Thursday, November 1, 2012

Sandy-land on Long Island

Things are getting weird here.  Sure, everyone is friendly and helpful, and the stores are well stocked and taking credit cards, but some people are getting edgy. The weather is pretty calm, but it is getting chilly without the heat.  Trip gave us instructions on plugging the furnace into the generator just in case the temp drops more.  Thank God for unmiddleschooling.

Loooooong gas lines. Figured I'd fill up after picking Paul up at a friend's house.  When the station wanted cash only (now they tell  me--after 45 minutes in line!!), I fished through the car found a $5 bill, 6 quarters and a Kennedy half-dollar, and got my $7 worth at $3.99.  We all laughed (especially the cheery Turks who own the station).  Later, Don and Paul walked to the local station with gas cans for the generator.  We are also powering our liberal neighbors (we love you guys!!).  Whatever your politics, don't let anyone tell you that conservatives are selfish; it's one of those big lies that the media tosses around with the help of Hollywood.  Read Makers and Takers and hear the facts on giving back.

But life after Sandy is not all book recommendations and fun in the after-storm sun.  A guy who had his credit card denied at the station nearby drove his car into the crowd of gas-lugging pedestrians, then got out, screaming like a lunatic at everyone for being in his way, before he tried to run folks over again as he drove off...thank God no one was hurt. Scary.

A scruffy-looking guy walked into Mass with a gas can.  But everyone seems to be walking around with gas cans, or empty juice bottles or gallon milk jugs.  One guy didn't make the station, and was getting a scant gallon of gas in a jug to put in the car so he could keep his car in line for a fill-up.   Some neighborhoods have the National Guard checking I.D.s and keeping the peace. Housing Authority has a list of neighborhoods their agents should not go.  Not that bad here yet, but there are still no Long Island Power Authority trucks to be seen.

I drove past Cablevision's service office earlier today; their lot was full of parked service trucks.  Now, you may think that cable is a low priority in a storm, but many people have their phone service and internet through Cablevision.  If cable companies are in the telephone business, losing cable has become a lot more critical than missing ESPN, especially for the elderly.  Communications from gov't offices and agencies, like the one sent out about the water conservation order due to sewage treatment plant failure, are sitting in inboxes unread, and automatic emergency calls are locked in voicemail.  Does anyone own a regular radio anymore?

For those who think government would handle the clean-up any better, consider this situation I saw earlier today on the parkway.  Our parkways have huge swaths of grassy areas with trees.  Sometimes the trees fall.  During the storm, many trees fell, and some fell across the road.  The DOT comes and clears the road.  Frankly, until the whole place is back to normal, that's all they should be doing--clearing debris off the roads.  But today, well after the parkways have been cleared, but while other roads remain blocked, they were chipping.  Yes.  4 guys, a truck and a chipper, on a very big lawn, while trees are blocking access to homes and services on other main highways and side roads.  These guys were using equipment to chip some branches that had already been cleared from the road and that no longer presented a hazard.  That's big government's response.

Libby's friend Jen and her family lost everything in the storm...I guess we can't complain.


Helenrr said...

I'm so sorry to read about Libby's friend and family :( my heart and prayers go out to them. I wonder why people are not using downed trees for firewood? Or is that too in the past for most? And yes, battery operated radio, etc. I need to make a list and restock some items, one never knows when the big one is going to hit, and we've had a lot of little ones... stay safe!!

Rachel Proffitt said...

Goodness, sometimes you have to wonder at people!

I am glad you are safe anyway!

Colorado Catholic Mama said...

Thank you for sharing your experience in this life-changing situation. I'm curious about the possibility of using downed wood for firewood there. The majority of fireplaces in my area (CO, north of Denver) are not equipped to burn wood anymore. I don't know about NY, but there are strict regulations about wood burning stoves and fireplaces here. Our house is only 25 years old, but it was not built w/a wood burning fireplace -- gas only. I would prefer a wood burning fireplace, but there's no way to convert this one....Praying for all of you in the East! God bless.

Sally Ann said...

We live on a farm and have a wood burning fireplace that we use all of the time. If wood has not been left to dry out for awhile (like a year or two is great) it is difficult to get burning and keep burning. We have a woods near our home that we get our wood from. We have run low in the past so have gotten fresher wood and you fight it constantly (a losing battle). As it is trying to burn to give you any heat at all, liquid is seeping out of it. A tree that was dead or almost dead before it fell would be your best bet or smaller "sticks". We were without power for one week due to a storm. Most of us in todays world are just not set up to live without power - we just think we are:)) My two hardest things were toilets that didn't flush and no water for bathing, cooking, washing clothes (to get a washer with six kids in tow at the laundry mat was a phenomenal feat), cleaning up after you eat, etc, etc. This too shall pass but while it is still here we will be praying for you all. If there is something tangible we can do please let us know. We live in Ohio.

Laura A said...

The guy whose credit card was refused seems reflective of a certain aspect of NY. While in a situation like this, most New Yorkers try to remember that everyone is more or less in the same pickle, there are always a few who are walking around on the edge of rage, and tension like this puts them over the line.

I'm so sorry to hear about Libby's friend Jen. Praying for your family and community, MacBeth--especially for power, because that's what will bring back civilization more than anything else. LI just isn't the place to suddenly decide to set up a homestead.