or at least I thought I felt like it, until I really looked passed this inconvenience to all my blessings and the things I’ve taken for granted.
Hurricane Sandy left us with no power until my neighbor, who comes from a very poor Third World Country reminded me, “You have no electricity in your home. You, my fortunate friend, have virtually unlimited power – surely, you have the power to get passed this minor inconvenience.” All that is clear to me now, however…
Monday morning, I sat on my cold leather couch with no electricity, no heat, no hot water, and a very full refrigerator expiring before me by the minute. I was VERY irritable. Didn’t Hurricane Sandy know that millions of us wanted to watch our DVRs (Ru’s Drag Race recorded). I wanted to fix my Boo his favorite banana-nut pancakes with bacon, French Vanilla coffee, and fruit juice from our new juicer, but I couldn’t. I wanted to charge my Blackberry, laptop, iPod, iPhone, iPad, and Nook – still couldn’t. I wanted to create my website post, check my FaceBook Pages, and send out a few Tweets – couldn’t even do that. I wanted to shower with warm water and use my built-in overhead bathroom heater to assist in shaving my head for the day – nope!
I felt uncomfortable and lost as I looked at my frustrated image in the mirror. I MIGHT AS WELL BE HOMELESS – I actually said that out LOUD. Then I started to tear-up. No, not because I felt sorry for myself, but because I regretted using those words. Thank you, Higher Power, for sparing me the tribulation of actually becoming homeless (if only to teach me a REAL lesson) so that I can take stock of ALL that I have.
I’ve learned very early – Happy HOME, Happy LIFE, so I went to work mode…
* First thing I did was to boil some water to warm up the home (I knew the electronic clickers would be off, but a match would give me cooking privileges.) The hot water would also be used to bathe, shave, etc. A few teabags in a smaller pot would give us the caffeine we were so going to need for the day.
* Now to locate the flashlights and all the candles I can find – thank goodness I keep a full stock of vanilla-scented pillar candles and hurricane glasses for romantic evenings jajajaja.
* Next the fridge- use all the quick to perish items first: cream, almond milk, orange juice. The defrosted meats (chicken, pork chops, and ground beef) were already seasoned and ready to go – get cooking I told myself. In the meantime, I started scrambling eggs (use those up) and cook the bacon, grill the bread to get them toasty – there, a delicious breakfast as if nothing happened. Defrost the meats in the freezer was next (I place them in metal pans filled with water, not exactly the safest way I know) and get ready to cook those too.
* We had 1 mobile phone, so we used it to call our employers and to post a few helpful/informational social media posts and to let those who would checkout my site/pages know that we were “down” on electricity, but definitely not out.
* We spent the day and the following one, cooking, eating, reading, playing cards by candlelight and hearing music (Henry’s iPod Nano was fully charged.)
We were quite comfortable…maybe too comfortable. We started worrying about our immediate neighbors and surrounding community. So the next day, we decided to knock on some doors and go for a walk. After helping some people in the neighborhood, we decided to check on the car. Thank goodness there were no trees on top of it, although someone has broken into our gas tank and syphoned it away – small skirmish. There was less than a quarter tank left and so we had enough to get us to North Bergen to fuel up (tank, devices, and bellies respectively.) That’s when we saw some real devastation in the streets of Jersey City – we’ve helped the few that we could and hopped back into our car.
With no electricity at home, we had more opportunity to really talk. We found out some things about each-other, well – we found out how we “feel” about certain things that really surprised us about the other. Then we realized that in our Electronic Age, we may have lost some direct communication and insight even after 14 years…I think that’s the biggest lesson Hurricane Sandy has taught us.
All charged up – I started seeing/writing some more informational and inspirational posts on FaceBook and Twitter. And I wanted to do more, but the battery on my device(s) died too soon.
After a very restful sleep (ironically, for the first time in months), we were invited to the VIACOM Secaucus Center. We brought all our devices including laptops to re-charge. The Senior Vice-President fed the entire company who made it in – breakfast, lunch, and afternoon pastries/coffee. While Henry worked, I was busy helping others via FB and Twitter. I’ve also passed on valuable information on where to get/find much needed resources with the assistance of my good friends Joel and Fernando (shout out to my Boyz!!) We ended the evening on another positive note, eating and playing Candle-Light Vegas Night with just the two of us in our warm little SkyBox.
The next morning, we found out that we can go from Journal Square (Jersey City, NJ) to Times Square (New York City, NY) with just $3. We can get to our Offices (power-up gadgets, wifi, Internet access), our Gyms (hot showers – no more boiling water at home), Restaurants (Dunkin’ Donuts coffee) and everything electricity could provide. Parent Company Viacom New York also provided a FREE lunch for employees and their loved ones – jajajajajajaja! I was assisting all I could via my social media platforms until my mobile phone battery died again around 9pm back in Jersey City.
When we returned to NYC the next day and charged up the phones, I saw ALL the wonderful messages most of our friends, some of our colleagues, half of our associates, and complete strangers (but FaceBook Friends/ Twitter Followers) have sent – what an outpouring of LOVE and SUPPORT!! People inviting us to their powered homes, some offered to bring us food, some asked if they can bring us gas (and some of those lived miles away.) I mean people I did not formally meet asked if they can do anything to make us more comfortable. The Hyatt Regency (and some friends from the Four Seasons New York) offered us free rooms.
We’ve received so many phone calls, emails, FB Messages, and Twitter DM’s that I am still answering them all. I really appreciate you so much, THANK YOU – THANK YOU – THANK YOU!!!
We still have NO ELECTRICITY but we have so much more (some of our friends have lost their homes, cars, jobs, and some lost each-other.) Complaining about a lack of electricity seems so small compared to that. I caught another glimpse of myself in the candlelit mirror. He said, “Chile’ please…you felt like you were homeless? Homeless, really? You should be ashamed of yourself!” jajajajajaja He’s so right!!
Hope this BlogPost finds you well.