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A pile of stuff we threw out -- waterlogged so it couldn't be sold or recycled. Yes, that's a Dumpster to the right. The insulation from the crawlspace filled it to the top.

It’s been a while since I posted. There’s a good reason for my absence: Hurricane Sandy swept through my town and the fallout has sucked, to say the least.

We live on the South Shore of Long Island in a little beach club community. We live .22 of a mile away from a canal and .36 of a mile from the open bay, according to MapMyRun. Due to that distance and our elevation, we didn’t need flood insurance, according to federal flood maps. And yet when Sandy struck there was 18 inches of water lapping on the outside of my house.

We were the lucky ones. The water never made it into the living areas of my home. It went into the garage and spilled into our crawlspace, filling it up about five feet or so. Our damage was minimal compared to most down here. We had to rip out all the insulation in the crawlspace, and remove the debris that floated into the area. We also ripped out about four-feet of Sheetrock and insulation from the garage. In the spring, we’ll have to replace our central air unit, which is outside of the house. We know we need a lot of work on our boiler that is in the garage. Oh, and we had no heat or electricity for two weeks. Again, we are the lucky ones. Everyone around us got slammed much harder.

Our next door neighbor’s home is a wreck. The force of the water broke down their back door. They had four feet of water in their house. Our neighbors to the back had five feet of water in their home. They had fish swimming in their den. The people next to them had seven feet. My friend a few doors down lost her entire basement. A little farther south got hit even worse. Some of our favorite neighborhood friends are living in trailers or with family members because their homes were pretty much destroyed by water and wind. Many people we know are also dealing with sewage and heating oil spills. Oil tanks are buoyant. When they float, they flip over and spill their contents into homes and throughout neighborhoods. It’s terrible. Almost as terrible as all the homes that burned once the water ebbed away and the electricity was turned on. Almost every night we listened as firetrucks and emergency vehicles raced past our house.

The storm was about four weeks ago and — as I walk the dog — all I see is stacks of belongings and flooring and insulation lining the streets. There’s a pile of stuff next door. Another pile two houses from that. There are piles across the street. As quickly as those piles are picked up new ones form. It’s so depressing and sad. We want to help, but how much can we do? Nothing, really. We can just pray and hope that soon this will all be a terrible memory.

Anyway, so that’s why I haven’t been writing very much aside from work that I was contracted to do. Amazingly, I was able to do all my assignments. Again, I was lucky. I had a generator and a portable wireless hotspot. I had a high-end UPS so I could work for an hour or two even if the generator was off. In the coming weeks I will be getting back to writing about health, wellness, the environment, global warming, and my kids, among other things. Right now, though, it seems almost sacrilegious to talk about stuff that many may see as fluffy, especially when there are life and death issues facing so many around me, but I know life goes on. It has to, right?

One Response to “Where Have I Been? (Or Hurricane Sandy Sucked)”

  1. Peter Eicher says:

    Oh Karen, that’s awful! But like you know, it could have been so much worse.

    I got away easy. I don’t live near the water, so other than one broken window from a flying branch I received no damage. But so many people were devastated by the storm. I know someone in Howard Beach that had their house literally destroyed. It’s a ruin now.

    But in context, even that is like nothing when you take the long view and think of what life brings to so many people. It’s a cliche, but “Don’t it always seem to go
    that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”

    I’m glad to know you’re well.

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