Fluffy, Fresh Snow

Almost an entire year has passed since the house was delivered, set & ready to finish. It was around the same time our dear daughter was born too. We got a little distracted from all things HOUSE, and tended to our growing little family.

We’re home now.

More details later, but for now I bring you – Snow.

Love, Light & Freshness!

Yours

 

 

Ready, aim, fire.

Ready, aim, fire.

Snowy selfie

Snowy selfie

Snow covered snow angels

Snow covered snow angels

Waiting for a snow wave

Waiting for a snow wave

prancing in the snow

Prancing in the snow

Bryan's new toy

Bryan’s new toy

Frozen assets

Frozen assets

Bryan slides down the snow rails

Bryan slides down the snow rails

Stuck in a tree

It’s getting cold now.

Nicicle

Nicicle

my boy

My boy

 

Monette

I didn’t know when or if I wanted to share this, but I do now. A couple of months later…

We buried our friend Monette yesterday. I can’t believe I just typed that. When I mistakingly went to the funeral hall instead of the church, I said the words “Monette’s Funeral”, and I wanted to just…

I’ve lost people before, but this is different. Monette turned 43 years young the Saturday before she passed on. She has 3 gorgeous young children. She was like my college roommate at the University of State Farm. We spent a lot of time together in those days, in a tiny little storefront insurance agency off the coast of Port Washington. Morning, noon & early evening, together we pimped out policies, and watched the world pass on by as we learned about each other so intimately day after day. We were in our 20’s. Life was infinite.

Even after I left State Farm, we remained in touch through another mutual friend we worked with, Karen. I remember speaking to her from time to time during huge transitions life brought me. I’ll never forget how well she knew me. She predicted so many things, I was sure she was psychic. She was a real straight forward kinda woman. Didn’t take shit from no-Body! Poised, and controlled, she was a great influence on me. Always calling us “kids”, even though we were around the same age. But she was married and expecting twins, while we were partying at the Dubin Pub searching for the meaning to the songs we loved so much.

We’d see one another from time to time at Karen’s house. Catching up with her was always so grounding. Always reminding me of where it all started. The last time was at Karen’s Annual Christmas brunch. It was another time we caught up, bonded, and remembered how much love we shared for each other. Another promise to stay in touch…

It was a beautiful day. Seeing her with her gorgeous daughter’s, laughing, and being silly – I’m holding on tight to that memory. “No scratch, just tap”.

The next time I saw her, she was in the throes of battling an awful illness. She got to meet Sadie. I got to hug her, tell her I love her, and just be with her for a few more moments. Not realizing that it would be the last time we would see each other. Not knowing that she’d be gone in a few short weeks.

I know that she is now resting in peace. No pain. And that is a relief.

2 Months After Delivery

Even though I’m completely sleep deprived these days because our baby is a night owl, and I can barely formulate a coherent sentence, let alone an appealing blog post, I come to you with some tasty updates on what’s been up with our house.

Today marks the two month anniversary of the day our house was delivered.

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Getting so close. Lots of waiting now for the utilities to be re-established, like gas, electric, water, sewer. From what I’ve been hearing, these things are taking a lot more time since the PSE&G takeover.

But the house is up. It’s up. It’s there. Our house is there. We have our house back at the ‘Front.

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What a crazy emotional ride we’ve been on – makes me pissed, sad & undone. But then, really happy & blessed for my little family’s life, we would not be where we are today, who we are today, if it were not for Everything that’s happened. I’m extremely grateful for all of it. So I’m super glad it’s soon coming to an end. NO more rent/mortgage crisis, no more living in limbo, no more rental (even though this place has been like a magical castle three-times the size of our nifty little clam shack), and certainly no more waiting to go back home. We can get back to where we left off in that blissful little Harbor, or will we? We have all grown & changed so much since the storm. We have a new family member, a new load of laundry added, an additional place at the table. We aren’t the same at all. Our lives have been so completely turned upside down, and what was left was burned out & hollow. And little by little, we glued it all back together again. Refocused our energy into making life feel full again. Realized what’s most important, as you travel down the winding road of life. It’s love, baby. It’s love.

