Hello, Sandy. Goodbye all plans for the next two weeks. Yes, what you see at the top of this post is just a glimpse of what the hurricane that hit the US eastern seaboard this week did to my northwest New Jersey community. That’s the road between the state two-lane highway and my farm. There were four places just like this along my road, all blocked with down trees, and I cut away enough to squeeze my pickup truck by and out onto the paved road. I had no choice. I had a houseguest I’d promised to get back to New York City in time to catch a plane back to Athens. My Greek publisher decided on her way back to Greece from San Francisco that it would be nice to spend a few “quiet” days in the country.
Her visit started off quite lovely with breakfast at the local diner (owned by a Greek, of course) followed by a most memorable prelude to her wished for “quiet” time: wind, rain, wind, BOOM, rain, wind CRASH, rain…and so on. When quiet finally came the following morning, it was accompanied by no power, no phone, no Internet, no generator. And with two million people in New Jersey without electricity, I can assure you that living as I do at the end of a long road in the most sparsely populated part of the state, with a down power line somewhere in the middle of the woods that serves only my home, this fella will be the very last soul in New Jersey to go back on the grid.
But I expected that. What I didn’t expect was for my generator to go on holiday for Halloween. A real trickster that old &^%$. But it does pay to do business with locals. The next morning the owner of the company that installed the generator and his technician hiked the quarter-mile in from the highway, through the rain, carrying a new battery. Then they hiked it again later that day to bring in something else they needed to repair it. They’re now on my permanent good guys list.
As long as I have power I’m happy. I don’t mind the fallen trees—as long as they don’t take out a structure—it’s why I have chainsaws. In fact, I love my chainsaw. It’s a very sophisticated editing tool—with a mind of it’s own, so be careful. But unlike Scrivener, you can’t take a snapshot to save what the story was before you cut. You can’t change your mind (or regrow a limb of any sort) once you cut. So be careful with your edit and be happy with it.
I made it back to NYC late Wednesday night, an easy thing coming from the west, an impossible journey from the east, and my publisher made her plane on Thursday. I went back to the farm Friday morning to deal with the mess Sandy left (no, not my publisher, her name is Aikaterini). Here are some photos of two mega-Norway spruces that narrowly missed taking out part of my barn. One was almost Rockefeller Center Christmas tree size. Yes, it could have been a contender. Alas, such disasters are part of the natural order of things.
Which brings me to another sort of disaster, and a (brief) rant triggered by Greece’s inimitable Aegean Airlines Miles&Bonus frequent flyer club. Not only are they inept, their consumer relations skills are a cross between “the fine print says ‘buyer beware’” and “go f**k yourself.” And God forbid if you should point out an error on their part, for you’ll never get a reply. You’re simply ignored.
Thankfully, hurricane Sandy was a once-in-a-lifetime disaster. But Star Alliance member Aegean Airlines’ frequent flyer club is proving to be a lifetime of disaster.
But this too shall pass. I was assured of that Wednesday night by an oracle I found in the temple of Upper East Side establishments pictured below. Delphi wasn’t available.
I feel better now. Thanks for listening.