Saturday, November 17, 2012

Un sung heroes.

And the debris is being cleared from our street. These guys are out filling up huge dumpsters with the stuff that everyone has been piling up on the sidewalks and streets. Residents are very weary of navigating through the mounds of trash and it feels good to finally see some it getting cleared away.
We still have no heat or hot water and the house is chilly but what could be worse is the possible freezing of the pipes if the temperature goes down.. Since there has been no heat in the house the pipes will freeze in a jiffy. So mike is working on getting our gas burner and hot water system replaced. Trouble is, so is everyone else.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

For mark and nancy an li and billy et probably know one of these people

Starship Log Day: Whatever. 
Still holed up at mike's moms, hereafter to be referred to as mil. Mother in law. That fourth letter in the world Else is just too much. 
I continue to read and be mortified by people blaming the unions and power companies for the lack of commodities that exist post hurricane Sandy. I guess this is their first hurricane. They are hurricane newbies. They have never faced this before and they are having hissy fits all over the place. This may be the first time they could not use their hair dryers. 
These things, electricity, plumbing, central heat and supermarkets are commodities. They are not guaranteed to be in place in the event of natural disasters. They are not birthrights, even if you live in long island. They are man made and therefore fragile constructs and shall hereafter not be taken for granted. 
Nor should we take for granted the people who maintain them. And it is just plain ignorance to use this as a platform for union busting rhetoric. I see rumors-rumors! about how union workers are using this catastrophe as an excuse to rake in the big bucks. If they were making such big bucks honey, they would not need unions. How dare any one say that these people don't care. They are the ones out there in the storm, not sitting here posting to Facebook. It's time to put on your big girl panties and get out there and help. 
 It takes time and expertise to get things running in a safe and efficient way. I think it is offensive and ill advised  to rant that this whole thing is LIPA, ConEd or National Grid' s fault.  Who can we blame for the pile up of sand? Who do we blame for the sewage system? For the storm surge? The wind? Makes no sense to blame anyone. No one has walked off the job. They are earning their pay. And it is not easy right now. Those are the guys and gals up in the cherry pickers rewiring the island. Some of them have lost their homes and they are still out there working. They are not simply flipping switches. If it were that simple, we could do it ourselves and we would not be having this chat. We are all used to living in the first world and this is a good reminder of how a lot of the world's people struggle every day. 
Scientific American reports that this is an unprecedented disaster for our area. It is not time to post scurrilous ill informed rumors. There is always someone's who is worse off than me. Being in a disaster area is not fun or fulfilling or even entertaining, but I will not sit here and read how somebody thinks it is some disaster mongering LIPA workers fault that they don't have power yet. That is just dumb. Just plain dumb. 
And it really ticks me off. 

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

day five home #Sandy

     We have been back in New York for five days and have not gotten power or heat back yet. There is water to flush but not to drink or wash and there are no trains from long beach to get me to the city for work. Because it is cold at our house and we are welcome here,  Mike and I are staying at Else's apartment until conditions change in a favorable direction. Does not seem likely given the current nor'easter which is blowing more wind and water our way. Today, because of the storm, we have stayed in, for the first time since coming home, we not driving the 65 miles to our house. We figure it would do no good to bail out and then just have to do it again tomorrow. And there is the question of will we have enough gas to come back. Everything was pulled out of the basement and the cats have enough food to last a day or so.  It counts as a day of rest. Did I mention it is cold out?
     People who are not resting: the power people-LIPA National Grid, Con Edison, AT&T and Verizon- the police and firemen, the volunteers and co ordinators. FEMA, the garbage carters. All these people have been at work around the clock trying to restore us to what we consider normal. It is a shame they are not more appreciated and paid better. With out them we would be in a right fix. I do not like to see them maligned in the media, social and otherwise, when they are out there doing all this work while we wait. So just stop. All will be well, It was a hurricane. This is what happens in a hurricane. If you are safe and somewhat dry, you are ahead of the game.  Rant over. 
     Did you see my giraffe? Is he or she not adorable? I officially finished him/her today, riding out another storm, far, far away from normal. I packed a very ambitious knitting bag, so I will not run out of things to do which makes me happy. Happy is good. But I want to go home.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

