I can’t discuss my experience with the hurricane without first saying that my heart, thoughts and prayers go out to all those people who lost homes, cars and experienced property damage from the hurricane. Our homes and belongings are more than just material “things” that can be replaced and I know how my heart would break to see my home demolished or damaged. Our homes and businesses represent all our hard work and to see them flooded and damaged must be heartbreaking.
I live in a small cottage on an estate in Old Field and we are surrounded by huge, tall trees. I wasn’t as nervous about the storm surge damaging anything. We are high enough on a cliff that I knew it most likely wouldn’t reach the homes, but the trees are the bigger danger. Our power went out around noon on Monday and then around 4 p.m. I heard a deafening “BOOM” as a tree hit my house. Objects fell off shelves and shoes in my closet fell to the floor. Thank goodness it was still daylight so I went out to see exactly where it had hit. A giant tree lay across my roof top and it punched a hole through my attic and into my closet. But I was lucky. No rain was getting in and it was a long way from my head.
At around 9:30 p.m. I went down to the beach to make sure my two kayaks were still safe and tied up. The hurricane winds had calmed by this time and the full moon broke through the clouds. The water was really not that rough and it was quite beautiful to be down at the moon-lit water, as if the storm gave everyone a minute to catch their breath. Two hours later people living in the south shore communities would experience a storm surge that no one has ever seen.
Tuesday looked like war zone around Old Field. You couldn’t go 50 feet down the road on Mt. Grey and Quaker Path without coming across a downed tree. Residents were so helpful and quick to get the trees trimmed or moved enough to allow cars to pass by the end of the day. There are still a few places, like where Old Town Road meets 25A where a giant transformer was on the ground and the police were blocking that off. There was also a transformer down over by the Country House, but by the weekend that had been cleared up. I took a drive down Old Field road towards the lighthouse. There was not a house that didn’t have at least one tree down. One tree hung over the road like a teetering “overpass” but I didn’t have the nerve to drive under it. That would be my luck to have it give way as I drove under it and then how dumb would I look? I could see the article in the paper: "Idiot woman drives under dangling tree for no good reason."
On Wednesday, the tree on my house was removed and the driveway was blown clean. Almost back to normal, if normal is sitting in a dark house wishing you could watch “The New Girl” but you can’t.
I did go to work on Thursday and Friday and it was nice to be back to normal more or less, except for flat hair and badly applied makeup. Here at Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine there was heat, lights, computers and HOT FOOD!
This weekend I took a walk down along the shore all the way from West Meadow to Crane Neck. Wow, there was a lot of coastal damage north of where I live. I suspect that Smithtown Bay is very well protected and once you go around the point towards the Big Rock, the shoreline was pummeled. The damaged cliffs revealed a geological wonder. I am not a geologist but looking at the striations in the soil was very cool. (see photos). Once I got to the road on Crane Neck I could see first hand the damage here. So many trees had fallen but by Saturday had been cleared off to the side. It wouldn't surprise me to hear if those living here could not get out of their neighborhood for days! A beautiful red fox darted out into the road in front of me, probably thinking that no one was a round. I let out a "gasp" and he looked right at me and trotted down the road.
On Saturday a friend of mine introduced me to the wonderful world of Sterno! I set up a little sterno stove in my fire pit and by Sunday I was eating HOT oatmeal and HOT soup. It's the little things that make you feel normal when the world seems mashugana. I love sterno! As I was having my morning meal on my patio a "Damage Assessment" worker from LIPA came around the corner. You would think that George Clooney showed up at my house. He said help was on the way, a few days down the road. "I love you," I replied.
I'd like to thank my WONDERFUL neighbors next door - The Husches - who have a generator. They have been wonderful and generous allowing me to charge my cell phone and giving me ice and making me feel like a member of the family.
If the power comes on tomorrow or next week, I will not complain. I was so lucky. But until places like Lindenhurst and Long Becah are up and running, I feel like I can't even feel any relief. We are all joined at the hip here on Long Island, no matter what town you are from. We are all in this recovery together.