Tuesday, October 30, 2012

After Sandy

Not a pretty sight

Last year's little earthquake left me shaking, literally. When the building ceased to creak and expand - I felt like a small animal trapped in a great, breathing ribcage - and the pieces of plaster had stopped flaking from walls and faint motes of dust hung in the air, I found that I was trembling.

Last night, in the worst of it, I got very quiet. Minutes after the radio announced that Sandy had been downgraded from a hurricane the wind turned into a new animal. It did not shriek, but became impersonally mechanical, just like the freight train everyone talks about in tornadoes. I had not understood the description till then.  Our wonderful, double paned glass sliding door, essentially our eastern wall and source of clear daylight in this tiny apartment, became a menace, shuddering and bulging improbably as each new gust tore out of the east and hit it straight on. The sound was a low, rhythmically shuddering roar. It is the rhythm that is the train, backed by a sense of unstoppable force.

In the lulls I'd occasionally open the door a crack to see if it would ease the pressure and the air would rip in, and with it the smell of electrical burning last experienced in lower Manhattan in the deserted weeks in the aftermath of 9/11. A bad smell.

In the bedroom, things were better. It has only a tiny, high window (illegal if you are a stickler for building code - I believe it is considered inhumane) like a porthole, double-paned too, and when that is shut one feels safe. We contemplated having supper on the bedroom floor. But supper was too good to eat there, and so we ate our pork loin wrapped and roasted in bacon with sage leaves (recipe in link) at this table where I type, while I drank more red wine than I usually would and we began to wax lyrical about other storms and other times, as the wine took hold and its warm bravado seeped into my untested hurricane veins.


We are fine. Our old building is well supported within a row of other old buildings, and our patched roof apparently strong enough to withstand blasts that were reportedly recorded at 100 miles per hour.  Even the satellite dishes are still in place. The three oaks across the road are still standing. We live in Cobble Hill, hence we are dry, high above the harbor. There was not much rain.

As to damage - a long aluminum gutter that carries water from the roof above us to the lower, wide gutter that fronts the terrace came loose and its eight feet yawed wildly, held by one rusty screw. Vince had already lassoed it with rope and we hoped it would hold it if it snapped free altogether, a serious flying hazard. In the wee hours a lull allowed me to wrangle it onto the terrace where it could not fly away to impale anyone. This was our only damage.

Hurricane Squirrelly

The roof farm is intact. Not a single pot budged; the taping-together worked. The salad leaves are shredded, of course, but the worst destruction, it is no exaggeration to say, came from the blasted squirrel, who has been frantically burying every fallen acorn since daylight. He has dug up every pot. And he uses the nice, long gutter as a handy slide to access the pots on the terrace.

We were very fortunate. Many others were not. A huge thank you to all first responders who were out in the worst of it. The only sound to relieve the wind was the wail of sirens, without cease.

We'll go out soon, and walk around and look at the world. It is raining steadily, now.

21 comments:

  1. Oh, your description of the door brought back memories of Hurricane Georges for me in Florida. When the storm came ashore, I felt like I was in a soup can being crushed by a giant. The house just popped and cracked in response to the force. I sat awake all night in the closet, the most interior part of the house. Glad you are okay!

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  2. Glad you all are safe and sound, and made it through the night.

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  3. So glad to hear that you are all safe. We didn't get very much wind or rain in the Northeast Kingdom, very lucky compared to to your area. Be well and safe...If I can help in any way let me know.

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  4. I can breathe a little easier now. I was concerned about your sliding glass door. Virtual hugs to everyone...force one on Storbito for me.

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  5. I'm sure I speak for many bloggers in UK when I say we have been thinking of you all..so glad to know you are OK

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  6. For some yearsi have lamented the use of "awesome" by teenagers to mean everything from "good" to "yeah" and more. What you described and many have experienced this week and over the years was awesome.

    Will be interestedto seewhat your camera sees. And setthe don on the sqirrel invader!

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  7. I'm so glad you are ok. Since you write one of my favorite blogs, I feel like I know you, and was so scared for you. My son and his family are on the upper west side. I worried for them too, of course, but they are fine. They never even lost power. When I moved to Florida, I got a lot of "what about the hurricanes?" Seems strange that twice now I've watched the hurricanes going in the other direction. You are ok and they are ok, but the devastation is horrific, and it is so very sad.

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  8. I'm so glad to hear that you're o.k.!! I usually look at Estorbo's facebook page and didn't see anything, so was somewhat concerned.

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  9. my mom always said to leave a couple of windows open just a crack to prevent the glass from blowing out.
    I forgot about doing so until last night & I believe I may have done so just in the nick of time.
    glad to hear all is well by you!

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  10. The pictures on the news have been frightening so glad all is well with you and not too much damage done. Hope you sleep well.

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  11. So glad you guys (3) are well...

    We can we certain your positive approach exhibited by "carrying on" despite the disaster helped others, as well..

    Power finally back up here above the Great Wicomico, and as I write this, a solitary loon is observed out in the channel, happily fishing away.. Estorbo would approve..

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  12. Whew! Thanks for the update. I'm very glad that all of you are all right.

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  13. So good to know that you three are safe.

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  14. Phew! Still take care outside though, things will be loosened... :)

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  15. Marlette Compion-VenterOctober 31, 2012 at 7:29 AM

    Dankbaar julle is veilig.
    Sterkte met die opruim.
    Marlette

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  16. The wind is such an awesome and frightening force. I am glad to hear you are safe and well. Erik's daughter lives in Brooklyn and had no loss of power either. It is so tragic, such a powerful storm ruining so many lives.

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  17. Sophie, (aged 4)watching MSNBC asked whether it was a storm that goes around.Like on the Wizard of Oz? yes, but this was really real. I'm sad for the people, she said. And what about the cats? We send hugs and mugs of cocoa to you all.

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  18. Sophie, (aged 4)watching MSNBC asked whether it was a storm that goes around.Like on the Wizard of Oz? yes, but this was really real. I'm sad for the people, she said. And what about the cats? We send hugs and mugs of cocoa to you all.

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  19. Thank you, one and all, for leaving a comment and sending good wishes and for being there.

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