Anyone that has been reading my blog for a while knows that I currently live in New Jersey, so naturally I was effected by Hurricane Sandy. And anyone that regularly reads my twitter knows just how bad I was effected. But my tweets are just bits and pieces of the story. Small fragments about what happened until I had the chance to write a proper blog post. And that’s exactly what I’m doing with this post here.
Despite being away from this blog for an uncharacteristically long amount of time, (This is actually the longest break I’ve had in 3 years) I actually really love blogging. I love absolutely everything about it, so of course I wanted to blog about the Hurricane. There was only one problem, I don’t have anywhere to publish this post except for this blog. Well, that’s not entirely true. I do have a personal blog, but I haven’t posted there in years. I also have a livejournal, but I don’t really keep up with posting there. I mostly have an account so I can join Johnny’s fansubbing communities.
But besides from not having anywhere else to blog I also really wanted to blog about it here, where my lovely readers that care will be able to read about what has happened to me. Because honestly, if I blogged those other two places I doubt anyone would have read them. I don’t even think most of my readers know those other blogs even exist. I did consider not even making this post here. I’m super self self conscious and I feel like my readers are angry at me for not blogging in such a long time, and now don’t care about this post at all. I always think like that, even if I missed one day of blogging.
So, here goes nothing. This post will probably be lengthy and pic heavy. As always, you’ve been warned.
I guess the easiest place to start from is the beginning. When Hurricane Sandy was first announced my entire family, expect for my dad, pretty much laughed at the storm. Since Sandy had the same amount of power as Irene we counted on the damage to be the same, and in Irene’s case that was minimal flooding. However, with Sandy that couldn’t be farthest from the truth.
I live in an uneventful one square mile beach town that is almost directly on the coast, which turned out to be one of the hardest hit places in the entire state. Ironically, I’ve always tried to keep people online from knowing exactly where in New Jersey I live, and now whether you’re aware of it or not, you’ve probably heard of my town at least once. Either on TV, in a magazine, or in a newspaper. If you live in the US that is.
At about 5:30 PM on October 29th the power was cut off. And shortly before that my family went downstairs and put all of the wires for our TV and computer up on the table. Because during Irene we got mild flooding in the living room we had to quickly unplug everything and stack in on the computer desk while the water was rushing in. So, we thought we’d be prepared this year. And a little bit after that my sister walked by one of the heating events and asked my dad about the weird gurgling noise.
Around 8 ‘oclock that night brought in not only the high tide, but also the surge. Around that time my dad busted in the room and told us how flooded it was and to get downstairs to save everything we could. What’s even more awful about my house is most of it is sunken. My house is set-up as follows: you walking in and it’s my dinning room and kitchen. You walk forward and there’s a small area to in front of the 2 sets of stairs. You turn right and immediately you walk up the stairs to go to the 2nd floor, but if you keep going straight you walk down two steps and enter my sunken living room. My sunken downstairs has 5 rooms. Living room, family room, bathroom, computer room, and a garageish storage room.
Since my downstairs is sunken the water obviously got there first. I had to immediately roll up my pant legs and get into the water. When I stepped into the water it was up to my knees and had to have been either freezing or very near freezing. Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever been in freezing water, but I don’t recommend it. It is extremely painful. I stepped in the water and my legs were instantly numb. Since they were numb they didn’t want to move, and every time I walked it felt like tiny knives were stabbing my legs. But I soldiered on. Since I’m pretty weak it was my dad and sister carried the computer modem and TV. After that was done my dad gather up important papers and my sister moved on to frantically unplugging everything. It was then my job to carry everything out of the living room and stacking it onto the dinning room table. Which means I had to keep going back in forth, in and out of the water. We managed to save the TV, computer, printer, house deed, social security cards, and birth certificates, as well as the letter I got from the president after writing to him when I was nine.
By the time the living room was emptied the water was now 3/4 the way up my thigh. Not only that, but the water was starting to rush in through the front door and spilling over the living room stairs into the dinning room. At that moment my dad looked out the window and saw that his car had floated into the middle of the street. He then stupidly opened the front door to get a better look and a gush of water rushed in. Shortly after that we went upstairs, while my dad stayed for a while longer. And good thing to because my fridge started to literally float away. My dad opened the door and filled it with water so it would remain in its place. Then my dad finally came upstairs after that. After talking for a bit, and after the initial shell shock wore off, we went to bed. Probably at about 11 or 12. But we didn’t really sleep for long because my dad busted into our room at about 6 AM to let us know the water was gone. We rushed downstairs and sure enough it was gone. Completely gone. I understand that the low tide brought the water back in, but I didn’t expect every last drop to be gone.
