Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Hurricane Update Part 10: Home is Where the Dog Is...

And the dog is HOME. As in, our house that we own and have been paying a mortgage on for a year even though we weren't living there. That's right. If you haven't already heard here or on Facebook or on Instagram, we are all back in East Rockaway. We are all back home.

Although, not everything about being home feels like home. At this point in time, this house, the structure we are once again living in, is feeling like a building that fell from the sky. It is not the house we bought, that's for sure. That's not really a bad thing, but it's certainly an adjustment. An adjustment that is just one of many we've been through since last October 28th when we evacuated.

Today, October 29th, is the official anniversary of Sandy, whether you want to call her a hurricane or a superstorm or something else entirely. It makes no difference to me what she is called, though I have some choice words.

I have been having some trouble trying to come up with a way to talk about this anniversary and our return to East Rockaway, although I know it is necessary.  I promise if you read through this, you will be rewarded with photos of Desmond in his new habitat. 

I'm feeling very anxious and have a weird sense of, what I can only describe as, dread that I can't seem to shake. There's a candlelight vigil tonight in my community, and I'm not entirely sure I can handle going to it, though I plan to try.

We are home, but this is far from over. For anyone who is counting, our displacement total is 351 days. That's 11 months and 16 days.

As most of the folks we know who share this experience would agree, it's very hard to put into words exactly how you feel about what you've been through without sounding like you're talking about the end of the world or some horrific and tragic event caused by sick & twisted humans, as opposed to an act of nature--especially when you add to that the fact that a lot of people don't think Sandy was that big of a deal. 

I'm not mad about that, but those people didn't have multiple feet of water, gas, garbage, sewage, and god knows what else in their homes, overtaking their belongings and structures. 

Those people didn't leave their homes before the storm with an overnight bag, thinking there was going to be some water but things would be mostly OK--because we are all taught to ignore weather hype in the news. 

Those people haven't been displaced for a year, and displacement is not the vacation or minor change it may seem like to some. 

Those people didn't deal with the cleanup and demolition of their lives. 

Those people did not have to think about and handle the insane process afterward, involving never-ending confusing paperwork and figuring out what steps you should or shouldn't take to move forward.

They didn't get conflicting information from various government organizations at every turn. 

They aren't still waiting for that same government to figure out what is going on with the aid sent to help. 

Those people aren't battling the agony of wondering if a buyout might be the best--the only--option. 

They aren't realizing that the help to mitigate homes to safety probably isn't coming. And they most certainly don't know how very expensive it is to do that mitigation without help. Or how scary the thought of living in harm's way without raising is.  

Those people do not know what it feels like to live in limbo for so long, then be plopped back to "normal" and fully expected by those around you to just go back to the way everything was before the storm. That's impossible. You cannot go back. 

Those people don't understand that our being home doesn't mean this is over for us. It's not by a longshot.

Those people don't understand that there are still so very many people who aren't even close to going home. 

Those people just don't get it, but that's alright.

East Rockaway is as beautiful as ever, but how many of those houses are empty?
This one certainly is. It's one of the few houses in our neighborhood that's begun the very expensive lift process. We hope to see our house like this one day, sooner rather than later.
But how can people who are not affected get it? They don't share any of these experiences, and I don't fault them for that at all. I understand that they don't understand. But I'm also not going to let them make me feel like I'm overreacting. This has all been extremely stressful and difficult, despite what our happy faces have been telling the world. 

So, yes, we are home, and we are beyond grateful and lucky to be home, and we love our "new" house as much as we loved our house before. Please don't misunderstand or think we are taking this for granted. It is just ... weird. And we are still waiting on so many things. One of those things being Desmond's return to normal. 

We gave him a couple weeks to just get used to us being here now, but things have been a little chaotic during the return home, as they would be with any move. We also aren't done with workers coming in to finish things up or fix things they didn't quite get right the first time. 

I'm still working from home for the moment, because my bosses are amazing and wonderful people, but not only do I need to get back to the office soon--I also want to. I miss people. It can feel a bit like some sort of alternate reality being in the house all the time. And that's still a true story, because we have only just begun working on leaving the dog alone and the whole separation anxiety thing. Literally, we started on Sunday. And it's already not going well. But that's a topic that deserves its own post, so I'll leave you with those pix I promised earlier. 

If you would like to see all the posts about the hurricane and our displacement and Desmond's related anxiety, click here: Life With Desmond's Life With Sandy

Friday, October 18, 2013

Sad Desmond, Happy Desmond

Is Desmond happy because it's Friday and he doesn't have to go to that damn day job anymore? Or is he sad because his working days are over--and that means he no longer gets to spend his Fridays being lavished with treats and attention?

Are you wondering what the heck I'm even talking about? Oh, hold on one sec...


Finally. Finally, we are home. Official Hurricane Update post, including pix, to come soon enough, but things are quite busy around here, as you can imagine. HOORAY!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: I'll Make My Own Bed, Thanks

This is what happens when you pack up the crate Desmond has been enjoying and pile all the bedding together nicely. 

"Screw you, people. That's still my stuff."

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