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Hurricane Irene: No Power, No Problem

Bridgewater Township: How ironic

Having grown up in Arizona, I really don’t know a lot about natural disasters. I didn’t even know that people had basements until I moved to Ohio for grad school. And up until this past week I had never experienced an earthquake, tornado, hurricane or anything even remotely close. Oh what difference a week makes.

I experienced both my first and second natural disasters in the span of less than a week. The earthquake was rather uneventful, but the hurricane definitely altered the course of my weekend.

To answer the questions I received:

  • Yes, I’m ok and so is my stuff. Thanks to everyone who reached out.
  • Yes, lots of New Jersey is still underwater. I couldn’t make it to the office today as New Brunswick still looked like this.
  • And no, I didn’t get to play in the hurricane. I semi-jokingly, semi-seriously thought about writing a follow-up to Joel’s Thunderstorm Workouts post entitled “Hurricane Workouts,” but I unfortunately slept through all the best parts. Maybe next time.

To make a long story short though, I couldn’t get to my apartment for two days due to mass flooding and I was at a house without power for the whole time. What sounds like a potential nightmare actually turned out to be an incredibly fun weekend with Lauren and her family who were kind enough to take me in and shield me from the elements.

But wait… no Internet? No Wii, no Playstation, no Facebook, no YouTube? No TV?!? What can you possibly do that’s any fun without power?

Lots of things. I made breakfast for everyone. I joined their family on a walk throughout the neighborhood. We played with the dogs. We rode bicycles around the area and surveyed the damage alongside the other neighborhood kids, most of whom were much younger than us. We played some board games: Clue, Parcheesi and The Game of Life (which has gotten way better since I was young). We did handstands and cartwheels outside. I read a little and did some stuff for work.

And we actually talked to each other. A lot.

For dinner we had a BBQ, drank beers, and made ice cream sundaes (better to have an epic cheat day than waste perfectly good food). After dinner we played card games all evening in the open air by candlelight. And after an impromptu dance party powered by an iPhone and flashlight, I went to bed much earlier than usual and woke up with the sun.

Totally unplugged. Totally present. Totally refreshed.

Yet another reminder that the good things in life don’t always require electricity, a lot of planning, or a large price tag.