Saturday, November 17, 2012

Rockaway Report: And the Lord LEPPA Saith: Let there be Some Power, Light and Heat, Though Imperfectly and Thanks God for Frenchmen

Whilst the Lord Verizon saith "No internet, phone or TV until Weds - maybe."

Sat, Nov. 17
BEWARE the 11th Plague: Mold- Green, slimy mold that will crawl inside your walls and cover your face while you sleep.

Well, nothing's simple. Today contractor Matt is supposed to send a demoltion crew to remove lots of walls/sheetrock that were under water. The FEMA guy measured the ground level water line at 56 inches. That's like neck high. All these walls are going to come out ultimately though garage and bathroom will be spared today.

Have crowbar, will travel

Last night we went to Loews to stock up and I spent 20 bucks on the biggest crowbar I could find. I love demolition. Just ask Randi Weingarten. I spent some time yesterday using just a hammer and pry bar to knock into walls. Oh what fun. I'll be doing this all day instead of attending the MORE meeting. I may just give up politics for demolition.

Now for some semi good news. On the Tues morning after Sandy - almost 3 weeks ago going on what seems like 3 months - when I saw that both my electric boxes had been under water - it was clear they had to be replaced. Even if LEPPER had turned on power the next day there was fire danger to turn on the boxes. So I made a smart decision for once - get an electrician to change the boxes ASAP. But Ken, who I met when he did the electrical work installing our split air cond system in May was busy in Howard Beach. I decided to wait for him as long as we didn't have power. Another good move.

Let me say here that the number of decisions to make and the order you make them is crucial to getting back to normalcy - not usually my best thing. But so far I have been lucky.

Going back to the decision to put in the split system, which is also a heat pump, in the bedrooms. My wife resisted. So what that I had to shlep and install window units up and down? I was sick of it.

Plus, I was thinking about having individual heating units for each bedroom esp in the case of a failure of my heating system, which we installed in 1979. (It really pays off sometimes to be a doom and gloom guy.)

We installed similar units on the main level 6 years ago and they worked great. How smart was I to not let them put the compressor on ground level but hang it on the wall about 2 feet up - in case of a flood I said at the time. Big joke now looking at 56 inches of flood and a ruined compressor. But at least I considered it.

So this past May, thinking of Irene last year, I told the AC guys to hang it high. Ugly, obtrusively, 8 feet high on the house. "It looks stupid," my wife said. Heh, heh, heh. Last night as that sucker got us up to 68 degrees it didn't look so ugly. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Ken and his assistant Tom did the wiring back in May. I felt real comfortable with them so I was overjoyed when they said they were coming this past Thursday. With rumors of power coming back any day, even without a replacement burner in place, we'd have the bedroom heat pumps working and hopefully could get the ruined compressor on the other side of the house replaced sooner than a new burner. So far I'm feeling pretty smart.

But Ken takes one look at my basement and sees that all the BX metal sheathed cable running along the ceiling beams had had water covering them - I guess seaweed is a clue. I basically need much of my house rewired - nyc may be the only place in the world where BX is required but the metal also contains electrical fires - supposedly.

Since there's no power, Ken really can't test anything so he disconnects my entire electrical system - but he will replace the box in the garage, hook up the ac/heating unit and give us a few dedicated outlets in the garage to run off extension cords snaked upstairs. And most importantly, he fills out the paperwork for LEPPER, which we hand in at a special trailer on 108th St on Friday morning - 24-48 hrs they tell us.

We are leaving around 5pm to go car hunting and we see 3 power trucks from Quebec on our corner with a bunch of guys in orange suits speaking French and poking at the power lines with 20 foot yellow poles. I go over and point to my house asking when? "518? You have power now." I ask him to come check since I can't tell which is on or off for the circuit breakers. We bring down a coffee grinder - one of the most important appliances we own - and the joy of hearing that buzz sends us into ecstasy.

Actually, for my wife, not as much ecstasy as she felt after picking up that cute French TV reporter earlier in the day. He must have been impressed because he stopped by the house later in the day. But that's a story for another time.

This just in: Pat the plumber is on the way with the new burner. Hope he brings his mandolin since there is no power to the basement.

Norm Scott

Twitter: normscott1

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