Not 24 anymore..

My age, not the show. But then, neither is anymore!  Both have been relegated to memories and DVD’s.  Yesterday we got a letter from the Code Enforcement Officer in town. That’s a first for us. We have lived in the same house since 1987. We were formally given notice of a “violation” on our property. The part of the form letter that was highlighted was dead and dying tress and dead branches.  Hmm, maybe they got the address wrong. Our neighbor across the street and up two houses had a tree come down during Sandy in their front yard. Nothing has been done with that in the last month.

I called the office Friday afternoon to try to find out what the problem is. You can easily guess that there was no answer and the message left was not returned.  The letter mentions a 10 day window to resolve the problem from the date the letter is received.  Or, you can/will be required to go to court. Fun, fun. Some tin hat dictator has my life in his vise.  I went out Saturday morning to walk the property so see if I could figure out what “might” be the problem.

During Sandy the top of a pine tree (not my pine tree) fell into my back yard along the property line landing on my neighbors old fence damaging it.  How would the code office know about that? You can not see that part of my backyard from the street.  Unless, the neighbor called the town.  Who knows, I will hopefully find out on Monday.  Since there was a mess in the back, I rented a chainsaw and cut up and cleaned up the fallen tree top. I also removed another tree that fell in their yard and put the fence back together. I spoke with the 80-year-old women that lives in the house. She made no mention of calling the town.  She thanked me for cutting up the trees and fixing her fence.

My back and shoulders are sore from running a chainsaw for a few hours and dragging the branches and trees out of the woods behind the house.  DS1 showed up for the last hour of work. It was nice to have someone hold the trees while I was cutting them up.

Other than that, the only other excitement (besides driving around town today and almost getting hit walking in a cross walk) was making a Forrest Gump meal for dinner. We had shrimp cooked five different ways. The shrimp scampi and the beer battered shrimp were the top choices.

Here are a few pictures from yesterday and today.  Enjoy!



You’ve seen the devastation now..

That would be on the sign that I would paint next to my painfully empty restaurant in Point Pleasant Beach. The entire sign would read:

You’ve see the devastation –

Taken your pictures –

Now spend some money

before you leave!

Thank You!

That was me today, gawking at the devastation and spending some money.  I work about ten minutes from Point Pleasant Beach. The boardwalk here was (is) dominated by Jenkinsons and  Martel’s Tiki Bar. It looks like a lot of the Jenkinsons property (from the road) is fairly ok. I did not go up to the boardwalk. Most of the ocean side of Ocean Ave was blocked off.

I ate lunch at Perk’s Cafe on Ocean Ave. When I walked into the restaurant at 1:20 pm, I made a total of two customers in the business. I know it’s the off-season and there was a hurricane, but how can a business survive like that?  While I was eating a group of construction workers came in and ate lunch. I think that is a hopeful sign.

After I left the business I shot this video driving north on Ocean Ave up to the Manasquan Inlet.   Enough said.

Three weeks down, the rest of eternity to rebuild.


Sandy, Post 3..

Survivor guilt?  You have heard of it, I’m sure. Maybe not that extreme, but, over the last two or three days as I have done my shopping and bar hopping (just tonight), I have spoken with lots of people. Everyone has a story to share. Most make leave you feeling two things, one is sad for their loss and the other feeling is that you are fortunate you are doing ok.  many, and I mean, many, of the people in my area are still without power. Some say that they can see the lights on one or two blocks over, yet they suffer in the dark. My DW went to visit her mom in Brick where they hope to have the power back on Wednesday.

Yesterday’s blog left with Sandy coming ashore, my DW and I in a bar in Scranton with about 50 IBEW electricians who had been collected from as far west as Wisconsin. These electricians were having their last night of fun before the storm passed and they had to get to work.  We had also dropped off DS2 at his dorm (the scene of the crime).

Tuesday morning in Scranton was… anyone? Bueller?, Bueller? Somebody say it!  Yes, it was cold and grey, thank you! We left the hotel, Northern Lights was closed, Coney Island Lunch was closed (it was early). I challenge you to find a decent cup of coffee in Scranton either on a weekend or a weekend like day (see Hurricane Sandy). We wound up at the new Turkey Hill near the Scranton High School. Gas for the car, coffee and “passable” breakfast sandwiches  were purchased. We then drove the 200 miles back to Manahawkin.

The ride home was uneventful We texted both Scranton children before we left town. I would say, that we woke both of them up!  When we got home, the house looked intact, dark, but intact. DS1 wanted to know why we hurried home from Scranton where they had power and such to be home in the dark. I think we needed to be reassured that things at home were ok.  My DW was on call at her hospital this week. Since the land lines and cell phones were not working consistently, she went into work at 3 pm on Tuesday afternoon. She stayed in the hospital until 8 am the following morning. They did not have any cases, but they were on-site f they were needed.

She came home and spent the day with us, in the dark. She went back into work for 4 pm on Wednesday, for another overnight call shift. The power came back on around 5 pm Wednesday. 48 ish hours after it went out. We are lucky. No doubt about it. We lost very little as far as food goes. Wednesday afternoon DS1, my DW and I cleaned up the leaves, branches and twigs from the from front yard. After my DW went to work, DS1 and I had a steak dinner since the steaks had thawed out in the upstairs freezer. After dinner we had a fire in the back year to burn some of the twigs and branches that Sandy had dropped in the front yard.

