The reason for this is that our phone provider is Verizon (grrr) and my Vonage long-distance has to piggyback on the Verizon internet line. I'm not able to connect at home, even though I've bought a week from WiFiNY.net. (It was worth a shot; unfortunately, WiFiNY gets swamped when Verizon and other providers go down.)
Here are a few notes from the past couple of weeks, including some spent in the dark:
After the Storm October 30
Roughing it here has cured me of any pangs of longing I might have felt for camping. We have cold water, we have gas for cooking, and I even scored a gallon of kerosene today. Not a lot of stores were open today because of the power outage, but I took Corky it for a walk in the late afternoon today and found the stores that were able to be open were doing a land-office business.
Saifee Hardware--formerly "Jack's"--on First Avenue and Seventh street was open as we came up, so we went in.
"Do you have kerosene?" I asked. Score! I guess it's that not many people have oil lamps or anything that burns kerosene anymore, but several years ago when we were camping up in Livingston Manor, Richard got this old German lantern at an antiques store up there.
So I brought my prize home and he filled both oil lamps. Such a pretty, romantic light! I'll be happy when the power's back, though.
Walkin' the Dog October 31
We're sitting listening to the radio by lamplight; apparently New Jersey was hit much harder than we were. At least we have clean water and weren't evacuated. We were supposed to evacuate based on our location--we were in the middle of Zone B on the evacuation map--and fortunately we just missed getting our basement flooded. (That is, my landlord won't have to buy new washers and dryers.)
Actually, Jersey was devastated, by all accounts; the PATH system was washed out, including that tracks were washed off their beds. This sucks on so many levels I can't even begin to say; I was just in Hoboken last week; sometimes you have no way of knowing.
This afternoon it took me three hours to get to midtown just to get a loaf of bread, because of the gridlock; I should have walked. I was out for a three-hour walk before that with Corky to get him food and treats; we walked up to Penn Station for no real reason, and then over to the east side. This pet-supply store in Kips Bay was open--even with no power and battery-powered lamps--and they had Fruitables treats. I'd been giving them to Corky but haven't been able to find them at my local store because the supplier has been out; they also had the Green Tea Leaves cat litter I'd been looking for. I told them I'd write them a good review on Yelp--and I will.
I decided to take the 2nd avenue bus down, and although I had my reduced-fare I.D. that says "Disability," the driver told me I had to have a Service Animal I.D. for the dog too. No one's ever told me that before; I have to brush up on the current rules; I'm inclined to think they haven't really changed. He let me on anyway because there were lots of passengers boarding.
Walking home this evening was eerie because there were very few storefronts open; a location of Pushcart Coffee was open with battery-powered lamps. Naturally, a few bars were open as well; few things bring people together like alcohol! Because our governor had decreed that no buses were to go below 23rd street--why? why?--I had to walk from there. Everything was dark except for headlights, and I was glad I'd brought my flashlight.
We've had the rivers come up over their banks; we narrowly escaped having our basement flooded, but hey: they better get some work going on building a levee around Manhattan before the island floats away.
There's a light at the end of the tunnel...
They're now saying the power may be back Saturday, after an ominous silence these past couple of days; sure I'm hoping for that, but I'll believe it when I see it. I have to admit I haven't been overly inconvenienced by this blackout, but the fact of it even happening is scary beyond words. Few people can grasp that it's our habits that have brought us to this state of affairs; today I was up at Jon Baltimore's music store in Times Square, and I was talking to Jeff, who hangs out there.
He seems to think we can solve the problem by firing/killing all the CEOs; I pointed out that eating meat is contributing to the disastrous weather we've been having. People don't want to hear it, because when you mention giving up meat--and dairy--or being a vegetarian/vegan, someone is bound to pipe up, "I do love a nice juicy steak."
[Ah! They finally cut off the noisy generator the building behind us in the courtyard has been running all day; that's the building called "Lazarus House" where they supposedly rehabilitate all the JDs and street kids they take in. The silence is eerie and comforting at the same time.]
Anyway, we weren't evacuated or displaced, and we had clean, if cold running water and cooking gas. I ate my way through the overcrowded refrigerator, and can't say I felt deprived at all. There's probably going to be some stuff that needs to get tossed after we get our power back, but I can live with that.
Just in case, we filled the bathtub with water before the storm, and we didn't need it. We didn't have phone or internet, but I was able to go uptown yesterday and today and make a few phone calls. I called my mom yesterday to let her know I was okay.
I got to see my acupuncturist today and complained that I ended up with stuffiness in both ears, not just the right one after the last treatment. Well, being a medical doctor, he got out his otoscope and found I had some serious wax buildup in both ears. Was my face red! I had been putting off cleaning my ears, and in fact I was told at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary I should never clean my ears. (Huh?) I just flushed them with carbamide drops, and they feel much better. I agree that stuff can irritate, but even when I do it regularly, it doesn't irritate.
Tomorrow I have to walk Penny--Larry's dog--and inject Happy the cat with insulin; today I even had to do it in the dark, because they had no power over on Bedford street either. I have to take care of the animals all weekend because Murray, the other guy, has a cold. (Huh--I work with a cold; a couple of weeks ago I had the flu and I still had to work. Whatever--I'll gladly do it.)
Friday the 2nd
Murray's cabin fever was getting the better of him, and he decided to resume his walks on Saturday. (I was supposed to take over his walks this weekend because he had a cold.) Well, I can't say I'm surprised; I never let a cold get in the way of my schedule. A couple of weeks ago I even had to walk dogs with the flu I brought back from Woodstock. That said, I have to get in touch with my walks immediately when phone service/internet is restored so I can start up again; for the past couple of days I've only been walking Larry's dog.
They're cooking out in front of the "See Skwat" on Avenue C, and people from the neighborhood are bringing their food--perishable and not. I brought some stuff I was saving up to give to a food drive; there's no time like the present, I say. According to Jerry the Peddler, See Skwat was showcased on Channel 2 news last night as a"savior of the neighborhood."
Adversity has a way of bringing out the best in people.
Sunday the 11th
We're still without internet service, but considering that we weren't evacuated and have had power, water, and even got our heat back a few days ago, I'd say we were doing pretty well. We're able to hitch onto Wi-fi signals, although Richard has more success with that than I do; I end up having to go to The Bean and drink lattes because I can't get a usable signal here--even WiFiNY.net, which I've paid for a week of service.
At the Greenmarket today-- a combined Tompkins Square and Stuyvesant Town market they're calling "Stomptown"--they offered the same opportunity as last week: to fill a bag with produce and baked goods to be donated to the devastated communities in the Rockaways. I donated food last week and this week; until I'm actually able to get out there, this is the best I can do. I'm sure there are going to plenty of volunteer opportunities in the coming weeks.
My ear is bugging the hell out of me today; it started a few days ago, and now I have tinnitus in both ears. I've had hissing in the right ear for over thirty years, and have always been told there was nothing I could do, but having it in both ears is too much to bear. It's also embarrassing to have to ask everybody to repeat themselves even more than before; I've tried flushing my ears a few times, but the drops are caustic and I don't want to damage anything. Oh--and I tried to go to the ER of Beth Israel hospital on Friday before I was aware the emergency rooms at both NYU and Bellevue hospitals were closed because they were flooded out. Tomorrow Dr. Han (acupuncturist) will look in my ears and tell me what's wrong, I hope.
I should walk Corky down to Little King--just because they like him. Actually, I need a bath and to touch up my roots the most of all--don't tell anybody.