January 9, 2013

Rebuild & Restore

Rebuild & Restore.

My last post was so nonchalant, sarcastic even.  I mean Irene was bad enough for us in the way of trees down, shingles lifted and lost, a ripped pool liner, eh.  

Hurricanes or "super storms" aren't supposed to take random left turns into the east coast. Well, they do. What I witnessed over the past 2+ months is something I hope to never see again.  

We are ok.  We had less physical damage this time around than during Irene, the previous year.  We lost power for 2+ weeks (ironic that my half-yearly Trader Joe's stock-up was the week before...in the trash) and our furnace burnt out when the power was restored (much thanks to Alabama power for getting us back on, we needed a new heating system anyway).  I didn’t see my police officer husband for weeks, as they were literally working around the clock. We were LUCKY.

Our friends and family and community did not fare as well. 

My in-laws have been displaced, as they wait for their home to be rebuilt.  The structure withstood the storm, but the storm surge made water damage an inevitability.  Then there was the Hyundai in a sinkhole in their driveway and someone’s custom upholstered sofa and living room wedged under the lower back deck.  Thanks to the quick-thinking of my father-in-law who knew the situation was dire, they found alternate housing quickly.  They hope to be back in in February.

My stepsons mother, stepfather and siblings are also displaced.  The storm surge ruined the first floor of their newly built home.  Collins school, on the barrier island just reopened yesterday.  A Greek Orthodox Church, 7 miles inland, took in his entire elementary school K-8 for the weeks after Sandy. He received care packages from other children from across the country…backpacks, books, supplies during his tenure at the church. Heartwarming.

We have friends & acquaintances that cannot afford to rebuild, that’s even if the beach communities will even let them.  That’s still being debated.  Ortley Beach, NJ was wiped off the face of the earth in sections. The Army Corps of Engineers may not allow people to rebuild.


The rollercoaster is still in the ocean.

The out-of-state power companies saved our asses (Roll Tide)

Displaced people moving anywhere they could…campgrounds, friends basements, young families in retirement communities.

The local Holiday Inn Parking lot swarmed with Salvation Army Disaster Recovery Teams.

The vile pop-up stand selling “I survived Sandy” tee shirts, as people whose memories were lost, drove by there daily.

My husbands shifts at the base of the barrier island bridge, trying to keep out looters and gawkers, while attempting to stay warm from fires built in barrels.

There is so much debris, and homes and cars, in the Barnegat Bay, that the channels will have to be remarked before boaters can re-enter. Not to mention all of the sand & debris making the water rise so much now that a normal high tide will cause flooding in areas that never did before.

The volunteer fire company (Silverton Strong) that worked around the clock to rescue others as a huge percentage of their own members lost Everything.

8-inches of heavy, wet snow that fell a week after the storm to a population without heat, without homes.

The fundraising.  Dinners, breakfasts, donations of everything, clothing, Santa visits to displaced children, etc.  The Facebook pages to reunite people with their stuff that washed away from homes…a wedding or family photo washed up in a marsh 1 ½ miles away. An ear to listen, talking about your plight took the edge off.  Restore the shore.

I still have not crossed over to the barrier island.  I’m not ready.  It’s the longest period, possibly in my life, that I have not seen the Atlantic Ocean.

Thanksgiving and Christmas this year were not the same.  There was sadness; and when there was joy, there was guilt.  I just didn’t “feel” it.  We are trying to return to some sense of normalcy, but the reminders are still there.  Missouri logging trucks still clog our main highway, but the Holiday Inn parking lot is not as cramped.

So, as I return to my blog, I felt the need to purge myself of the past couple of months and start fresh.  I do have some tricks up my sleeve for the coming year and hope to share them with you.  The purpose of this blog is still home, cooking and garden and I need desperately to get back to it.  Thanks for listening xoxo

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