All of you who follow me on Facebook know I’m alive and well after Superstorm Sandy dragged her swirling ass over my little North Jersey town. For those of you who aren’t my virtual buddies…umm…I’m alive and well. And beer helped.
The storm was scheduled to roll in last Monday, and I waited until the Saturday before to do the heavy lifting required to prepare my property for a hurricane. I went out and filled up my car with gas (always do this!) as well as two 5-gallon gas cans for the generator I ordered on Amazon two days earlier, just in case FedEx had the stones to deliver it Monday morning with the storm bearing down.
I was back home and ready to batten down the hatches by 12:30pm. There were all the toys in the back yard to put away, the grill, the playhouses in the garden, the patio set, the shed to be rearranged so I could fit all this junk into it. There was all the stuff on the basement floor that had to be put up in case of flooding. There were a few trees to be cut back. There were gutters to clean. There were air mattresses to be found and inflated before the power went out. The list went on and on and on.
I had tons of nervous energy to expend doing all of these tasks, but for some reason they all rushed to the front of my brain at once, like a dozen burly dudes trying to cram through a narrow doorway at the same time. I was frozen.
So I decided to have a beer. I sat in the family room with a glass of Dale’s Pale Ale and stared out the window for moment. When that beer was gone, I felt a bit better, but still wound far too tight. So I had another.
This is when my wife walked in, bringing the kids home from their soccer games. “Are you alright?” she asked, finding me motionless in my getting-stuff-done clothes, drinking a beer in a dark room. And by that time I was.
The beer had wiggled its way into whatever mental sphincter was puckered too tight and told it to chill out. “Actually, I’m good now,” I said with a smile. I was ready to go. Beer to the rescue.
I was over -ready by the time the storm hit. I awoke Monday morning to light rain, mild wind and a generator and its accessories sitting on my front porch. Way to go FedEx! There was only one item, scheduled to be delivered by UPS, missing from the order. It came Friday, well after the storm had gone. I now know the “P” in UPS stands for “pussy.”
As the storm began to rage, I tried to stay focused on the positives. We live in an old growth forest, and my house is surrounded by big, beautiful trees, none of which had come crashing down (yet). The power was still on (for now). There was no water in the basement (at this time).
It was like there were 100 hammers hanging above the heads of my wife and kids, and I was just waiting for one to fall.
After a few hours of this dreadful anticipation, I decided I needed a hurricane beer. I wanted something dark and heavy, but went instead with a 21st Amendment Back in Black – at least it was dark, and it wasn’t so boozy as to make me dopey. It was just a thing to help ease the jitters a bit. Besides, if you can’t have a beer in a hurricane, then why do hurricanes even exist?!
I think I had about three of these little gems as evening dragged past midnight and into the wee hours. By about 2am, the wind was dying down, the power was still on, and there was no lumber on the carpets. We had dodged the worst of it.
I tried to get 40 winks in the sleeping bag I had set up in the living room, near where the kids were fast asleep on an air mattress (it was safer to sleep downstairs in case one of our trees decided to try its hand at planking) but I was still running on adrenaline. I got very little sleep.
Come morning, all was okay. Our neighborhood was one of the lucky few that still had power, and my property looked a little disheveled, but all the trees were where we had left them the day before. The basement was dry. We even had cable and Internet.
I had purchased a couple of bottles of my favorite Christmas beer, Troegs Mad Elf, just before the storm hit. It was the first time I saw it this year, and I jumped at the chance to stock up.
I told myself when I bought it that I’d celebrate everything being okay after the storm with one of the bottles, because everything was going to be okay, Jim. Really – everyone’s going to be fine.
That evening, I cracked open the Mad Elf and sat alone in my mancave, slowly drinking it in as I watched Boardwalk Empire on the DVR. We had more than simply made it through the storm, we had dodged the whole thing completely.
I’m sure everything would have gone just fine without beer, but from relieving the pre-storm jitters, to keeping anxiety at bay while the Sandy swirled overhead, to celebrating our good fortune, beer proved once again that it’s (this) man’s best friend.
Hooray for beer.