It’s just about 4 weeks that have passed since Sandy hit the Jersey Shore and NYC, the process of picking ourselves up and cleaning up is in full swing now. Over the past weekend, we took a ride through Sea Bright, NJ and were brought right back to our feelings of dread, horror and sadness of just a few weeks ago.
Sea Bright is right out of a war zone. Buildings are damaged, destroyed and some are just plain gone. Many of the structures are now marked with a big red X. There are sand drifts on the side of the road, as if it snowed sand. Boats, big and small were tossed around by the sea, littered and left stuck and sunk on the little islands in the river. Hundreds of boats left all over the place. I believe many of them will need to be demolished. The town will most likely rebuild in time, but the town as you may have known it in the past is now gone.
The clean-up process for us started right away, luckily. Cam has worked so hard to clear out all of the damaged parts of our crawl space and first floor. Everything is gutted. My first floor is a huge mess that is now a construction site. My upstairs is filled to the gills with random stuff from downstairs. I cannot find anything in the mess upstairs. In fact, it is difficult to move around up there, let alone find anything.
This past week we made some decisions and ordered appliances, a new couch and chair, chose paint and a new countertop, and chose new flooring. Those decisions, while sounding nice are very difficult to make when you didn’t have it in your mind to renovate. All of those items cost an arm and a leg and are just so expensive! The stress under normal renovating circumstances is quite high, but imagine if suddenly a catastrophe comes and now you have to deal with the fact your house was damaged, people are homeless or in the same boat as you are and here you are now trying to make a decision on which stove you like better? Trust me, it is so difficult to focus on purchasing items. But, thankfully it’s done and behind us.
Now we just need to wait for the insurance numbers to come through and for us to really get started with repairing the house so we can go home. Lining up people to hang sheet rock or getting someone to do insulation, check electric or plumbing is very difficult. There’s SO much damage here, all those guys are so overwhelmed with the amount of work there is out there. You have to wait your turn.
With Christmas just 4 weeks away, it just doesn’t feel very festive or even spiritual in our area. Sure, there are so many people who were not affected by the hurricane who will continue their traditions and enjoy the holiday season. But, for many of us, the upcoming holidays are just another day, a day to maybe do some work because we want to go home and are off of work for the holiday. We can celebrate later. I know Christmas is for the children and for celebrating the birth of Jesus but I can’t even get into buying any gifts. I’m also not doing Christmas cards this year. My spirit is very heavy now, I can’t put up my tree, I can’t even get to my Christmas decorations or stockings for the kids. My mom will put up a small tree and we will celebrate Christmas together in spite of our heavy hearts. My brother recently moved to California and will be coming home for Christmas for a visit. That is something we are looking forward to.
Those above are images from our ride up Ocean Ave. in Sea Bright on up to Sandy Hook. Ship Ahoy Beach Club was just one of the many destroyed beach clubs in Sea Bright. They had demolished it prior to our ride. Here’s a link about some of the destruction in Sea Bright due to the storm. http://www.redbankgreen.com/2012/10/sea-bright-smashed-by-hurricane-sandy.html Once I have my car back, I will take a ride up to Union Beach and then down to Point Pleasant. I hear many homes, as well as the boardwalk were destroyed & damaged up to the train tracks in Point. Many dwellings and businesses in the Bayshore area were destroyed and damaged. People will rebuild. People will recover as they repair not only their homes & businesses, but their lives. Some areas will need years to recover. The devastation was that bad.
Update on me:
My mantra is: “I’m doing okay.” I am. I’m surviving. We are still living with my parents, in the small house. We have new routines and a new “normal.” It’s difficult but we will make it the best we possibly can. My parents opened their home to us and we will be forever grateful. We can never repay their generosity. We are so lucky to have someplace to stay. I cannot even fathom being trapped in some hotel/motel with no car and having to figure out how to get Nicholas home from school and how to feed anyone if we were in a hotel right now. My mom is a lifesaver picking up Nicholas for me each day. So, we are doing okay. Some days are better and some are worse and I cry to my friends on Twitter. No matter what, we will get through and get to go home. Regardless where you live, a house, apartment or a trailer, it is your home. It is where your heart is… no matter what and once you can’t be there for whatever reason, that is when you really discover that fact.