Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Trip out of Frankenstorm: Part 3 (Sandy's Fury and Facebook Frenzy)

Once my perspective had changed on the storm, Dez woke up from his nap about 4pm, and we all decided to get out of the room for a while.  We went down to the 7th floor where there was a lounge, pool table, gym, and basketball court.  Ken and Peter shot some hoops and I took a walk on the treadmill.  Dez ran around with a ball in the gym too, so we all got some energy out.  We thought about staying there longer to play pool and relax with some coffee, but then changed our minds quickly when we considered the idea that if the power went out soon, we'd have to walk 44 flights of stairs back to our room!

Once we got back to our room about 5pm, we could see the bright lights of the city from our windows through the rain.  Seeing life around me made me feel a bit safer, knowing that we weren't alone.  I could even see the World Trade Center lights again through the clouds, which was comforting.

Ken, Peter, and Angie began making our "last supper": spaghetti with vegetables and meat sauce.  I was babysitting Dez while they cooked- a nice break for them and for me!  We prayed, thanking God for our meal and the time we had together.  We kept the news on so we could watch what was happening throughout the city.  Battery Park City was beginning to flood, Jersey Shore and Atlantic City were slammed really hard, and we watched in horror as personal videos were streaming in of a Carnival cruise ship that was riding huge waves and batting water in cabins.

I decided to keep a closer record on Facebook of what was happening in the storm so that my friends and family could be informed and pray for us.  I committed to writing an update even if I began flying through the air!

At about 8pm, we saw on the news that Sandy had ripped off the face of an apartment building in Chelsea, just a few blocks south of us.  I asked people to pray harder for our safety now that we knew Sandy was really approaching.  I immediately received prayers, notes, texts and Bible verses from friends, which was a huge comfort.  It almost felt like with every bit of communication, someone was there with me, helping me walk through the most frightening experience of my life.

We started to feel the building shake and creak with the wind.  The windows sounded like they were popping a bit, and the lights began flickering.  Peter and I cautiously looked out the window and saw that most of lower Manhattan had lost power; there were no more lights on in the World Trade Center towers.  I felt more unnerved at that moment; I looked to those towers for a sense of normality, and it wasn't there anymore.

As we sat and braced ourselves for more of Sandy's fury, we saw that the doors to the bedroom were slowly swinging back and forth on their own because the building was swaying.  Someone texted me to take a look at the toilet water to see if it was moving on its own, and it was!  We decided to shut the doors to the bedrooms and stay in the main living room where there were no windows in case they all came crashing down.  The doors then began to rattle on their own as the building continued shaking.  The wind whipped around us and the building literally moaned.

I remembered that a man in the elevator had told me to keep a glass of wine on the table to see if the wine or the glass would move on its own.  It seemed the right time now to put it out on our table as a way to judge how much our building was shaking, and when I posted what we were doing, someone replied, "And when it starts moving, drink it!"

Peter received an email from the building manager that they were shutting down the elevators; we were now stuck on the 51st floor and the only way out would be to walk.  We then got a call from ComEd saying that there our power would be going out soon and to be prepared.  The lights flickered a little more; I posted on Facebook to pray that we would not join those whose power had been lost.  We waited, and waited, and waited.

The power never went out.  Miraculously, the power was out from 30th street down.  We were on 31st street and kept our power, but some buildings even north of us lost power.  Coincidence?  Or an answer to prayer?  You be the judge.

We weren't sure if everything had subsided, but we decided to shut off the news and start watching one show we all enjoy: The Voice.  We needed to get our mind off things and we talked about all the different contestants in the battle rounds of the competition as we viewed the previous week's episode.

About an hour or so later, we opened the doors to the bedrooms again to look out the windows.  Most of Manhattan was pitch black with loss of power; we couldn't believe how different the city looked without the lights.  You could see sirens sprawling out over the city; I could only imagine what was going on in the dark, dead of night in New York City.  I prayed for those people who were probably much more frightened now than we were.

We put our hands on the windows and we could feel the pressure of the wind against us; it was incredibly forceful.  The windows still made crazy popping sounds, like any second they would crack!  My brother Ken said in his signature chill manner, "Yeah, I think we got past the storm.  I'm going to bed."  And with that, everyone went to their rooms.

Except me.  There was NO WAY I was sleeping in a room with floor to ceiling windows making popping noises all night!!  I "slept" on the couch in the living room and videotaped the creepy creaking noises and popping for my girls to hear when I got home.  When I replayed the video, it really looked like a Halloween horror movie!  Frankenstorm certainly lived up to its name!

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