Scary Night

Scary Night

First, let me just say my family made it just fine through Hurricane Sandy’s visit to NYC.  We’re ok.  Better than ok.  We were expecting the worse and in the end, were no more than frightened.  We are grateful.

Second,  and excuse me but I feel the need to swear a little now… that storm scared the shit out of me.  I’m still twitchy all these hours later and I know I woke up with more grey hairs than I went to bed with… Frankly, I’ve been a nervous wreck all day.

We were supposed to evacuate.  But we decided our apartment was safe from flooding (high rise) and the worse would be a few days without electricity.  Jin & I furiously prepared to be stuck with no power.  We could deal.  Better to be trapped at home with everything in readiness than to have to wander into who knows what in search of food should we move over to a hotel.

We had everything ready by Monday morning.  And then we waited.  The storm was supposed to hit mid-day.  Then the forecast said late afternoon.  Then not until evening.  Our plan was to stay inside until after everything had passed.  However, it just looked like any old cloudy day outside.  A little rain.  No wind.  We could see joggers and bikers taking advantage of the warm afternoon.  So tempting to step out for a little bit.  But I worried that the winds would hit suddenly… and I’d seen debris flying about before.  No better to stay inside.  Meanwhile, the news sounded ever more alarming and friends and family were calling, texting, and e-mailing to ask:  Are you evacuating?  Why not?  Are you sure?  Are you sure??

Tense all day.  And quiet.  Weirdly quiet.  Less and less traffic outside.  I watched the road crew close down the Battery Tunnel in the afternoon.  We let the kids have all the TV and computer games they wanted.  Why not?  It distracted them and it might not be available again for a while.  Jin and I thought up more things to do.  Filled more pots with water.  Boiled all the eggs.  Moved whatever we could away from our wall of windows.  Still no storm.  Early baths.  Dinner time.  Nothing going on in one moment…

…And in the next, I glanced out into the darkness and saw a silent tide of water flowing north on the West Side Highway.  Not a sound.  Not a whisper of wind.  Just the tide moving swiftly north.  It was unnerving.  Spreading and rising faster than I could ever have imagined.  Waves of water raced up the street.  Flowed into the Battery tunnel.  Crowded up the pedestrian promenade and surged on.

We figured we had only a little time before we lost power.  We took pictures and forwarded it to friends to warn them the flooding had begun.  Asked for news of power outages.  Within minutes, the streetlights went out.  One building, then the next blacked out.  Amazingly, our power remained.  I was thankful to still be able to connect via facebook and text to most of my friends & family.  Things felt strange and unsettled.  But not all that scary…

…Until about 10 pm.  Again, the change was sudden.  Quiet and still in one moment.  Then a slight whine of a warning and a huge powerful frightening blast of wind slammed into our southern windows.  Jin and I stared aghast at each other.  Holy smokes – what the hec was that?!  Then another slap of wind.  Then another and another and another.  It felt endless.  Jin fell asleep after about a half hour of it.  I cowered next to him.  I could feel the cold trying to reach us through the glass.  The windows literally shook with each hit.  I heard creaking and groaning in the very walls around me.  The wind picked up and went all night.  There were the steady howls of normal storm winds – loud and strong, but still just regular winds.  And then there were the banshee screams of the crazy gusting blasts that would periodically hurl themselves against the building.  I was terrified.  I kept seeing the news footage of that building in Chelsea where the entire facade had been yanked off and the interior left  exposed like some child’s dollhouse.  I was certain the wall just 2 feet away from my side of the bed would suffer the same fate…

Thankfully (so thankfully), no such thing happened.  Eventually, I drifted off into a fitful sleep.  When I woke up at 6 am, the banshees of the night had departed.  The storm was still nasty, but the wild gusts of wind were no more.

A look out showed that the waters on the promenade and most of the West Side Highway had receded.  But we were shocked to discover that the Battery Tunnel looking like a canal.  Folks stopped by there all day to have a look and take pictures.  We stayed away.  Looking at it from afar was sufficient…. especially since I could also see where a port-a-potty had tipped over and floated to the edge of the new body of water…

Would you believe our building never lost power?  How could it be?  I think some of it luck… but most of it due to the amazing team of guys who work in our building.  We finally wandered down to the lobby mid-morning.  They were all there.  Still working.  Setting things aright.  Exhausted and running on fumes.  They’d spent the night sealing entrances, diverting flooding waters, pumping out the basement and keeping us safe.  They greeted us with happy, relieved grins and told us of their night’s adventures.  Can’t describe how grateful I felt in that moment. I wanted to cry as I shook each man’s hand and thanked him.

So, for us, this part of our story ends well.  Scary night… over, done, safe.  And now it’s time to look to our less lucky friends & neighbors & help get our beloved NYC up and running once more.

Waiting

Waiting

It’s Monday morning.  So quiet.  Subways and mass transit closed last night.  Schools closed today.  No one going anywhere.  We’re waiting.  Waiting for Hurricane Sandy.

I wasn’t paying all that much attention to the news about the incoming storm.  Frankly, I was too “busy” playing Halloween… until Saturday afternoon when I went to Whole Foods to do our weekly grocery shopping…

The first thing I noticed was that there were no shopping carts available.  I searched about and managed to relieve an employee of his single grocery cart he was using to drag baskets back to the store entrance.  Then I started really seeing all the people crammed into the store.  It seemed that the entire neighborhood was in there.  Everyone quiet.  Serious.  Filling their carts with single minded focus…. what the hec?  I weaved my way about the store.  Trying to pick up the usual list – milk, eggs, fresh produce.  But the strangely intense feeling in the store was getting to me.  I started feeling a little nervous.  Maybe I should buy water too?  Or at least some non-perishables?

