Sunday, October 28
I wake up at 5:30 am and see clear skies so I head into Manhattan. I run 11 miles, with 5 of them being the Poland Spring 5 Mile Marathon Kick Off. I run this race every year and I am happy not to miss it this time. Not only for the relaxed atmosphere and fun course, but because they always give the softest t-shirts; my favorite shirts to sleep in. I run the loop myself and it is mostly uneventful. I meet up with Ashley and Jess and we run the 5 mile race together.
When I get back to Jersey City, I wait for Andy to get home from Boston. He was originally planning to come home at night, but he left early on Sunday morning to beat the storm.
When Andy gets home, we head out for supplies.
And then we head out for real supplies. We already have flashlights and some snacks, but we want to get more water and some other things. While we’re out I get an email from my office that they will be closed on Monday and Tuesday. We go home and make a pizza for dinner. My stomach hurts. I watch TV until I pass out a good two hours before Homeland. Again.
Monday, October 29
I wake up and work from home. My stomach still hurts, but I have an appointment on Wednesday to help it. They say the storm will calm down by Tuesday afternoon. I don’t see any reason I won’t make my appointment. I do not yet understand the severity of Sandy.
I have a conference call with Legal and our designers. I do some work but find it hard to concentrate. I consider going to the gym, which is open until 3:00, but the rain and winds look so bad I don’t want to venture right next door. We watch last night’s Homeland. We read reviews of last night’s Homeland. I do some more work but don’t think to schedule any posts for the next day. I watch the news and learn that everyone must be in their homes by 6 pm. As people start posting on Facebook and Twitter that they lost power, we watch the news and enjoy the time we have left. I get a text from my mom that her power is out.
I overreact to small things. I am extremely neurotic. I obsess and I overthink and I brood. For big things like hurricanes, though? I don’t worry so much. I can’t imagine it could be that bad (for me). When my mom lost power for days after Tropical Storm Irene, I felt terrible for her but never suspected that would happen to me. Since it didn’t. So we prepare a little but not really. We have flashlights thanks to Andy and water thanks to me, but neither of us consider buying candles. But when my mom’s power goes out, this time I do understand that it will happen to me too because Sandy is more intense than Irene. But I don’t worry about long term effects.
I am more scared of the actual storm – my building swaying or the wind pounding on my windows or any number of scary storm things that could happen. I am terrified. Outside my window, the trees and tennis net and traffic lights violently jerk and sway. I wait for things to get worse.
Outside my window, the cars in the parking lot across the street are completely submerged. I feel thankful for my decision to pay more than the monthly cost of my car to keep it parked in my building’s garage. The money in repairs would have been more than the yearly cost to keep it there.
I see evacuation orders for Jersey City on TV: basement and first-floor apartments. Not me. I later learn some whole buildings in Jersey City were evacuated too.
An announcement comes over my loudspeaker. I jump at the sudden loud voice: This is a non-smoking building, do not smoke in the common areas or your apartments.
I HAVE A LOUDSPEAKER??!!
What world is this? Can they . . . hear ME? It is creepy but also awesome and I can’t decide how I feel about it.
I see this video of my street:
The loudspeaker sounds again: This time to tell us they shut the elevators off as a precaution. I have a LOUDSPEAKER?!
When our power does go out around 8:30 pm, I am not surprised. I understand it is inevitable. I turn off my phone and iPad, I shut down my computers. I read my book with a flashlight.
We go to bed. I think it is still early, but what else is there to do? The winds are loud at times but never as terrifying as I expect. The building does not shake. From the comfort of my 11th floor apartment, it doesn’t seem like much more than a very bad storm. We fall asleep.
Tuesday, October 30
I wake up around 5:30 to pee and realize the toilet does not flush. I try to turn on the faucet and there is no water. I go back to sleep. I am awoken by my loudspeaker at 9 am, which is very late for me. They (and later I realize it ‘they’ is my doorman) announce that they do not know when the power or water will be back. I get out of bed, stand under the loudspeaker and yell: WHO SENT YOU?
Andy and I go into the living room and look out the window. The submerged cars are free of water. There are people walking outside. It still looks very windy and occasionally rainy, but we clearly slept through the worst of it. We don’t have a transistor radio (part of that whole not really preparing thing) but we do have a shower radio. We sit in the living room and listen first to NPR and then we switch around to the other news talk stations, like NBC. We learn about the destruction and devastation that hit the New Jersey shore towns, Staten Island and Manhattan. We hear that our PATH train service is suspended first for 7-10 days, and then indefinitely.
I wonder about the NYC Marathon. I’m volunteering at the race expo on Saturday and selfishly wonder how I can get my credit. I assume the race will go on and Andy thinks I am crazy. I do not yet understand the depth and reach of Sandy’s devastation.
I turn on my phone sporadically to text people to let them know I am OK. 3G doesn’t work. Phone calls don’t work. Texting works. I text Twitter about my current status without power and water.
