Open Forum: What’s On Your Mind? My Experience With Hurricane Sandy

Survived Hurricane Sandy

And all I have to show for it is this blog post – no T-shirt yet.

That was one nasty trick without the treat. I guess the treat is still being here to write about it.

Was I scared? No, actually. Besides the difference in how it sounded, like a train rolling very close by the house, I’ve experienced more intense thunderstorms. Lots of wind, I could hear stuff flying about, but thankfully it didn’t shake the house or rattle the windows. It went by and over the properties – not directly at it.

And blissfully, I fell asleep because that constant droning noise sorta knocks you out.

This Jersey Thing and the Howling Outside Your Door

Let me tell you a bit about middle and southern NJ. I am located a couple of miles from Trenton and Princeton, that’s the neck / bend of this kidney-shaped state. I am 45 plus minutes west of the NJ shore. However, regardless of all these miles away from the shore, practically this entire area of the state is ZERO feet above sea level. We are right at the level of where the ocean meets the land. There’s barely a decent rise. And the soil out here IS sand.

So picture this on a dark night: a lull in the wind, a spittle of rain and you start to believe that the media has over-hyped another storm. Listening to the radio, waiting for the storm, reading the endless stories about this stuff online, you start to think: what was the hysteria all about?

She’s Coming For You

Then, Hurricane Sandy arrives. On the night of a FULL MOON. The tide is already high. From what I heard, 2 ft above normal. She comes. Her voice rising. Throwing things around. She’s getting stronger and stronger. Howling in a pitch so high it strains your nerves. Tides are rising in some places as high as 15 feet.

You remember that you live at sea level. No big swells. No massive hills. No mountains to break that rising tide.

You realize that 90 plus mile winds are bringing everything with the ocean (boats, pieces of boardwalk, cars, and other debris) up into and ripping off part of your home, or perhaps dragging it off its foundation onto a highway nearby.

Thinking About the Katrina Aftermath

A few years ago, I went down south to visit a friend who showed me the area after Hurricane Katrina hit Alabama, Louisiana and other states. She showed me a beach front, which was clean as a whistle. I started swearing involuntarily, after she told me it used to have amusement parks, hotels, food stands and everything you’d expect at the beach.

It was gone. All gone. Like looking at virgin territory. Like no one had build anything there before.

Hindsight

In the past, I wanted a house at the shore. I loved the beaches, the boardwalks, and driving aimlessly down the entire stretch. I probably could have gotten a cute little bungalow or maybe a multi-story property to rent during the Spring and Summer.

But I looked at the flatness of the area. I thought of stories my Mom told about what it’s like when the tide comes in to flood a small country and doesn’t stop. I chickened out. So, I picked an area that is NOT a flood zone. That’s information you see might when you sign the albatross (mortgage) papers (I think it depends on the state).

It’s hard to resist living near the water. I feel drawn to it. The sweet smell and salty taste of the ocean air. The soothing sound of the tide. The endless view, staring out at the entire world, and if you look hard enough to see the curve of the horizon.

The Governor and Interstate Assistance

Tuesday night, I listened to the car radio, ’cause I had no power. I heard my governor, big Chris Christie, mention the work being done to get the power back on. Almost right afterwards, the lights came on. Talk about a delightful and nice coincidence! Relief filled me: I wouldn’t be freezing my butt off that night. Although I had candles, flashlights and extra blankets ready.

Driving around today, I saw many out of state utility power trucks. So, thank you to the people from out of state who came to NJ to help.

I’m also thankful for coming out unscathed from the storm.

And my prayers are for those who were not as fortunate.

What’s On Your Mind?

 ***

Daily Mail Coverage of Sandy – Long Article – 1

Daily Mail Coverage of Sandy – Long Article – 2

Share

My Hair: It’s Too Black!

On Christmas Day, I flat ironed my hair. The day before I washed and deep, deep, deep conditioned it.

I’m actually sorry I didn’t take a picture (see an example below). No big deal. Next time I straighten, and / or curl my hair, I will take one. I simply enjoy the comparison shots. I don’t take a lot of pictures, because it is hard to position, and setup, myself to get a decent shot. Outside of my brother (who lives in the South), no one in my family takes a satisfactory picture.

Not my face (I wish!) but, my hair after I styled it.


I show up at my parent’s house. My Dad says, “Is that all your hair?”

I start laughing. “It looks like a wig, right?”

He mumbled, “It’s too black. Did you color it?”

Mom speaks up, “Her hair looks nice. And it is not black, her hair is lighter than that.”

I said, “I don’t know why it looks this dark. I usually see a little brownish / reddish under the lights. Maybe it’s the castor oil or heat protectant cream I put in it.”

Dad makes indecipherable noises, and again I hear. “It’s too black.”

My uncle says, “Your hair looks good. All you use is castor oil?”

“That’s mostly what I use, after all these years, that’s all I need.” I’m thankful for the eyeglasses that keep the hair off my face.

A few hours later, my hair has climbed in height, getting shorter and puffier. I’m sweating, and I’m warm (could be the booze). By then, it’s late evening, and I’m fed up with my hair. I’m not sure that’s what’s making me hot, but I want it braided.

My uncle promises to provide the name of a hair braider he knows. He lives in northern New Jersey. I’m hoping she’s someone who wont braid tight, or try to remove all the hair from my hairline (edges). I’ve already had enough experience with that. No matter how much you ask, they still braid too tight!

Mom doesn’t like my hair braiding plan, “Why must you do that?”

Frankly, I don’t want to touch my hair for about 3 to 8 weeks, maybe longer, if I don’t get an itchy, irritated scalp. “I want to rest my hair and stop the breakage between some parts.” I point out the part at the top and behind my ears. It’s not serious, but I’d like to give those areas a rest.

The moment my Mom finished plaiting my hair: the sweating stopped and I felt a chill. I had no idea the hair was making me so hot! I prefer braided hair, the long, straightened curly style, is not something I’m used to.

I will do it again, long after I get the braids done.

An exaggerated example of my hair shrinkage. Yes, and I change complexions too!
Share

To Pack It All Up and Move Away

I want to run away from this life.

Right now, more than ever, I’ve this intense urge to sell my crap; junk the stuff cluttering up my life.

Let go of my issues. Just leave.

My problem: I love my home.

It’s the first, and only one, I’ve bought. The neighborhood is s’okay; crime is nearly nonexistent. There’s a steep price to pay for living here: New Jersey is one, if not the most expensive state in the country. It also feels like the most depressing, isolating, and socially stagnant places in the world.

It’s weird how much I miss Brooklyn, when I could not wait to leave that place!

My current home is my comfort zone.

This is where I hide from everyone. I don’t believe I should need someplace that makes me reluctant to let go of. I don’t think it’s healthy. I should be able to adapt to any environment; enjoy myself. At some point, in the future, I know I will move.

My other issue: I wouldn’t know where to go.

I used to want to a second home in Florida. I used to want to work in Nevada. I used to want to return to England. I used to want to find a home in Canada. I used to want to relocate to Australia or New Zealand. I used to want to hang out in Spain. I used to want to chill down in the Bahamas, Barbados, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands.

I have the “grass is greener” syndrome.

I take this feeling to mean that I need to take a trip. I read about people who backpack around the world. I feel no envy. I’d rather go somewhere, hang out for a couple of days and return to my home.

There are places I’d still like to visit: Australia, Italy, Germany, B.C. Vancouver, the Netherlands, maybe India or Japan. I need to make plans, or I’m going to go crazy.

Share