The next few days felt like a haze. It was filled with only being able to clean and cook during the day. We literally ate dinner by 5 ‘o’clock because it got completely dark at 5:30. In our freezer we had pork chops, chicken, and a few boxes of porkroll that we lived on for 3 or 4 days. They were obviously able to keep because we only opened the freezer when necessary. The oven part of the oven is shot, however the stove top still works. Well, half works. It doesn’t light but gas comes through, so all you need is a match to start it up.
It was after that that places to help people started opening up. The first was town hall. I walked there with my sister as we obviously couldn’t, and still can’t drive, since the car is shot. It’s awful, but I don’t fee all that bad about it. It’s not like we’re the only ones, 8 out of 10 people on my block lost their cars. When we went there you had to show ID and your name was put onto a list. In the front room next to the line of people was someone from the Air Force. I’m not gonna lie that was pretty exciting because it was the first time I’ve ever seen anyone from the military before. Through this disaster I also saw people from the Army and the Marines. After our name was written down went to a room to get supplies. We got a disaster relief food box, health and beauty supplies, a bucket of cleaning products, a mop, a broom, pillows, 2 pairs of work gloves, face masks, water, and an army blanket. We didn’t really need pillows and blankets but they made you take them.
Either that day or the very next day my dad walked to a local church where the army was set up. That’s where we got a box full of MREs (meals ready to eat). Military food actually isn’t as bad as you expect. It tastes like most canned food. But there was one I got that was pretty much inedible.
Now while all of this was happening everyone on my block was cleaning their houses. But they weren’t cleaning their houses like my family was. No, instead they straight up gutted every single piece of anything that was in their downstairs, whether it needed to be thrown away or not. And they threw absolutely everything in giant disorganized piles on their front lawn because apparently Governor Christie said to.But my god, it was one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen in my entire life. It’s too bad that we needed all our batteries for flashlights and I couldn’t take a picture. Anyway, my family on the other hand was a little more smart about it. Since this house is full of everything my parents have accumulated their entire lives we saved as much as we possibly could. Dried out pictures, kept books that weren’t that wet, clothes, lamps, and more importantly at least tried to let our appliances dry out. Also, my sister and I made it our personal mission to save all our DVDs. We own about 300 or more DVDs, which would take lots of money to replace. So we layed them all out in the sun and dried them out. We lost all the cases. Things like series we had to rip apart the cardboard cases. (Much like my collector’s edition of the X-Files.) However, you wipe them off with a cloth and they 100% play. I bet everyone else on my block threw them all away.
Also, at this point my town was still in rubble on the other said. My sister tried to look at the disaster, but the army would not let anyone near it. The side of my town by the beach was hit extremely hard. 200 houses in my town are destroyed. Houses are sitting on top of each other, nothing but wood, half ripped apart, and knocked off their foundation. Since everyone by the beach lives in one story ranch houses, during the storm they had to sit on their roves like it was Katrina because the water engulfed their entire house.
About a week after the storm I walked to my local K-8 school to file for FEMA. Since we didn’t have a phone, my dad had to file there on the phone while I waited in line. The line was to check over your account on the computer. Everyone that stood in line had a gold piece of paper, but since we were on the phone they said we didn’t need one. I stood in line for FEMA for 3 hours in the freezing cold. I even ran back to my house to get a check since my dad needed the bank account number. It wasn’t all bad since people were coming around with coffee and food. But I don’t drink coffee so that did nothing for me. Once my dad my was finally done on the food he rejoined me in line, where we found out they were taking people in order of the numbers on the gold piece of paper the man in the beginning assured me we didn’t need. People behind us were now trying to go in front of us. So my dad and I were literally yelling at the people to back up it’s out turn. And since they thought we were cutting in line they were yelling back, and for a minute it looked like an angry mob was going to attack us. Obviously everything got settled and we went next. But as soon as we were done a cop came and basically sent us off.
