From the Valley of Blue Tarps – Sandy’s Mark

As I prepped for NaNoWriMo another event would significantly affect my life and leave an indelible mark.
Blue Tarp village
On Monday October 29th hurricane Sandy hit the Jersey coast and moved inland leaving behind a trail of devastation. That evening I parked myself in front of the TV to watch the news as long as I could. Somewhere after 7pm the power finally went out for good after flickering a few times. It would not return again for 5 days.

That night I barely slept. As Sandy pounded all night like a determined boxer, I kept reminding myself that our brick house had been standing for over 100 years and would continue to do so long after this storm passed.

The next morning I woke to the most eerie silence I had ever heard in our neighborhood. For being on the main street, there were no cars, no traffic of any kind. No one was out, most had bugged out the day before. I surveyed the property and found some damage to the slate tile roof but not significant. The huge tree in the front yard lost several big branches, but the tree was still standing. A few drain spouts were down but easily repaired. And there were leaves everywhere, especially in the pool. The damage wasn’t major but I was still stuck without power for days.

For the rest of the week I slept in a house with no lights (just flashlights & candles), no heat (just layers of clothes and blankets) and no hot water (thankfully there were showers at work). I had a gas stove so I could cook food and I tried not to open the refrigerator. I charged my cell phone, laptop and other electronics at work.

Then came the strange part. As I tried to put my life back together, make repairs to the house & property and stay in touch with family & friends, I realized that out of everyone I knew, I was the only one still without power. My friends and family had moved on with their lives but I was still “living with Sandy” and her aftermath.

Even at the end of the week when the power was finally restored, it still seemed as though I was living in a different “reality” from those that had not been effected by Sandy. One friend even planned a “we survived Sandy” party which I obviously declined to attend and they eventually canceled. Many of my normal routines were disrupted and it took a while for me to find a new rhythm.

As the weeks passed andhelp-sandy-victims I began to form new routines, I still felt a sense of loss. The experience had changed almost every aspect of my life and I somehow felt like a different person. Even though I had not suffered anywhere near the level of loss as those on the Jersey coast, I still felt changed.

For weeks after Sandy I continued to drive to work and see the countless blue tarps covering the damaged rooftops in my neighborhood and surrounding areas. It was somehow comforting to see the blue tarps and know that I was not the only one effected. I was not alone in the valley of blue tarps.

But I would be okay.

Needless to say that without power for the better part of a week my hopes of competing in NaNoWriMo this year were taking a back seat to real life. I made some attempt to write after the power came back but my heart wasn’t into it.  I fell so far behind that I never really had a chance to reach the 50,000 goal. In hindsight it was a bit of foreshadowing of what was to come for the “Tin Man” project.

Whether you were or were not impacted by hurricane Sandy, please say a little prayer for those that were effected. And if your wallet can spare to send a few dollars toward relief efforts, please do.  You have our sincerest thanks for anything you can do.

— KRR

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