Seventy three days since superstorm Sandy broke into the lives of New Jersey residents last fall — is anything still different for you? Many homeowners (and not just those at the Shore) are still negotiating with insurance companies, buying generators, working in temporary offices or, if self-employed, scrambling to make up for lost income.
Although we were in general fortunate at my house, I still see the after-effects of the storm in our routines. Thankfully, they are not that important, but are still daily reminders that what we assume will always work out, may not.
My son’s usual train home from Hoboken in the afternoon has not been added back to the Montclair-Boonton Line’s modified schedule, so along with other parents whose sons commute to their Jersey City prep school, I’ve been driving to train stations in Clifton and other places. With two self-employed people under the same roof, our family budget still hasn’t fully recovered from the downturn in business. At home, we have surge protectors in places we didn’t before – and a slightly larger than average supply of bottled water and canned goods.
In a post here the other day, a local simple living advocate recommended getting to know our neighbors before the next blackout. It’s sound advice, though I must admit that I’m no closer to knowing mine than before. However, now I do know which local service organizations need what kind of donations first in a crisis. Plus, I’ve filed away which of my friends and relatives won’t have hot water or be able to cook on a gas stovetop when/if a future blackout occurs, so I can call them directly and offer hot showers and to share a simple hot meal – rather than merely saying to the air, “Let me know if I can help.”
Not every storm-related after effect was a bad one either. I now know how to conserve battery power in a cell phone, which grocery stores have reliable generators, that my father was right about keeping the gas tank full, that I feel better knowing that all our tech devices are fully charged at all times, and why that old Scouting motto about being prepared makes sense even if you’re not on a camping trip. Our family also realized that if we could handle having no heat for eight days (bedroom temps: 48 degrees by the last night) we could turn down our thermostat in winter, thus saving some money; and it was fun to play board games by candle- and firelight.
What about you? What’s changed in your life since the storm? Are you doing anything differently? Take our poll and/or share it on comments.
Photo: Flickr Creative Commons