From 4pm - 10pm Monday, I held the roof onto my house. No, really.

During Hurricane Sandy, aka, the Frankenstorm of 2012, I was extremely prepared. Water, go bag, food, print books to read during a power outage--you name it, my OCD thought of it. There was just one thing that I, and my landlords, forgot: the roof hatch, a fire escape in my back closet.

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  1. It was about 3pm on Monday; winds were picking up, and there were things blowing around outside. I started to get a little nervous when I heard something on my roof.
  2. The thump thumped again, this time across the roof, a tumbling noise. I went to the back of the house, slowly, and noticed light and a breeze coming through the cracks of the doors of my back closet. Opened the doors to find that the lid to the fire escape roof hatch had blown off.
  3. The lid is super heavy, and is normally quite snug against the lip of the opening. I climbed the ladder to see that it had indeed been blown across the roof. Crap.

    Went downstairs and told my landlords, Peter and Sheila, what was going on. Sheila came upstairs with me, and Peter followed after. I went out onto the roof (in a non-gusty moment) and retrieved the lid; we put it back on. It blew up again. Sheila got some nylon rope, and we tied the lid down, and then to the ladder.
  4. Adventures in hurricane security. The lid to my fire exit blew out across the roof. That was the thump. Landlord and I just secured it with rope, fingers crossed.
  5. . @basker wanted to see the bike helmet and the cocktail. I threw in the Wellies. #sandy #nyc
  6. The rope was pretty secure, but the lid kept lifting and moving every once in a while. I'd go back, climb the ladder, and re-secure it, but 15 minutes later, it'd thump and move. Called my dad, who suggested creating a turnbuckle with a piece of wood. 
  7. for you physics nerds, I described the roof exit setup to my pop, and he had me get a piece of wood (handily left over from A/C removal) and twist the ropes tighter. so glad, wind is really hammering it now.
  8. That it a great job for a while, but then the nylon in the rope was stretching more, and the lid would come loose. Then, the more we tightened it, the more we kind of pulled up on the back of the lid that faced east, where the wind was coming from.

    Called Pop again, who suggested moving the side ropes back on the lid and lessening the leverage of the back side. Smart guy, that one. But we couldn't move the ropes; everything had been quickly and hastily tied... now very tightly. 

    Here's the problem with this whole lid-blowing-off thing: it's not just the rain. An open window/door/whatever during a hurricane creates a pressurized situation that allows very little wind force to lift a roof right off of the house.

    Only thing we could do was take turns holding on. Holding on to our roof.
  9. This held for another 15-20 minutes, and the ropes snapped. And the lid went. 

    Peter was up there at the time and was able to hang onto it for a couple minutes. We scrambled to find more rope in the house, wire, cables, anything. Then the wind gusted up, and the lid went right across the roof. There was no way anyone could go onto the roof to get it; we were in the thick of the storm by then.

    I called my brother, who has prepared for and lived through several hurricanes. I asked him what we should do. "Get heavy duty tape and start taping that door shut. Then get plywood and nail over the door. You've got to stop the wind from coming into the house," he said. I hung up and we went to work.
  10. 10pm update: After a harrowing couple hours, we seem to have stabilized here. The ropes we were holding (see previous facebook pics) finally broke, and we lost the lid to the roof exit altogether. It blew across the roof, and may have tumbled over.

    I called my brother, who's lived through and prepped for several hurricanes, on what to do. Since this exit hatch is in a closet, he advised to start... taping up the (kinda flimsy) swinging doors all around the edges. Then nail plywood across the door. Then move furniture in front of the door. The whole point is to not let a ton of air come into the house and let a pressure situation develop, which would lift the roof off of the house.

    That's what we did, and what you see in the pic. Drilling & hammering = amazing releases for adrenaline. I also happen to have the best landlords ever, and we make a great team. Now, we're just hoping it holds til the winds supposedly start dying down at 12:00/12:30am.See More
  11. My biggest concern was trying to figure out the direction of the wind. Was it sucking in, and pulling on the doors? They open outward, so an inward sucking motion was only being stopped by a couple of magnets. Or was the wind pushing in, and we were doing our job? The doors were jiggling in the gusts. 
  12. Got the answer from my cousin Cheryl. (Thank God for #nerdfamily).
  13. I called my parents to let them know what was going on, and what we'd done. I sent my dad picture of the setup, and he suggested putting shoes in between the plywood and the doors, to stop them from jiggling. That worked like a charm.

    We took a break and started to decompress. Later, Peter and I agreed that if everything held, we'd wait until the winds died down in the morning, and we'd try to repair the roof lid. Peter would call to see if Lowe's was open to get some heavy duty nails to secure it until we can install a hatch mechanism.

    I was shaking madly, and finally checked back into Twitter and Facebook. The love was overwhelming. Truly.