For those of us living on the East Coast, particularly in New Jersey and New York, the last two weeks have been less than stellar, to say the least. We’ve all seen the pictures and videos on the news of the epic destruction that Hurricane Sandy brought to our area. It’s been heart-breaking to see so many lose their lives and homes because of this storm. The devastation along the Jersey Shore, especially Seaside Heights, was particularly hard to take because many years ago my grandfather had a bungalow there. I have so many fond memories of summers spent in that beach town and along that boardwalk. Seeing it ripped to shreds like that tore me apart, as well.
My family and I were very lucky. We didn’t have too much damage to our property – a little siding here, a couple of trees there – but like so many others, we did lose power. With the gas shortages caused by the storm, each day became an adventure to find enough gas to run our small generator so we could power just a couple things like the refrigerator, a few lights, and one zone of our furnace. Many in our area were without power or heat, so we took in friends and family, made meals and helped out where we could. Our power outage lasted for twelve days, but the most surprising thing was that, in the end, the way it brought us all together outweighed the inconvenience.
Since we had no TV, internet, or video games running, we did things we hadn’t done together in a long time. We played iconic board games like Monopoly, Trouble and Scrabble for hours. My teenage son, who wouldn’t touch a board game on a dare, played an epic game of Risk with his friends – all day. One of his friends had made his own maps of what the world looked like in the 1700’s and the kids made up their own rules about how to jump from continent to continent crossing the oceans. It was so imaginative, kept them busy for hours and was such fun to watch. Another day, all the boys played touch football in the backyard – unheard of for teens today!
We also played card games like blackjack, poker, gin, and a game my kids introduced me to for the first time – Egyptian Rat. Who knew? My older son also taught me a card game he and his friend claim to have created themselves while on a Boy Scout trip, called Articus. Again, who knew? Along with the game playing came the snacking though. Recipes that hadn’t been touched in years came out of the drawer and we experimented with improving upon them. I definitely think we gained the Sandy Six, as it’s been dubbed around here.
All in all I’d say the storm brought us together in ways we never could’ve imagined. I think my twelve-year-old said it best. “I think this storm was great, Mom. We’re all doing things together instead of each of us being in separate rooms like we always are, watching tv, reading a book or playing video games on our own. We should do this more often.” Well said, son.
So, if you were impacted by the storm and without power because of Sandy, what did you and your family do with the time?