London layover

So. Mike and I are at mike's moms in Riverhead. He is off to hunt for gas. We are safe and warm..our home is still standing but it is not habitable. We were there  yesterday, tossing everything from the fridge and the basement. Turned off the gas and power and water. FEMA has brought in porta potties for residents. There is no plumbing. No water. No toilets, showers or  drinking water. No fresh water. Water water very where and not a drop to drink. 
There are humvies patrolling the streets to keep order and a curfew in effect. There are no trains in or out and state police check your id to get over the bridges. 
and the drone of generators heard while people pump the soup of sewage seawater and rain from their houses. We have about a ton of crap covered crap to throw out. All of our neighbors cars were ruined. They are piled up on the median, the electronics are shot. There is a huge fortune to be made in waterproofing electronics. Ours was at the airport while we were away and is ok. 
We had some adventures while trying to get home. I knew my kids were safe so I did not worry. Still it was hard  to see all of the pictures and stay calm. 
Originally our travel plans had us in Copenhagen till tuesday. The plan was to fly standby from London to New York. We decided we needed to get back before the storm [insert why remarks here ] so we purchased full fare tickets from british airways. Not cheap. So much in fact that my credit card would only cover one.  We had to borrow money from our hosts to buy a second ticket. My affection for my bank has diminished markedly. Nuther story. Mike and Thomas had to go to the airport to buy  his ticket, only to find they did not want to accept a Danish credit card. It had to be an international credit card. In Denmark,  mind you. Fortunately, Thomas had such a card and further crisis was avoided..
So we arrived at the gate in Copenhagen to find that the flight was delayed, which meant that we would miss our connecting flight. All the while the media were hyping this 'Perfect Storm', this 'Frankenstorm'.  After arriving in London, we were told  that all flights to the east coast were indeed cancelled and British Airways would love to put us up over night and rebook our flight for four to five  days hence. Or fly us into bloody Baltimore where we could rent a car( ha) ( see previous  reference  to maxed out credit card) and drive into the hurricane to arrive home ( maybe) Just time to be evacuated, trapped or worse. 
The other option we were told was that since we had actually bought full price tickets ( first time ever not flying stand by to Europe) they would put us up in various hotels for the duration of our stay. Not a bad deal, except we had to go to the departure gate each morning to get our daily vouchers and, based on availability, we would change hotels. Kind of like the Tickets box in Times Square. Not so bad except it took three hours to get there and back and then you had to move all your crap, er bags, to the next place on a bus, or pay nine pounds for a cab, or walk. By the time you had accomplished this heroic feat the day was awastin' and there was that lunch buffet.....and it should and shall be mentioned here that other airlines did not give their passengers vouchers for more than two nights. British Airways was a class act all the way. And not back to my previous rant;
By day three, and one really crappy hotel, we decided we would pay our own way and stay where we wanted to stay..but British airways gave us the vouchers for the hotel we were any way and there we stayed for days three four and five..did I tell you about the laundry?  
So as it turns out London is not a terrible place to be trapped if you like  London. And we do. So we traipsed along with all of the other refugees to the city and got us some culture..we went to the Globe Theatre, we went to the Victoria and Albert museum. We went to St. Paul's. we went to the museum of natural history..,we perused galleries on the Thames. One was a british watercolor exhibit and the other a photographic shown on women in the army in combat in Afganistan. We ate pies at the Pie Ministers in a court yard filled with pigeons. Yum.  I bought some knitted gauntlets for my girls from a woman who operated her knitting machine in the courtyard. Very cool. 
On the odd day I stayed at the hotel and watched the news.  We were exhausted and needed to know what was happening. And on one day I sat and knitted the whole day. Which some may view as a waste of timeout to me it is merciful peace. Mike braved the tube and went to Harrods wherein he was crushed by the madding crowds and came back in tatters. 
Finally,  on November second before daylight, we bundled up all our stuff and took the Hoppa to then airport for the last time. We tried and failed to wangle our way to an upgrade to business class. Never hurts to ask. And away we flew.  Smooth sailing to JFK the gateway to Christendom. Or what ever.