Today is October 22, and two years ago today New York was having a really shitty day. That really shitty day was just the beginning of several weeks of major shittiness – epic traffic jams caused by blocked bridges and tunnels, gas shortages, days and weeks without electricity, and damaged cars and homes. Our family was fortunate enough to make it through the storm safely and with very little damage to our property. But we had our struggles in the aftermath.
Starting on October 21, the Sunday before the storm, Insurance Boss worked every single day for over a month. He finally took a couple of days off at Thanksgiving, but we spent Thanksgiving day touring the badly damaged areas in Brooklyn, and delivering pies to adjusters who were sacrificing their holiday to help their customers. For two weeks we had one adjuster from Nebraska sleeping on an air mattress in Biscuit’s nursery because all the hotels were full. (Yes, I actually met a human being from “Nebraska”. He was bizarrely polite.) Insurance Boss had to borrow a friend’s car to get to work, not for the car itself, but for the gas in his tank. Halloween, my absolute favorite holiday of the year, was completely canceled.
But the worst part for us was returning from evacuation. We lived in “Zone A” which is the mandatory evacuation area. The day before the storm hit we packed up the Biscuit, who had just turned one year old, and our dog Bailey. We managed to snag a room at a hotel in the middle of Long Island, less than a mile from Insurance Boss’s office. — See, when there’s a disaster, Insurance Bosses especially gotta get to work. I call the adjusters “Second Responders”. After all, they are the next person you call after police and paramedics, and you want them to show up just as quickly.
I spent several days in a small hotel room with my one-year-old Biscuit and my insane rat doxie (that’s the mutt name for a rat terrier mixed with a dachshund). Both of my little beings were going absolutely bonkers from being cooped up in less than 350 square feet. I was still working as a consultant at the time, and I actually tried to get some work done, but that was more ridiculous a notion than expecting a brain surgeon to work with a coked up Axl Rose and a rabid ape running loose in the operating room. Our building manager wasn’t answering the phone, so after several days of scouring Twitter, I found reports that the water had receded from our neighborhood and our building had electricity. I determined with 85% certainty that it was safe for us to return home.
So on Wednesday afternoon (Halloween) we started out drive home. With normal traffic it would have taken about an hour, but with most bridges and tunnels into the city still blocked, it was more like three, long, miserable hours of inching along the Queens Midtown Expressway. The last half of that was spent going just one fucking exit right before the Midtown tunnel. We had been in the car for about two hours when we noticed a lovely fecal scent coming from the backseat of the car. We figured Biscuit had baked a loaf in her diaper, but when Insurance Boss turned around he saw a single shitty Bailey turd lying on the backseat. He hopped out of the car (we were stopped anyway), grabbed some baby wipes, and, walking beside the car, cleaned up the singular offense as we inched along. After he got back in the front seat, we lamented Bailey’s lack of class and wondered why his movement was so small. Did we miss a turd? What happened to the rest of it? Did it roll under the front seat? Is there more coming?
Fast forward ten minutes. This time we heard the unmistakable, slurpy, gagging sounds that a dog makes right before he- Oh, shit. We quickly turned around to see the absolute horror of Bailey yacking up about thirty-two liquid ounces of SHITBARF all over the backseat. If you’re confused about what exactly happened, I’ll spell it out. The dog not only shat in the backseat, but then he ate it, and then he puked everywhere! Shitbarf was between the seats, under Biscuit’s carseat, on the seat belts – everywhere. So once again Insurance Boss heroically hopped out of the car and grabbed a roll of paper towels that happened to be in the trunk. He attempted to clean the mess while also keeping Bailey, the criminally disgusting pooch, from hopping out into the road.
Just imagine the scene: Insurance Boss is standing beside the car in the middle of four lanes of traffic. He’s leaning in the backseat, alternating between wiping, gagging, yelling, pushing the dog, and laughing hysterically, all the while having to pause periodically to run alongside the car as traffic creeps forward a whole ten feet. I was laughing so hard I could hardly see through my tears. People in the cars around us had literally nothing better to do than to stare, point, and laugh.
Hurricane Sandy sucked. And these are the memories we will cherish.