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Going back to the house during different phases & stages of rebuild proved to be a challenging endeavor with a 4 year old and a newborn. But we did it. I feel like we had to. We’re happy in Lynbrook. It’s a great community, wonderful neighbors who’ve become dear friends – and a kick-ass rental that we’ve grown to love like home. I had to remind myself that we’ll be leaving this great place. That we had a new great place. It’s like, it’s been a year and a half since we left our soggy, flooded red house. How do you prepare your mind & heart (and little ones) to go back. Many visits.

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Stay tuned…

One Year Later

It’s been a year since we started asking “what’s up with our house?”

We are getting closer every day. In fact, we’re expecting our Building Permit today!

I wrote a little something about the storm coming. And thanked some very special people who stepped up during this past year for us at the end. And in the end, we are thankful.

——————————————————-

There’s a Storm Coming

We were all in costume

Drinking and Eating

Laughing and Bonding

Halloween was coming

The next morning came and I was hungover

Dabbing & soaking the wine stains off my sisal rug,

lifting up toys, books, shoes from off

the floor and putting them up top of anywhere & everywhere

I left the decorations up and thought

I’ll take them down

when we get back

A call came in from the town to prepare;

we were already packed like

we were going on a camping trip.

We knew the drill from last year’s “Irene”

Flashlights, candles, extra t-shirts,

lots of socks.

Bring extra underwear –

we don’t know when we’ll be back.

Call the nearby hotels,

they’re booked solid –

Call the hotels out of town –

they’re all booked solid.

Call the ones in the City,

they’re all booked solid.

Got a call from a dear friend,

come stay with us, she says.

If my heart could sink and rejoice all at once

Gladly booked to the hills,

driving through the southern streets, flooding already began

It’s Sunday afternoon

There’s a storm coming.

When we get to our dear friends retreat,

There’s a party sense still lingering in the air

from the Saturday night before

Filling our glasses with wine

Dining on warm fare,

bright lights still beaming,

TV blaring with nonsense and bliss

Playing cards, making crafts—

when all of a sudden, the lights went out.

All the way up here in the mountainesque sky

How’d it reach us here

Counting flashlights, trips to the car

to charge our phones even though

there was no cell service

No internet service

No service of any kind — silence.

The only light shining that night

Beyond the distance, behind the sky-scraping trees,

way up, up high, high up — flashing lights of exploding transformers

Thunder without rain

Like fireworks and laser beams

A slightly odd haze

Winds fiercely raging indiscriminately

Pockets of calm with bursts of heavy swaying tree’s

The storm is here—-

Whining winds

Get to sleep – nothing to see/hear

Glad I brought my blanket

I feel at home with my blanket

Security getting the best of me

It’s the next day – we find a spot,

A few houses down, across the street

In front of house number 31, stand near the driveway

Point north, and raise your left knee

This is where we can make calls

Reached out to my sister first

She’ll get the word out that we’re all ok

She rushes me off the phone

She has many things to do

I understand, and don’t hear from her until Christmas

The lights are still out, and it’s getting cold

My great friend’s Dad rigs the boiler

And warms more than our feet that day

Constant anguish guised behind a facade of strength

Anxiety over the unknown – is my house still there?

Has the Bay swallowed our home

Will we have a home to go back to today

Can we get to it? Do we bring the baby? Is it safe to drive? Are there roads?

Overwhelmed

No oil rigs getting close to our fair city

Mapping out the distance back to our house

against the mileage left in our tank

Sitting in the car on Gas lines 3 hours long

Watching a post-apocalyptic show

on my Mac Book pro

Feeling comforted to know we have no zombies

Shivering pedestrians impatiently awaiting

on wrapped-around-the-block-lines

People pushing their fuel-starved cars through by hand

Jaw dropping scenes on our first drive to our house

A dock from the marina sits atop “Golfie”

The house… some things hurt too much to describe

The scene would tear at our souls…to this day

The look in my neighbors eyes – a state of shock & despair

Just like the zombies, glazed eyes, dirty boots

moving around without thought, just function

We didn’t know what the storm took from us at the time

but we know now what can not be replaced.

