Friday, November 23, 2012

Rockaway Update: Pilgrim's Progress

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all.

Much of the block on our end is deserted as people have left to stay in other places, only coming to visit to meet workmen or adjusters. So it is lonely at night. About half the people have remained  -- the couple across the street were featured getting their new boiler going on national NBC news on a report in the wonderful Graybeards group out here -- more on them soon -- great group to send money to.

Where we stand:
Weds -- Electricians back for 2nd time -- put in new sub panel to replace the one in the basement -- I asked them to move it to the garage as high as possible. Since my entire electrical grid is not connected they have to test one line at a time and run new BX cables so it is quite a job. They were there for hours and gave us power to our extension and to one outlet in the bedroom. They ran a line to the basement for the burner so I called Pat the plumber to get on the schedule for next week to finish connecting the burner to all 3 zones.

In the meantime we have the heat exchangers from the air conditioning system working in the bedrooms when needed -- and the cats are smart enough to hang out there.

Right after the electrical guys left Verizon showed up - perfect timing. He changed the damaged stuff and I helped him run a phone cable up to my man cave where the router is too -- by running extension cords up from the garage I now have fios, internet and phone service. Great, as long as I don't trip.

So, it's been a busy few days.

I just love hanging out with people who work with their hands -- plumbers, electricians, etc. The conversations are so different from talking to teachers.
Don't ask me which I prefer.

For many years after I bought my house I tried to save money by doing stuff myself and found out just how hard it is and how skillful and smart you have to be to do it well (I wasn't neither). But I installed my own alarm by wiring the entire house -- all that laid bare and destroyed now --- did low-level carpentry, electrical work (shhhh, don't tell the insurance co)  -- and about to have all of it ripped out and done right, plumbing --- I actually installed most of the heating baseboards in much of my house -- who was that guy who used to solder pipe joints? Around 1986  I hired an amazing guy from Portugal to build a 10x16 ft extension and I was his assistant -- that was 25 years ago -- and it actually held up during the storm.

Well, I am well beyond that now. I'm just hiring people and hoping flood insurance will cover. I'm guessing I already have spent  close to 20 grand or am about to get close and that is without doing the basic reconstruction work which might cost another 20.

Geiko came through big on the car insurance and I told a rep I would dress up in the Gekko costume and do ads for them. We luckily rescued the soaking wet car titles and had to send them in before getting reimbursed. But then they told us to drive to the McDonald's in Howard Beach and look for a Geiko trailor where we could turn them in and voila we walked out with 2 checks for our cars.

The gave me more than what I paid 3 months ago for a new 2012 CRV and we went right over to Andy Feldman at Bay Ridge Honda and bought a new one -- which we had to do because our friend who loaned us a car is coming back Sunday. My wife had a 2003 Accord and first they said 8grand -- which was great. Then they called and said because she had such low mileage they were giving us 10 grand. Amazing.

And then our non-flood insurance adjuster -- we expected nothing since they don't cover floods made a generous offer for some coverage including hot water heater and boiler using the assumption that sewage -- which they do cover -- must have been in our basement up to 2 feet.

Thursday:
Thanks to Cousins Amy, David and their too-quickly grown up children Matt, Stephanie and Rachel (omg, a freshman in college already) for hosting us in Northport, LI for a great TG dinner --- lucky we left before having to watch the Jets. David is a Cowboys fan but he is used to losing so no biggie. Matt was a White House intern this past summer and has a great pic of the group with Michelle Obama with her arm around him. Cool.

And all the little kids -- our grand nieces Jordan (5) and Lexie year and a half), cousins Julie (6) and Mikie (3), all of whom spent hours racing around the house. And kudos to Sister-in-law Val and Bro-in-law Dave, a Romney supporter who said nothing (for a change) for driving back and forth with us -- they were also hit by the storm in the Atlantic Highlands.

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