Saturday, December 22, 2012

Sandy Diaries - What Were We Thinking? Day of Sandy, Part 1

Published in print edition Friday, December 21, 2012,

By Norm Scott

Here’s hoping everyone is recovering as best they can. I’m so glad The Wave has come through this. Seeing it out again is a clear sign we are moving towards the new normal.

Monday morning, October 29, at 10:30, I posted a piece on my blog about the education evaluation negotiations and the January deadline imposed by Cuomo and how it might tie into a UFT contract, plus other issues all coming together at the same time. I lightheartedly titled it “The Perfect Storm.”

What was I thinking? We had decided not to leave Rockaway, though when I had looked out the window at around 8AM there was water coming up my bay block street from the ocean. And when I saw my neighbors across the street come racing out of the house around 10AM with a suitcase it got me thinking. Some of my other neighbors had already left.

Last year we left because of Irene and I remember the night of anxiety worried if the house would be there. Not this time. We wanted to be there on sight to clean up the next day. Who knew cleanup would take months. I went outside and saw other neighbors who said they were staying the course – we were taking picture of the water, which was lapping at my garage door until the tide began to go down and the waters began to recede.

Hey, we were ready. I was on a long line at Brown’s Sunday morning -- the always amazing crew there went to Pennsylvania Saturday to pick up 6000 sand bags – and my wife and I went to the beach and almost died from carrying the bags full of wet sand to my car. Boy was I glad that I only had to fill 12 bags. Later Sunday I tucked my wife’s car into the garage (we live in a split level with the garage, laundry room, den and bathroom on the ground level) and carefully placed them in front of my garage door, covering about 18 inches. There, that ought to do it. Well, if it goes to 2 feet some water might get in. I proudly took a picture showing off all my work, really one of the funniest photos I have ever taken.

At 4:30 PM I posted another piece I called: The Real Perfect Storm. Here is a slightly edited version to give you some idea of some dumb, lighthearted thinking even at that late time.

“Thanks for all the concerns and invitations for us and the cats to come stay. No, we have not left. As soon as I tell everyone that due to probable loss of power and/or storm damage we would probably have to stay for 3 months I could hear the enthusiasm begin to wane. My friend and I took a walk to the beach at noon and I took some photos and video. The water had totally receded and people were walking on the beach. The rain was beginning to hit hard. We stopped at someone's house who was worried about her car in her driveway and wanted to know if it would be better on her lawn. I started to panic over my 3 month old car in my driveway. Realizing my next door neighbors had left I had the brilliant idea to put my car in their garage which seemed higher than mine. Well it is tucked away but if the surge gets in there we are in big trouble -- in terms of our house which could take a long time to be back to normal. I'm as worried about the bay a half block away as the ocean 4 blocks away. We have a sea wall about 5 feet high. In Hurricane Donna in 1960 the wall wasn't there and the ocean met the bay. It could still happen tonight at high tide, around 9PM, the big one where we expect to take in some water. The idea is to turn my basement into a swimming pool. One seeming good thing is that the storm is moving faster and should hit land a few hours before high tide. But we still do have a full moon. I will be howling at it as my basement and possibly higher levels fill with water. The video is posted at”
After I posted this piece at 4:30PM, I looked out the window and saw another neighbor racing out of the house as the water started coming down the street. “You think we should have left,” my wife asked?

My garage at around noon- water came up to the bags this morning at high tide

Monday, Oct. 29 high tide around 9AM - My new car - water receded around 10:30AM,

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