So, coupla things. Anytime the proverbial stuff hits the fan in NJ and you need gas--head down the NJ Turnpike AWAY from NY and the Parkway. I have friends who work for Rutgers and they need to be at work during crappy weather. The Turnpike gas stations around 8A (both NB and SB) are on 24/7, stocked with fuel multiple times a day and are run on diesel gen backup. They NEVER run out of fuel and saved me this week. Sorry I couldn't offer this up earlier but things have been...you know...crazy!
Also, anyone who's heard the stories about the unions strong arming nonunion crews from out of state...sorry it's true. Except, the towns didn't turn them away. The Locals (that's what we call the mafia here lol) get a perverse thrill out of forcing others to pay their dues especially when the crew originates from a Right to Work state. When the union realized they had a PR nightmare on their hands, they walked it back a bit. Read the union contract here and tell me if YOU would sign this
to drive hours away, sleep in a tent, and be away from your family for a month. All things being considered I think they linemen are doing a great job and it really irks me when I hear people complaining when they see these guys eating or catching a snooze. They are doing dangerous work in crappy conditions, please show some appreciation!
We fared well from the storm in Piscataway, no flooding in my house but the winds hit 82 in my town and the treefall was devastating. Almost everyone in the state suffered massive power outages. By Wednesday the gravity of the situation set in for most: it was dark and we were on our own for a few days. I was only without power/internet/cel for five days; having a generator and fireplace made it tolerable. My brother, sister, and mother are still on generator power tonight. A looter attempted to blind my brother’s security cameras with spray paint but he successfully defended his home and family. Thankfully, all of my friends and family are warm and safe through a combination of advance preparations and the generosity of others. Advance prep made the difference. I took time to clean gutters, extend downspouts, move items inside, and check the gen and sump pump. For me it was more a wind event than a rain event, my two 50 year old pin oaks took a beating but are still standing! My sump never even turned on, not even once.
The fuel lines were really bad but those have mostly subsided. New Jerseyans--for all their perceived lack of patience--really stepped up this week and demonstrated humanity that I never thought possible. You still won’t find this patience on our roads though. ;-)
Sandy pretty much hit the pause button on life for a full week. My thoughts are with those that lost loved ones and homes, or who are cold tonight. Many weren’t as fortunate as we were. Boardwalks are gone from Atlantic City, Seaside Heights, and Point Pleasant. Many homes were pushed off of their foundations. My High School remains buried in 6 feet of sand. It’s below freezing at night and lots of homes in my town are still without power. It will take months or years for things to return to normal around here.
If you don’t have a generator, I strongly encourage getting one along with a few gas cans. Even if you’ve prepared, it’s likely your neighbor didn’t/couldn't. It’s very hard to tell an elderly couple or a family with kids that they can’t plug in or that you have to turn the generator off to conserve fuel. When I realized that others had come to rely on my generator and the temps dropped to 30 at night, I improvised a fuel storage solution and was able to provide comfort for others. This really put it all in perspective for me. I used two 15G blue HDPE extract barrels, bought gas on 8A SB in about 20 odd sized gas containers that I borrowed from folks, then dumped them into the barrels and hit the stop at 8A NB on the way home. This allowed me to store about 46 gallons which ran my gen and my neighbors for 48 hours. Sadly, they'll never make beer again but they have MVP status IMO.
I am really glad that I work for Cisco. I WFH full time and it allowed me to be closer to my family in the final hours and to have more time to prepare. I'm handling some very large projects and my boss told me to take as much time as I need and take care of my family. Some of my friends were forced to commute and spent precious hours on trains or in lines getting to loved ones. They missed getting the basics and had a tough time.
This was the most surreal experience I’ve ever been through. I've been in hurricanes before in North Carolina and watched 15 feet of snow fall in two days in the Sierra. I've never seen this kind of devastation It renewed my faith in humanity and put quite a few things in perspective. I will certainly never take a gallon of gas for granted and will have lots of gas cans for next time!
Today, I have much to be thankful for and I’m glad to be back at work!