Go pick on somebody with a house to live in.
I’ve tried to carpe diem today, but instead I’m going to tell you how badly this all sucks. Lest I’ve given the impression that all we storm sufferers are just completely capable of handling this endlessness with nothing but grace and gratitude.
No one has worked on our house for four days. Enjoy your days off, guys!! Our one and only day off together has yet again been spent on this storm, on moving our stuff again, storing our stuff again, on trying to sign that we “agree” with New York Rising that we are entitled to $0 but reaching an Error page every time. On signing our latest and last flood insurance check over to the SBA. On trying to get our government to lower our flood insurance premium because we raised our house– and they raised our rates! On trying to get our brand new automatic garage door to work. On discovering that room was not made, as promised, for us to move our stuff out of a paid storage unit and into our own house. On figuring out why the deck stain is streaking the newly painted stucco or why the concrete stairs are crooked or cracked or why there are concrete stairs at all when the stairs we’ve discussed all along were wood, always wood, never anything but wood.
And that all was intermediate sucking until we discovered the graffiti.
For two years before the storm, I campaigned to have our street fixed. Our street is a bus route and a truck route. The pot holes were getting deeper and deeper with every snow and thaw and passing of the plow, until whole sections of road were gone and buses would half disappear down holes before loudly bouncing out, rocking back and forth, breaking up more road and sending chunks flying at our patio. Our house would shake enough to wake me at night. We had an actual earthquake once, and I ran to the door shouting, “What the hell kind of a bus was that?”
Just before the storm, the Commissioner of Public Works came to my door to personally deliver the news: they were convinced. The street needed to be fixed.
Of course, Sandy hit just weeks later. I never expected them to focus on my issue after the storm, but they did—last October, we had a major overhaul of our street, including the sidewalks. Unfortunately, they also planted trees that will eventually block our new view of the ocean. We were certainly not thrilled. But whatever, we got over it, the fact that these trees were planted in the perfect two spots for obscuring that beautiful blue. We are trying to feel fortunate and grateful.
At least we had a new street, right?
Last week, the “neighborhood dumpster” was dropped on the street in front of our house. It made gauges in the asphalt. In front of our house. Right where the bus tires go. In front of our house, ONLY our house so that all of Grand Boulevard has the perfect, smooth road I campaigned for–except for our little section where the holes will get bigger with every snow and thaw and passing plow.
At least the sidewalks are OK though, right? At least we have new sidewalks?
Well yesterday was “Irish Day” in Long Beach, which ostensibly is to honor St. Brendan the Navigator and to bring a boon to businesses about to face the off-season, but which is really, essentially, about getting piss drunk and peeing in the street while wearing green.
Though our contractor swore he was going to lock the port-a-potty, I didn’t think he actually would. I was back and forth anyway on what might be better: to lock it and piss off drunks who might go and pee on our house and then vandalize it for good measure? Or to leave it unlocked and allow them to peaceably stuff our toilet with excrement?
Well, he never did lock it, and apparently, drunks both stuffed our toilet with excrement and vandalized our property by painting, in bright Irish green, the F-bomb and SUCK MY ASS on our new sidewalk. Ours. Not the next door neighbor’s abandoned jungle hole that we helped her maintain for five years out of the goodness of our hearts, not the section along the side of our other neighbor’s house that she’d never even have to look at, not in front of any of the houses where people are comfortably living. Ours. Just ours.
For crying out loud, will you please GO CARPE YOUR DIEM ON SOMEBODY’S PROPERTY THAT HAS A HOUSE THEY CAN LIVE IN. Or better yet, try to figure out a way to feel alive without breaking someone else’s spirit.
Both our spirits were broken. I admitted to Steve that it made me want to walk away from the house. It’s the first time I thought, I can’t go through any more of this. He told me the graffiti had evoked the same sentiment in him.
We are tired. We are beaten down. Uncle. For crying out loud, UNCLE.
I just want to go home. I don’t want to go through everything that still needs to be done. I don’t want to pick things out. I don’t want to move into a half-finished house. I don’t want to cook in a microwave for four months. I don’t want to come home and listen to saws and drills and hammers after kindergarten. I don’t want to live under a psychotic dog in this apartment, either. Nine hours straight of an Ewok being torn limb from limb. I don’t want to hide in my bed at the far end of the apartment with the white noise machine on for fear I will be at the point of no return if I have to listen to him one more minute. I don’t want to call New York Rising again. I just want to click my ruby slippers and wake up home.
That said, I know I will do what I have to do and I will continue to seize the day or any part of the day I can. Sunset on the beach is easy from where I am living and I force myself to go every evening, however tired or in pain or angry I may be. I caught the tail end of it tonight, and breathed easy for the first time all day.
I know I am lucky to have this. Thank you sky, thank you music, thank you Steve. It wasn’t without a whole lot of trouble, but another day has been successfully seized.