Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy had been described as the Perfect Storm, Frankenstorm, or Storm-a-geddon. She was the 2nd largest hurricane on record and the 2nd costliest, losing to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. She also decided to hit the mid-Atlantic on October 29th, the day after Austin was born.

The Casino Pier Roller Coaster at Seaside Heights, NJ 
Like Hurricane Irene last year, I probably didn't take the storm seriously enough but once I was admitted to the hospital, home maintenance went out the window. Our room was facing the inside courtyard/roof of the hospital so we were incredibly secure and probably safer there than anywhere else. For this reason, we couldn't see much of the storm from our window.

Monday night the hospital lost power and switched to generators. All things considered, this wasn't a big deal for our new family recovering in Labor and Delivery, but selfishly - we lost TV reception. Sleep deprived and limited to activities, space, and entertainment - things got very boring very quickly. Try as we might to dose off in between feedings and crying, it proved near impossible since we were constantly getting interrupted by the hospital staff for one reason or another - food delivery, blood pressure checks, hearing checks for Austin, introducing the new nursing staff, paperwork, etc. I'm glad we were in good hands, but I didn't need a formal introduction and life bio of everyone that walked into the room. We felt the need to be nice to everyone because we are nice people, but this resulted in way too much conversation, fake laughs, and a lot of "no, thank you - we are really ok.".

Flooded parking lot of taxis
Meanwhile, DJ's parents had come up Sunday night to meet Austin and stayed at our house while we were in the hospital. As the storm came Monday, we were told by the staff that only First Responders and Hospital Staff were allowed in and out of New Brunswick, so no visitors allowed. This was nice because it allowed the three of us to spend the day as a family, but again - with no TV - it wasn't super thrilling.

Monday evening we were told there may have been water issues, so the hospital staff came in and filled a bucket with water so the toilet would flush. Then Tuesday we were told the hot water was being turned off at 11:30am so I took a quick shower, along with every other able bodied patient in the hospital so it wasn't exactly warm. Oh well. At this point we were so ready to get home it didnt matter whether I was clean or dirty.

Meanwhile, at home we had lost power and a branch was on the roof. I'm still not entirely sure of the damage, but I know our gutter is messed up and there is a tarp on the roof. We may have lost a shingle and there may be some damage to the siding. DJ's parents held down the fort which was much appreciated and we came home to a secure home.

Powerless, DJ and I spent Wednesday and Thursday shuffling back and forth between our house and my parents. Compared to other parts of the area, we were certainly lucky, but it is hard coming home with a new baby and feeling displaced. We also didn't want any one set of grandparents to feel neglected so we did our best to split time evenly. It was certainly doable but stressful.

Power came back Thursday afternoon (yay!) but now the gas situation is out of control. Lines can be up to three hours long with a 10 gallon limit on purchases. Last I heard, cars with odd number plates could receive service on odd days and even number days for even plates. DJ was able to skip the line and fill up as a first responder at a nearby gas station, but a lot of people are rationing their gas.