I text my mom and brother and my sister-in-law and some friends. I text Ashley to ask about the marathon. I text Brynn from Refine Method and ask her to cancel my Wednesday and Thursday classes (which are already canceled because there’s no power there either). I laugh at my idiocy on my decision with Katherine, on Monday afternoon, to sign up for a 7 am Refine class on Wednesday.
The loudspeaker comes on again. “ShopRite and BJ’s are open.” A mass exodus from my building occurs as we all crowd the pitch black stairwells with our flashlights. I feel fortunate to live on the 11th floor and not the 30th. Dark staircases are scary and dizzy.
ShopRite is crazy. Andy managed to get the last few candles they had left. I went to the religious aisle to look for Yahrzeit candles only to find they are all taken. I feel sad knowing that they were likely taken by people who don’t know the significance behind them.
We wait on an insanely long line that swoops all around the giant store. We wait. We wait. I go next door to BJ’s for coffee from their cafe. While I am on line they announce there is no coffee left.
I don’t understand why they can’t take some 24-pack of Foldgers from their shelves and make more coffee? I leave. Andy is still on line in ShopRite and hasn’t moved very far. We wait. We wait. I get impatient; it’s been two hours in this store and I am hungry. We wait. We wait. We wait. Andy goes to the front to examine the line situation and realizes we are all snaked around the store for ONE REGISTER.
I assumed the long line split at the front to feed into different registers. It turns out, there are short, small lines for all the other registers and the around-the-store line for just ONE. Store management knew and chose not to tell us idiots on the long line.
Andy and I go to a short line and finally get out and go home with our non-perishable food and candles. We joke with the doorman about the loudspeaker. Andy requests the Pledge of Allegiance for the following morning. I request a karaoke party.
We climb 11+ flights with heavy grocery bags and I feel SO happy we don’t have a 30th floor apartment. I don’t think I would have even made the trip.
We sit on the couch and listen to the shower radio. I feel very disconnected not knowing what people are saying, what is happening on social media and TV, what people are wondering about me.
The loudspeaker announces that they expect the power back no sooner than Monday, November 5. One day was bad enough. I understand now just how tough this is. We rename the bathroom the urine room. I dread going there.
We talk about going to Andy’s parents’ home near Boston the following day. We already had one day without power and water, but how many days can we really go on like this? I don’t want to leave but I need a flushing toilet.
My NYU online class is canceled.
Andy grows a beard.
It gets dark out quickly. We light the candles and exclaim over the ones that change color every few seconds. Those candles are the most exciting part of our night.
Wednesday, October 31
At 1:30 am, I am awoken from a deep sleep with a clicking sound. I open my eyes and the room has come to life. The power is back! THE POWER IS BACK AND WE WERE ONLY WITHOUT IT FOR ONE DAY. I felt relieved that I could stay home in comfort. I felt guilty we got it back so fast when so many other people, including much of Jersey City, was still without.
We spend the next two hours catching up on phone things. We read emails, texts, the internet, the Twitters. We go back to sleep.
In the morning, we watch the news and I see my first images of the devastation. I now understand the scope of this disaster.
I feel overwhelmed by the people who emailed to check in on me. People I don’t talk to often were worried. My work Facebook fans were worried when I didn’t post all day. I am beyond touched.
I call my Grandma, who had been trying to call me the entire day before. I call my mom. She still doesn’t have power and won’t get it back for days. I make coffee and then feel disgusted by the state of the creamer I put in the freezer and back in the fridge. We make the trek downstairs to search for coffee.
Starbucks is closed. Dunkin Donuts is closed. Everything is closed, dark, deserted. One small deli on the corner has its doors open, no lights. There is a small line inside and I find they are serving coffee. With no power. How are they heating the water? Where did they get the water? Is it safe to drink? The person behind me decides it is not and leaves. But I am desperate and I buy a coffee.
Back home we climb the 11 flights, out of breath. We watch the news and I do some work. Andy wants to go to Chili’s for lunch. He calls them and finds out they will open at 1:00. Very few restaurants have power or are open. We arrive at 1:08 to these lines:
We wait outside for a long time. Quite a few runners go by on the sidewalk, which makes me think the waterfront running path is closed off or damaged. I have no desire to run.
We finally get a seated inside. I order a margarita. Our food takes a very, very long time to arrive. The food is delicious. Three hours after we ventured out, we get back home. The temperature has drastically dropped. I am happy I did not have plans to run. The cold is grating. I feel extremely relieved to have heat. I worry about those who don’t.
My mom calls; she went to stay with a friend who has power. As a NYC teacher, she has to report to work on Friday but the students do not. What is the point?
We watch the news, we watch TV, I do more work. I constantly check the NYC Marathon news. The controversy fascinates me.
There is a 6 pm curfew in Jersey City.
Thursday, November 1
The elevators work. I go to Starbucks. They have no food but they have coffee. I work from home.
