But now, we have power, heat, gas in the cars, and life is starting to feel a little more normal, but the fear lingers...will that ever happen again? Will we ever lose power during the winter for that long? Will we have odd/even days again of rationing with gasoline.
I have to be honest we had to live day to day and have a new game plan each day, and honey, I don't do well with that at all. It was not my finest hour. Nine days of what will we do next? Will our power be on when we get home? Can we afford to drive the car on such little gas not knowing if we could wait 4 hours in line the next day to get more? Where will we sleep? If it was just me and John that would be one thing. We could rough it, sleep anywhere, and deal. But with two little ones, a dog, and a home to look after (fallen trees/debris everywhere) keeping to a schedule/routine was key.
One thing I am very very proud of was that we NEVER missed a day of school for those 9 days (we even did school on Saturday because Julia asked to do it and we had nothing else to do so why not). We needed something that we could do during the day that would keep our minds busy and our hands at work. John would be chopping wood for the fireplace with Mark, and Julia and I would be huddled at the kitchen table with soup or cocoa as we did reading, math, and Bible.
It was nighttime that proved to be the most difficult...it got dark so early (the clocks changed) and we literally had to cook dinner over the gas stove with a flashlight to see. Not such a big deal considering there were others who lost their cars, homes, and all their belongings I know, but a lot to get used to when you are used to light.
After 4 days of roughing it at night under 4 and 5 blankets and wearing scarfs and socks to bed and bundling the kids in two pairs of long-johns to keep warm, (the temp dropped to the 20s and 30s at night) I finally said to John, I can't sleep here anymore...so we were blessed to have two dear friends who housed us at night from Thursday to Sunday and also allowed me to do 5 loads of laundry (remember, me, the one who does one load a day...the laundry and the no vacuuming was KILLING ME! LOL I even made John drive us to Home depot for a broom so I could at least sweep!)
The kids never once complained about being cold, they loved having daddy home for almost 2 weeks, and they loved sleeping over the Lambertsons and Hechs, to them it was an adventure, to mommy and daddy we felt horrible, I know we should've been grateful to have people house us but it is very humbling to sleep over someone's house with your whole family and feel so displaced. We made sure we arrived after dinner and left first thing in the morning so we could resume our routine of school and taking care of the house/puppy.
Finally on Wednesday, after Election Day the power came back on! But you know what the power has been back for a week already and still things are not entirely back to normal. I still find myself fearful of what will be next, and filling up my gas tank every other day, and cooking extra food, just to be prepared. This has really rocked our boat. But maybe it was all for good.
On Saturday John got to travel with about 50 men in 5 different teams aiding in relief to the victims of the hurricane in Staten Island which was very badly hit and shore areas. He left at 6am and came home at 6 at night. He couldn't even come in the house. He took his outer clothes off in the back yard and came through our sliding doors. His clothes and shoes were filthy with wet, moldy, dirt because all day long he threw out trash which was once treasures to a homeowner in SI. He said he felt so bad for this elderly couple because they lost everything when the water surged through their home. The 12 guys that helped this couple threw bag after bag out of books, clothes, furniture, and valuables because nothing could be salvaged. And the gentleman checked every bag in hopes of keeping or saving something. That is what I cannot imagine. Here I was worried about when the power was coming on and this couple 2 weeks later still has no heat, no power, and no more "home". They are still living there under moldy conditions and my heart goes out to them.
I think people all across the nation have no idea how bad we were hit in NJ and NY and CT. Life will never be "normal" again. Sure life goes on. But we are all forever changed.
One thing I learned is that being busy does not make me a better mom. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed just having no where to go and just sitting down and reading to my kids, playing bingo, drawing, painting, talking. We had no tv and no movies for 9 days and it didn't matter. We loved every minute God gave us with John too. I feel like God allowed us to store up those hours to just have Daddy time. Daddy time is very rare.
So back to normal? Somewhat...and yet, I'm grateful for the experience and the friends who helped, and the comraderie I felt in my neighborhood. It allowed us to step outside of our daily lives and actually check in on and talk to our neighbors.