Today is Halloween, but besides the large pot of Chili on the stove (a Jenson family tradition I have continued for Mike) it feels nothing like Halloween. Why? One word "FRANKENSTORM!!"
Frankenstorm, also known as Hurricane Sandy hit the Tri-Sate area on Monday and left a path of devastation in its wake. We were spared from flooding, property damage and even a power outage. We feel so blessed and have done our best to pay it forward the best that we can. Although my story is not nearly as dramatic as others in my area, I want to be sure that it is recorded. So here we go...
The first time I heard of "Frankenstorm" was Thursday afternoon. The lady I babysit for mentioned that we might have a change of schedule if this storm hit. I decided I would go to walmart after work on Friday and pick up an extra lantern and a few non perishable storm essentials. As I left work on Friday I joked with my coworkers that I would see them Tuesday as we all hoped we could squeeze an extra day off from the storm. We had no idea we would be missing a whole WEEK of school due to this storm. When I got to walmart I was shocked to find that the shelves has already been picked over and very little was left. Glad I already had enough flashlights and things in my 72 hour kits. I was still able to pick up some good storm food to help us get by.
The weekend was a little eerie. It was definitely the calm before the storm. I think most people got what they needed then just sat around tracking the storm and waited for it to hit. By Sunday night, It was clear the storm was going to hit and it was going to be bad. By 2pm Sunday afternoon Mike's office had sent an e-mail announcing that they would be closed on Monday, something that has never happened with any of the past storms. By 3pm I had an e-mail from my school saying it would be closed on Monday and Tuesday. We heard that people on the water in Greenwich and Stamford were being told to evacuate. We looked at a map of Stamford and we were only a few blocks away from the voluntary evacuation zones. Sunday nigh my good friend Camille and her son Peyton came to stay with us since their home is close to the long island sound. Her husband was away in FL on business and she was nervous of flooding in her area. Her home was one house away from mandatory evacuation line.We were glad to have them, it was like a little party. That night as I watched storm coverage I was excited to see my school name flash on the bottom of the screen.
All morning and afternoon the winds howled. I was surprised there wasn't more rain, but most of this storm was wind. We spent a lot of the day watching storm coverage and checking Facebook. We would let each other know when a new friend announced that they were without power. Around 6pm the storm made landfall and we could tell. It was right around then that our lights started to flicker. I was sure that the power was going to go out. I hurried up and got a warm dinner on the table hoping the power would stay on long enough for us to eat. During dinner the lights kept flickering. As we looked out the window it was pitch dark outside. I didn't understand why it was so much darker than normal. As I cleaned up I was just praying we could keep power long enough for the dishwasher to run the full cycle. Camille and I made some bran muffins that we could eat if the power went out. While the muffins were baking we felt like there was a lull in the winds. So Mike and I went outside to investigate. There was a huge tree branch that had fallen in our parking lot, we were glad we moved our cars. While checking out the branch there was a huge, powerful gust of wind. I looked up to see all the trees swaying above me and got a little scared. We ran away from the trees to the street to see if everyone still had power. We looked down the street and saw nothing but darkness. The whole street was out of power. Somehow, our complex and the big medical center beside us were the only people with power. We were so grateful, but even more sure that we were biding out time before our lights went out as well. Later that night Mike went and stood on our front porch and looked around. He came back in saying that something weird was happening in the sky. There were flashes of pink and orange every once in a while. We later realized that those were power transformers blowing up. Towards midnight we knew the storm serge was close to hitting, that would be the real test. Stamford has a flood gate that is suppose to protect downtown from flooding. If it were to break the whole place would be under water. As it got closer to midnight I started to worry that I would wake up to water around our building. I went to be praying we would maintain power and not end up under water. I usually sleep really well at night, but not Monday night. I woke up at least once or twice an hour checking to see if we had power and if everything was still dry. I was relieved to wake up in the morning to power and no flooding. Our cable and internet was out, but that wasn't even a drop in the bucket compared to what other people would be waking up to. We said a huge prayer of Thanks to our Father in Heaven that we were so blessed throughout this storm.
Tuesday afternoon we were all stir crazy. Since the storm had died down we went for a walk, then drove around to see some of the damage. We stayed mostly on main roads as we knew the back roads would have lots of live wires down that would be dangerous. We saw lots of trees uprooted, snapped in half, on houses, blocking roads and fallen in yards. It was hard to believe that after Hurricane Earl, Hurricane Irene and all the bad Nor'Easters we've had in the past 4 years that there are still so many trees that had fallen. We didn't see any flooding because those areas were blocked off. I am curious to see what the main campus of my school looks like. It is RIGHT on the water of the long island sounds. I hope it wasn't damaged.
Camille headed home later in the afternoon and a coworker of mine and her brother came over to shower and charge electronics. After all the excitement of the day Mike and I sat down and realized there wasn't as much to do without internet and cable. We decided to take advantage of our unexpected time off and head to a movie. We went to the theater inside the mall. It was crazy to see all the stores closed, but the mall full of people charging phones and laptops.
We feel continually blessed to be so lucky and pray for the people who have lost everything.