Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween (photos 2012)

Happy Halloween!!!

Well, we've been 2 whole days with no electricity due to Hurricane Sandy, and Lilian's school was cancelled (and therefore her party and parade were postponed) - but Lily didn't let it ruin her Halloween!  She put on her horse costume and we went Trick or Treating in town.  And although half the stores in town were closed,  Lily still filled her pumpkin with candy!  If you ask her, it was a successful Halloween.

(Since we have no power, and I'm on the WiFi at the high school, I can't access Facebook, so please leave comments here so I can see them!)

And as always... some adorable Halloween photos:

At BookHampton - look at the book display to the left - LOL!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Frankenstorm (*update #4 + photos*)

              Every summer since I moved to Long Island, we've had a hurricane threat at the end of the summer.  And every September, we go out and buy flashlights/candles (if the previous year's aren't still good), food, gas for the car, and bottled water like woah!  We put the dog's leashes in an easy/accessible spot.  We bring in the lawn furniture.  And we wait.  And then we have a Rainy Day.  In 2007-2011, we did this once a year, and always had a Very Rainy Day.

              Well, just last week, I thought to myself, "Hey!  We didn't have a storm warning this summer."  And because it was already mid-late October I figured we made it through the summer without the end-of-summer hurricane panic.  Last year it was Hurricane Irene, I remember all the stores boarded up their windows, there were a lot of fallen trees and coastal damage (some beaches were closed at the beginning of this beach season because of it), but luckily we came out with no damage and just a Very Windy and Pretty Rainy Day.

And just days after I was thinking we were "in the clear" this year, here comes Hurricane Sandy - better known as Frankenstorm.  And, seeing the satellite photos... man, it's HUGE!  It looks as big as the WHOLE east coast pretty much!  I've read it's only a catagory 1, and that's good.  But... it still looks pretty intimidating.

I'm not too terribly concerned about bodily harm to any of us, but I am really worried about property damage.  A tree crashing on my car (especially since we're a 1 car family) would be a really bad thing.  Yes, it's insured, but who wants the hassle of being without a car in the meantime... plus, I really really like my car.  It's new-ish to me (purchased February 2011) and I am very attached to it.   A flooded basement is no good... we've been there (March 2010) and lost ALL of our baby gear, winter coats that were hanging on a coatrack, winter boots, furniture, Missy's comic collection, etc.  That also sucked.  And a tree through our window and/or roof would suck too - our books, furniture, etc would probably be destroyed.  (We live on a wooded lot, we don't have a grass lawn.... so trees surround our house and overhang our entire driveway.)  We have renter's insurance, but I'm not sure what exactly is covered in the case of a hurricane.  I don't think anything from flooding is covered - at least not on Long Island.

We live really really close to the water - surrounded by it in fact.  The red pointer shows where we live:

The east coast... we're on the red pointer.

Long Island -  red pointer shows our town.

We live in the white dotted lines.

I read that the oceans may rise by 3-5 feet... I'm not sure exactly what the flood zone is, but living SO close to the beach, makes me nervous about a flood, particularly a basement flood.

We live right near Montauk.

We have all of our preparedness items - non-perishable foods, new flashlights, candles, and lots of water.  As a matter of fact, we have GALLONS of water in our basement from previous year's hurricane warnings that we've never used.  We're filling the bathtub with water, etc.  We even bathed all of our dogs today.  I'm not sure how that really helps, but somehow it seems better to be stormed in with CLEAN and fluffy dogs!

Missy still remembers Hurricane Gloria in 1985, her area on Long Island was left without power for ELEVEN days!  That's a long time to be without electricity.  Growing up in New Jersey, I think our biggest weather catastrophes were usually snow related - I do remember being without power for a day or two because of snow (I can remember the house was freezing and I remember changing my clothes IN my mom's walk in closet because it was the only space without windows, and was therefore the warmest spot in the house.)   But the idea of going a week without power does NOT seem fun to me.  Blackouts are totally fun for an evening... cozy even.  But not for days/weeks.  Plus, now as an adult, I have to worry about all the food in my house defrosting and going bad, and the expense of that!  (As a kid, black outs mean flashlight fun and no school.)  But the news sources and LIPA seem to be promising us a very "likely" chance of loss of power.  Since we're on well water, that also means no water (the well pump needs electrity to pump).  Luckily, it's been a warm season and we haven't turned on the heat yet, so I'm not too worried about being cold.  

So, I guess we're as ready as we're going to be!  All day has been cloudy and windy... you can definitely feel a storm coming.  (Especially if you've broken a lot of bones in your life, like me.  I can FEEL the pressure changes in the air.)

The latest Hurricane Sandy info as of 2PM on Sunday.

