Well, these past two weeks were interesting! I feel like I have been hit by a truck. I am ending these last two weeks with a nasty cold that has knocked me on my behind…hard. I’m also mentally and physically exhausted. When it rains it pours (no pun intended) and when it snows it creates a huge mess out here. Sandy met Athena in New Jersey and they both checked Betty really well.
Our world was definitely rocked and displaced and we were left in the dark and cold but thankfully we were one of the lucky ones. We had no damage to the house (a tree collapsed on a house about four doors down, taking electrical wires down with it. Image above). You probably saw a lot of it on TV-it was bad out here.
After two nights in the dark and cold we decided our fireplace wasn’t doing the trick. The boys, especially Baby Jordi, didn’t seem to stay very warm so we packed a suitcase and took off to Brooklyn. We were blown back to NYC to a little spot where my childhood friend lives and where Sandy seemed to have barely touched. We crashed there for four nights and although there were toys for the boys, food in the fridge and heat in the house, when BFF went back to work and Jose did too, I was left feeling really sorry for myself. That gas station is closed? What is the wait time at the other one down the block? How about upstate NY? Do they have fuel? They are saying 7-10 days to get our power back?!?! No school for how long???? They are sending you all the way THERE for work????!!! Yup, “positive Betty” and “glass half-full Betty” was complaining, mopey, and sat stunned. I browsed my iPhone for tweets and news (BFF has no TV!!!) completely stunned. When Jose and I decided that if the power did not come back to our place by Sunday, we would drive up to a hotel in Connecticut to be closer to him and to save fuel as well, I lost it. Was it the unknown? The inconveniences that Mother Nature had thrown at us? I was really upset about this? I did know that I was acting like a toddler, throwing a tantrum because you took the lollipop away ONLY to unwrap it.
So I called my dad. My poor dad. It’s always, “Hi dad. How are you? Good. Can I speak to Mami?” This time I picked up the phone and dialed the person who will not sugar-coat anything, who will not feel sorry for me, who would basically let me have it. And he did. You have place to stay! With one of your best friends! Your house has no damage!! Jose is making it to work!! The kids are safe and happy!!! Your world will be normal again! Then he really let me have it. There are people who have lost everything. People who have lost their homes and their cars and do you know there are houses burning in Queens??? No dad. I don’t have a TV, sob sob sob. He keeps going. There are towns that are wiped away!!! There are people that have lost their children!!!! Okay, you can stop now. I get it.
This is why I called him. My dad who is a survivor with too many stories to even keep track of what happened where. He put things in perspective for me. I needed that. This wasn’t me. Sure I love to complain in the gossipy way I do with my BFFs about the little shits in life, but this, this I had already experienced on a smaller scale before (Eight years ago during the East Coast blackout Jose and I walked, ran and hitchhiked from Manhattan to Queens and once we made it, we packed our bags and took off to Philly). Jose also experienced 9/11-talk about perspective.
So I had a good cry and lied to my dad that I was just tired. I was tired because I waited and prepped for Sandy for three days, then I endured her wrath once she arrived. I tensed up every time I heard the howling wind. It’s true when they say that wind that strong sounds like a passing train. I was so sure one of the many trees in the back yard would come crashing down at us. I stayed up most of the night watching my family sleep in the den. I’m just exhausted Dad. I’ll be OK. Gracias Papi.
Four days after the storm it was Saturday and I was just so happy to have Jose to ourselves. No Blackberry to coordinate this or the other. We went out in sunny Williamsburg- one of the few bubbles of normalcy in a huge devastated region. We ate. We shopped. We played. Life was good again. It was going to be good again. We were happy and we were going to stay happy. We had a plan for the following week and plans are always good.
Thankfully we didn’t have to go to Plan B. Week two brought more unexpected circumstances but we had power. Although we had electricity, our poor neighbors did not and we offered our home to them. Jose decided to rent a car and has been commuting up to two hours each way every day to his offsite location. Snow storm Athena arrived and I decided to make “I’m from Chicago” my mantra for two days and thought about fellow neighbors who still had no power. Now snow? Geez. How much more?? Just a few days more.
I recently read a quote, “Even the darkest hour only has 60 minutes”. I kept thinking about the other phrase, “This too shall pass”. You have to stay on the bright side. You have to count your blessings. Sure it stung to read FB statuses that week that read, “Ugh. I don’t want to get out of bed today!” or “Bad hair day!” or “I really want to go shopping! Like, now!!”. Although that stung bad, especially after a week or so and you start to feel forgotten, I thought, it’s on me and me only. The media moved on to the election, friends tweeted about other important things, but when you are on the other end, you just have to do it for yourself.
I also kept thinking about what I tell you all the time. I love to advise people to find the positives and seek the benefits. In this case, I don’t know if I saw any benefits, but I learned a lot about my husband, my boys and myself. That has to be a benefit, right? All in all, you yourself must get out of the rut. Be conscious about your feelings. It’s okay to be upset about whatever happened. Jose always tells me, “Feel what you need to feel”. After a few days though…get on with it. Chin up. I got the one-two to the stomach (and the head!) but it didn’t knock me down. I knew I had the right to be sad but I also knew that I had to find a way to feel well again. I had to ask for help, to find someone who would tell me to focus and see what was happening around me. In retrospect, this was minor and an inconvenience for me, but not the end of the world.
A long time ago, during my candy girl days at Old Fashioned Candies, Mom, my boss, saw minor bumps on the road as “flat tire problems”, simply some action that “builds character”. No kidding. I think I’ve built enough to last me for the next round. Now, THAT is definitely a benefit.
P.S. The BALL made it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hurray!!!