The New Normal: Life After Hurricane Sandyby Deanna Verbouwens
Before I begin on my rant about this b*tch Sandy and what she has done to Long Island and the Tri-State area - let me make myself clear that I know that I'm one of the lucky ones.
I only lost power for few days. I HAVE my home. I HAVE my children. I HAVE my life. I AM THANKFUL.
It's been eight days since Hurricane Sandy touched down on the Tri-State area, I have never seen such devastation, and destruction in my life. So much has been lost. Lives, homes, cars, businesses, schools, beautiful beaches and boardwalks - so much is gone. So much.
The overwhelming emotions are that of helplessness, feeling lost, confused, frustrated and sad.
With many people still without electricity (over 1 million) throughout the Tri-State area, the storm not only affected our homes but our schools, local government buildings, post offices, gas stations and businesses large and small. Everything. The magnitude of the destruction is overwhelming. I am overwhelmed with the desire to try to help anyone and everyone that I can, but so much needs to be done that I don’t even know where to begin.
Life as we know it has changed. We will rebuild, we will move forward, we will dig deep for the strength as we have to carry on, and we will forever reference life “Before Sandy” and “After Sandy.”
We will try to get used to our new normal:
- Our new normal is trying to have a ton of patience while the LIPA, PSEG, ConEd lineman work tirelessly to get the electricity up, while at home their families are still without power. My loved one has no power for his four children and wife, but he's out there trying to restore your's. Have some patience.
- Our new normal is telling yourself over and over again that you are blessed because you only lost your house, power, photos, clothes, cars - and not your life.
- Our new normal is having garbage pile up on the side of your house because there is just too much for sanitation to do.
- Our new normal is waiting for a warm meal that they are serving at the vacant school, after you spent five hours digging out your home.
- Our new normal is buying extra food so you can feed your family and friends that have lost power.
- Our new normal is filling out FEMA applications, talking to insurance adjusters, making dozens of phone calls to try and get back on your feet.
- Our new normal is trying to find power to recharge your son's wheelchair.
- Our new normal is finding your beloved trinkets amongst the rubble and thanking God it was only a precious moment and not your child's life.
- Our new normal is running to any Starbucks, Panera Bread, hotel that offers free WiFi so you can connect with your employers, to try and work an eight hour day.
- Our new normal is cleaning your bathroom everyday so your guests have a clean place to shower.
- Our new normal is waiting in line for 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 plus hours for gas, considering yourself blessed when its under two hours!
- Our new normal is setting up residences at your relatives and friends, your children do need a warm place to stay as you bail out water from your home, rip down walls and try to repair your life.
- Our new normal is packing lunches for friends children, so they can have a good meal to take to a new school.
- Our new normal is getting up three hours early because you have to catch the only train going out of your station due to limited service.
- Our new normal is watching your husband and his friends demo your house to begin repairs as you sit in tears.
- Our new normal is getting assistance from the Red Cross when you never thought that would happen in your life.
- Our new normal is cramping into your brothers one bedroom condo with your husband and three kids.
- Our new normal is running an extension cord from your neighbors that have power, a little light is better than no light!
- Our new normal is eating pizza, McDonald’s, Dunkin Donuts, putting on a “Sandy Ass” because you are too tired, drained, emotionally spent to eat an apple.
- Our new normal is not bitching and complaining when the stores you go into don’t have the products you need to try to resume life as normal.
- Our new normal is feeling grateful that you have dozens of nieces and nephews that can unload your home to fill a storage pod to start the demolition and restoration of your home.
- Our new normal is instead of playing with your children your cutting down trees at your parents house because they may fall on the house, or cause more damage to the already ravage backyard.
- Our new normal is waiting on line at the gym to shower because you don’t have hot water or electric.
- Our new normal is spending countless hours at the mall just to be warm, and trying hard not to spend a dime because you need it for all your home repairs.
- Our new normal is getting up extra early to get out of the house for work because a ton of street lights are still out and you need more time, and to be careful.
- Our new normal is making sure you turn off the generator at night and hide it, so it doesn't get stolen.
- Our new normal is trying to have patience all the time, too many people are stressed, too many people have gone through the wringer... waiting an extra 20 minutes at the drive-thru or store is nothing.
- Our new normal is trying not to punch the woman behind you at Starbucks complaining that they don't have Mocha Choco Latte whatever. People don't have homes - assh*le!
- Our new normal is abiding by the curfews set forth by your town that’s exclusively without power to protect you from possible home robberies, theft, assault, and any other dirt bags that are taking advantage of a horrible situation.
- Our new normal is sleeping with ten blankets on your bed because lugging your stuff to your daughters is a royal pain in the butt.
- Our new normal is watching your children attend a new school and praying that they acclimate well.
- Our new normal is wearing clothes that were donated from someone more fortunate.
- Our new normal is seeing the bright side, you never really liked the color of your living room, now it has to be demolished, new sheet rock, and you can pick out new paint!
- Our new normal is reading the paper, watching TV, trying to get online to soak up everything you can about the neighboring towns and having the overwhelming feeling to help but you have no gas in your car to get there.
- Our new normal is hoping that the Nor'Easter that might touch down on the already damaged Tri-State area goes out to sea.
This is our new normal.