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Life in Post Apocalyptic New Jersey: Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween from the resident silent movie actress

We were up extremely early this morning applying greyscale grease paint to the adolescent creature’s face, shoulders and arms.  You see, after Sandy swept through New Jersey, it just wasn’t safe for kids to walk around the street trick-or-treating.  Governor Christie rescheduled Halloween for November 5 but the damage was so extensive and there were still so many downed powerlines and broken trees that it had to be postponed again.  In fact, it was only last Wednesday when my own school system reopened.  We had to wait until there was sufficient gas for the school buses and for the more rural roads in the township to be cleared.  Even up until Friday of last week, kids who lived in the more rural parts of town needed to collect at cluster bus stops since the buses are prohibited by law to go around road obstructions.  So, the kids’ parents had to get them around the downed trees and power lines to the designated cluster stops -somehow.

The district lost 7 full days of school.  In actuality, it was more like three.  They were supposed to have all last week off for teacher’s conferences and conventions.  But because they had missed the previous full week of school, the schedule is in a bit of a mess.  If we have too many snow days this year, they could be finishing out this year in July.

Virtual classrooms would have been a nice option but with so many wifi subscriptions reliant on cable, that just wasn’t going to work after this catastrophe.  Communication throughout the post apocalypse has been sub-optimal and if Hurricane Sandy has taught us anything, it’s that we need to get on the ball when it comes to wireless infrastructure.  During a natural disaster, it’s crucial for people needing help or just getting information to be able to use their phones.  I used up my iPad data plan very quickly just by trying to find out what was going on in my own town.  I needed answers to simple questions like, should I boil the water?  Which gas stations were open? Where could I buy firewood?  What was the scheduled return of service for PSEG and Comcast?  No one in my house was downloading movies or music.  It was all pinging for information.  And Brooke missed one of her online classes at Stanford.  We had emailed them in advance that we expected the power to go out but it was still very difficult for Brooke to access her Kno account and get her reading assignments.

The good news is that AT&T sent a message two days ago that data overage charges would not apply for the month of November.  It was only 2.5 weeks late but I’ll take it.  I don’t know what prompted that.  Maybe someone finally threatened to regulate them, given the scope of the disaster and the frustration of AT&T users to use their phones.  By the way, those of you who are advocating land lines should stop.  The landline that I gave up was actually my internet phone from Comcast.  I think a lot of people who have landlines go this route because it is offered as part of a package deal from the cable companies.  And in our case, Comcast was just as affected as PSEG.  We were in an information no man’s land for almost a week with spotty signal at best and only when the wind was blowing in a certain direction.

One final note on the phone disaster was that Verizon service was restored more quickly.  They had fewer towers down and much better coverage to start with.  Something to consider when you go to purchase your next iPhone.

Anyway, it turns out I’m out of candy, and given that I live in New Jersey and should have thought about Halloween back in August, must go forage for some candy corn or Milky Way minis or Reeses Peanut Butter Cups (my favorite!).  Or rocks.  You know, whatever’s left.  Today, the school district’s children are also bringing canned goods to the school for a food drive for Sandy stricken families.  We did cranberries and corn but I think it is not enough.  Thanksgiving is only next week.  We must try harder.

Happy Halloween!

12 Responses

  1. Comcast phone is not the same as a land line. It is VOIP. True land lines are far more reliable.

    • I think we all know that. This is part of my point in the above post. Many of us gave up our landlines for VOIP that comes in cable packages. Anyway, who wants a separate cable bill, separate Internet bill, separate cell wireless bill and separate landline bill?? When taxes and service fees are factored in, it makes no sense to have more than two providers. One is the triple cable, Internet, VoIP provider, the other is the wireless provider. There is no going back to landlines. To think or suggest this is not dealing with reality.
      The economy has a lot to do with this. When I was laid off, the VOIP part of my Comcast bill was one of the first things to go. That was quickly followed by my DiSH satellite service and all my DVRs. But even if I still had my full time job, I probably would have ditched the phone.

  2. Who is it? Is that the Ghost of Movies Past?

    • Pretty much. She even has a black board that she writes intertitles on. She has thought of everything.

  3. She’s gorgeous.

  4. Guess who won the costume contest?
    By the way, she looks NOTHING like this picture. Even her eye color has been changed.

  5. I kept getting text messages from Verizon that I had incurred bigger and bigger roaming charges. My son said it was because some parts of the network were down and finally the wireless companies agreed to not charge for each others network usage and they shouldn’t show up on our bills.

    • I guess Verizon was more accommodating. AT&T certainly took my money when I ran out of data on my ipad a couple of days after Sandy hit.
      I was getting helpful messages like “you can avoid data charges if you use a local wifi!”
      Gee, that’s swell! Who in Hillsborough has wifi? Um, only the municipal building and because there were so many people trying to use it all at the same time, it. Was. SLOWWW.
      To say that AT&T was completely unprepared is an understatement. You’d think Irene would have given them a heads up. You’d think, but you would be wrong.

  6. The neighborhood is crawling with rug rats tonight. Two and a half weeks if pent up demand for excess sugar has resulted in a large turnout. I had to drop Brooke off at a party tonight so I put a bowl of candy on the porch. The party is only about 2 miles away but when I returned, the bowl was empty. Greedy little things.
    Fortunately, I kept half the stash in reserve so there’s plenty more. Still, it probably doesn’t help that I live in a prime trick or treating development. Middle to upper class suburban, high density townhouse development with sidewalks. The little buggers routinely wipe me out and tonight it’s nice. Temps in the low fifties, no precipitation.

  7. She looks gorgeous.

  8. What do you call a chocolate Easter bunny that was ya know, like, out in thuh sun too long? A runny bunny.

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