—————————————————————————————

Thankful for so much this past year, more than i have ever known gratitude before.

On this anniversary of the day we lost our home to the largest storm surge our town had ever seen, I am first & foremost grateful for the loving kindness of my fellow man.  It wasn’t the stuff we lost, but the homeless feeling that came with being displaced that affected us the most. But the people who stepped up, and stepped into our lives and helped us out are the reason we “survived” it.

Special Thanks to:

The Merlino Family; for opening your home to us during evacuation, and giving us a temporary home in yours, even in the darkest days of your year.

The McCadden Family; Dominique, Peggy, John & Bailey the dog (r.i.p) – For giving our little family of three a new home in yours, the love, hugs & great conversation, making us feel like family during such a lonely time.

DiPaola, Giordano-Eadie families for adopting our family for Christmas, and bringing us such great relief and delight in finding some of the essentials we lost in the storm under our christmas tree.

Geanine Berk – For helping guide our grief stricken hearts back to life.

The LaRocco Family – Helping heal us from the states of shock in reminding us constantly how much we are loved.

The Meza & Vallejo Families – For Supporting Jerry in gathering the troops to dig us out, pushing us beyond the state of shock to get our shit out of the house, being the rock to ground us when it seemed the world around us was falling apart – yeah, you did that cuz you da man!

Lori Zlotoff, The JCC & The UJA, and Lisa D – Style for Hire – For helping me find my groove again with the wonderful make-over, inside & out.

Brady Wetherington, Christine Johnson, John Meza, Antonio Pagan – For helping dig us out.

Doug Vaggi, Tim Lambert & David Berridge – For your architectural visions, and compassion.

Nanda Veenstra & Diane Delaney – For being the best neighbors ever.

Rockville Center Public Library – For keeping the lights on for us.

Little Minds Montessori – For giving our son a “home” away from home.

Diana Galinanes – For being a great friend in a dark & confusing time.

The Stabile Family  – For giving us a little anniversary vacation, and opening our world to yours.

Woodloch Pines – For all the freebies, upgrades & warm welcome.

Amy Klee Badurina – For raising dough, along with our Art & Design Alum (in more ways than one) for our family.

Rosy Diaz – For always being there without missing one single solitary beat. You are my sister in love, law, truth and happiness – always.

Genaro Meza – Dad!!! For enrapturing us with your love, helping us move our salvaged stuff in the snow, bringing a much needed comfort to our lives and restoring a familiar sense of security to our hearts. love you love you love you more!!!

Sebastian & Bryan – My reasons for breathing. You give me strength in everything I do.

The bean in my belly – For helping me see beyond what’s right in front of me.

Living in Limbo

I know people mean well when they say, “Well, at least you’re getting a new house now!” And I know they want to be supportive & positive, and I totally appreciate it, I do.

The way I see it is…It’s like getting a paid vacation! … from disability benefits because you were hit by a bus. So, relaxing in bed for a few months is like a vacation. Well, at least you’re getting some paid time off now!

You can’t visibly see the crash marks on me, yet if you spend a few minutes with me talking about living in limbo with the aftermath you’ll no doubt see the pain in my heart through my eyes or the way I over gesticulate when I speak from anxiety taking over. Or how I’ve isolated myself for lack of confidence to face the remaining world that is moving forward, while I feel like I’m running in place, getting no where. Or not wanting to burden anyone with my on-going saga of superstorm-nasty.

But most times, you couldn’t even tell. I’m a jokey-smurf. You’d never know the general facade I put up to keep people from seeing my pain takes a lot of work. And I have to dig deep to remember who I am and where I came from so that I do not get overrun by stress & panic.

