Hurricane Clay

Clay’s Mom and number one fan, Roe DeLuca, provides an update today about how the little fellow weathered the recent hurricane. Thanks, everyone, for your patience. We hope to start blogging more frequently again in the near future.

We should have known as we made the biweekly Saturday trip to see Clay’s typing teacher that we were experiencing the calm before the Hurricane Sandy storm.

It seemed as if everyone along our route to North Jersey was out driving—and all of them were in line getting gas for their cars and filling tank after tank to fuel their generator.

Once there, Clay quickly got to work and had a lot to say:

my typing is good today because my brain is very calm and my badly coordinated body moves better when my thinking is calm.

It was clear the hurricane was on his mind:

getting ready for disasters is stressful work but being home with your family is more important than wasting time at gas stations.  this will be a interesting event that might be a historical event or a big dissappointment. i think a historical event.

That was Saturday, and with the storm scheduled to hit our area Monday night into Tuesday, it gave us some time to prepare. 

We figured we only be out of power for two days—and were prepared for such.

But Clay was right: it was a historical event that devastated much of the Northeast. If left us without power or running water for four days. Four very long days.

Clay stays warm by the fire with his Big Brother.

Clay seemed to take the storm in stride … at first. With college classes cancelled for two days, he was happy to have his big brother home to sit in the dark and the cold with us. We lost power at 6 p.m. on Monday, and with the heavy rains beating down all day Tuesday it quickly began wearing on Clay .

Our nature lover was stuck in the house with no access to the backyard or giant swing in his Clay cave.

No power meant no lights to turn on.  And very limited use of his iPad meant no Johnny Cash, no Dr. Seuss apps, and no Toy Story or Shrek.

By Tuesday afternoon, Clay began pacing the house, mumbling “very nervous, very nervous.” We were also getting edgy, with no information coming from our utility company about when power might be restored.

The next morning, Clay and I had had enough of the cold, powerless house, so we packed a suitcase and headed over for the afternoon to my father’s house 35 minutes away, where power was up and running.

Life quickly brightened with some showers and Wendy’s hamburgers and French fries. Clay finally began smiling and enjoying the solitude of Grandpa Tony’s warm back room, wrapped in a blanket.

We left Grandpa’s oasis with our electronic devices recharged, feeling reenergized as well. But Clay’s frustration level quickly reared its head on Thursday morning. Everything he wanted to eat needed to be toasted or microwaved. He started to have a meltdown, so we high-tailed it back to Grandpa’s house for the afternoon.

Miles, our Basset Hound rescue, had had it with the power outage by Thursday. We lent him Clay’s denim sherpa jacket to stop the shivering.

After a hot dog, gluten-free waffles and some Uncle Ben’s Roasted Chicken Ready Rice, we headed home in time to feed the dogs. Cassie, our golden retriever rescue puppy mill dog, was having her own issues with the power outage, panicking at the sight of the flashlight and not wanting to come back into the house.

Miraculously, Clay’s school was reopening on Friday. Around midday, the school nurse called to inform me that one of the other kids bit Clay. I empathized. While it’s difficult for us to endure these catastrophes, it’s even harder for people whose world can be rocked by the slightest change in their routine and cannot verbalize their frustration.

At 6 o’clock on Friday, as our generous electrician neighbor was rigging up the generator he had just received back from a relative, the power came back. Finally, the long, arduous week was coming to an end.

What did Clay think of all this? It was difficult to get him to relax enough to type, but he did express the following:

we were so happy that it was over. we were so stressed. we liked seeing grandpa tony.

Friday night, the three of us headed out to Applebee’s for a hot celebratory meal, which Clay had predicted the previous Saturday:

the storm will pass and then we can go out for dinner. the way i am thinking is we should celebrate when the rain stops by having a feast. getting my stomach full is important to my comfort and happiness.

While Sandy did indeed pass, her memory still lingers. But Clay quickly put things in perspective for me when he handed me a Dr. Seuss book he doesn’t often choose, Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?

When you think things are bad,

when you feel sour and blue,

when you start to get mad…

you should do what I do!

Just tell yourself, Duckie,

you’re really quite lucky!

some people are much more…

oh ever so much more…

oh muchly much-much more

unlucky than you!

The celebratory dinner: steak and fries at Applebee’s.


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  1. #1 by Jess Stanley on November 5, 2012 - 12:32 pm

    What a sport! I love getting updates and stories, and miss my walking buddy. I’m glad to hear you found some warmth through the storm at grandpa’s (that’s what grandparents are best at anyway!) It never ceases to amaze me just how insightful Clay is..especially when handing out books to read (he had given me that book to read on a day I was clearly not in a good mood). I’m glad he finally got his feast!

  2. #2 by Grandpa tony on November 5, 2012 - 3:19 pm

    Thanks for the vote of confidence r&l
    The pleasure was all mine.

  3. #3 by Raine on November 6, 2012 - 8:19 am

    Brilliant, Clay. –Head to the place where good things happen–Grandpa’s house! I’m sorry you struggled with the storm. Even more sorry there was so much emotional shredding for your loved ones (including poor Cassie) The sun is out. It’s cold…but the sun is out! =)

  4. #4 by autismmommytherapist on November 15, 2012 - 12:31 pm

    So sorry for the difficult aspects, but happy to hear you were all well!

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