We're still waiting to hear if Lily's school is going to be closed tomorrow.  The public school already announced their closing for tomorrow, so I assume her private pre-K will follow, but it hasn't been "officially" called one way or the other.  But if weather is ridiculous, I'm not going to drive 40 miles to get her to Pre-K. (It's 10 miles there, 10 miles home... then 10 + 10 again to pick her up when the day is over.)  Missy hasn't heard anything about her work remaining open/closed.   
*Edited to add*  Lily's school just posted on their website that they're closed on Monday.  Now I just have to cross fingers that I don't have to drive/pick-up Missy from work in hurricane-like weather!

It's also silly, but I'm hoping that Halloween isn't ruined by the storm!  Lily has an adorable horse costume (what else) that she's dying to wear!  Plus, there was supposed to be a party and parade at her school... and trick or treating in town.  To a 4 year old, this stuff is a pretty big deal and a pretty big social event.

I'm going to update this post if we find out any new information.  And in the chance we do lose power... and cell towers are still working, I'll use Twitter to update about us, so family and friends will know we're OK.  (My Twitter updates also post on my Facebook wall.)  If you don't follow me on Twitter, you can:  dana_rubyfruit    .   If we keep power, then I'll just update here!

I hope everyone else fares well!   

Do YOU live in the hurricane's path / flood zone?  Comment and let me know!  What have you done to prepare?  Is anyone evacuating?!?!
Comment here and let me know - I'd love to hear what everyone else is doing!

*UPDATE*  Monday, 1:15pm  -    So far, nothing major going on over at our house.   All night it was windy and drizzly, but nothing too bad.  The sound of the wind was actually kind of soothing, and helped me sleep!  Missy needed a ride to work this morning, so we all drove her to work just before 8am and it was just "normal rainy day" weather - windy and drizzly.   We had to go pick her up at noon since her office closed early, and I saw SOME tree branches down, but again, the wind/rain wasn't scary to drive in.  Missy said that people were reporting that some of our local roads are flooded, the marina water levels are so high that the boats are floating in the parking lots, and that there are some down power lines.  But, on our block and the 3 mile route to and from Missy's work, I didn't see any major damage.   But now we're all home safely... we had a debate WHERE to park my car (we have a circular driveway that can fit about 5-6 cars, so there is a choice of places to park... so we had to guess which tree is least likely to come down on my car!   So, now we're just waiting it out.   Lilian's school was closed for Tuesday (I got the phone call about an hour ago.)  We're all making lunch now while we still have power.   Twice so far, we've had a "brown out" where the power went out for a second, but then came right back on.  Ugh.  I'm dreading the inevitable blackout.  I think I heard that the storm is supposed to hit us worst between 7pm and 7am, so we'll see.   Fingers crossed for no damage and KEEPING our electricity!  (It would really suck and be super expensive if all the food in our fridge/freezer went bad.)
I'll update more later - so long as we don't lose power.  Or maybe I can do it from my cell phone!
So far... so good.

How about YOU?  Anyone have any major storming going on?

This is where the hurricane is around now.

UPDATE - Monday 6PM - We still have power!  The electricity flickers out every 10-40 minutes, but comes right back.  We made dinner early just in case.  Looks like the hurricane is making landfall pretty far south, so maybe we'll only get hit lightly.  People around town are posting photos of flooded roads and downed trees - but nothing seems to be happening over at our house!  So far so good!

Monday, 5PM the hurricane is approaching.

*UPDATE*  Tuesday  2PM -   Well, we made out OK.  Our house/car/trees/property had NO damage.  Seems every other house in Springs had trees come down... but for us it was just some branches and debris.  Nothing to even clean up!  
My cell phone stopped getting a signal around 3PM Monday (and still doesn't... or does only very intermittently).  We lost our cable and internet around 6PM Monday.  But we went to bed still having electricity!   At around 1:50am our power went out (i was awake reading a book in bed) but it came back about 30 minutes later.  We woke up with power - Missy even emptied out our tub (the "flushing water") and took a shower - we drove her to work at 7:30am, but no one was there, so we left.  We drove around town and looked at the aftermath and took photos (I'll edit and post photos when we get power back.)  Lots of tree damage, the front window of the grocery store in town was smashed to bits, but not much else.   When we got home at 9am, our block had no power anymore, and we still don't.   Seems nearly the WHOLE town has no power except for the main streets in the village.   Not sure when we'll get it back.
The Red Cross set up an emergency shelter at the high school, so we came over here to take showers (YAY, I feel a lot better after a shower!) and use the electricity to charge Kindles and cell phones, and to see if they had WiFi - which they do!  Hence.... this update!   Facebook is blocked here (it's a high school) and my cell still has no service, so I can't send individual messages to those who texted us or is sending FB messages... but we're OK over here!
Hoping power comes on soon, because it will be so sad to have to throw out EVERYTHING in our fridge and freezer.  Anyone even know how long it can last with the power out if we're not opening the doors?  
Haven't heard if Lilian has school Wednesday or not, and how this will affect Halloween (will the stores in town still do Trick or Treating?)
It's a beautiful day today though, we have windows open, it's warm and breezy with blue skies.  As a matter of fact, we watched the cloud cover move off of us at around 8am - and there was a full arch rainbow!  (Yes, I took photos.)
Lily is running laps in the enormous high school cafeteria (which is mostly empty), she needed some unwind time and a change of scenery.
Rumor is, if the town has no power tomorrow, Red Cross and FEMA will be serving hot meals here.  We've got bread, PB&J, apples, chips, granola bars, cereal, etc at home... we won't starve!

