Tuesday, October 30, 2012


My family lives in northern Delaware and just across the state line in Chadds Ford, PA—in other words, right in the path of the eye of the storm. Yesterday I watched with growing concern as the frightening footage of flooding on the New Jersey shore started appearing online. Then around 2:00 p.m. my sister texted that her power went out.

I was confident my sister and BIL would be fine. They're prepared for a long siege of no power, flooding and roads blocked by downed trees. Both have been through hurricanes in the Caribbean and have a healthy respect for the forces of nature. My dad, not so much. Hell, who am I kidding? That old dude scoffed at every suggestion we made with the exception of putting water bottles in the freezer to keep the food cold longer. He laughed when I told him to fill their extra bath tub so they could flush if the water went off. Personally, I think this is critical to disaster planning--yo, flushing toilets when the water is off for a few days--but he chuckled and ignored my advice. I tried again with my mother. Maybe she did it, maybe she listened to the stubborn old dude and didn't. The situation was out of my hands. As my Southern in-laws say, "I gave them to God and figure he's gonna have to take it from here." 

This morning I got a text from my sister—no power but otherwise good. I later talked to my dad who smugly told me they had a little rain but hadn’t even lost power. I’m glad they’re safe but a part of me wanted to scream at him that he was lucky not smart. Alas, at this point in our lives, pressing my point is futile.

I know Pat has family in New Jersey and hope they were lucky too.  I've been through a couple dozen hurricanes, both here in Houston and during my years in St. Croix, and understand that the best preparation can be useless against a violent storm. My thoughts are with everyone who is facing days, weeks and months of recovery from the devastation nature inflicted on the east coast. I'm reminded that my power is limited and the cosmos is capable of wrecking havoc with our world. Weather can totally change the game, the stakes and the very existence of people, places and things. Sandy, Ike, Katrina—names we humans should remember when we get too cocky about our control of the planet. Sometimes nature bites back.

Where are you and how has Sandy affected you and your family?


Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Lark! So glad your parents, sister and brother-in-law are okay. I turned off The Weather Channel at midnight and dragged myself to bed.

My siblings and parents lost power but are okay, otherwise.

My brother is very zen about the storm, and he and his family are coping well, although he texted me that they had fourteen candles going, and I thought, huh? Save the candles for when the batteries die! Now I know what i'm getting him for Christmas: a Coleman lantern.

Ron, my brother-in-law, must have lived on the Gulf Coast in a past life because he's Mr. Preparedness.

My youngest sister is staying with my parents, thank God. Alas, neither she nor my parents listen to me because my advice backfired during Hurricane Irene. Irene didn't even brush them, but the bathtub they filled on my recommendation triggered some shifting of the house's structure. They've been told to rip out and redo the bathroom or never fill the tub again. My father has not said one word of criticism to me, but when he gives me "the look," I know to keep my mouth shut.

My sibs will manage fine, but I wish I could change places with my parents. They don't mind eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but cold is coming in and they'll feel it. Damn.

Lark Howard said...

Glad your family's okay, Pat. The cold is a huge, nasty factor we don't have during our hurricanes. The heat during the Ike power-out was bad, but not as worrisome as cold. I hope they get their electricity back soon!

Louise Behiel said...

I'm glad both your families are okay. it has been overwhelming to watch the news forthe past 24 hours. so sad.

Sheila Seabrook said...

Lark and Pat, I'm so glad to hear your families are okay. It's so worrisome when they're so far away from you ... and when the won't listen.

Lark Howard said...

Thanks, Louise and Sheila. I now realize how they worry when the news reports bad weather heading for us.