The Upside of Sandy


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.

A little levity by a neighbor

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?


18 thoughts on “The Upside of Sandy

  1. I’m so glad you were okay, Marlo! I have family on Long Island who still don’t have power. I’m just glad you found a positive way to stay safe and keep others safe as well. Hopefully this will be a hundred-year storm and you won’t ever have to deal with a hurricane like Sandy again. Now let’s pray for a mild winter!

    • Thanks, Sharon. I hope your family on Long Island are safe and get their power back soon, too. And from your lips to God’s ears on the mild winter. Wouldn’t that be nice!

  2. We were without power for three days, but lucky to have gas. The fireplace worked, and we could still cook. Nights were by the fire, everyone in their woolens, with board games and copious quantities of adult beverages. It was sort of nice, but glad to get a hot shower when the lights came back on.

  3. Glad to hear you and your family made it through the storm without any injury. Such a sad story to hear of Seaside Heights and what happened to the boardwalk down there. Stay safe and glad everything is getting back to normal!

  4. Happy to hear that you and the family adjusted through Hurricane Sandy in spite of the lack of everyday necessities. Perhaps we all learned a bit of what life can be like without the essentials that people assume will always be there, as we live our daily lives. It is in difficult times such as a hurricane that people see the glass half empty, while others prefer to see it half full. Not having electricity but instead there is a generator can become a blessed item indeed. These experiences can teach us never to take anything for granted because it can be taken away tomorrow. Maryann

  5. Your adventure without electricity sounds much more fun than ours, though I did try to teach my 4 1/2 year old how to hand sew in felt with embroidery thread by explaining to her in olden days she would have been in charge of feeding the chickens and darning her socks. She wasn’t too impressed, but her Barbies enjoyed my handcrafted pillows and sleeping bags!
    It was very nice meeting at the NJ SCBWI event this weekend.

    • It was great to meet you too, Lauri! I LOVED Barbies when I was growing up, but I have the two boys so my Barbie day’s were over long ago, LOL. How sweet that you get to enjoy them with your little girl and impress her with your craftiness. Please keep in touch!

  6. Wow, sound like a lot of fun ensued through a really bad situation. I’d love to hear more about this map game. THese guys sound the game creators of the future, lol. Glad you’re okay and weathered Sandy fairly well.

    • Yes, the map game was so creative! Freddie had drawn three maps circa 1700’s on poster board – one was North America, one was half of Europe and the third was everything else, I think. They spread the maps out on our pool table, used the traditional pieces from Risk and made up rules about how to travel between each map. They stuck mostly to the regular Risk rules, but I also heard them making up some of their own (some hotly disputed) and the game went on for hours. All of them are big video gaming nuts, so I think they even incorporated future technology too. (Those were on index cards). So they had spy drones, hovercraft, etc. I fully expect that they’ll all be designing video games one day!

  7. Sounds like you and yours survived Sandy intact and whole. Glad you were able to take in friends and neighbors. Isn’t it great how the old standbys (cards Monopoly) come in handy! Hope your son keeps his enthusiasm and wants to continue playing the games “more often.”

    • I hope so, too! We’ve all agreed we should have a family game night. We used to when the kids were little but it fell by the wayside with busy schedules. We’ll have to make a point to get this going again. Thanks for stopping by, Claranne!

  8. Marlo,
    I’m so glad you and your family weathered the storm. We had a few moments ourselves in DC, but nothing like y’all did up north. It is amazing how resourceful kids can be when the TV set is turned off.

    • The reach of this storm was simply incredible – we even have friends in midwest Ohio who lost power for a couple days.
      Resourceful – now that’s a word I don’t mind being associated with my teen. After all, he is a Boy Scout 🙂

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