I found all the missing grocery carts when I finally made it to the checkout counters.  Crazy.  Carts parked end to end.  Every single one of them packed with supplies and waiting to be delivered to someone’s home.  I gave myself a mental kick for not having brought my own shopping cart and then resigned myself to the long wait at home for my groceries.

Sunday morning the decision to close mass transit and schools was made.  Evacuation of certain neighborhoods announced.  And that heavy feeling I’d first noticed in the grocery store grew even heavier.

We spent the afternoon preparing to be home bound and possibly without power for a few days.  To me, that meant cooking, cooking and cooking.  To Jin, it meant cleaning toilets… go figure…and filling the bathtubs with water.  The little boys were given the job of hunting down our flashlights and putting fresh batteries in them.  It was busy, busy, busy well into the evening.

And now?  It’s Monday morning.  The rain has started, but not the storm itself.  Shades are all drawn.  Gotta admit, I’m feeling a little on edge.  It’s not the flooding I’m fretting about (not something highrise folks worry about), but I am concerned about those 70-plus miles an hour wind gust coming our way and my southeast facing windows.  But really, absolutely nothing to do now but stay put and wait the storm out.

Thinking of all my friends and fellow New Yorkers in these same circumstances.  Hoping the best for everyone in the path of this storm.  And waiting.  Waiting for the storm to pass.  Stay safe, everyone.

All That Candy…

All That Candy…

When Simon first started trick-or-treating at 1 1/2 years old, he had no idea all the colorful items he collected at everyone’s door were actually edible.  He just liked filling his basket full of those pretty little packets.  Then we took him home, snapped pictures of our baby and his bucket of loot, fed him his miso soup and rice and sent him to bed.  I pocketed a few pieces of my favorite candies, then swept the rest into Jin’s bag for him to share at work the next day.

And so we started a little after-Halloween tradition.  It worked like a charm for another year or two.  But then, Simon finally figured out what candy was all about.

Ethan caught on even faster than that.

Ethan’s Halloween wish is to keep all his candies and “not have to share it with daddy’s cold-workers…”

Too bad for you, little boys.  

Here’s what we do now with all that candy:

As soon as we get home from trick-or-treating, the boys set up camp on either end of our dining table.  Their piles of loot are poured out on the table.  They’re like misers counting their coin.  They touch every candy.  They compare who got more of what.  They gloat.  I still take pictures of all their candy treasure.  Then they start sorting.

  • A jar for each of them to hold the candies they love the most
  • Misc. junky plastic rings, pencils and tattoos go right back outside our door for late night trick-or-treaters
  • Fresh baked goodies from the Tribeca bakeries are set aside to be packed into their school lunches
  • And everything else is swept into a bag for Jin to take to work the next day.

He tells me the guys at work really enjoy their day after Halloween munchies… Good.  Because assuming we’re not completely rained out by the incoming “Frankenstorm” – I plan to send another bag of sweets to work this Thursday.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Less than a week to Halloween.  And what better book to celebrate this candy filled holiday than the wonderful story of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl.

I plan to read this book to my boys with a big pile of next week’s Halloween candy sitting next to them.  Just like Charlie Bucket, they’ll be able to look, but they won’t be able to touch… let them feel poor little Charlie Bucket’s pain of having to walk by that chocolate factory on an empty stomach everyday while longingly breathing in the mouthwatering aroma of chocolate…

…Always good fun to torment the little boys just a tiny bit…

Target is to finish this book next week.  Then we can celebrate Charlie Bucket’s victory by popping up some popcorn, breaking into some of that Halloween candy and watching both versions of this movie.

Halloween Junk Bin

Halloween Junk Bin

Every Halloween we are too busy trick-or-treating our way through multiple high rise buildings to actually stay home to hand out candy.  Instead, we decorate our front door and leave a big bowl of candy out for other trick-or-treaters.

A few years back, I realized I could dump off Simon & Ethan’s excess toys by filling a second bowl with all sorts of bits and pieces – little cars, pencils, miniature pads, plastic guys, etc… Gotta tell you, the neighbor children all love digging through our junk bin for free toys.

This year, instead of using a plain box for our junk bin, I made a big Frankenstein monster head out of an old plastic planter.

Found the planter in my favorite salvage spot – my building’s garbage room.  Dumped out the potting soil.  Gave the whole thing a good scrubbing.  Then stuffed it in a closet where it sat for about six months until I dreamed up a use for it.

Two nights ago, Ethan and I decided our urn looked like a head.  We tried putting his face on with pipe cleaners and glue dots.

We weren’t particularly excited about our results.  It just looked like a cheap planter with pipe cleaners glued on to it.  Not to mention, the pipe cleaners were falling off by the next morning.  It would never survive an entire evening of enthusiastic trick-or-treaters brushing up against it.

E took on the tedious task of peeling all the pieces off.  I experimented with other materials we could use on the planter.

I started playing around with a roll of bright green duck tape.  Nifty stuff.  It reminded me of the first Frankenstein monster head I’d put together last year.  We were really sad to toss that craft but the cardboard box was simply too big to keep around.  So, I decided to make the head one more time – this time in a more manageable size and with this sturdier base.

Just a few pieces of random card stock and lots & lots of duck tape (in green, black & silver).  I was the one to execute the craft, but my boys made sure to tell me how I could improve on it.  Simon reminded me to give the guy ears.  Ethan wanted one red eye and one white one.  They fetched supplies and cleaned up my scraps.

In no time at all, our new Halloween Junk Bin was complete.  Filled it with this year’s worth of give-away toys.  And now just 7 more days until Halloween.