Somewhere in the mist of all of this my sister and I also walked to the school to get clothes. Since everyone in my house was running out of warm clothes we had to picked up used donated clothes, because it’s not like we could just throw our dirty clothes in the washer. Since my mom is handicapped from her stroke we had to go and collect her clothes too. So once all the collecting of clothes was said and done we carried like 50 pounds of clothes. Ok, it probably wasn’t 50 pounds of clothes but it certainly felt like it. I don’t recommend carry that much things to any distance, it sucks. And I’m so weak, so it was even more awful for me.
It wasn’t until November 7th that we got our power back. Which made me really sad, because it was a day late to watch the election. Last election I made patriotic ice cream and blew into noisemakers outside when Obama won. Obviously, that didn’t happen this year. No, instead I found out the next day on the radio. Even with the power restored nothing changed for us. We were still living with basically nothing. We had to get rid of our couches. And we had 5 couches! We had to rip up the carpet. Our dining room table was now in the living room holding things we wanted to save. So we made a makeshift dining room table out of a small playing card table.
We were also told we have to rip off nearly all of our sheetrock from the downstairs. My has been trying to hold that off as long as possible because no heat + no sheetrock = a horrible situation. However, we’re going to do it this Saturday. Freezing or not, we can’t have mold grow in our house. If it does our house will surely be condemned.
We were still getting food from the town hall up until like a week ago. The store is a little farther away to walk to, so we only walk there when we feel like having meat. That’s how it is even now, since we don’t have a car. My sister and I usually go to the town hall everyday to pick up hot lunch for the family. We even did that on November 20th which was my mom’s 51st birthday. But for some miracle they had bakery cakes that day, so at least she got that. And I have to say that was the best red velvet cake I’ve ever had.
Now, onto the pictures.
A handout I got from town hall letting us know where to go. Obviously I blacked out the names and addresses.
People actually handed this out on my block.
The first box of food we got.
The MREs we lived on.
The box basically tells you to be a good solider. Lol.
It’s supposed to be pulled buffalo chicken. It was disgusting. But every other meal I had was good.
The cheese and crackers was the best part. The crackers kinda tasted like matzo. I forgot to take a picture of the dessert. XD All the deserts were good. There was a granola bar, energy bar, and patriotic cookies as other desserts. The drink mixes weren’t good though. They tasted like watered down kool aid.
We also got some weird possibly military grade spam. It actually wasn’t bad.
The limited access sign for my house. At least it wasn’t condemned.
A donation sign for my local firehouse.
Red cross blanket.
My town featured in the Asbury Park Press.
The water line shown from the front of my house.
And from the back.
Trying to save things outside angle one.
And angle four.
Family room pre-clean up.
Saved things piled into my living room.
Arial shot of my town.
More of my town.
The best picture I could find online of my town hall.
My town once again.
A house from my town on the cover of Newsweek.
Now that I’ve said all, another reason I made this blog post is because I need help from my readers. In the form of small donations of money. I actually agonized over asking for help, because I know there must be people out there that probably can’t believe I have the nerve to ask. And since I haven’t been keeping up with blogging I don’t know if I do have a right to. But I wouldn’t be asking for help of my family wasn’t pretty much desperate. It goes like this: home owner’s insurance doesn’t pay for floods, you need flood insurance. Flood assurance only cover the 2nd floor. You then need FEMA, but FEMA denied us. Since we actually tried to save things and still had things in our house they said we weren’t hit hard. What they actually said was, “There was no visible damage.” We live in the middle of the block and flooded the most, but because we didn’t gut our entire house for no reason we apparently suffered no damage!
I’m not asking for much I really only need some people out there to just give me $50. $50 and that will pay for my mom’s pills. Because right now we can’t even afford that, and obviously if she doesn’t have her pills there’s an 80% chance she’ll have another stroke. I just need 5 people to donate $10, or 10 people to donate $5. Hey, even if 25 people donate $2 that would help. I know this probably sounds incredibly selfish to some people. But my family obviously has nowhere else to turn except for people on the internet.
To send money all you have to do is log into paypal.com and hit send money. You then enter the email address, amount of money you want to send, and click I’m sending to fmaily or friends. The email address you send it to is firstname.lastname@example.org That is my mom’s paypal account, mostly because I don’t actually have a bank account.
If I didn’t explain this clear enough at the bottom of Airiin Deshou’s donation project post, he explains donating to someone in much greater detail than I possibly could. Read the post by clicking here.
I really do wish someone out there can help me out. I know that now it sounds like I’m begging, but honestly I’m not to proud to beg. Especially if it’s for my family.