Hurricane Sandy: Day 4 Post-Storm

We are still surrounded by dark. Our street is a small oasis in the dark stretching all around. There are other pockets of light, but 50% of all of Long Island is still in the dark.

And in more ways than just no power – people do not know what is going on. Rumors abound. Social media is the source of most people’s news. Many people have not even seen the photos of the devastation in Manhattan or New Jersey.  The Marathon is a hot topic. Everyone thinks they should cancel it; thankfully they do.

I spent most of yesterday trying to contact people from work and clients. As one of only six people that I work with that had Internet at home, I became the point person. We had to set up a temporary email address and I field the inquiries. I get frustrated with the apparent lack of concern and frivolous requests that come in.

Don’s job was on so he had to get to the city. We spend about an hour looking up what is going on with the MTA and talking to friends that work with the railroad or who had left early to get to places that needed them there in Manhattan. My friend Sean works on a construction site. He posts at 9 am that he has been on the road since 5 AM and they were still only at the Queens line, less than halfway to Manhattan. And they need four people in a car to cross a bridge. Not sure how he fixed that issue. If it were me I would have picked people up from the bus lines!

The Long Island Railroad opens one line that will leave hourly. We drive to the closest station to us and Don gets on the train. We hug before he gets on and I say “I love you” about ten times just in case. I burst into tears when he walks away.

I call my mother in Texas from our landline, the only reliable communication device I have, and vent to her. She says no one is talking about Long Island; all of the news is about Jersey and Manhattan. I don’t even think she realized until I spoke to her that even though our home suffered only minor flooding that our area was devastated. I had money I needed to get to Carsen that I could not get to her. The banks were closed and I did not have gas to go drive around and look for one open. Thankfully she put money into Carsen’s account for me.

By the end of yesterday I had heard from all but two people at work. Of 23 of us, three had flooded. Fifteen have downed trees. Sixteen had no home phone or Internet. Fifteen of us had no power. We all had less than half a tank of gas each. Email came back up so the decision was made to go to work on Friday “if you have gas to get there and leaving your home would not be a hardship.”

 

I carpooled to work today with a friend. I spend a lot of my day talking to people about things they have heard or seen.

We talk about gas. No one can find it. Two hours lines are the norm yesterday and today. I hear from a friend about waiting four hours only to be five cars away from the pump when they run out.

Another friend stands in line for a few hours and realizes that the people at the gas station are overwhelmed. Laura does not take any shit, so when some young kids try to jump the line and the attendants get scared, she gets in there and denies them from getting in. She then directs traffic for them and helps out. Knowing Laura she had the place well in order when she left with a full tank!

 

One of my coworkers, Tricia, tells the story of her mailman breaking down when her husband asks how she is doing. The mail-lady starts crying and says she is from Queens and came to work but doesn’t have enough gas to get home.  Tricia’s husband gives her a gas tank with a few gallons that were for their generator – the difference between Tricia and her kids getting warm showers and going without.

“Was that the last of our gas?”

“Yes. We have enough for one more shower for you.”

She says she is proud of her husband even though tomorrow she might be cursing his name if they can’t find gas today.

 

One of our VP’s has no power or Internet. He does not know that the water in the area where our office is located has been deemed undrinkable. He is drinking a cup of coffee when I got to work and I jokingly remark that I hope he made the coffee with the bottled water.

“Why?”

“We can’t drink the water here. It’s not safe.”

“Oh my God.”

“I am sure it is fine. It was, um, boiled?”

“Not really? I made coffee in the coffeemaker.”

He remakes coffee with the filtered water. I still don’t drink it though. It is filtered but still from the same source. I don’t want to get sick. Getting sick right now seems like a really bad idea. We are only drinking bottled water. Probably forever.

 

I come home from work and sleep for two hours. I am so tired but I can’t sleep at night.

 

Cat and Tom are still without power. They are being told by the electric company November 11. It is November 2. They are staying here tonight.  We are finally going to do the giant puzzle.

 

We watch the telethon and I can’t stop crying. I realize I am still clenching my teeth.

 

The Red Cross is handing out meals in our neighborhood. We talk about volunteering but hear they don’t need any more help. They can use hot coffee though. I will take some tomorrow…. After sleep. I need sleep. 

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