I saw an incredible thing when I went to get my mail today at the house. PEOPLE! With tools! And hard hats! Some were on my roof! ONE WAS MY HUSBAND! I’d heard it was happening, but I have now seen it with my own eyes! Somehow—somehow!—we started today, the 158th day since Sandy. Despite some last minute unbelievables, our home is now a construction site!
The last two days were rife with ridiculous complications and ridden with wouldas, shouldas, and couldas. Two miles from where our storage facility was closing up shop, locking Steve inside, a random Hyundai was being deposited in the spot in front of our house reserved for our pod. Well, not reserved—it’s just that no one has parked on our block since the storm. No one. Nonetheless, I had suggested that Steve park his wagon there, and that my neighbor take the space behind it just to ensure that no one suddenly settled in there overnight. So, at 7:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Steve shoulda been parking his wagon in front of our house, and I shoulda been driving us back to the apartment in my Mini. My neighbor and I should notta been standing in 28 degree weather in April waiting for Steve to be released after being (U-)hauled in! But we were.
The street shoulda been empty as it has been since the storm. But it wasn’t. The road was a regular parking lot.
Once Steve was sprung from the storage facility and a spot for the pod cleared and we preserved that space by parking the wagon and our poor freezing neighbor’s car there overnight and the pod was successfully dropped off in the morning, someone decided that on the now-empty block, the only spot worth having was the one directly behind the storage box–preventing Seth from being able to unload his equipment and materials into it (as you will later see, that would not soon matter). Now. Would you park behind the opening end of a storage pod? If you weren’t worried about inconveniencing the people using it, wouldn’t you be worried about the people using it damaging your car? You woulda been, right?
No one shoulda parked there. But they did.
Once they left and we made a sign and left chunks of concrete strewn in the street to keep others from attempting the same, we called the dumpster guy. We had asked him to come Friday but instead of putting us in the books, he insisted we just call him the day before. So we did. But he didn’t answer. Or call back. All day.
He shoulda just put us in the books. But he didn’t. And if we didn’t have a dumpster we couldn’t have started this morning. Seth was coming all the way from New Hampshire last night, to start this morning. The dumpster guy finally called, and said he’d deliver. We would start this morning.
Seth got settled in at the Nickerson Beach campground last night. Steve had made the arrangements there ahead of time, and was told twice, by two different people, that he would get a “guest of a resident” price of $24 a night. But on the day of, the lady in charge told Steve there was no such thing as a “guest of a resident” status—like he had made it up! The price would now be $42 a night—plus fees. He explained some of our situation (which is that we are paying mortgage plus renting an apartment, a pod, a dumpster, a storage unit, and soon a port-a-potty—plus paying our utilities and regular bills, as well as rebuilding and lifting our house—on one salary), so they might understand that we couldn’t possibly pay $1500 a month for our contractor to stay here. We didn’t budget for that price, nor could we! But, despite her employees having promised us the discounted rate, she refused to follow through. Looked Steve in the eye and refused. Nickerson Beach Campground decided against in any way helping a resident of their own destroyed area, even with just a one-week discount. Even five dollars off. A dollar. Nothing.
If we woulda known the actual cost, we coulda made other arrangements. But we didn’t. They had screwed up, and not only did the woman not apologize (unless you count exasperatedly sighing, “Look. I’m sorry you lost your house, but….”), but today she gave Seth hell about having other vehicles there—on his first day here, on a nearly empty campground (surprise—no one is vacationing on this island)! She coulda done us the one favor of letting that go for the day but instead, she called to harass him about his vehicles while he tried to start work at our house.
Which brings me back to the most important detail: They worked today! Without any materials, with a dumpster that wasn’t placed correctly, and two hours late—after Seth’s truck separated from the trailer holding all the tools. The truck had pulled it from New Hampshire to the campground, but couldn’t make it down the street at our start time, on day one. Steve waited at the house for two hours, without a clue as to what was happening. The broken part cannot be fixed until April 17. Oh yeah, and the materials? The tractor trailer coming down with all the lumber for the job will arrive three days late. Seth had rented it—and they sent him a box truck.
But the roof is stripped. And there were people! With hard hats! At my house! Mom would have called it A Red Letter Day.