Snow, Snow and More SNOW!

Okay, I’ve had enough. We’ve had bad winters before, we live in the Northeast, snow is to be expected in the winter. And this one probably isn’t as bad as others we’ve endured. But it seems worse.
In the last several years, we’ve had very unusual weather events. The year before Hurricane Sandy hit, we had a huge snowstorm in October, right before Halloween. The leaves hadn’t even finished falling off the trees, making the load of snow even worse. The sound of a tree snapping as it falls over is one of the worst sounds I’ve ever heard, right up there with the crunch of metal during a car accident. We were lucky it didn’t hit the house, but it did take out power lines. That was three days of missed school, but the rest of that winter was relatively calm.
Then there was Sandy, which devastated so much of the NYC Tri-State area, and the Jersey Shore. I had friends who had to be rescued from their homes by boat – out the second floor window! They lost everything below their second floor, all of their cars, and most of their belongings. Schools were closed for at least a week, some longer, because it took so long to get power restored, flood waters drained, etc. Again, the rest of the season was thankfully major event free.
But this just feels worse than usual. I’m not sure why – maybe because the kids have already used up their allotted snow days and are moving into the “take back days off in the spring” phase.  Or worse, add days to the end of the year! Maybe it’s because I’m still unemployed and having the kids here is a death blow to my productivity. Maybe it’s because my 17 year old daughter is not happy when I won’t let her take the car out on icy roads. Or maybe it’s because even my kids are sick of snow (not the snow days though – that’s ALWAYS good for them!).
Or maybe it’s because we’re barely halfway through February. Winter isn’t over and that damned groundhog predicted 6 more weeks of winter. I’d like to have a word with that rodent – and the people who shine a million lights on him as he comes out of his home. Of course he’s going to see his shadow with that many watts blasting directly on him!
Today’s storm is going to last until tomorrow. Which likely means another snow day, though at this point, I’m hoping for a delayed opening. The rate we’re going, the kids will be in school until July, though there are a couple towns considering Saturday classes to avoid other methods of make-up days. I can’t see that going over too well here, but anything is certainly possible. Once one town does it, and it works, others will follow suit.
All I know is, it’s getting to the point I’m afraid to drive just because I can’t see around the ten foot piles of snow when trying to make a turn. If I can’t see, the other drivers can’t see me, and with slick roads, it’s a recipe for disaster. I haven’t seen grass in weeks. Even squirrels and birds have been mostly scarce.
Maybe I should go write a few of my signature love scenes – will that melt the snow? It should, but then we’ll have a flooding issue. Never a dull moment!

We Survived Hurricane Sandy

Wonder how long before that’s on a bumper sticker?
Anyway, Hurricane Sandy has come and gone – or as she was called by many, Frankenstorm. She was big enough on her own, but she also combined with other systems which turned her into a giant, with brutal winds, nasty heavy rain and storm surges we’ve never seen the likes of before, bearing down on the East Coast like a gigantic bat out of hell. And for some people, hell is what she brought.
New York City didn’t fare so well. The flooding boggles my mind. I’ve never seen anything like this in this area in my lifetime. When I see the images of what happened in lower Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens (OMG! Breezy Point!) it makes me realize just how lucky we were. I have no doubt that New Yorkers will come through this with their usual hardy yet blasé attitude, and will make everything better and stronger than ever.
I live in New Jersey, though, and as I mentioned, we were relatively lucky – we lost power, schools were (and still are for now) closed, and even my office closed for two days. Unfortunately, I have to go back tomorrow. My street survived without too many catastrophes – a few big branches down, some people’s cars were damaged, but the power was the worst of it here. And we had a generator that we ran intermittently to keep the fridge going. Borrowed dad’s spare – seriously, how many people do you know who have a SPARE generator? Only my dad! lol
However, once you left my nice section of the street (I live on a long, straight boulevard), it turned into a war zone. Trees down everywhere, roads impassable and closed, dangling wires, etc. It was pretty bad, and though we were lucky to get our power back relatively quickly, others are still out and will be for days to come. My parents, who live one town over, will be out for at least a week, if not more. One of their neighbors’ trees came down and took everything with it – wires, telephone poles, other trees. Even ripped the meter off one of another neighbor’s house!
But all in all, it wasn’t as bad here as it could have been. Other places were literally demolished. The horrific nightmare that assaulted the Jersey Shore will haunt me for some time.  My beloved Stone Harbor was under several feet of water last night, though now that it’s receded a bit it looks to have survived mostly intact. Our house on 98thStreet appears to be still standing.  Considering the storm came ashore right about there, the lovely seaside haven is very lucky. I’ve seen the devastation done to other places on the shore, and it just makes my heart ache. As a born and bred Jersey Girl, I spent a good portion of my summers on the shore, in one town or another, with friends or with family. It hurts to know the shoreline will never be the same. I don’t know when I’ll get back to see everything, most likely next spring or summer, but I am expecting changes, and I’m reasonably sure I won’t be too happy about most of them. I’ve been able to view many pictures some of the hardier souls took as they braved the onslaught, and I know they likely don’t come close to the reality of seeing it firsthand. If you’ve ever been to Seaside or Point Pleasant, you know how nice those boardwalks are, and how much fun. Well, now many of them are pretty much gone. But I have faith in our Jersey folks – we are a tough bunch and we don’t back down. We’ll rebuild with our usual “we ain’t gonna take this crap” attitude. Sandy, you may have made us stumble, but we’ll never fall.
I say this because if you ever have the chance and can take the time to really explore NJ, you’ll realize just how critical this state is to the forming of our entire country. The place is covered with historic landmarks, and so many of them date back to pre-Revolutionary War years. Many of our successes were planned and strategized here, fought here, and yes, we lost some crucial battles. But without NJ, there might not even be a USA! I think that points to our resilience, and as difficult a time as many of us here in the Garden State are having, we will prevail and we will go on, bigger and better than before!