When hurricane Irene came, DH and I argued about whether to duct tape our windows or not. Irene did affect our lives, though not by flooding our apartment in Harlem: we got bored, we drank and we probably conceived L then.
When hurricane Sandy came, half of Manhattan turned pitch black and was flooded. In our small apartment, a different type of storm was causing havoc.
Here is the tale of perhaps the longest week in my life.
Day 4 – Monday
I spent all day gauging the sky while DH was monitoring the weather situation online. I kept wondering whether we should risk going to the store to buy stuff we probably wouldn’t need (we are New Yorkers and when things are uncertain, we swipe our credit cards) or risk taking the kids for a walk despite the mist. Clouds were becoming really threatening but everyone we knew seemed to be high spirited. Facebook updates were about people getting booze, stacking up food, purchasing batteries. Everyone seemed jolly; it looked like we were all going to a bloody camp fire in the Catskills. As the day progressed, the kids were increasingly getting out of control: G was banging the garden door screaming ‘outside, outside’, P was slightly nervous and kept saying ‘A-peur’ (‘Scared’) and L was very unsettled. I was looking at L and it did scare me a little. Aren’t babies like dogs and they sense danger?
A ‘Wuthering Heights’ like wind was bending the bamboo plants on our terrace. We tried to calm down the kids as well as we could; meaning we let them watch ‘Barney’ (a show about an annoying Purple dinosaur with annoying white teeth), snack crap, climb and run over high chairs as if they were a freaking gymnastics beam and throw everything on the floor. We tried to get advice through Facebook. Among the best tips: mix formula with beer and insure our home contents for storm-induced rage. To make matters worse we absolutely had no wine to drink but Sake. Sake. We were so desperate that we did drink the Sake with ice cubes to go with Foie gras – BLASPHEMY.
After dinner, our bamboo plants were still bending but nothing more and DH and I were seriously bored. And then suddenly something weird happened. My very socially networked friends suddenly stopped communicating: no more FB updates, no more text messages, no more Twitting.
Day 5 – Tuesday
After a ruined breakfast during which my homemade pancakes were thrown down on the floor, we decided to switch on the TV. That’s when we realized what some of our fellow New Yorkers and New Jersey neighbors went through: devastating winds, threatening flooding, Con Ed plant in flames, power outages. Neighbors hanging out with their wired kids in our building hallway were telling us about their friends from downtown staying over with their families. We have been the lucky ones. Somehow none of our friends accepted our invitation to crash on the couch. Looks like no power, no water, no heat is still better than 3 screaming puking babies. Go figure.
When the kids started to run out of the apartment in their pajamas we decided to go for a family stroll in Morningside Park.
We then truly realized the extent of Sandy damages…This amazing New York Magazine cover says it all: we, New Yorkers never wanted to see it or think about it when we hop in yellow cabs, down martinis or queue for Broadway shows but The City does sleep…sometimes.