It’s Sunday November 18, 2012 and Thanksgiving is 4 days from now. The last few weeks have been rather surreal to say the least.
To start, my husband Brian’s brother, Russell was planning on leaving at the end of October to move from Brooklyn, New York to La Jolla, California. So, we had made plans to get together and I got a bad cold and we couldn’t make it. Russ then decided to have a going away party on Saturday 10/27, but his girlfriend Rose, with whom he was moving, ended up in the ER and they cancelled the party.
Thankfully, Rose was ok and Brian and I went to Brooklyn the following day to spend with Russ. We had a great day, walking around Brooklyn, stopping in at Barcade for a couple of beers and some video games, even taking in some BBQ at Fette Sau. Hurricane Sandy was expected to hit our area the following day, so we went down to the water in North Williamsburg and Russ told us about what it was like the year before when Hurricane Irene hit.
On our way home that night, I checked my email and was shocked and delighted to see that I had received an offer to narrate my first story through ACX, Audiobook Creation Exchange, “Mistletoe & Murder” by Laina Turner. I had created the a profile a few weeks earlier because I loved reading stories for Cast of Wonders and wanted to try branching out. Getting the offer was an incredibly delightful ending to a wonderful day! I was humbled and thrilled, and then I noticed that there was a deadline of the following Saturday for the first fifteen minutes of the story.
Since we hadn’t lost power for Hurricane Irene, I figured we’d be fine for Sandy, so I accepted the offer the following morning. My company was closed for the day due to the storm, so I spent a leisurely morning surfing the internet and reading “Mistletoe & Murder” and some other works by Laina Turner (I like her style!) until we lost power around 11 AM. Brian had gone in to work, so I took a few minutes to gather up flashlights and candles for when the sun set that afternoon. An hour passed and the electricity was restored. Delighted, I decided to begin narrating the story right away. Unfortunately, the wind was howling by this point and I had to stop as the noise was bleeding through into the recording. We lost power again later that day, around dinnertime. A tree had come down at the end of the block and was resting in the wires. This time it remained off for four days, from Monday evening to Friday evening.
The storm had subsided the following day, and we were lucky. Our house remained standing and intact, we didn’t flood. Cell phone service was non-existent because many of the cell towers on the island had lost power, but text messages seemed to have a chance of going through. I managed to learn that my parents and both of my sisters and their families, all of whom lived close by, were OK but also without electricity. My company was still closed for business that Tuesday. Without power at home, and not knowing how long we would be without, I was a bit panicked as Saturday’s deadline loomed. the power company, LIPA, was saying people could be in the dark (and cold) for 7 to 10 days.
By Wednesday, still without electricity, I was back at work, happy for warmth and light. This was the first Halloween ever that I didn’t care about the holiday. That day, and the remainder of the week, was a blur, trying to catch up after two lost days. I do need to interject my gratitude for some dear friends, Chellie and Kevin, for inviting us to their home for showers! I am sure my co-workers as well as Brian’s are grateful to them as well!
Thursday, still without power, I decided that I had to let Ms. Turner know of the chance that I wouldn’t meet the Saturday deadline, so I sent an email from work. It broke my heart to do it, but it was the only fair thing to do. Almost immediately, she replied and eased my worries, stating that she was mainly concerned for my safety, not a silly deadline. She has earned a spot in my heart forever for that one! When I got home from work that evening, the tree had been removed from the wires, so I was hopeful, but we still had no electricity. Neither did anyone else in my family.
The following day, Friday 11/2, when I drove into my neighborhood I saw the LIPA trucks where the tree had been. We didn’t have power yet, but it was coming! Within three hours, by 7:30 PM, it was restored. Hooray!
The entire week was a nightmare, but I have to add that my experiences pale in comparison to the too many tragedies many endured during the storm and its aftermath. My heart bleeds for the people who lost their lives, their homes, their pets, their treasured memories and mementos. I would gladly spend another week or more without electricity if it would reverse the damage wrought by this “Superstorm.”
Russell had developed the flu on Monday, the day of the storm, and was forced to postpone his move. Luckily, he was able to stay on in his apartment for a few more days since besides being terribly ill, the place where his storage unit was had lost power and he was unable to access his possessions for the movers to load!
That Saturday, my parents sought refuge with us, along with my younger sister and her sons, since they were all still without power. (My older sister and her family had gone away for the weekend for my nephew to play lacrosse or they would have been welcomed too.) On Sunday, I had recorded most of the story with the exception of the closing and spent the rest of the day editing it. So, I was able to finally meet the deadline, and the submission of the first fifteen minutes was approved! After the downs of the past week, here was another up!
The next Tuesday was Election Day, and finally I was able to cast my vote to help elect my chosen candidates. I was mostly happy with the results with a few local exceptions and am very glad the campaign season is over for now!
However, after that came the Nor’easter which dumped quite a few inches of snow on the area, already beaten by the hurricane. We were awakened at 4:00 AM Thursday when the power went out due to the new storm. I was glad that I had my cell phone next to the bed so I just set the alarm on it and went back to sleep. I didn’t think I would wake to find 4 1/2 inches of snow in the morning! The cold wasn’t supposed to last, and therefore neither was the snow, so it wasn’t too hard to bear that though. It was even a bit of fun to be able to drive my car in some snow! It had barely snowed at all last year, the first winter since I bought my Subaru, and I am happy at how it handled. The power had been turned back on some time that morning. I was happy, but also I knew there were still families on the island who hadn’t had their power on at all since Sandy. People like my parents, my sister, and some co-workers.
The audiobook was submitted in it’s entirety too. Weeks shy of that deadline. It was approved very shortly after submission and is now in final production and will be available at Audible.com, Amazon.com and iTunes very shortly. That is a dream come true, and is incredible to me. I cannot thank Laina Turner enough for giving me the opportunity! (You can visit her website here: http://www.lainaturner.com/ if you’re so inclined.)
It was the middle of last week when I realized that Thanksgiving is days away. I know why the month feels as though it’s gotten away from me, but that doesn’t make the shock any easier. What does make it feel a bit better is the donation I just made to Island Harvest. It wasn’t much, but it was something. Hopefully sales of “Mistletoe & Murder” will be great and I can make another donation to help make life feel a bit better for someone who has had more downs than ups.