See you, Sandy

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Seeing your home state on television via disaster-oriented marathon is more surreal than anything else. I’m not from the Jersey shore area, but I like any other NJ native I’ve have spent many summer days  along the boardwalks of Seaside and Atlantic City, current mainstays in the news cycle when it isn’t remembering there is an election in a couple of days. I’m closer to NYC, and haven’t had the mess others have been having apart from losing power for a couple of days and not being able to make it to work. I am incredibly lucky. If nothing else, this storm has been an inconvenience for me. I still have my home, access to food, and I never lost my plumbing. Too many people had it much worse than I did. I didn’t anticipate the amount of damage the storm cause- I don’t think anyone really did. It was a dark, gloomy weekend before the storm, and I spent the day the storm hit wondering when I’d lose power. It went at 7 in the evening that Monday and didn’t come back until early Friday morning. The days went by fast, and it felt like a pretty long weekend.

When I ventured out of town, however, I got to see some real distress. I saw trees through houses and cars, endless lines of people waiting for gas, a grocery store stripped of essentials with closed off refrigerators with “Do Not Buy” warnings taped to the doors. People walked around dazed and tired, not knowing what to do. When you spend days without power and hear of looting going on in towns around you, you get nervous. So far, so safe. My town enforced a temporary curfew- who could do much around town in sheer darkness, anyway? I can report that drivers around here were super courteous on the roads which made getting around a lot easier and safer than it could have been without any street lights and not enough cops around to direct every road.

So now everyone’s in clean up and recovery mode. I’ve heard many stores about friends and relatives of friends being displaced and losing everything. Ever wake up to find fish in your basement? When’s the last time you watched your cars float away? Ever walk around and die from electrocution when walking into a puddle? Right now is all about getting back to normalcy: back to work, back to running errands and back to living our lives. With word of a possible Nor’easter hitting us this next week, we’re all a little uneasy. Who knows? We have lived through them before, and hopefully this is less daunting than it seems. If you can, donate to the Red Cross. Donate something. Show compassion to others. Not too far from me, there are people who will have to forget Christmas this year. There are people who have to rebuild every bit of their lives. We have our lives, our health and our future. That’s what counts.

My reluctant acceptance of winter

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

As everyone around me worries about this endless amount of snow that has barreled my area of NJ for the past month (I myself am wary of a promised ice storm tomorrow), I’m honestly indifferent to it all at this point. I am a lifelong snow, winter and cold weather hater who has accepted that come late October comes cold weather, and this East Coast girl might as well just get used to it. I don’t plan on moving to the West Coast anytime soon, nor do I plan on never leaving the house.  Back in college, I used to have to wait a while in the cold to catch the train to get home from work and when it was cold, having to wait twenty minutes at a time sometimes got old really quick. It made me miserable. It also left me more tolerant of the cold. Nowadays, it’s not too cold for me if I can’t stand going ten minutes without putting my hood on. It’s not too cold if I can’t see my breath. Also, I primarily work from home now, so I have no right to complain when I don’t have to deal with the cold (or snow) so often.

It can feel claustrophobic, of course, to be kept inside due to being snowed in so often. It’s not fun to feel like you can’t go anywhere. I just honestly find it so annoying when people complain it’s too cold the second it gets cold; embrace the season and the area you’re in. If you live in an area where it gets cold, don’t act surprised when the temperatures drop. Don’t get made when you have to pull out your winter coat from the bottom of your closet. It could always be worse. Us lucky souls in NJ haven’t had to deal with so much snow in recent years; this season (hopefully) is a fluke. I’ll take a pain in the neck winter once every so many years if it means I never have to deal with a natural disaster. Take the mudslides in Australia, hurricanes along the Gulf Coast and traumatizing earthquakes- it could always be worse. We are, in fact, pretty spoiled. No matter how much it snows, our living and work situations aren’t usually affected. We get off pretty easy.

As I type this, I also remember I have to leave the house early tomorrow, train permitting. I just want to safely get to where I have to go without injury. Of course, it all depends on how the trains are running. I am reluctant to have to walk in the freezing rain to get to the train, but thankfully, my coat has a hood and I don’t have a long walk.  I also rely on the ever-so-reliable PATH trains and don’t have to rely on the problem-plagued  NYC MTA trains too often.  All in all, I should be ok. Hey, at least I don’t work outside, right? It is indeed all good. And when I get home, after my dogs are walked I’m ok. I can hide out from the weather for the rest of the day.

One of my favorite things about cold weather is the excuse to consume large amounts of hot chocolate, which I love. I love that as much as I love tea. I don’t like my sinus infections and post nasal drips I get in the winter, but tea (as well as Snapple) help put the kibbosh on them.  I am also a HUGE fan of Christmas, and I also love, love, love the fact that it’s easier to dress warm in the winter than it is to dress cool in the summer. I love that I can wear boots. I love that my dogs get so excited to see snow. And I love that winter eventually ends. And then I can get back to wearing t-shirts outside, wearing flip flops and avoiding the sun. When all you have to worry about is what to wear when you go out, you really do have it made. I just wish more people knew that.