Hurricane Sandy gives us “a case of the Mondays.”
There are few things in your life that are so far out of your control that you just have to sit back and wait. Mother Nature is one of them. Sometimes these events are fast and unexpected, like earthquakes, while others can be anticipated far enough ahead of time for you to prepare.
This past weekend was a mixed bag of events. Some where fun, while others were not.
Saturday was an insanely awesome time. The weather was relatively warm, the sun was shining and it was the perfect day to enjoy a drive down into Virginia. We went to visit the National Air and Space Museum at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, which is right next door to Dulles Airport, the airport featured more by name than by actuality in Die Hard 2: Die Harder. They had an event called the Air and Scare, where kids could dress up in their Halloween costumes and trick-or-treat with a variety of different sponsored vendors.
We were able to see the Space Shuttle Discovery, as well as all sorts of different air and space crafts. It was really so much more amazing that the Air and Space Museum at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. People were dressed up in all sorts of costumes, including Star Wars and Star Trek attire. It was like a mini-comic con.
Whether or not you’re there with your kids, it’s an awesome experience and I highly recommend it.
Saturday was fun, and then Sunday came. We all knew that the Hurricane was coming, and with it would be heavy rain and wind. Our town here in Maryland fell just south of the path that Hurricane Sandy was expected to follow once she hit land.
Most of the day was spent preparing and cleaning up around the outside of the house. Anything that could possibly get picked up and blown away, knocked over, or smashed against the house was packed up, strapped down, or thrown away.
My wife picked up extra groceries, batteries, and other essentials that we may need if the power went out for a significant time.
I love making fun of the news when the meteorologists do a little fearmongering, and while I wanted to scoff at quotes like “this could be the most damaging Hurricane ever” it was hard not to believe them when everybody seemed to be buying into it, and all other weather organizations shows similar estimates.
By Sunday evening, we were ready to hunker down. While Hanna and I ran around like chickens with our heads cut off, the kids kept busy with movies and video games, primarily Minecraft Xbox 360 Edition and Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit.
Monday rolled around, and even though the storm started off small, the whistling of the wind had already begun as the dawn was just breaking. By lunchtime, the winds had picked up quite a bit more, and that was when we had our first power flicker.
It wasn’t much, perhaps lasting just a half-second, but it was enough to set the kids in a mini-panic, and restart the cable box, television, and video game consoles. “The power just went off! Dad did you see it?” Yes, I saw it. Here I am knowing that the worst is still about 9 hours away and already we had a kick power flicker.
I started thinking of the sump pump in the basement, and how it is powered by electricity. That’s when I had a white-hot flash of panic. If the power went out, our house could get flooded. That was when I felt like I wasn’t ready. The whole morning, I had been reassuring my wife that we were ready, when she felt that we weren’t. Now I was beginning to side with her.
Thankfully, the rest of the story is pretty boring because we luckily didn’t have a full-out power outage. The winds were savagely loud, rocking the house at times, and causing noises outside that I were sure were sections of our house getting ripped away, but we only lost a little more than a half-dozen shingles.
Some of our friends and neighbors were unaffected, not sustaining any damage, while others had downed trees across their porch or on their sheds, minor flooding in the basement, or severe damage to their roof.
Not to mention all of the disastrous flooding along the coastline from the Carolinas up to lower Manhattan in New York City.
So, what does this have to do with anything video game related. Absolutely nothing. As much as I wanted to break out a controller, fire up the Xbox, and join the kids on the couch, all I could think about was keeping the family safe and hoping that the house didn’t get destroyed.
While the kids thought that having a power outage would be “fun” I couldn’t help but wonder, “Are they out of their minds?” I suppose I was the same way when I was their age, but it’s a completely different situation when you’re the one paying for the home, the bills, and the insurance. All of the sudden, reality strikes and games are a distant priority.
I completely forgot that Tuesday was the release date for Assassin’s Creed III, until Monday night when I hopped on line, and tried to occupy my mind until the storm passed. Thankfully, I’m able to let my mind shift back to the world of video games, now that the storm was over and the damage for us wasn’t too significant.
I’m hoping others out there stayed safe and dry, and you, like me, spent most of your time worrying, but not actually panicking about damages and flooding. For those who were more severely affected and may still be without power, I’m hope you have a swift recovery, so that you can return to the worry-free days of unwinding in front of the television with a controller in hand and a mindless video game on the screen.