Monday, August 28, 2017

Rant of the day: Hurricanes

Hurricanes, you need to calm the fuck down.

Let's look at your less temperamental cousins, Rain and Wind.

Rain, you can be kind of an asshole when you decide to come barreling down when I'm 3.5 miles away from home during a 7-mile run like you did yesterday, but I forgive you because, well, vegetables.

Wind, you're cool. You're like my best friend when Heat and Humidity have been hanging around too long and you're all "party's over, time to go home."

But sometimes the two of you hang out and get a little out of control. You get your hands on some speed and decide to fuck some shit up. When that happens and you go full-on Hurricane on us, nobody likes you anymore.

Texas, I am so sorry. I have no idea what you are going through.

Except I have a fragment of an idea what you are going through.

Six years ago today - yes, August 28, 2011 - I woke up to the aftermath of Irene's visit. Oh, nobody remembers Irene because that bitch Sandy came one year after, but I'll get to her in a minute.

I was a first-time homeowner and had been living in my house in NJ for just one month when the warnings about Irene came. My husband and I tried to sleep that Saturday night in our guest room, which was on the main floor of our house. Our own bedroom was on the top floor, and we were afraid that some of the older trees surrounding our house might come down during the worst part of the storm.

But we woke up Sunday morning to a house still standing, yet finding that the damage didn't come from above - but from below. Our finished basement was pulling water up from the ground. We ran to Home Depot, and were lucky to find that it was A) open and B) had one remaining Shop-Vac (as first-time homeowners, we just weren't prepared), and ran home to try to save the basement.

Also, we were fortunate that Home Depot was south of us. Had we needed to drive north, this is what we would have run into:

Hurricane Irene flooded the highway
Route 18, New Brunswick, NJ

Hurricane Irene flooded the highway in 2011
An overhead view of Route 18

Our efforts were futile, though, as the ground was so saturated, no matter how much we vacuumed, more water would seep up through cracks in the basement floor into the carpet. We ended up having to pull out all of our carpeting and re-doing the basement floor later that year.

I still consider us lucky.

Because a little over a year later, Sandy came.

And that was a glimpse into what the End of the World would really look like. I didn't experience personal loss with Sandy like I did with Irene. I was one of the luckier ones. But it still was like living in an episode of The Walking Dead, minus the whole being chased by hordes of grotesque zombies part. We were without power for six days (and I think that was short compared to some other parts of the state). Traffic lights weren't working at all - you had to be extra cautious when driving anywhere. Also, it was probably a bad idea to drive anywhere because you couldn't get gas. If you could find a place that had gas, you'd be waiting in a two-hour line and prices were jacked up. Grocery stores - usually bright, cheerful places stocked with aisles and aisles of food - were dim and there was NOTHING. Bare.

It was pretty crippling for someone who is already prone to developing depression. But like I said, I know I was one of the more fortunate ones. If you didn't lose everything in Sandy, you knew someone who did. My aunt and uncle. My friend's aunt and uncle.

It was ironic because I had been nagging my mom about moving away from New Jersey to Florida just three years earlier. "How are you going to deal with all of the hurricanes?" I asked her. Well, after Irene and Sandy, it was clear I was going to need to move out of NJ to get away from the hurricanes at some point. She's been here in Florida for eight years and there have been 0.0 hurricanes. I've been here for two and have enjoyed the same luck.

So I need to help out my Texas brothers who aren't so fortunate. Hopefully, you will too - here's a list of ways you can help.

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