In the Country Village neighborhood of Jersey City, the water from Newark Bay came in waves and covered Route 440, streaming in through these streets like a river. Some of the folks who were keeping vigil all night from their second floor apartments told us that the water was so high that it came over the top of this MINI Cooper. http://photos.nj.com/jersey-journal/2012/11/hurricane_sandy_aftermath_in_c_25.html
Our first dinner by candlelight in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy (Tuesday, October 30th) - my ingenious and industrious mother made creamy potato soup, cheesy potato soup and wedge salads with balsamic glaze as she organized everything we had in the refrigerators and freezer. Thank God, we were able to make wonderful meals each day and share with family, friends and neighbors. We got to use much of the food we had and only threw a small portion away.
Necessity is the mother of invention. Without an oven, we relied on our grill for a lot of things such as reheating slices of pizza, making bagel pizzas and grilling up bacon-wrapped filet! One of our successful endeavors were these grilled nachos with salsa and cheese and served with spicy guacamole. Mmmm! Delicious smoky flavor.
By Thursday and Friday evenings we were hosting upwards of 20 people for dinner each night at our home. This feast from Saturday night looked like a Thanksgiving dinner! One family member had an oven that could be lit, we utilized our stove top and the grill and everyone brought food that was rapidly defrosting in the powerless freezers. Despite the cold (50 degrees indoors) and discomfort, we enjoyed wonderful fellowship being together every evening, often keeping the night alive until 11pm!
The spread of desserts so generously brought by many guests for our Sunday dinner. We had closer to 30 people for dinner that day! Games of Dutch Blitz and Taboo commenced by candlelight and were aided with flashlights as the sun went down. We ended up playing Taboo for 5 hours and it's now a family-favorite.
Thank God, we had our power restored around midnight yesterday after being without heat, hot water and power for 7 days and 4 hours and we were able to crank the heat on and up and take hot showers today before exercising our right to vote.
We had friends who joined us and worked together for several hours cleaning out one of our family member's homes in Jersey City. They had 7 feet of water in the basement so everything inside was destroyed (thank God, it did not come into the first floor of the house) and her 3-week new car in the driveway was also ruined. One friend out of town had power restored when she arrived home Wednesday morning and she immediately began bringing hot pizzas, coffee, bagels, donuts, milk and ice as could be found back into our town to help feed and warm members of our family without heat and power. She opened up her home to several of us, allowing me to stay there one night so I could work remotely and complete time sensitive reviews, and taking in another relative of ours who was suffering from an infection and the severe cold inside her home. Folks in our church checked in on us and others and made shopping trips, bringing food items to people who were in need, offered to bring people to their homes for some warmth and were willing to share extra blankets and supplies as some had power last Friday evening and others waited until the late hours of Monday night and early Tuesday morning to receive power.
Many many thanks to the PSEG workers who pushed through and restored our power, to the PSEG man who came to our house at 11pm after we arrived home to find the carbon monoxide alarm going off (you leave home for one night in a blackout and look what happens...), the National Guard members who descended on NJ to evacuate, rescue and bring supplies to those in need, Team Rubicon for being amazing and Rangering Up to help the people of NJ, and to my mom who made every day as comfortable as physically possible for our family, extended family and friends who took refuge in this little outpost while the storm raged on in various ways. It was incredible to have people rise to the occasion and put themselves completely out there to help and bless others as folks struggled in different ways and with multiple needs.
Sandy may have kept us down for a bit, but while we were all down there we banded together, and for that we are much stronger and better as Christians and a family. I cannot even begin to recap all of the fun moments we had together in this last week, or the tough ones. But it was a true delight to have so much time spent with people praising the Lord for His goodness by protecting each of us, preserving our properties and blessing us with so much in Him and the company of one another.
Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go readjust to using the bathroom without a flashlight and remembering to turn on the lights when I enter a room!
"When my mind is free
You know a melody can move me
When I'm feeling blue
The guitar is coming through to soothe me...
Thanks for the joy that you're giving me
I want you to know I believe in your song
Rhythm and Rhyme and Harmony
You've helped me along
Making me strong"
("Drift Away", Dobie Gray)