Even though it brings me a great deal of anxiety to socialize these days, I push myself to  get over it by immersing myself in group activities. Makes me incredibly uncomfortable, as of late. But I try because I know this is only temporary…situational.

I have the honor to talk about the house, and our lives surrounding the subject, with an organization producing a movie about a town ravaged by a storm. They are interviewing  people affected by the storm, and have asked me to participate. Although it makes me more nervous than going on stage in my underwear, I can’t think of a better way to heal some “crash-wounds” than to share my story with the masses that don’t know about the aftermath, to the people who have been surviving the aftermath – so that my story might resonate with them – and help them feel not so alone. Give them food for thought on making changes to build better. Share ideas & resources that I’ve picked up along the way. And sort of heal…together. At least that’s the idea.

In other news, the UFC champ Chris Weidman puts Bay Colony on the map! Congrats Chris!

chris weideman, ufc champion, bay colony

ufc world champion Chris Weidman – my neighbor!

Grace in Sandy

Even though it seems like life kicks us when we’re down, I can’t help but look up in search of the silver lining.

We are not back home yet. Waiting on the finalized house plans to move forward with the foundation engineer. And there is not much else going on with the house in that sense. Although we did experience some vandalism.

Neighbor kids broke two boarded up windows on our still-standing garage. Another neighbor saw two 12 year boys bashing the windows in with baseball bats, and went over to see what was going on. When she approached them, they said that I had given them permission to do that, and take what ever they wanted inside the garage. The neighbor took their word for it, and let them be. They must have had a change of heart, because they seemed to have stopped there, never entering the garage. still makes me so hurt thinking about it.

Before we found out what had happened, we called the police to file a report, ran to Home Depot to get one of those baby-window-gates to help keep bodies out from the windows, and more wood to re-board them up. We don’t have a lot of tools left, so we bought more tools to do the job. Spent about $150. I was still shaking thinking about how vandals came to scope out our garage to come back later & clean us out of all we have left. After everything we’ve been through in the past year, we are still being violated. Awful, terrible feeling to have to go through…again.

Back at the site, Bryan begins hammering away when we run into that neighbor lady & her 2 kids. We start to talking when I find out what she saw days prior. I was relieved it wasn’t crackheads from out of town, but livid to know it was a neighbor kid who I thought I could trust. He lives right across the street. Not only that, but my neighbor said his parents were hanging out right in their yard watching the kids come & go from our property. God, i’m so angry writing this thinking about it. How can anyone be so completely oblivious, careless & inconsiderate.

In the weeks that followed we’ve had more vandalism with porch decor still hanging on the side that was attached to the garage – smashed to smithereens & scattered throughout our property. After the 4th of July, we stopped by and found about a dozen large empty fireworks boxes the size of wine cases littering the area where our house once stood. These garbage-low-lives couldn’t even clean up after themselves.

The good news is, I found a lovely facebook group filled with a lot of my neighbors from the town. I shared a post in which I asked that the kind people of Baldwin Harbor please keep an eye out for us. It was met with so much kindness. People from everywhere started reaching out to offer help. My sense of community was a little more restored that morning.

From that post I was able to find an amazing Pastor who has offered to pool his resources together to put up temporary fencing around the perimeter of our property. He’s been doing this for our town since the storm.

And It’s funny how that happend. I called him to see if he knew how we could get help for our beach- put up a gate or something. It’s a dangerous mess in there. We’ve had droves of out-of-towner’s loitering, clamming & snooping around the beach since there is no longer a gate keeping them out. By the end of our conversation, he was offering to clean up the whole beach if it meant bringing back normalcy to our community. That’s when he asked about our house. Amazing grace.

Bryan putting up No Trespassing signage.

Bryan putting up No Trespassing signage.

motion detectors

Installing security cameras. Smile for the flash! 

Silver lining's in sushi.
Silver lining’s in sushi.