeed help victims of Sandy, donations to the American Red Cross can be also made by visiting Red Cross disaster relief, or you can text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
I am not a hero by any means, but another good friend truly, Cyndi Calhoun put a huge smile on my face today and again it is people like that and moments like that that truly put things in perspective for me. Thanks to all those who do help in whatever small way that you can.