Monday, October 29 2012
In the morning before the "Frankenstorm" (Hurricane Sandy stitched onto a stationary front parked just to the west) started causing chaos, I flattened the yard furniture and lay down other objects that seemed likely to blow around in a gail-force wind. I also filled up a five gallon water jug with potable water, since our losing power seemed like a certainty. And then we watched and waited. Most of the news coming in via Facebook seemed to consist of photoshopped pictures of the Statue of Liberty (one of which fooled me for a time), but it was slow in coming, as was (evidently) the storm. But eventually there was news of ocean swells hitting the beaches of southern New Jersey even as winds started accelerating around our house. According to my rooftop weather station, these winds never gusted above 20 miles per hour, but evidently they were enough to break a wire somewhere in the miles between our house and wherever our electrical power is produced. It went dead at around 2pm, and from then on I mostly relied on NPR (via my battery-powered Sony Walkman) for news updates, although we also had access to the internet via Gretchen's Droid. At some point I learned that a good portion of the boardwalk in Atlantic City had been ripped out by the storm surge. Somewhat later I heard about a crane dangling from a skyscraper in Midtown Manhattan. [But I wouldn't learn of the flooding of the subway system and lower Manhattan until tomorrow.] As for us, wind blew in steadily from the east, howling a bit at times, but it wasn't strong enough to do anything worse than sheer off a few limbs from nearby trees. Oddly, though it was raining all this time, it didn't add up to more than a quarter inch. At some point we heard someone using a chainsaw, and when I looked out the door, I saw that some guy from the Town of Hurley was cutting up a tree that had fallen into Dug Hill Road. It was a moderately-large White Pines from across the street, and though it had fallen into the road, it had not damaged the powerline that runs directly overhead.
Without much to do in the darkness, I found myself with a flashlight balanced on my shoulder as I drank a beer and reading the latest copy of Make Magazine. At some point I couldn't bear the lack of a glowing screen even one minute longer, so I went upstairs and got the little Netbook (which has a six to eight hour battery life) and Gretchen and I used it to watch two episodes of Mad Men.
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