Tides of Change

Well to say it’s been anything but a crazy few weeks would be an understatement.

The fall is always a busy time, compounded by shorter daylight and the recent Superstorm Sandy. Thanks, Mother Nature! The last two weeks have been a whirlwind of activity, both positive and trying at times. In the wake of Sandy I really weathered the storm far better than many. As someone who grew up mostly in south Jersey, the devastation to the shore points I enjoyed so much is deeply saddening. Anyone who knows us New Jerseyans knows a lifetime of living in the shadows of cities around us breeds a determination that is not easily crushed. Like that scrappy dog that knocks over your trash can, you can shoo it away, but the minute you turn your head he’s right back at it.

My trip out to OH preceded this and I’ll have future posts on that fun adventure. Because of the media hype that always precedes a storm, I decided to head back Sunday night allowing me to get things in order before the storm. As is often the case when traveling in Pennsylvania, the highways that are FREE are backed up because of road construction that takes decades to complete because there is no funding. Regardless, I struggled my way home. CB in hand talking with westbound drivers, I jumped off Rt. 80, avoiding accidents and a few construction backups to arrive home at 3am Monday. The rest of the day was spent getting some supplies together, then hunkering down. Not being much of a TV watcher, I was content listening to NPR while finishing up a few customers’ saws. It was around 10pm Monday night when I lost power in my apartment.  Sandy was mostly over by that time and my work had already announced we would be closed for Tuesday. Having no internet or television when I got up, I quickly grabbed my camera and walked the few blocks to where I store my VW van, aka Vincent Van-Go, in a locked lot. Along the way I snapped a few pictures of the devastation I encountered. Fortunately for me, I spend a good deal of time off the grid, unlike 95% of the city dwellers around me. So I jumped into my van, filled up the teakettle, and dug out my coffee press. It really doesn’t take much for me to adapt to life without power, but doing so in a city sure seemed odd.

My work closed for most of the week and with the lack of electricity and short hours of daylight, it didn’t leave a lot of options for the apartment dwellers. The first day I spent contacting family letting them know I was okay and also checking that others were okay. This was followed by a big walking loop in the area to see firsthand some of the devastation. I live in the heights of Jersey City but Hoboken located below the hill saw widespread flooding. By day two it was obvious that getting into the city for work that week would be impossible.

I found I had really good light in the hallway due to the larger windows. So I dragged my saw filing equipment out and had the fun of filing by daylight, something I’ve done for demonstrations but not extensively. I was pleasantly surprised that it was easygoing and worked fine. I found I could get about 4 good hours in before the light dropped off for the day. By Thursday the lack of power and camping in the van was getting old. Considering I planned to attend the Brown antique tool sale on Friday, I headed to my shop where power and heat were readily available. On a sad note, Saturday and Sunday were to be the fall release of the Tohickon Creek,  a friendly gathering of boaters from all over the northeast that marks the last scheduled whitewater release in the area. Those of us who don’t mind a little cold weather camping stay at the takeout on the shores of the Delaware. It’s one of the nicest spots I camp at all year and is just upstream from the historic spot where Washington crossed the Delaware. Due to the loss of power and many downed trees in the area, it was canceled.

I’m going to leave the Brown Auction and my trip to Mike Stemple’s for another time and finish off by happily saying that power was restored 6 days after the storm and things are getting back to normal. I finished the weekend up by getting some customers’ saws boxed up, as well as a few ready for sale. New Jersey in general is still recoiling from the storm; PSEG is doing a great job of getting power back.  I am a longtime resident of the state and I know full well that anyone living in this state has got thick skin. I’m optimistic that by the time summer rolls around many businesses will be back.

Joe Federici
Mongering off the grid


One thought on “Tides of Change

  1. Hi Joe, Glad you survived “Sandy”. She may have taken your power but not your sense of humor. If it came down to it my money was on you cobbling together and ark and gathering two of every saw and waiting for an olive branch. Does olive wood make a good tote? Hope your aunt and uncle faired ok. I know there was some flooding in Wickford. Love the blog. Keep up the good work and hope to see you at the auctions one of these days. Chris

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