Thursday, my DW stayed at work until 4 pm. DS1 went to work for the first time in 5 days. Me, I worked from home. The office has no electic, phones or internet. There were two other employees that showed up on the instant messenger. Between us we handled the calls that came in via email.  This was extra challenging since we had no access to the corporate help desk where the user and password information is stored.

Oh, we missed Tuesday night yoga. That was supposed to be the final session of the six-week set. I wonder if they will make it up, or is the session lost for good.

Here are a few more pictures. Two are from Scranton Monday afternoon. The one with the fire is from Wednesday night.





Sandy, Post 2…

Thankful, that is the word for this week. Thankful that the power is back on (for us). Thankful that everyone in our family is safe. And thankful that we did not get water in the basement.  In that order, maybe not. The power being back on is way up there, though.   Yesterday’s blog ended with Sunday night, sleeping in Scranton, PA, after spending a frantic afternoon driving to Scranton and making sure that DS2 was ok and getting the proper (and best) care.

Monday morning was grey in Scranton. I could write that sentence everyday and be right two-thirds of the time.  We called over to the hospital at 8 am and the nurses told my DW that DS2 was off to have his MRI done. We checked out of our hotel since they would not give us the same rate as the previous night. We moved across the street for the same price. Just as nice. After coffee and a breakfast sandwich we got to the hospital as DS2 was returning to his room. He had just finished having the MRI and EKG done.  We hung around with him all morning and then the EEG tech came by and did that test. Several doctors and residents came by over the course of the morning. All asking essentially the same questions.  The highlight of the morning was having hot dogs from Coney Island Lunch (for lunch).

Around 3 pm the neurologist came by, the same one from Sunday afternoon. He had looked at the test results and did not have a definitive answer. He said either it was a case of sleep walking or a seizure disorder that does not cause you to flop around, but causes you to lose track of time. He could find no evidence to support one reason over the other. So, he sent us on our way. We will continue to monitor things. Maybe this was a one time episode. Hopefully. 

We dropped him off at school so he could visit with his friends and tell the story of his hospital stay. We headed down to the hotel for the night. We got to the hotel around 5 pm. It had been raining all day. Both children’s universities had been closed for the day. We went down to the bar to find a drink and some dinner. As we sat there watching the weather channel chronicle Sandy’s landfall 30 miles south of our home, we ate dinner.  During dinner the bar started to fill up with power crews from as far west as Wisconsin. Everybody was having one last fun night waiting for the next day when they would start putting the power grid back together in New York State.

After dinner we spoke with DS1 about conditions at home. He said there was no water coming in, but that he had lost power around 4 pm Monday afternoon.  We spoke with DS3, he was playing video games with his friends. We figured no reason to drag him out into the storm to see us. We watched some tv and went to bed.

I did not take any pictures on Monday. We were a bit on edge wondering what the doctors and their tests might find. All clear, for now. Here is a picture from Face Book of DS2 in his tuxedo. Enjoy!


Sandy, Post 1..

I’m thinking that this Sandy topic will take two, maybe three nights to tell the tale.  You probably have seen the pictures on tv or the internet showing the devastation of the Jersey Shore. We are fortunate that we live 7 miles from the ocean. The waves did not make it that far.  My previous post was entitled Hype or Hide. I guess in retrospect, hide was what happened. So to start this tale we go back to Sunday, around noontime (cue the time traveling music)

It’s noon time Sunday, the wind has been picking up all morning. No rain yet. All of our pre-hurricane preparations are complete. My cell phone rings, a number that I don’t know shows on the call id. I answer the phone, it is DS2’s girlfriend on the phone. Hmmm.  I ask how she is, she is fine, but my son is going by ambulance to the local emergency room.  Ummm. Ok. I said wait a minute, and I handed the phone to my DW, who is a nurse. She listens and asks a few questions and then hangs up. They found DS2 sitting in the lobby of his dorm, no shoes, id or cell phone. He was just sitting there in a stupor. He had no idea where he was or how he got there. The head of the dorm came down and spoke with him and decided to send him to the hospital.

Ok, college kid, Sunday morning, looking like he was under the influence, I get it. Wrong child for that diagnoses (so far).  We (my DW and I) packed a bag, changed our clothes, left DS1 with some hurried hurricane instructions and rolled out-of-town heading north. The ride to Scranton is 190 miles, one way. Sunday was the final pre-hurrincane evacuation day. All the people getting out-of-town were headed north, just like us. We made a few calls while we were driving up and got one of my cousins to go over to the hospital and check on him. We also set DS3 over to the hospital.

When we got to the hospital we found out from DS3 that his brother was fine and he was going back to school to work on some homework. My cousin and DS2’s girlfriend and another friend were in the emergency room talking to DS2. He seemed fine when we got there. Then again is was three hours after the initial phone call. We asked some questions of DS2 to understand what was going on.

He woke up and went back to bed several times Sunday morning. The last time he woke up around 10 am he sat at his computer to play some games. The next thing he remembers is sitting in the lobby with the head of the dorm talking to him. He had “lost” those two hours.  He was disoriented and agitated. He started to “come out of the fog” as they were putting him in the ambulance to take him to the hospital.  How odd.

We met with the emergency room doctor and a neurologist. They decided to keep him for the night and do some tests on Monday morning. He seemed fine to me. He was talking and acting like his normal self.  After we got him settled in his room we went out for dinner with DS3.  We watched the end of the Giants game, ate and went to our hotel. I think the two of us were asleep by 9:30 pm. What a crazy day.

Here is a few pictures from the hospital. Tomorrow’s blog will take us through Monday. Enjoy!