For everybody suffering from the incredible damage of Hurricane Sandy, I feel for each one of you. Irene left me with the loss of 14 beautiful oak trees, a tree in my dining room, $70,000 worth of repairs and a dog with PTSD. I know for many of you that this is just the beginning of your issues, so let me share some good news for menopausal women: Menopause will help you get through this difficult time.
When the 150-foot oak tree came through our front triple window, it was 11:15 p.m. Irene had been ranting full-force since about 3:00 p.m. My husband was taking the dog out because he hadn't gone potty for 12 hours and was ready to explode.
As my husband put his hand on the door knob, the wind kicked up to ridiculous levels and wouldn't stop. The dog refused to move. This late night wind sent me into a small, menopausal rage, so I called my mother like every 52-year-old should and blamed it on her. "What the hell?" I asked with a fury to match the wind, "You said this storm was over!" About that moment I heard a loud boom upstairs near my son's bedroom, and then a bomb exploded in the dining room.
I knew my son had just gone up to his room to sleep and my husband and dog were at the front door, right next to the dining room window. "I have to go," I said, quietly, to my mom. Then I began to scream for my husband and son, which made me sound a lot like Roseanne Bar on Red Bull.
We brought in some lights and saw the top of the tree. Apparently, it had hit the upstairs exterior by my son's window and slid down the house. When the roots broke, the tree was propelled through the house.
Because my husband and I are totally useless in situations such as this one, I called my mother again. She told me to get a shower curtain and nail it over the broken window. I grabbed a curtain from my daughter's room, and found a box of finishing nails. Then a hot flash hit and set off another rage. My husband and dog were in shock, and my son was putting on shoes so he could walk across the glass to help.
In my moment of total fury, I grabbed a step-ladder and stood in front of the window with rain and glass blowing into me at what was later to be estimated at more than 100 miles an hour. We would later find out that we were hit with a microburst. I didn't care. I was pissed off.
As I hammered the nails, I screamed at Irene. With every gust of glass, I turned into Sigourney Weaver's character in Aliens, shouting, "Irene, you B*TCH!" Every blow from Irene met my hot flash of anger, and we sparred until l I had hammered 40 headless nails into that window frame without one miss.
The next morning we went out to survey the damage. There was a lot to survey. Most of our 100-year-old oaks in the front and back yard were completely uprooted, each base measuring 20 feet-by-20 feet. We couldn't even speak.
My adrenalin, still pumped from the night before, kicked back in. I ran to a neighbor and got a chain saw. Then my husband and I and stared at for a while. When we realized we had no idea what to do with a chainsaw, I drove to Lowes and met my nephew, who helped to board up the house. My husband and I went to State Farm to file our report, and our agent gave us the number of a contractor who met us in a matter of hours. Within six hours, we were functioning.
Although we grieved for a while, I'll never forget the strength I felt when facing that storm. Irene might have won in the short run, but she has long since dissipated. I, on the other hand, have my house and my yard and my family back. It took a year, but we are here and we are proud, all thanks to a menopausal miracle.