Friday, November 2, 2012

Sandy Paid Long Island a Nasty Visit

Unless you live under a rock (WAY under a rock), you all know - or have experienced first hand - Hurricane Sandy was not good to Long Island.  Much of the news coverage focuses on New Jersey and Manhattan - I don't diminish their misery - but we are in bad shape on affluent Long Island.  Sandy didn't care how big our homes are, how many cars are in our garage, or the balance in our bank account - we were beaten up, left without power or phone lines, empty gas tanks and destroyed homes and property.

Each night's news coverage tugs harder at my heart strings.  I almost feel guilty that we and our loved ones are living in relative luxury.  Yes we're inconvenienced, but still alive with everyone and everything we hold dear intact.   As I am fortunate enough to post this, Tom and I are living aboard Serenity, a mere 4 minutes from our ravaged neighborhood.  Thanks to Serenity's more than adequate generator, we have lights, hot water, food and numerous other creature comforts.  We can even do laundry!  Today the marina regained power, so we turned off the generator and now have wifi.  In direct contrast, our neighbor across the street is dealing with the remains of beloved trees felled during the storm.

The sound of chainsaws is replacing the sounds of birds and squirrels scampering among the leaves.  There are so many leaves on the ground right now, that the streets are actually aglow in the fall colors.  It would be pretty if we were unaware of how all those leaves were driven to the ground.

As I drove to visit my horse for the first time today - the barn manager had sent everyone a text late Monday night that all  horses were safe - I passed the bottom of our street.  We have been unable to leave our street in the usual way since we were blocked by 2 enormous felled trees.  As I drove by, my eyes popped out of my head as I surveyed the reason.  I couldn't resist pulling over to take this picture...

Though there is no scale with which to judge the height of the branches, trust me that it is significant.  Judging by the extent of the mess and the fact that we're pretty far from the beaten path, I suspect that it will be quite some time before the lights come on.  I forgot to mention that this pile of trees has power lines mixed into it.  I think you might agree.

After spending Monday night at home in the cold and dark surrounded by horrific, howling winds (albeit by candlelight), Tom and I decided to move aboard Serenity.  First we had to find a way out of the neighborhood.  Once that was accomplished, we drove to the marina to be sure it (the marina) was still there.  We could see Serenity in her slip and almost fainted with joy.  We sped to the marina and rushed down the dock to really get a good look at our girl.  She was in great shape, not even a leaf on her decks!  We had to rush through our initial check because the water was almost level with the dock and  it wasn't quite high tide yet.  The dockmaster later told us that on Monday, the storm surge created a new high water mark at 4 feet over the dock.  We went home, threw some things into a bag and headed out again.  Warmth, lights, fresh food, (a tad of wine) and just the feeling of being safe and comfortable never felt so good.

As we watched the news for the first time, we were mesmerized by the sights flashing across the TV of destruction and misery all across the mighty, tri-state area.  To see huge waves crashing over the battery in lower Manhattan and flooding once teeming sidewalks was a sight to behold.  I cried with the people  who told reporters their story of loss.  I looked around my surroundings with even more gratitude than  usual.  Here we are in the lap of luxury while others live in shelters, having lost everything.

Once I established contact with our daughter, I learned that they were not only safe, but had never lost power.  Thank goodness Tucker was safe and warm in his nest!  Our barn manager sent a text that the horses were safe, but that the barn was without power.  By now, hearing that there was no power was nothing new.  What I didn't expect upon arriving at the barn was a team of roofers on the roof of my horse's barn.  Apparently, much of the roof covering that barn blew off during the storm, leaving rain to pour in.  Thanks to the diligence and hard work of the wonderful men who keep the barn running, they got on the roof in the storm and put a tarp down to protect the horses.  They were hard at work today nailing down the base of the new roof.

Wow!  There was so much to worry about these past 3 days (it seems like much longer than that)!  First, the ones I love - daughter, son-in-law, grandson, friends, horse. Then the physical things, house, cars, boat, property.  Living through such a widespread disaster helps to prioritize what is important in life.  Just the ability to make a phone call, flip a switch for light, or drive anywhere with a full tank of gas - it's a luxury now.  As New Yorkers, we will get through this as we have in other disasters.  I just hope it won't take too long.

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