Sunday, October 28, 2012

Hurricane Sandy: Ain't No Sunshine

For a self-professed sun goddess, I seem to find myself in some really adverse conditions...honestly, I'm not sure what bizarre personality attribute I have that drives me to chase hurricanes across the country, but whatever it is - it's annoying, and I need to stop it.

For anyone who's been living under a rock lately, I'll let you in on a bit of a not-so-secret: Hurricane Sandy is barreling her way up the coast, preparing to slam into the mid-Atlantic states, potentially leaving havoc and destruction in her wake.

And here I am.

Right in the middle of it.

It began innocently enough on Friday, when I began to have nudges that perhaps, just perhaps, I might end up deployed with the American Red, I spent Friday evening packing. Just in case, you know.

Saturday morning at 8:00 am, the phone rings - and a voice says, "You're going."

At 8:30 am, the phone rings again, and the same voice says, "Oops - made a mistake. Never mind. You're not going."

At 10:00 am, the phone rings yet a 3rd time, and the voice says, 'Oops - 3rd time's a charm - you're going. And you have to go TODAY."

What followed next was a madcap few hours spent finalizing the packing, making travel arrangements, and getting my affairs in order, as I could be gone for up to 17 days.

A mad dash to the airport, where I was met by a local reporter for a television interview, leaving me the last person to board the plane. I just made it. Whew.

A bumpy ride to Atlanta, a madcap race through the airport to make my connecting flight, and another bumpy ride to Baltimore - gathering my luggage, a rental car, and a late night drive to a motel. I collapsed, exhausted, around 11:00 pm last night.

Arriving at Headquarters this morning, I attended a brief Orientation meeting, and then hit the ground running...working in what is called "Logistics', I'm helping to insure that all the counties in both Maryland and Delaware have their needed supplies for shelters, kitchens, and headquarters.

Another meeting at 1:00 pm where the various "leads" got together to discuss how the operation is progressing - we're still "pre-storm", so we want to get as much on the ground in place as possible, before road closures and dangerous conditions ground us. It was a crazy, busy place today at HQ, for sure.

What we're doing in Maryland/Delaware is being repeated in ALL the mid-Atlantic states by other American Red Cross volunteers...New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maine -
to name just a few. Insane, stressful, harried - but oh, so gratifying.

A couple of telephone media interviews, and a mad dash to a grocery store tonight to pick up some supplies that I, myself, may need in the next few days...a long day, indeed. Tomorrow, it starts right back up, and we work until the storm forces us to hunker down and take cover...and then later, we'll pop back out, assess the damage, and get back to work.

The weather turned for the worse today...cloudy, cold, windy - and the rain began this evening. I'll miss my beautiful sunshine - who knows when it will decide to make its presence felt again?

In the meantime, I guess I'll have to provide my own internal sunshine...right? :)


Pray for safety for everyone affected by Hurricane Sandy...