I don't even know how to start putting everything that has happened over the past few days into words, but I'm going to try my best because I need to talk about it. As most of you know by now, I live on Long Island. What you don't know is that Hurricane Sandy pretty much messed my hometown. I've tried throughout the course of having this blog not to talk about where I live because I work there, but today is the day that I have to talk about it. I live on the South Shore of Long Island in a city named Long Beach and Hurricane Sandy basically ruined my life, at least for the foreseeable future..
Lemme start from the beginning...
I can't claim to be one of the "brave" ones that stayed on the little barrier island I call home because I ran to Justin's on Sunday after helping my parents (While I was hungover from partying the night before) move all of the items up higher in our den so they wouldn't be destroyed (Oh, how it didn't help), but my parents and sister stayed, along with a bunch of my friends.
The next morning I woke up and we all just hung around waiting for the storm to hit. It all seemed fine and dandy and then around 6:00pm we lost power -- Which was due to the neighbor's tree falling on the power line. We started a fire, lit a bunch of candles and proceeded to play games throughout the course of the evening. We also had to listen to Justin's youngest sister cry about being scared and wanting daddy.
Around 11:00pm during the storm, just as we were about to go to bed, Justin got a phone call from my mother. She was calling me to warn me that there were two house on fire on our block and not to get worried if people started posting stuff about a fire on Facebook or whatnot. I wasn't worried so I said good night to her.
When I woke up Tuesday morning I turned my phone back on so that we'd have a line of communication open since Justin had to go to work (His job had power). As soon as it connected I was inundated with text messages from my cousins, friends, etc. The one that got to me the most was from my cousin Lisa telling me that she had heard from my sister over an hour after I did the night before and that two house fire had spread to a six house fire and she was worried about my sister and parents.
This caused me to flip out. I wanted to leave and drive home but Justin's mother and aunt wouldn't let me, so I ended up sitting around all day trying to get in touch with my parents and sister.
Justin's mother and aunt insisted that we find something to occupy our time with seeing as the girls were getting bored. We found out that the local shopping center had power so we went and picked up some more groceries and Justin's aunt took us all for manicures and pedicures. While we were at the nail salon I found an available electrical outlet and charged my phone, texted everyone I could think of trying to figure out where my family was, checking the Facebook page someone had made pertaining to our city and the hurricane, tweeting to various people about their whereabouts, etc. It wasn't a very relaxing outing for me. Especially since they had the radio on the news and they kept bringing up things about where I live. The only good thing that happened was that Erin texted me telling me she was going to go check on my family, but I didn't get another text from her for hours after this one.
A few hours passed, I was annoyed and insisted on being left alone in the dark in Justin's apartment and I eventually (Almost fifteen hours later) got a phone call from my mother and sister telling me that they were okay and that they had been trying to get in touch with me all day long but there was barely any service. I cannot tell you how happy I was to hear from my mother and sister. It was such a big relief.
After hearing from them I went upstairs to tell Justin and his family that I had finally gotten in touch with my family and that I was planning on heading back home the next day to go help them. So Wednesday morning I woke up super early, cleaned out my car and drove home, but not without incident. As I drove the most ass backwards way home because the parkways were closed I lost my passenger side mirror and got myself a nice, deep, long scratch across the side of my car.
Despite all of that I made it home and I beeped my horn like a crazy woman when I got in front of my house. When I ran out of my car I noticed that there were cars (Including my parent's) everywhere. Unfortunately all of the cars I saw were dead, including both of my parent's cars. The water got so high that it completely submerged my fathers car and got halfway up my mothers.
Hearing my honks my mother ran over to give me a hug, then she and my sister told me about the water rushing into our house from the backyard flooding our den in almost five feet of water, how the water was four inches away from our front door and about how scary the fire down the block was. When we were done talking and I inspected our den, my mom and I took Nella for a walk so I could see some of the damage around the neighborhood.
At some point my father came home from work for lunch. While he was home we decided that we'd drive him to work, charge our phones for a bit because he had power and we'd drive around town checking up on friends and surveying the damage.
While we were driving around we saw how messed up things really were. There are pieces of our boardwalk all the way in the middle of the city, sand covering streets, fallen trees everywhere, water still in the streets and pieces of people's lives all over the streets.