I go for a 6 mile run. I don’t bring my camera. I want to take it in, not be distracted by capturing it.
It feels amazing to finally be outside, to finally be moving after days of sitting. The fresh air is incredible. I see cyclists and joggers and walkers. I run to my waterfront path and see some minor damage. I see people sitting in front of office buildings charging their devices.
I am rerouted when caution tape blocks the way. I see that part of my pathway is no longer there; it got swept in the water. I run around and pass Chili’s. There is still a line. I see many workers everywhere I go: PSE&G and many others. Everyone is working to fix this city.
I see my office; I see it is boarded up. I go back to my waterfront path for a little, only to be rerouted off course again.
I see stores with their doors open, no lights. The employees are cleaning; the employees are fixing the damage. I try to determine if each building I run past has power. I can see some do; I can’t tell about the others.
I am near Hoboken, a city that sustained some of the worst effects of the Hurricane. On the news I saw their city underwater. The waterfront pathway is obviously blocked off and I run up the sidewalk. When I get to the beginning of the city, I glance ahead. It looks wet. I turn around and head home, further surveying the scene.
It is a Thursday and the streets are mostly empty. The traffic lights do not work. There is sun but a general dreariness hangs over Jersey City. My run feels easy. I feel guilty.
I still want to volunteer at the NYC Marathon Expo on Saturday but I can’t find a way to get there. I want — I NEED — to vote on Tuesday, but I can’t find a way to get there. I need my GI appointment, my stomach is not OK. But I can’t find a way to get there.
I tell everyone I talk to how fortunate I am. I am addicted to the news. I cannot stop watching.
Andy and I discuss the NYC Marathon controversy. We are fascinated by this. We agree that it seems wrong to hold insulated ponchos for race finishers when the mayor of Hoboken is on our TV asking for sweaters and blankets for trapped residents. We agree it feels wrong that displaced residents can’t stay in hotel rooms because out-of-town runners booked them. We agree that since the decision has been made to continue with the race, the runners should not be blamed for running it.
I blame Bloomberg, the same person who is making teachers like my mother — many who have no power, no water, no way to get there — come to work with no students. I feel relieved that I decided not to run NYCM this year.
The PATH train changed their ETA on being in service from 7-10 days to “indefinitely.” This is not a good sign.
Friday, November 2
The more I learn about NYCM, the more I feel the decision to hold the race was wrong. They say resources won’t be taken away from the city, but what about the resources the race has that can be donated to those in need? Insulated race ponchos. Bagels and coffee. Generators.
At the same time, I can’t imagine canceling it. There would be outrage either way, but this decision makes New York City and NYRR look bad.
I still want to volunteer at the Expo. I do not support the decision to hold the race, but the race is happening and I committed to this volunteer. But if I can’t get there, that is OK.
My mom is at work with nothing to do.
I decide to take off work on Tuesday. I feel guilty about this decision since I can get to work and many people I work with can’t. But I need to vote and I need stomach relief. I am in pain. I can’t not vote.
The marathon drama is on the news now; my worlds have collided. I remain fascinated.
I feel guilty for being worried about how long it will be before I can go to Refine again.
There is a 7 pm curfew in Jersey City.
The loudspeaker (I repeat – I have a LOUDSPEAKER??!) comes on and I jump in fear and the doorman tells us there will be no water for a few hours. I feel thankful to have a loudspeaker, even if it scares me every time the voices come on.
I keep checking the NY Waterway Twitter to find out if they will introduce weekend ferry service. I am impressed with their social media responsiveness. My stomach really hurts and I need to get to Manhattan; the sooner, the better. If I can go on Saturday I won’t have to take the entire day off work Tuesday.
The update comes. There is no weekend ferry service from Jersey City on the weekend.
I can’t stop watching the news. The more I see about Staten Island, the sicker I feel. Many people who lost their homes were not even in an evacuation zone. The children on the news are cold.
I can’t stop watching the news. The more I see about Hoboken, the sicker I feel. It is the next town over from me. I run there. I ran there yesterday. How can they have it so bad while I have it so good?
[Edited to add] The marathon is canceled. I felt more strongly about this race than I realized and I feel relieved. I hope victims can benefit from the race resources. I feel even more strongly when I see a friend from middle school created a grassroots charity to help those in parts of Queens that were destroyed. The people there waited for days with no help from the city, the Red Cross or FEMA. They needed resources, the race did not.
I want to help. I find this article about volunteer opportunities for Jersey City residents. I call the number and get busy signals. I send an email. I call again and get busy signals. I hope this means lots of people are trying to help.
I feel lucky. I am fortunate. I live just a few blocks from the Hudson River; I was in my apartment during Hurricane Sandy. I lose power and water for only one day. Other parts of Jersey City are still without power and water. My mom is still without power. My biggest concern is how I will vote and get my medical treatment – both minor in the big picture.
I had it easy.