Many of my friends are doing a "30 days of gratitude" exercise through the month of November. I applaud the concept, but I don't think I'm going to be able to dedicate my blog to gratitude all this month. It's not that I have nothing to be grateful for, it's that a lot of it is difficult to put into words. Maybe I'll manage a thoughtful and introspective post around thanksgiving, while I'm immobilized by a food coma. That said, I do need to express how very, very grateful I am that we came away from Hurricane Sandy with only minor inconvenience.
We didn't lose a single tree. Only some small branches broke off in the wind, and none of the siding or gutters or roof have even a scratch. Despite some serious water pooling on the side of the house, we had no flooding in the basement. There was water collecting in the garage, which we expected and prepared for by moving most items off the floor.
Our house didn't lose power until Monday evening, and since the government shutdown kept us both home form work, we both got to spend a day here on the couch, watching TV together. It rained incredibly hard for the entire day, and the wind picked up steadily into the afternoon and evening, so I was surprised the electricity stayed on as long as it did. We spent the first night at home, sleeping under some extra blankets, but in the morning we decided to head to Dave's parents' place for a hot shower and a meal. They were also kind enough to let us keep our food in their fridge and freezer, a transfer made easier thanks to my weekend freezer organizing.
As usual when this sort of thing happens, we left the cats behind with extra food and water. Because it was cold in the house (56 was the lowest I saw, so it wasn't that bad) I left extra blankets on the couch so they could burrow and snuggle in a warm kitty pile.
Miraculously, the power was back on by Wednesday night, and the heater switched back on immediately without us needing to reset anything. I was expecting a week off the grid, given BGE's historical restoration pattern! I'm not sure why everything went so much more quickly this time. Maybe fewer communities lost power, compared to Irene and the derecho, or maybe they're finally getting their act together after the state and county laced into them about their previous failures. Either way, I am delighted to be back in my own home so soon, and I'm so grateful that our property and our persons are intact.
Not everyone was so lucky. I know several people in New York and New Jersey who had to leave their homes because of a lack of power and water, or who are toughing it out beside their fireplaces, trying to stay warm.
I've made a small donation to the American Red Cross, whose disaster relief teams are on the ground in the affected areas, doing what they do, helping people stay warm and fed and safe.
Because the storm caused many blood drives to be canceled and shut down donor centers and blood transportation for a few days, the Red Cross has put a call out for donations. Especially if you live outside of the affected areas, please consider making a donation of blood or platelets. The Red Cross normally only has a buffer of about 2-3 days' worth of blood products even in disaster-free times, so a pause in collections in a big area like this can have bad consequences across the country.
See redcrossblood.org to find a donor center or community blood drive near you. And if you can't or don't feel comfortable donating, then tell a friend, or say something on Facebook or Twitter about the need for blood. Every little bit helps.