A day of Sandy – as seen from a Massachusetts suburb

The view from the command post
The view from the command post

Sandy storm update 0900: children ensconced on couch with Scooby Doo and grandmother. Husband stole comfy chair in bedroom and is listening to loud electronica claiming “It helps me concentrate!”. Bathtub leaks. Power outage had better last less than 2 hours if it happens. I am in command post in attic. Current status: some of the leaves are quivering. Slightly damp. Truly, a ferocious storm so far.

Sandy status update 1000 hours. Coffee supplies holding out. Actual wind gusts witnessed. Have not heard from children in an hour. Supplies of Scooby Doo apparently holding out as well.

Sandy status update 1020 hours: if I’d taken the bus in today, I would not have been able to get home. All #MBTA service will be suspended effective 2pm today. Customers are encouraged to make final #MBTA trips as early as possible.

Sandy Update 1130: work document nearly half done. Second pot of coffee not quite as good as first. Considering changing out of PJs, but don’t want to make any hasty moves. Storm still looks like windy drizzle.

Sandy update 1300: the trees that lean over the power lines to my house have started dancing with up to five foot swings. I am hoping they read the fable about the willow vs. the reed and stay flexible.

Children, when viewed at lunch, were totally hopped up on staying at home and were sent to bed. Sandwich of canned peperonata, home made basil, home made bread and mozzarella was delicious.

Sandy update 1400: Just noticed part of the back-yard neighbor’s roof flaps a bit when the wind hits just right. Children napping. Storm just starting to do more than just look ominous here, but no actual damage to report.

The green house. The part of the roof you can't see due to the tree in the way.
The green house. The part of the roof you can’t see due to the tree in the way. Moments after the flapping incident!

Sandy Update 1500: Rain has started to fall. Sideways. Can no longer see if neighbor’s roof is flapping due to waterfall covering that facing window. Would like to apologize to Eastern Seaboard – likely cause of storm was having the windows washed last week. Have responded to increase in storm intensity by turning on space heater.

Sandy Update 1600: Nifty Google Crisismap http://google.org/crisismap/sandy-2012 shows that we will be missing the worst of the storm. Also, that today is opposite day and Kentucky is getting snow while Boston stays in the 50s. Neighbor’s roof has stayed on, trees over power lines have stayed (mostly) vertical and critical work document is out for review. Home stretch?

Sandy Update 1700: Discovered amazing new way to find out about the current conditions. It’s called “look out the window”. Quick, someone get me a copyright! As the workday draws to a close I find myself considering the critical question: do I have to go to work tomorrow?

BREAKING NEWS: It is now time to go make dinner. Don’t worry, I will continue hourly posts until bedtime.

Sandy update 1800: raided camping supplies in case night suddenly gets dark. Pondering what I could get for them selling on street corner tonight.

More precious than gold? Not while the power stays on!
More precious than gold? Not while the power stays on!

Sandy update 1900: neighbors have a huge branch down. Missed everything, so storm is still amusing. Wondering if there’s going to be school tomorrow.

Carnage in the back yard!
Carnage in the back yard!

Sandy update 2000: Have become blase about massive winds and rain. Ambivalent about tomorrow. Nice to stay home, but nice to get out of the house too.

Sandy update 2100: now that we can only hear, not see, the storm, it seems to have gotten worse. I’m practicing my guitar so that in the new non-industrialized society that will spring up from the ashes of the East Coast, maybe I can be a bard. In unrelated news, introduced Grey to the original “Twilight Zone” series tonight.

Sandy update 2200: The storm is approaching its peak. The hurricane just made landfall. Our windows – unprepared for water coming in sideways – are showing us where caulk might be applied on drier days. The winds howl and the kids keep waking up. Therefore, daycare is open tomorrow, they’re reopening public transit and I anticipate my colleagues will expect me at work tomorrow.

What a weird country we are.

Sandy update 2241: with the rapid approach of bedtime, I lay down my burden as tireless reporter of the outer edge of the storm. Power remains intact. Lunches are packed for the day ahead. Any future updates tonight will be actual news.

In Stoneham in this fateful hour

The skies are dark outside Boston tonight. The falling drizzle drives sideways, pushing low-clouds fast across deserted crosswalks. The air is heavy with portents and low barometric pressure. The golden-dark leaves swirl to timely doom, their frenetic fall briefly illuminated by pockets of streetlamps. An unprecedented storm, half hurricane, half nor’easter, and named after my Great-Aunt takes aim at the East Coast like a high caliber bullet: sure to do damage even if the details remain uncertain.

Already, school has been cancelled tomorrow. Daycare and afterschool were the first to throw in the towel. Both HR departments have sent out notes saying we should continue to do all our work, but should do it from home instead of the office. Even the folks who come to clean my house called to say that Wednesday would be better than Monday.

The hatches are battened. The lawn furniture is put away. The basement has gallons of fresh water stocked away. Every one of our multitude of electronic devices is plugged in, getting fully charged. We’ve never lost power here. We’ve definitely never lost water. I don’t think we will this week either, but my. It sure seems like a Big Deal.

I wrote yesterday about the memories imprinted with music. Similarly, there are a few books that belong with events. Chrsistmas with “The Dark is Rising”. Spring with “The Secret Garden”. My very favorite of Madeleine L’Engle’s Time Quartet is A Swiftly Tilting Planet. Meg lies, pregnant, in an attic room in a small New England town while Charles Wallace traverses time and realities. The scene is set in very late autumn, with a post-seasonal hurricane barreling down and a very present threat of the end of the world. Of course, there are also unicorns, Puritans, Celtic warriors, noble natives and a good Civil War reference or two, as any good novel should have.

So if you were wondering “What book should I read during the hurricane?” now you know: A Swiftly Tilting Planet. Maybe I could convince Grey to read it tomorrow, in his day of leisure with school cancelled. Hm. Perhaps.

Grey is intrigued by the hurricane. He has, coincidentally, been studying a lot about hurricanes at school. Here is one of his three book reports on the topic that have made it home so far:

A book report on Hurricane Hugo
A book report on Hurricane Hugo

Thane, who did not get out of PJs once on this, the day of his 4th birthday, would like to know if hurricanes are a gift-giving occasion. If so, he would like it to be known that for his birthday he would like “little” Legos. Star Wars. Chop chop. (Don’t worry, I’ll give the four year report soon.)

I am somewhat grateful to the storm for the reprieve from normalcy. I was planning on working from home tomorrow anyway, because I have a very large, very thinky thing that is due on Tuesday for work. But now I get my whole family clustered around me (including, thank heavens, my mother-in-law who will be performing the bulk of the child care). I look forward to cozy, blustry time with my family, since Boston is not likely to get much worse than power-outages. (And even with a power outage and no internet access, I should be able to get my work thingy done. Win!)

So let the winds with their swiftness come, and put a pause on our busy lives for a day or two. May all remain safe, warm and loved throughout the storm.

What are you doing to be ready? Do you like or fear events like this? Do you have particular reading, or music, set aide for while the winds howl?