Post Hurricane Sandy

I’m now writing this over 2 weeks after the actual event, it’s November 15, 2012:

Well, we did not flood, thankfully, but we did lose power for longer than either of us has been without  in our lives. 8 total days with no power. For our area, that is about the record, with some minor exceptions across the river where some are being told it might be Thanksgiving before it is restored. The reasons for that are somewhat unclear. Internet/phone and TV came back later — about this time last week, and internet has been at best spotty, which is why I’ve not been able to post. However, and I must emphasize this, all of this pales in comparison to what some are going through with the damage from this “super” storm. And of course, we were so elated to have not flooded (we really expected it to be worse than Hurricane Irene), so the minor inconvenience of having no power for a week was tolerable. But we were basically without news, via TV or internet for the entire week. Of course we heard stuff, and I had the reports in the car as I drove to work — but nothing compares to the pictures, which I sought out tonight on the internet of the damage to coastal New Jersey and New York. I’m not going to belabor this, as most have probably seen it all already, and I won’t turn the blog into a storm damage report, as I’m sure there are plenty out there that are doing that. I’ll keep this short and simple in the form of a link to some amazing, disturbing  and heartbreaking aerial photos taken right after the storm along the Jersey shore, up to and including Breezy Point, NY, which is probably the worst of what this storm wrought. Here is the link: Hurricane Sandy: Aerial Photos. It’s in the form of a slide-show of aerial shots of some of the worst of the damage. And forget about electricity, a lot of these people don’t have a house to live in. So we count ourselves lucky. Something to be known about  this kind of damage, and this kind of event – and that is IF you have flood insurance, and I speak from the standpoint of having lived through a huge loss in Hurricane Ivan in 2004: it can literally take YEARS to recover from these things. First, it takes a long time to get any money from your flood or insurance company. And keep in mind, they do not give it to YOU the homeowner, they give it to you and your bank, and you have to fight them tooth and nail to get it. Meanwhile, you can’t begin to work with any contractors until you have the money – it’s this horrible, vicious, and annoying cycle that makes the whole thing take forever. I know for a fact that some people just give up the fight, and then live in condemned houses for as long as they can. The checks do expire, so if you don’t “play their game”, you are shit out of luck and screwed. And even if and after you get all that done, there is the psychological toll, that can take years to get over. Some people may just flat out walk away from the problem, never to return again. Where we live, believe it or not, our neighbors were put out of their house in Hurricane Irene, which was in August of 2011 – and they are STILL not back. The house is finally looking livable, after MORE THAN A YEAR. I mean is that just nuts, or what? Ok, enough of my soap-boxing, if you can find a way to help hurricane victims, believe it or not, it helps everybody. I know that is a tough pill to swallow sometimes, but if things are put back together, people can continue to go to work, be productive, and construction crews and tree cutters, and lots of other people are put into action helping them and the economy. It is never a good idea to just let things erode and disintegrate after these catastrophic events. One really big thing that happened for us during this 8-day power outage was the community pulled together as INDIVIDUALS and helped each other. Every night of the outage, you could go to our local firehouse for a hot “home-cooked” meal. You could be in a warm, lighted hall, with other people going through the same thing. It was a huge help, and made the week completely tolerable. And when you are helped through something like this, you are also much more likely to help out others when you can, when you’re not the victim, but the one able to help someone who is going through it. It’s always amazing to me how communities can come together and support each other.

The only other thing I wanted to add to this post, was the night Sandy “hit”, Monday night, October 29th, Bob and I were catching a “post-Hurricane-preparation” bite and a beer at a local pub. We stayed until power went out there, and everyone either had to pay up with cash or write down credit card numbers. Witnesses smoking cigarettes outside came in exclaiming about seeing “lightning-like” explosions up over the hills, as transformers were blown out being ripped down by trees falling already. On our way home, the wind had really picked up. Bob suddenly said something like, “Whoa — Did you feel that?”
“What?” I asked.
“I don’t know — something just went through me — with a thought. It was really clear, it was Nuttah. She was saying ‘GET OUT‘.”
Chills then go through me.
“No”, I said, “Didn’t hear, feel, or pick up a thing”. (As usual)
But then I said “Well, that’s scary, she obviously knows something… do you think we should even stay here?”
By now we are driving up a long hill, lined with trees, and debris is falling and being blown all over the road. We better get home soon, we’re not driving anywhere else tonight. It’s pitch black, as power is now out all over. We used our flashlights to get into the house, and after dealing with the immediate stuff, I went up to the bedroom, and had to shout to Bob to “Come upstairs, you have to see this!”
And here is the picture of how Nuttah had arranged herself on the table in the bedroom:

Nuttah protects herself under a turtle shell, as if to say, “Get under something!”

The next few hours, we waited out the storm downstairs, exhausted from our stressful weekend of getting ready, but afraid to go to bed upstairs with the wind blowing like it was and the possibility of flooding. We kept getting up to check the creek, but so far, the hurricane had brought mostly wind, and not a lot of rain. That was to continue, as the rain amounts did not add up to nearly what they had projected. At least not inland like we are. When the wind seemed to die down, we fell into bed exhausted. Both of us got up at least twice to make the trek outside to shine a flashlight into the creek to check the level. Luckily we never needed all the nailed in plywood and protection we erected to hopefully try and avoid being flooded. In my next post, I will insert some pictures of what we woke up to in the area the next morning, which may begin to explain why there was no power for more than a week.

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