*fingers crossed for return of electricity quickly*

Funny story, we had been talking to Lily about the possibility of a black out for 2 days (she's the kind of kid you need to prepare for things) and we promised her if we lost power that we'd read books, color, and play board games.  Well, when we got home this morning and discovered that we had, in fact, lost power.  Her first question was "Is it time to play my board games now?"  :)    She's a very sweet kid.  She keeps forgetting and asking if we can turn on the TV.   But she's mostly OK with it.  Taking a shower in the high school and eating a Red Cross sandwich (stale bread!) were totally adventures for her.  Her first "public" shower!  She maybe is even having fun.  Not sure it'll be so fun on Day 2 or 3 though.  Sun down in 4 hours... we better pull out all our candles!!!

I can't get on Facebook and I can't receive text messages - so leave comments HERE if you want me to see them!

Anyone else out there in the "dark"??? 

 Photos of the Storm Damage (from Tuesday)

 Our next door neighbors... blocked in by a fallen tree.

The ONLY sign of a storm at our house - my birdhouse fell!

More tree damage on our block.

My MIL's house... she had a big tree come down.

Another shot of the HUGE tree down at my MIL's house.

Abraham's Path - blocked by a tree.   8am, Tuesday.

Rainbow - over the beer store!   :)

Hurricane Sandy blew out with a rainbow!

All the stores in town boarded up their windows.

The big semi-circle windows on Waldbaums got blown out.

Many roads blocked by trees and fallen power lines.

The worst damage we saw... the whole front porch was crushed.

This tree took a whole section of sidewalk with it!

Red Cross shelter at the high school.

Setting up the cots at the Red Cross shelter.

We showered in the high school locker rooms! 

Lily enjoying a sandwich and a change of scenery.

We saw our neighbors... one of whom is Missy's Aunt!!!

*UPDATE*  Wednesday 8:30pm -    Well, we've been 2 FULL days with no electricity.  We've been showering once a day at the high school and charging all our devices.  I'm assuming that all our food in our fridge/freezer is ruined, but today someone told me that FEMA issues some kind of check or one-time food stamp thing to replace all destroyed food.  Not sure if this is true, but we'll look into it.  That would certainly help.  Our condiments alone are probably $40 to replace!   Lily's school was cancelled today because "they couldn't get enough staff due to road blockages"... though I don't see any roads still blocked around here.  So we took Lilian Trick or Treating, which killed a lot of time today, so it wasn't so bad. You can see our   Halloween photos here.  Supposedly she has school tomorrow and they are postponing her Halloween party/parade at school (which she was sad about missing today) until Friday.
I've had cramps/lower back pain all day, which is probably a result of being dehydrated or overdoing activity (carrying heavy bag with all our electronics to school and 1+ hour of walking around Trick or Treating).  It's been totally unpleasant for me though.  Not sure if this is "Braxton Hicks" contractions or whatever, because I've never felt a contraction before that I know of, so I'm not sure what it feels like.  But I've kinda just felt tight all day.   I'll be 31 weeks tomorrow!   I am supposed to have a sonogram/OB appointment tomorrow, but since they have no power, they're seeing patients at the hospital, and when I asked if I'd still have my sonogram, they said they didn't know - so I'm going to wait and reschedule, because it's a LONG drive (2 hours each way) to be measured with a tape measure and my BP taken if I'm not getting the sonogram.  Hopefully after a good night's sleep I'll feel better.
Hoping we get power back tomorrow and we don't have to go a full Day 3 with no electricity.  I keep hoping I'll fall asleep and wake up with all the power on!  Parts of the town are getting power back, so they are talking about closing the shelter at the high school, which will suck if we don't get power back SOON, because of the showers!!!   Also, we're running out of clean clothes and need to do laundry!
So... maybe tomorrow will be better.
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