From the Other Side of Sandy

Last week my friend Sandy at work showed me that there was a tropical storm with her name. “Maybe I’ll become a hurricane!” Well, she did! As I wrote on Saturday, we were pretty well prepared with gas, cash, and food. I went out on Sunday to do some “regular” food shopping, in case our power didn’t go out this week and I needed to cook dinners. This was like noon on Sunday and the supermarket was not at all crazy.

On Monday morning, both our offices were closed, and I thought it would be a good idea to get some more D batteries. We had flashlights and and a lantern, but no spare batteries for the lantern, and none to run a radio. We went to Walmart, then Wegmans, and neither had anything other than AA batteries. Also, it was raining pretty hard. At Wegmans, we ran into a guy GG used to work with who now works there, and he said that none of the stores or supermarkets around had any batteries, but he thought Toys R Us might. They didn’t open for another 30 minutes, so we sat in the parking lot for a little while, but eventually I said we should just go home, they probably wouldn’t have batteries either and they weren’t an absolute necessity. So we went home and waited for the storm to hit.

Meanwhile, I charged everything I could think of. Our computers and phones were never unplugged. I have two external battery chargers that could be used for cell phones, so I had both of those fully charged, plus one extra phone battery. Our MP3 players have radios, so we charged those. And we charged our cordless power tools. GG made room to put my car in the garage, and he parked at the top of the driveway. I attempted to work from home, but there was really not much going on. 90% of the e-mails I got were about storm preparation and people’s cell phone numbers. GG and I mostly spent the day on the sofa, enjoying electricity. It got to be dinnertime, and since we still had power, I went ahead and made one of the actual cooked meals I had shopped for on Sunday.

The rain continued throughout the day and night, and the wind got pretty crazy. At one point, it sounded like something hit our house, and GG thought it sounded like metal, so we thought maybe we lost a gutter or downspout. The lights dimmed periodically, so I decided it would be a good idea to turn the TV off in case of a power outage. We watched movies on Hulu on GG’s laptop. I was nervous about a tree falling into the house, plus the wind sounded way worse upstairs, so we slept downstairs on the sofa. Even though or sofa is huge, it’s not really built for two adults to sleep for the whole night, but we figured out a way to fit. The cats kept waking me up by throwing up and stuff (they’d been acting really weird since Sunday night, obviously they could sense the weather). Finally morning came, and my mom called before my alarm went off, then my alarm, then my mom called again. So basically, I slept terribly. But every time I woke up, I saw that the power was still on. Plus I’d been checking the basement the whole time, and it was completely dry!

My office was closed again Tuesday, as was GG’s, but since the power was on I could still work from home. We took a walk around the house outside, even though it was still raining. There were tons of branches everywhere, and almost every leaf from every tree in the yard, but no damage we could see! (I don’t know what that metal noise we heard on Monday night was!) Weirdly, the leaves had blown in sort of a striped pattern. A lot of my friends lost power, at least for a little while, and I saw lots of pictures of flooding, and trees and branches falling on or near houses and cars, so I know we really lucked out. Some people are probably going to go several days before they get their power back. My company is opening up the showers at the gym for employees without power, and people can get water and hot meals to go. And watching CNN and looking at pictures like these, you can really see how good we had it.

Our town has rescheduled trick-or-treating for Friday, but kids around here are actually going to make out really well, because there are towns holding trick-or-treat tonight, Friday, Saturday, Monday (if they go to New Jersey), and next Wednesday – so an enterprising kid could potentially get five Halloweens! I’m not buying extra candy, so I plan to put a sign on the door tonight and hand out candy on Friday (which is more convenient for me anyway, as I have band practice tonight).

“Why the smell of burning autumn leaves?”

This was such a busy week. Every day was crazy, and I never felt like I got enough sleep. Last night for our usual night out, we went to Gypsy Saloon. GG wanted to take me there because he went last week for a special lunch at work. It was a neat place, and all the food was delicious. Plus, we saw a cat hanging around the neighborhood! After dinner, we stopped at the supermarket to get some storm supplies. They were already almost totally out of water, but we did get a pack, plus some other items. We still need to check our batteries, though. We haven’t lost power in any storms so far, including the hurricane last summer, so hopefully we’ll be ok. And with the last hurricane, we only had a couple puddles in the basement, so hopefully no flooding this time, either.

