Saturday, November 3, 2012


This time last week I should have been in Jersey visiting my family. Instead, I was battening down the hatches for Hurricane Sandy's arrival - can we even call that whore-monster a hurricane?! I'm sure I can come up with a few better words. But I digress...

So hurricanes - or as I prefer, MNIPs (Mother-Nature-Is-Pissed storms) - are an unfortunate reality when living on the East coast. We figured this out about 12 years ago when we moved to the Hampton Roads area of Virginia.

Storm Essentials or coping strategies...
I'd like to think we've come a long way and have become quite efficient when it comes to storm prep. But that first year? That first year we were clueless. And I mean CLUELESS! That hurricane season brought Floyd and Dennis back-to-back and, not only did we not listen to the warnings, but we didn't even have basic necessities like water (which the city shut off) or batteries (we lost power). No joke. I remember watching water pour into the first floor apartments and realizing, 'this $h1+ is for real'. Yes, we were very, very stupid.

Flash forward a few years to 2003 and Hurricane Isabel. Storm prep that year was packing up the car and getting the hell out of VA. That was not my initial plan but my husband (the cop) knew he'd be gone indefinitely and didn't want to worry about me so I packed up all the animals and headed to my mom's in Jersey.

When I finally came back a few days later, I was shocked - I don't know what other word to use. As soon as I hit Williamsburg, the reality of what Isabel did became obvious and only got worse the closer I got to home. The city where I taught was devastated. Three years after Isabel, I had students that were still living in FEMA trailers. Just awful...

So thankful we and our family and friends
were spared the brunt of Sandy and are safe!
See, the thing with bad weather and impending-doom warnings is that you really don't get it until you see it. Sure there's the news, Internet and every social media source available, but it doesn't really have the same meaning until you've seen or, gods forbid, physically experienced the destruction. I don't mean to say that we're not affected by tragedies or that we don't care, just that it's a whole lot different when it's 'home'.

And when I see photos of the Northeast, my stomach turns because that is home. And I suppose on a much deeper level, there's sorrow too because home is no longer that safe haven I turned to for Isabel.

But tragedy, no matter how it's witnessed, always puts things into perspective, (or at least it should!). And that's when humanity/community/compassion/etc. burns bright.
I first saw this photo circulating on Facebook.
You can read the story here

So often I am overly cynical and negative about our society, then something disastrous happens and I see people working together, giving selflessly, and I feel hope. I have read so many wonderful stories about people helping total strangers (like the photo on the right) and I can't help but feel affected by their generosity.

I believe we can all help in our own way. I may not be in a position to donate cash, but I have plenty of stuff I can donate (or make!). I've listed a few sites asking for donations that some of my friends back home posted and I will add more as I get them.

I hope you and everyone you know are safe and my thoughts are with all of the victims of the hurricane.

The Red Cross FB Page - List of options and resources

South Jersey (Camden County)
Jersey Shore Hurricane News FB Page - general info and rumor fact checking
Catholic Charities, Diocese of Camden - donation info

Miya's Sushi - free meals
Local Shelters - A Twitter friend listed her info and is offering up her place. I'm sure others are too.

(DISCLAIMER: While there is humor to this post, please don't mistake that for callousness - it is simply my way of coping. With the exception of a small few, everyone I love and care about lives in the Jersey/Philly region. To say I was a dysfunctional basket-case during the storm, is an understatement.)

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