Monthly Archives: November 2012

Be careful what you wish for…

This year, I can truly say I have much to be thankful for. Anyone following my posts over the last few weeks should know that. And while I know it’s not scientifically possible for one lone author’s bout with writer’s block to affect global weather patterns, it’s hard to shake that weird feeling that somehow, in some twisted way, this whole mess is my fault. All because I’d been grumbling that everything had become too sedate, and I needed some inspiration, in a big way. Sitting at home, with all the time I could want to write, just wasn’t working for me. I needed something to shake things up. I wanted change.

Then change Sandy hit, dropping a tree in the middle of my house and devastating the waterfront. My insurance company has been fantastic – as I type this there is once again a complete roof over my head, and repairs inside start next week. The boatyards have all sorted out the tangles of piled up boats, and insurance companies are stepping up to set the salvageable ones back to right. And apparently my years of working on boats and my current project earned me some respect among the staff at my yard. These days I’m down there inspecting and assessing damaged boats for fiberglass repair. It’s not the change I had in mind a month ago – but it has put me right where I wanted to be at a time when I needed it most.  It’s good to see the rebuilding, both at home and on the water, and while Sandy might not have been what I’d expected, this year I’ve truly come to appreciate this holiday.

Have a wonderful Thankgiving, everyone!

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Dark clouds and silver linings…

Rather than images of destruction, I bring you Sunshine and Lollipops.

C.E. Grundler

As the numbers roll in, the toll that Sandy has taken continues to mount. The cost of this storm, in lives lost, of homes , businesses, and infrastructure destroyed, is staggering. But seeing the devastation first-hand, not only seeing it at every turn but being unable to escape it, is something the news footage and numbers can’t convey.

The region was hit hard. There are so many pictures I could take to show the extent of the damage, but aside from my own home, I can’t bring myself to snap a single shot. I don’t want to document this destruction. Even as I see the pictures online, I see once familiar places reduced to rubble. But through it all, there is a silver lining I’ve seen more times than I can count in recent days. It’s people pulling together to help one another rebuild, and the strength of communities to rally around those most affected. Quite simply, it is hope.

I suppose times like these force many of us to stop, whether we’d planned to or not, and re-evaluate our priorities. New friendships are forged as people who might otherwise never pause to notice one another join forces to set things back to right. It’s ironic that the book I’d been writing revolved around a hurricane that involved evacuations and a moderate storm surge, and that writing has been put on the back burner by the real thing. And it’s ironic that my boat, the perpetual ‘project boat’, is in better shape than most every other boat around me. But in the wake of this storm, even as I’ve been dealing with the damage in my own house, I find my days full from morning to night, working along the water, helping to get other boats repaired. And while my writing and work on my own boat may have to take a back seat for now, I’m certain that when all is said and done, everything will rise stronger from this experience.

It’s a matter of perspective…

Above: It looked much nicer in an upright position.

First, the ‘SuperStorm’, Sandy. Then there was an earthquake, right in my neck of the woods. I kid you not. And now, six inches of snow on top of the already weakened trees, downed power lines, and tarp covered homes like mine. At this rate, I’m almost expecting to see locusts in the upcoming weather forecasts for New Jersey and the surrounding states. Last night I spent wakeful hours listening to the driving snow and 60 mph gusts batter the house. This morning began with mopping up where the storm found its way in to my kitchen and spare bedroom, which had been my home office. And yet, relatively speaking, I’m feeling pretty lucky these days, which seems to surprise most everyone who sees our home.

Minutes before the tree came down the radio reported the storm about to worsen, so my daughter and I decided to take the dogs out for what we imagined would their last walk for the night. Normally we take them out back, but she felt one tree out back was swaying just a bit more than looked right, and suggested they get down to business faster on leash, out front. We were standing in the lawn as the wind made an eerie moan, and dogs in tow, we bolted back to the house just as there was a terrifying crash and leaves showered down around us. We rushed inside to discover the damage. Had we gone out back, rushing back to the house at the very same moment we had, we would have been directly beneath the tree as it hit.

So yes, I feel extremely lucky. And I feel lucky that we still have most of our roof over our heads, (even if it now resembles Swiss cheese,) which is so much more than so many others affected by the storm. The house can and will be rebuilt, while staggering numbers of homes throughout the region are beyond repair or gone entirely. Our home is still here, still livable, and my boat is one of the few in my region that survived, even as so many of the marinas around me were completely devastated. When I hear the news speak of the ‘victims of Sandy’ I realize that technically, I’m one of them. But I don’t feel that way. I feel lucky. Very lucky. And now that things are under coming under control here, I’m heading out, doing what I can to help others out there who weren’t as lucky.