This morning I went out to top off my gas tank and get some cash, just in case. Then GG and I cleaned up the leaves in the yard. Tonight we went to the Movie Tavern for dinner and saw Cloud Atlas. It was a pretty crazy movie, but really good. I’ve read mixed reviews, but GG and I really liked it. (All the actors were great, but Jim Broadbent was my favorite!) I kind of want to read the book now. And hey, since I already read The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, I might as well just go ahead and read all of David Mitchell’s novels.

After the movie, we went over to Wegmans to see if there was anything else we could get to prepare for the storm, and ended up getting a bunch of cheese… so I guess if the power goes out, I’ll just have to eat it all so it doesn’t go to waste. We also got a few packs of the GoPicnic hummus and cracker meals. I really like these for a quick, healthy, and portable meal. I first got a couple for us to eat on our drive down to Charleston, and I’ve had them a few times since then. They’re satisfying and don’t make you feel gross afterward.

But… hopefully this storm turns out not to be as crazy as they’re predicting!

“Now I’m totally resting, I’m reclining, while I’m driving”

Last weekend, GG and I went out to my alma mater for Homecoming. We didn’t end up going last year because there was a freak blizzard that day, so it had been two years since I was there. Campus is so different! They finished the huge addition to the Student Memorial Center, which is a big change. We met L and S out there and watched the whole parade. Soon they’re going to tear down all the dorms on the south side of campus (where I lived for three years) and replace them with some modern dorms, so we swung by there after the parade for old time’s sake. Then we ran into some of the current Brothers from our fraternity, so L and I talked to them for a while about what was going on with the brotherhood these days. Then we had lunch and headed home at a reasonable time. It was a nice day.

Then this past weekend, I drove (by myself!!) to Washington, DC. On Friday night I met up with one of my oldest friends from elementary school, who I hadn’t seen since 1996. She lives there now with her husband and twin babies, and we all had dinner together. It was so nice to see her, and we want to make plans with another of our old elementary school friends soon. Since all of our face-to-face meetings have been canceled for the year, some coworkers and I made plans to get together on Saturday so we could at least see each other. We went to the Newseum, and the Natural History Museum. I hadn’t been to DC since probably middle school, and had never been to the Newseum, which is new, so that was very cool. And besides that, we just had a really nice day together. Sunday morning we had breakfast, and then I drove home (by myself!!) – it was actually a really pleasant drive, the weather was beautiful and there was no traffic, I even got home at the exact time the GPS said I would.

Since I missed out on my entire weekend, my schedule for the week is pretty screwed up. Plus, GG and I are both so busy with various activities every night this week. Let’s see if I ever get it together and cook dinner some night…

“Maybe I am better off alone”

Last week (Friday through Thursday), GG was on a cruise to Bermuda with his parents and brother. (I could have gone too, but cruises aren’t really my thing.) It was weird, because GG is usually a very communicative person, but there is no cell phone service in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. So it was definitely the longest period in the last ten years that I hadn’t even spoken to him on the phone. It was a very quiet week. He did send me a couple e-mails (internet on the ship was like $.65 a minute!), and they were hilarious! I could definitely tell that he was having a great time, and it was probably a good thing that I didn’t go, because I would have just been a wet blanket.

Instead, I surprised him by organizing his closet, and did a bunch of other stuff around the house I’d been putting off. I also entertained myself by going to see The Master, and taking my grandmother out for dinner (she shocked me by suggesting a Mexican restaurant, initially complaining about how exotic the menu was, but then enjoying her shrimp tacos). The time actually went pretty quickly. They were home Thursday morning, and I took the afternoon off work so I could come home early and see GG. I enjoy my alone time, but it was nice to have him back :o)

On Saturday, we went out to Harrisburg for S’s 30th birthday party. He decided last year that he wanted a roast for his birthday, and GG, being his only friend with comedy/roast experience, was the default MC and headliner. So GG and a few other friends performed, and I think everyone did a really good job! We were all laughing through the whole thing, it wasn’t like there were any awkward, uncomfortable silences. But the funniest part was completely unintentional: one of his friends couldn’t attend, but recorded a rap song to be played at the party. So they played it before the roasting started, and used the DVD player to play the CD. When the song ended, the DVD player was turned off but the TV was still on, and it was this scene from Star Trek: TNG with Picard playing some weird flute! Maybe you had to be there, but the timing was perfect. For the rest of the night, we all agreed that the best part of the performance was Picard on flute.

I think we’re now busy every weekend for the rest of the year, or close to it. I just want to nap!