The Eye of the Storm

Well, I just experienced my first full on hurricane...and I'm still here to write about it. We were very lucky that Sandy was a category I as it passed over the island and that she came from the South and moved North at a relatively quick speed. (Many hurricanes come from the East and move West devastating the entire island as it lumbers across.) That said, there was still significant damage to the Eastern parishes. Our dear friends at Source Farm suffered damage to many of their buildings and crops. A number of people living in rural areas experienced flooding and mud slides. More than 70% of the island was without power for 2-3 days and some are still without electricity. Our apartment complex lost some trees as did our neighbors. We were on "Hurricane Holiday" from work last week as our schools and offices were without power and many of the major roadways were blocked by debris.

The storm caught many of us by surprise here. It wasn't until Monday that I learned of then Tropical Storm Sandy and its potential to come our way. On Tuesday, the principal at our school was making announcements every 30 minutes about the storm's progress and the plans the school had for making preparations. We had to secure all of our classrooms as well as the staff room and other common spaces. We were dismissed early to ensure everyone had time to return home safely and prepare for the big event on Wednesday.

During my free period on Tuesday, I made a grocery list of all the last minute items we needed. Mo left his office early and picked me up at school and we promptly went to the store (along with the rest of Kingston). There was excitement in the air as everyone made their plans and there was no bread to be found on any of the shelves...

Once home, I began cooking up a storm of my own. I made cookies and soup, rice and peas, popcorn, coffee, pasta, sandwich fixings including tofu mayo and hummus. I anticipated that we would be without power at some point and that it could last for any length of time.I wanted to ensure that we had more than enough to last us through the coming days. Mo put batteries into anything that took them and secured all of our windows and outside doors. We charged cell phones and any other electronic gadget so that we had ways to communicate with the outside world. I even remembered to fill the bathtub in case the water supply was disrupted. (Thank you WNYC for doing a story on disaster preparedness at some point during my Brooklyn tenure!!)

Wind is the natural element I fear most. The howling and whistling, the twisting, pushing and pulling...a hurricane is what I have dreaded most since moving here. Having gone through the experience though, I will say that I at least faced that fear even if I did not conquer it wholely. I am grateful for Nature's mercy shown to us. I am proud of Mo and I for being able to work together as a team to keep our family safe (and well fed). I am proud of myself for having the foresight to think of things like crayons and paper for the kids to draw on, extra diapers, candles and bathtubs full of water. Being prepared is something I have struggled with for a number of years. I was always under the impression that I was prepared for anything and then I became a mother and realized what a fallacy that was. I've lost count of the number of times I was caught out of the house without a diaper or snacks or extra socks...or showed up at the doctor's office without the insurance card or return cab fare or immunization card...and the list goes on.

It sounds funny, but Hurricane Sandy gave me the opportunity to prove to myself that I can do this adult/parent/teacher thing.

Now I turn my thoughts and prayers to my friends and family in the Northeast of America. May Sandy be as kind to you, Loved Ones. I'm sending you all my deepest love.