My mom, sister and various other loved ones live on Long Island. That means that about a week ago they were in the midst of one of the worst storms ever to hit the area. Through Monday and on into Tuesday, I worried about their safety. I hoped that the neighbor’s trees managed to not fall on my mom’s house. During Irene, when we were there, a large limb crashed into mom’s yard but managed to miss the house. The neighbor, who my mom is not friendly with, does not care for her trees. When living in a coastal area, it is generally in your own best interest to ensure that a stiff breeze is not going to knock a tree down onto your home. She does not seem to care. Mom’s house was not crushed which is a very, very good thing. It was also not flooded or blown away. Also very good things.
But it was the bulkhead that I was worried about. It has been shoring up the edge of my mom’s property and the beach for as long as I can remember. For those of you unsure of exactly what a bulkhead is, I’m including a handy reference picture. Basically mom’s house
is at the far end of the property away from the bay, the beach and the worst parts of the storm. Not only is it set back, the drop from the top of the property down to the actual beach is, I would guess, about seven feet. At the top of the bulkhead, there is a giant swath of rose bushes, poison ivy and various other plants that slope upward to the lawn. Then the giant stretch of yard (see reference photo) and then the house. That means that in order
for the water to actually reach mom’s house, it would have to be very, very high. And while the water was very high (it went over the top of the bulkhead, past the bushy swath and reached the far edge of the lawn) it did not come close to the house.
Mom also always worries about the bulkhead, especially when there is a large storm. She had some work done on it a while ago that supposedly shored it up. I am not so sure that what was done was effective. But then again, what do I know about bulkheads. So when the storm hit on Monday and raged through Tuesday, it was the bulkhead that was on my mind. My friend Joe posted a picture of how high the water was at one point on Monday. It looked to be up at about six feet. And that was before high tide on Monday evening. To make a long story short, the bulkhead is going to need a bunch of work. Mom is still trying to get in touch with FEMA (they did not show up where they were supposed to today). We worry about how we will pay for the repairs but remain grateful that the house was not damaged and no one was hurt.
Also today, finally mom’s electricity came back on. It has almost been a week and while she was welcome at Joe’s house, she is stubborn and likes to stay at home. She finally gave in the other night as temperatures were set to dip into the thirties. She had been trying to convince me (or maybe herself) that her dogs were keeping her warm and it was OK to be in a house with no heat and no phone. When my phone rang today and the incoming call was from her house…..ah, the joy. She was thrilled to be plunged back into this century and admitted that the no electricity bit was “wearing” on her. Talking to her, I could feel bits of the anxiety which has been weighing down on me, lift away. Now if only Election Day was over…..