By Nicholas Stix
[Previously, at WEJB/NSU:
“Why We Chose to Ride Out Hurricane Irene at Home, in a Mandatory Evacuation Area.”]
Expected landfall for Sandy in New York City: 5:30 p.m., EST.
We never even considered evacuating for the storm. Where would we go? To a city shelter? Are you kidding? And who would protect our home from looters?
For two days before King Michael Bloomberg made the announcement at Sunday at 5 p.m., I joked to neighbors that Bloomberg would wait until it was too late, the way he did last year with Hurricane Irene, and then “order” everyone from
Evacuation Area A, where we live, to leave.
Last year, as soon as Bloomberg gave the word, I called every hotel, motel, and gotel in Queens, Brooklyn, and Nassau, for a room, but they had been booked up since at least the day before.
We taped up our windows, piled up “contractor’s bags” we’d filled with at least 1,200 pounds of sand from the beach in front of our doors outside, bought water for drinking, and filled up every pot and pan we had with water for washing, and hunkered down.
This year, we did likewise for Sandy, though she promises to be much worse.
Though our neighbors dumped their sand back on the beach after Irene, I wanted to keep all of the sandbags for protection against the looters I expected already then, in a non-natural disaster. The Boss demanded I dump back all of the sand, but I refused, and so she called me “A lazy man,” among other sweet nothings. She dumped about half of it back, leaving about 600 pounds. I figure, if looters of color see sandbags piled up against our back door, and none against the neighbors’ doors, they’ll take the path of least resistance.
Last night, I went out at about 9:40 p.m., during the World Series game, to get more sand, accompanied by my son, who was supposedly bodyguarding me.
My real reason for bringing him was to get him away from his darned computer, and the games he’s obsessed with.
I managed to fill a big plastic bucket 10 times with 55-60 lbs. each of sand, bring each load back to the house in an old, and fill more contractor’s bags with them, two buckets per bag.
I would first use the bucket as a scoop, but then hold it on its side and, wearing work gloves, shove sand into it.
It was a losing proposition. Although I work out about four days a week, and walk about a mile-and-a-half a day, my stamina’s shot. The sort of work I could do all day when I was 18, now has me exhausted after two hours.
Not only was I deteriorating, but so were my tools. The shopping cart, which had been sitting out back for about eight years, was rusty, battered out of shape, and one wheel was so bent in that it looked like someone had taken a sledge to it. It was dying.
But the bucket was even worse. It’s almost 11 years old, and serves as our kitchen garbage can. It has a steel handle on top, and a plastic grip. Well, it had a plastic grip. After maybe two loads, the grip disintegrated in my hand. And with each load, a little bit of the lip around the top broke off. The handle is attached to the lip, so it was only a matter of time before the part of the lip with one of the holes holding the handle would break off. Last year, I carried loads of sand back and forth without the shopping cart, but the bucket was in better shape then.
After 10 trips I was beat, so we ended up with about the same amount of sand bags as last year—1,200 lbs.
Sandy, here we come! Or rather, here she comes!