Monday, November 5, 2012


Schadenfreude Listeni/ˈʃɑːdənfrɔɪdə/ (German: [ˈʃaːdənˌfʁɔʏdə]) is pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others.[1]

Hurricane Sandy swept through the area like a devil on horseback, destroying nearly everything she glanced at. Some families in our community still don't have power. Gas is a rare commodity so we've walked everywhere this week. I've reached out to everyone I know in the area, which amounts to a handful of acquaintances, but I reached out anyway, offering whatever I could: space, hot water, clean towels, warmth and hot coffee in the morning. Nobody took me up on it, for the record. My thoughts remain with those touched by Sandy, but especially those who suffered unspeakable loss as a result of this storm.

The pre-storm backyard. That bush straight ahead? A goner. Split in half by a giant fallen willow.

We fared better than most with just a tree down in the back yard. Not tragic exactly, but a bonafide bummer since that giant willow was my favorite thing in the backyard to look at, swaying gently and grandly there on city property about 10 feet from our back fence. Well, the wind blew and the tree broke at the base falling across our backyard, taking out 2 of the three sides of the fence and all of the mature bushes. It landed in the yard of a neighbor perpendicular to us, leveling his gazebo-type structure.

The morning after.

Tim and I heard the tree fall at about 5:30 pm. I felt the house shake. We looked at each other and as if an imaginary gun went off, we dashed from our respective start lines and raced around the house to the imaginary finish line in the basement about 3 minutes later. There we stayed for the rest of the night. The lights flickered a few times but we never lost power or internet. Nevertheless, nobody got much sleep.

The next morning the sun was shining and the birds were singing as though nothing had happened. Nothing at all. We tentatively ventured into the backyard to see the tree and assess just how much damage was done. This was just the beginning. All day, text messages, phone calls and emails streamed in and out.

Yes, we're OK. 
Yes, we are lucky. 
Yes, the hospital was hit hard. Really, really freaking hard. 

Oh, it's bad. Real, real bad. In fact, it's so bad that either nobody really knows just exactly how bad it is or nobody is saying it out loud. I hope the department stays afloat so that the brand new hire (e.g. my husband) doesn't lose his position. Tim and I have spent a little time this week speculating and, as a direct result, contemplating the vulnerability of relying on one income alone. With this achilles heel exposed, we're responding so that we don't get caught with our pants down in the future. That is, assuming we don't get caught with our pants down right now.

The morning after ... and after Tim found another use for his brand new light duty chainsaw. I'm on the phone reassuring someone that we lived through it.

Here's the schadenfreude part:
I should add at this point that I DO NOT derive pleasure from the fact that others are suffering, so maybe schadenfreude is a poor word choice, but it's the closest I could come. Ok, on with the story...Tim was supposed to be on call this week. But guess what? If the hospital has no patients in it then there is no work to be done. So he got an unexpected week of sort-of vacation. Nice for us. Sucks for everyone else.
See? Schadenfreude.

Now, we just cross our fingers that this doesn't come back to bite us in the ass. That wouldn't be schadenfreude. That would be more like hurricane Sandy whiplash and it would suck a whole lot cause we're just starting to really like it here.

We spent some of Tims surprise vacay cleaning up after Sandy. She's a messy bitch.

7 Lovies:

AudreyN said...

SO glad to hear you guys are ok! Minus a tree.

christina said...

i really am just SOOO glad you guys are ok.

Your Doctor's Wife said...

I'm so happy to hear you are all okay! Yes, the storm was awful, but I would be appreciate of any "vacation" time in any form also. I've got your back on that one, for sure!
Thank you for linking up with us for Medical Monday!!!

jms said...

If they end his job, PLEASE come to Florida - glad you guys are safe and sound

From A Doctors Wife said...

WOW! I am glad you are OK, and that you found the silver lining in the storm... time with our spouses is often hard to come by, so we take it when it comes regardless of who delivers it. Hope things return to normal soon for you and your neighbors. Thanks for linking up with us on Medical Monday's

Kathi said...

So glad all is well for you and the family! What you are feeling is definitely NOT Schadenfreude.
:-) Just joy brought by something unexpected. I would rather call it making lemonade from life's lemons.
And a shameless plug for San Francisco in case they do fire the new hire - come back, we miss you!

aitch j said...

I love that word! Not the meaning, just the word.

I'm just so glad you guys are all okay.