Sunday, November 18, 2012

Rockaway Update: Small Steps Toward Normalcy - Day 1 of Not Living Out of an ice chest a Real Dinner, Some Heat, Plus Bill Clinton Supposed to Visit Today

Gee, I better run out and get some munchies in case Bill stops by to help haul wet sheetrock.

I'm looking forward to reports of MORE monthly meeting yesterday. If you were there shoot me an email or leave a comment.

Sunday, Nov. 18, 8AM

I want to start by reiterating that we feel in better shape than 99 percent so no one should view anything I say as a real hardship. Not back to normal yet, but far from hardship.

Weekends out here are really wild as the mix of family members, volunteers, contracters, sanitation (the heros of this disaster - and a govt agency to boot), fire, police - both also doing amazing work and the gas (earlier on) and now power trucks - our area from Quebec though I've met guys from indiana, Conn, texas and other places.

A number of people on my block are not staying here at night so by 5pm all goes dead except for the continuing massive sanitation cleanup that goes on all night. The front of my house is loaded once again with a massive heap, this time containing the remnants of sheetrock that got wet - that dreaded mold must be conquered.

Yesterday I ran an extension cord through a hole I cut in the wall back of fridge. Seeing the light go on is a biggie. We dragged the smelly ice chest outside - almost 3 weeks - and I don't know if I wrote this but as the water rushed in on Sandy night I went to the den in almost knee high water to grab it as it floated by.

As expected, Matt the contracter sent 3 of his guys, led by the always amazing Jose, over for the day to pull as many of the walls that got wet. As I pointed out the other day, my house is a special case due to its 4 main levels, each half way up the other. So my basement filling to the top (around 7 feet) also filled the adjoining den, garage, laundry and bath rooms to 56 inches. That's a whole lot of sheet rock (including some in the basement).

When Jose saw the super large crow bar and other demolition tools I bought the night before his eyes lit up because Home Depot was totally out of this stuff.

I've been feeling pretty good physically from the daily manual labor, though eating more than ever. But on this day when there were 3 guys working I was just getting in the way, so I sat this one out, sort of wondering around with nothing much to do.

Then Pat the plumber calls to say his guys were bringing the new boiler to do most of the installation even though there was no power to the basement, only the 4 outlets Ken had left me.

I found a work light I had rescued off our trash heap 2 weeks ago and voila, there basement light for Pat's 2 guys. All 5 guys seemed to know each other from other jobs, so it was a lively day of lots of Spanish with a radio blaring some great music.

A lady came by inviting all of us to eat a few blocks away. Her crew had come from Manhasset. So we all drifted over but on the way there were also various groups set up with feed trucks.

I was honored by a visit from Christine Rubino of Facebook court case fame and her 2 kids as they stopped by to say hello on the way to help out a friend.

Pat and Matt stopped by to check on the work of their crews. This should be a factor when choosing contractors - are they paying attention?

I saw Jose and crew emptying each bag they had filled - his keys had gotten mixed in somehow. I was so impressed at the good humor and the lack of panic as they went about this frustrating task. They went through about half the bags before finding them.

They were done by 4 and the plumbing guys a half hour later. Vera drove in from Brooklyn to say hello. An uber serious gardener, Vera tried to offer some hope but much of it looks dismal. No worries till spring. If we have to start over we will - I'm thinking paving stones. Vera suggested a zen garden. Hmmm. Some sand and a few plants. Sparse looks good now.

We went inside and when I turned on the hot water there was none. And no gas for the stove. I realized the guys had turned them off but forgot to turn them on. Unlike Jose, I panic. My wife had gone to stop n shop to get stuff for our first cooked dinner at home and I also needed a hot shower. Vera and I went down to the dark basement to check it out but we didn't have a clue. I called Pat who sent them back, possibly from staten island and an hour later we were up and running. The first dinner of the new era was delicious.

Shelly and Joel came by for a social call and we traded stories. Theirs of wading across the street at 2AM with other neighbors and pets to a safer house is more interesting. They actually could watch the scary sight of 130th St burning.

By 10pm we were all ready to go to sleep.

Saturday night in Rockaway under the new normality.

Upcoming this week
Sun nite: pray for word fr electrician Ken that he will come.
Lament another Jet embarassment.

Monday; Am visit from regular (not flood) insurance guy. PM- meet julie and jack and go to speak to a class at bklyn college at 6pm

tues- go to location in downtown bklyn to get our safe deposit box stuff which was moved from local ruined bank. Who would have thought of that?

Maybe order car.

Weds; wait for verizon guy
Pm- writing grp - if I go a real sign of normality.

Thurs - despite generous invite fr vera to come to massive TG event in bklyn, we will head out to Northport to wife relatives. Bro and sister in law will come to us first from Sandy Hook with their stories as we drive out together. Lucky I made him take his lionel train set a few months ago though he didn't take some of his other stuff, now residing in a compressed heap of garbage in Riis Park.

Friday - figure out next steps - how to heat spaces with no walls?

Norm Scott

Twitter: normscott1

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  1. Hang in there! Soon things will be back to "normal".

    If Bill Clinton comes by, tell him I still care for him no matter what the Republicans or the faux Democrats say behind his back.

    I want to wish you, your wife and the cats a Happy Thanksgiving and may you receive many blessings on that day.

  2. A very Happy Thanksgiving. You were truly blessed.


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