Thankfully, the storm for us was nothing more than a slight annoyance with disrupted schedules and work frustrations. We've never had water in our basement nor are there any large trees near our home, although the ancient tall pines behind our rental home were a bit of a concern. We didn't even lose power. I realize how lucky we are as many, many others were not nearly as fortunate.
The call came in Sunday evening announcing that the girls' school would be closed Monday. This wasn't a problem for us as Rich is still unemployed and able to be at home with the girls. (He's currently studying for the CPA exam while searching for a new job.) I've worked for four companies now and I've never had an employer say, "Hey, I realize that there's a hurricane/blizzard/ice storm out there. Why don't you do what's best for you and your family and stay home where it's safe," so it came as no surprise when I checked my Blackberry Sunday night and found no new emails.
I have several friends at work (as in, people I would and do hang out with outside of the office) so a few of us began messaging each other to see if anyone had any updates. No one did and we all went to bed unsure of whether or not we would have to go to work that next morning. During a storm. Governor Patrick had requested that schools close and asked private employers to tell their workers to stay home in order to limit the number of people out and about. I rely on public transportation so my main concern was that the commuter trains would stop running and I would be stuck in Boston.
The MBTA posted the following message on their website Sunday evening:
Commuter boat services are suspended effective the start of service Monday. The MBTA plans to operate regularly scheduled subway, bus, commuter rail and RIDE service Monday and for as long as it is safe to do so during the storm.
Monday morning brought some wind and rain but no new messages from work. Rich and the girls drove me to the train station so that I could catch my normal train. Now, you may be wondering why I didn't just email/call my boss and stay at home. Despite all my rage, I am still just a rat in a cage and I absolutely refused to take a vacation day when I shouldn't have had to have gone into work. (Also, we were expected to be at work. This became very obvious once I arrived in the office.) I wasn't the only one in my group with these feelings either. It was almost a war of wills. Who would win?
There were only a handful of commuters on the train that morning. In all my years of commuting in and out of Boston, I have never seen ridership that low. I normally have a 10 minute walk to work after I exit the train station. Because of the winds, I decided to take the subway instead of walking. I don't do so on a regular basis because it doesn't save time and the subway is usually extremely crowded during inclement weather. As you can imagine, there were no crowds on this particular morning.
By the time I arrived at work, the MBTA website had been updated with the following message:
Again, customers are encouraged to stay home and be aware that service may be suspended later in the day Monday.
My employer never distributed a firmwide message regarding the storm. From what I witnessed, attendance was spotty except for our group. War of wills. I became obsessed with refreshing the MBTA website, which made for an extremely unproductive work environment. After reading this update:
Customers are encouraged to stay home. Due to the storm, it is likely that the MBTA will have significant delays or suspensions in service preventing customers from returning home for a period of time.
I was about to give up. Rich sent me a message saying not to freak out, that he could drive into the city to pick me up if needed. I can tell you right now that there was no way in hell my husband and three small children were going to drive into the city during a major storm because of someone else's stupidity. I emailed my boss the MBTA updates and said that I would be taking a late morning train home.
At 10:00, a rumor started that the MBTA was suspending all service at 2:00, which was the time that heavier winds were predicted to begin. Five minutes later, their website was updated with:
All service will be suspended effective 2pm today. Customers are encouraged to make final MBTA trips as early as possible to ensure safe arrival at their destination.
We were finally all told that we could leave. With our laptops (of course) so that we could work from home, which assumed that no one would lose electricity or internet connections. A friend of mine, who lives close to the city and had driven into work that morning, gave me and another co-worker a ride to the train station so that we wouldn't have to contend with the wind. I arrived home safe and sound in time for a late lunch.
We did explain to the girls that there was a storm and they actually watched the weather channel for awhile. Obviously, there are still many concepts that they don't understand though. For example, they asked if the Statue of Liberty had been blown away in the storm. (This is from seeing it on the weather channel.) I told them no, that it was on an island. So then they asked if the island had been blown away in the storm.
We limit how much television the girls watch so after it was turned off, Allie glued together some paper to create a television for their buddies.
Can you see the lower left corner?
She wrote TVY on it. I'm not sure what the "Y" stands for though.
So that was the storm for us and hopefully, the end of hurricane season for everyone. I've been looking at photographs and videos of the devastation and it is almost unreal.