Wow, I had NO idea that when I scheduled that last “Storm Survival” post, that I’d be needing more than nail polish and comfy pajamas to sustain our family for the week. We’ve had QUITE the experience over the last few days, and now that we’ve temporarily moved in with our sweet friends across town, I’m finally taking a minute to sum it up so that we can get back to regular programming around here – Sound alright?
The only way we were able to stay even semi-connected was by the generosity of fellow Hoboken residents who lined the sidewalk with power strips plugged into extension cords coming out of the windows of their homes. We had no cell service or wifi, and only very limited texting or access to news until we finally found batteries for our radio a few days after the storm hit.
It felt very strange to know that our family/friends were worried about our safety, but that we could barely even check in to let them know we were safe. Finally being able to talk to my Mom and Dad on the phone yesterday morning and watching nearly a week’s worth of missed news coverage, made for a very emotional Thursday.
A limited supply of candles and firewood have been the only way we’ve had to light and heat our home, and when we ran out of both on Wednesday we ended up walking almost 3 miles to try and find more supplies. On the bright side, we spent our Halloween consuming treats of homemade cherry cobbler, coming up with tasty seasonal cocktails, playing cards by candlelight & cozied up by a freshly-fueled fire.
This is currently what our downtown looks like, and thankfully with the water line drastically receeding, it has allowed FEMA, the Red Cross, and other sources of aid to be able to do a much better job of distributing food, water and other medical supplies to the many families still in need.
Of course we’re beyond grateful that our actual home and building suffered little to no damage, and we are finding ourselves constantly counting our blessings despite the still-rocky situation here in town. In order to cope by trying to keep things somewhat lighthearted, I jotted down a few things that I’ve learned throughout the past several days, and have also compiled a few ways that you can pitch in below…
Top Ten Things I Learned from Hurricane Sandy:
- Neighbors bond faster than anything I’ve ever seen when everyone is walking around in their PJs and wellies checking on folks they’ve never even met.
- Cold washcloth baths in the sink by candle light are NOT for sissies. I am apparently a really big sissy.
- I use the microwave for way too much stuff… must attempt to nuke less, and try to bake/steam/poach more.
- Storm, or no storm: Puppies always make the best feet warmers.
- Fancy scented candles don’t do squat when you’re trying to light a home or light your gas stove. Leave those in the bathroom so they can do their job when you’ve had to make your husband beans for breakfast/lunch/dinner for the last few days in a row.
- Despite our best efforts at self-control, when forced to ration food – the coffee, chocolate and wine were the hardest to spare and the first to go.
- Don’t apply your oil based skin/hair product by candlelight. (Ouch. Trust.)
- The fact that I only wash my hair once every two weeks comes in quite handy in the case of a water limitation during a natural disaster.
- The hum of a generator and ding of successful text messages are two of the most comforting sounds I’ve heard all week.
- The view of a half dark/half light Manhattan from across the river is a very sobering sight, and finally hearing “SAFE!” messages from friends who have also been disconnected brings a huge sigh of relief every single time.
All joking aside… I know many of you read from different parts of the country (and world), and several have asked about ways to help from afar. Style & Pepper will be donating a portion of the proceeds from our upcoming Pepperologie workshop to local relief efforts via our church, Hoboken Grace, as well as the animal rescue efforts of the American Humane Society (but the ASPCA and Humane Society of the United States are also great ways to care for displaced animals, as well).
If you happen to be in or near NYC or are looking for different options, my friend Sara also posted about several other ways you can lend a hand, both in the area and from a distance. Lastly, and possibly the easiest way to make a different: you can safely and quickly donate $10 to the American Red Cross by texting “RED CROSS” to 90999 right this very minute.
Thanks so much for even considering to help out (and for reading such a lengthy post!), and for your patience while S&P tries to get back to our regularly scheduled programming by the beginning of next week. I hope you’re able to have (at least some semblance of) a relaxing weekend with the people you love no matter where you are, and I’ll look forward to seeing you back here very soon!