Long Beach is flooded. No, I mean RIGHT NOW. My new, post-Sandy Mini almost didn’t make it through. It is supposed to rain up to 5 inches by morning and my house has no roof. Really, Andrea? Is she serious? This is the FIRST named storm???
I had (and still have) good things to report. Did a kind reader name-drop for me? The day after my last entry I received a friendly phone call from the state letting me know that my aid application is under review and I will eventually be assigned a case manager.
Also, a crane came over yesterday and delivered a steel beam. I missed all the excitement, but Steve captured it for us. It was supposed to be delivered today during the downpour and we would have had to cancel, postponing everything until next Wednesday. But they came a day early, making it possible for Seth and the Steves, AKA “The Boys,” to move along in the direction of dormering and raising our house.
Thank you to Oceanside Steel, a local company, for coming through for your neighbors.
Now it is the morning after. Despite the meticulous draping of tarps, our house is soaked. Struggling businesses had to close yesterday as the waters rose. This morning, sandbags litter the sidewalks. Garages are airing out, waterlogged carpets line the curb, and my husband and dozens of his neighbors are spending their Saturdays in their skeleton houses with a squeegee and shopvac. Cars were lost in a neighboring community, and a sinkhole opened up on the main road through Long Beach. A pedestrian had to be rescued.
I don’t know. How long will we continue to think, “Wow, this is odd; this is rare?” I love how the brain patches things up for you. “Oh, well those tropical storms don’t usually come this way. We usually don’t see any action till named storm I or S. And even Irene and Sandy were anomalies.”
Did some Long Beachers just drag out their sandbags for the last time? Could it come to be that we will own a fortress on a desert island?
If I know my neighbors, we will all do what it takes to stay. More and more of us are taking out loans, buying contents insurance, filling in basements, raising houses. Dreaming of a future Caffe Laguna and another Paninis & Bikinis. Envisioning years of farmers’ markets, Irish Days, Polar Bear Plunges, boardwalk fairs, boardwalk runs, beachside fundraisers, beach volleyball, summer concert series, fireworks shows, Waterfront Warriors events. Imagining a summer of being together again, united by summer things and not storm things. We can’t be at the house five minutes without getting fifteen well-wishers! We will do what it takes for ourselves and each other. Our old normal: partially preserved by strong-willed, generous, and hopeful people.
Bruised but not broken, wet but not woebegone.
Long Beach Strong has always been a thing. Now it is the only way.