When we were out looking for my sister's friend Kim we found her car with all of the windows open and we saw that the picture of her descend father and his memorial card were still on her dashboard, so we took it out for safe keeping for her.
After running into a few friends and not finding others we headed back to our father's job, picked him up and headed back to our house so they could pack some stuff up and try to find a hotel to stay at so they could take hot showers. Unfortunately they couldn't find a hotel, but we were able to get dinner -- Yay Greek restaurant that was open! Since they couldn't find anywhere to stay I headed back to Justin's (Which got power back at some point in the evening) and they headed back home (They didn't want to stay by Justin's because his family was there and my family is stubborn).
On Thursday I woke up early again, threw in a load of laundry and started to run around trying to find things to help out my family and Erin's. I bought a ton of water, snacks, hand sanitizer, antibacterial spray, and a computer battery back up for them to charge their phones on. I also went on a hunt for gas. It was a pain in the ass to find gas and when I did I had to wait on line (Thankfully not for hours like people have been) and there was only premium left.
Once that was all said and done I headed back home to give my family the
supplies I bought, but not before running to check on Erin who I hadn't seen
since 3am on Sunday morning.When I pulled up and got out of the car she ran
over to me shouting my name and hugged me for a long time. After she was done
hugging me I went to show her my supply stash in the car and told her to take
what she needed, but she didn't want to because when she lives wasn't as hit as
badly as where I live. We stood by my car talking for a bit, she told me that
they were having a wake for her cousin that evening and asked me if I could get
her family some Duraflame logs and bring them with me to the wake because they were going to try and get her fireplace (That has never been used) up and running to heat the house up. I told her I'd try, said goodbye and headed to my parent's house. I spent the rest of the afternoon helping them clean and trying to salvage pictures that had gotten wet in the flood.
When everyone was tired I drove them to my uncle's house so they could take hot showers, etc. My parents and sister weren't planning on staying there but my uncle talked them into it, so I left them there but not before taking a request from my uncle to bring bacon, eggs, rolls and cheese over the next morning. I headed back to Justin's so I could change into something decent looking to go to the wake, we had dinner, I went in search of Duraflame logs and a mini birthday cake fore Erin's grandmother (Erin texted me about it at some point in the afternoon) and then we drove to the funeral home. We missed the first hour of the wake because the first store I went into didn't have the Duraflame logs, so we stayed for the second hour and talked with Erin, her parents and Maria. I think they really appreciated it.
Friday morning I took the breakfast goodies I bought the night before and drove over to my uncle's house. My mother cooked everything up and we all had breakfast before driving to La Guardia Airport because my father found out that they had rental cars there. We picked up two cars and went back home to do some more work -- On her way home my mother saw that her and my sister's favorite Thai restaurant was open and she picked up lunch for all of us. After eating and doing everything we could, I headed back to Justin's, my mother & sister headed back to my uncle's house and my dad went to work.
I didn't go back on Saturday because my parents told me not to seeing as I'm sick and there is a gas shortage. So I spent the day cleaning Justin's apartment and applying for Federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance (You can call here if you are out of a job because of Sandy also 1-888-209-8124) because my job was destroyed from what I hear from my Director and Assistant Director. So yup, I'm currently a jobless librarian. I'll have to wait and see what happens with my library.
The highlight of my day was the fact that my friend called to tell me she and her girlfriend were going to be in the area to drop stuff off to her mother and wanted to see if Justin and I wanted to have dinner with them. I jumped at the chance to have a normal social interaction with friends and told them we'd absolutely meet up with them. So for an hour or so I got to pretend things were normal. It was nice.
Today I spent my day babysitting Justin's sister while he, his mother and stepfather went back to their house to clean up. We really didn't do anything spectacular, we just watched a bunch of movies on Netflix and I baked us some sugar cookies. So that's where I'm at...
Despite how I spent my last two days I cannot explain to you how tired I am. Between worrying about my family and friends, running around trying to get supplies, cleaning up our house, dead people, family arguments, the idea of not having a job to go back to and some bronchitis it's a wonder I haven't just shut down. I'm just glad everyone is okay and I'll just have to see what happens with each new day.