The Cloud of Sandy Lifts. The Cloud of Liz…Not So Much

For the last few days I’ve been flat out with the flu and a high fever, meaning I’ve been relegating my writing to 140 character rants on Twitter about politics, the NYC Marathon (i.e. politics), and the rescue efforts. Some of which I swear I don’t remember writing. Don’t hold me too responsible.  Unless it was awesome.

It’s been frustrating not being able to be out there, doing more in the Sandy recovery efforts. But with me speaking in tongues, two stir-crazy kids off of school for five days, and my mother living with us for a week since she’s been out of power, I can safely say I’m a little maxed on what I can reasonably do from bed.

(Also, praise be for the grandmother who cooks and cleans and holds “school” for the kids and make you honey toast and tea before you’ve even had to tell her you want some; and to the sigOth who brings back not just one cough syrup, but 74 different kinds.)

One thing I can do: Write. So Kristen and I put together a list of more than 11 reputable charities that can use your help or money after Hurricane Sandy. Red Cross photo below. Hearing about scam charities popping up make me want to scream.

photo of hurricane sandy shelter | c US Red Cross

While my neighborhood just over the Brooklyn Bridge is starting to feels relatively normal–provided you don’t actually try to commute anywhere and accept the influx of downtown Manhattanites walking over the Bridge for some diner food and an open Starbucks–my friend and work colleague Joanne in the Rockaways asked me to share these pictures she took  in her neighborhood.

Cn you imagine when the community you’ve lived in for generations looks like this?

rockaways after sandy | joanne scanello

rockaways in sandy \ c joanne scanello

They lost three cars and are praying their foundation will hold, but they so far got a “green” for inhabitable. Which is huge. This is an incredibly diverse, mostly working class peninsula in Queens. It had beautiful beaches (you probably know the Ramones hitching a ride out there) and a boardwalk that’s now swept away. At the far end of the peninsula, in Breezy Point, 110 homes were destroyed by fires.

Evidently no one’s making enough noise about the Rockaways and so the Red Cross and other agencies haven’t been there until, it seems, yesterday.

As Titania Jordan commented on Instagram, “I’m getting more news on the latest developments (and how to help) from Twitter & Instagram than the actual news.” So any way you can get the word about about the more neglected, hard-hit neighborhoods is a big help.

My kids are busy creating their own donation buckets for charities and I burst into tears when I saw it.I know I’m fevery and vaguely delirious but I’m pretty sure Thalia took the initiative because she saw the telethon on TV last night and wants to help. It’s who she is. And I start to get all weepy when I think about what generous, kind kids they are managing to become.

I’m not taking credit. Just stating a fact.

My own mother just walked out the door to try and return home, and I’m feeling the absence Even at my age, there’s something about the warmth of a mother taking care of you, stroking your head, and asking you (if fourteen times) whether you want more tea. She cleaned, she did dishes, she reorganized the kids’ bookshelves, she took them out scootering around the neighborhood.  The perfect houseguest. Best mom ever.

Oh, and because I’m supposed to head out of town on business (if this Plague ever lifts) she waited in line 2 hours with Thalia to get me an absentee ballot yesterday. That is love.

Now, the kids are in the hall yelling BYE! BYE GRANDMA! And I’m kind of crushed. But I’m glad she’s back with my stepfather who was home in the dark of the suburbs unable to get to her.

Everyone together. Everyone with whom they love. That’s what matters.

It’s all so clear.


17 thoughts on “The Cloud of Sandy Lifts. The Cloud of Liz…Not So Much”

  1. Thank you for the list of charities. It’s heartbreaking how much some people have lost in this storm. My girls and I were watching a story out of Staten Island last night and they burst into tears and asked how they could help. My sister-in-law works at Christie’s and apparently they are matching donations for hurricane relief 100% so we are pooling money from piggy banks and sending a check to my brother this week.

    Hope you feel better soon.

    1. Isn’t it the best feeling to know your kids have those kinds of feelings? That to me is a huge silver lining bit of learning in this all.

      Awesome for Christie’s.

      1. Agreed. Every time I read about how kind your girls are I think about how much they remind me of my own kids and I have great hope for our world that such people will someday be in charge of it.

  2. This whole mess is so unbelievable. The families devastated by this storm, it breaks my heart. I care less about the businesses that won’t make money this week, though that’s a real concern I’m sure, it’s just much less poignant than a picture of a house with half of its foundation ripped away, you know?
    I’m sorry you’re sick right in the middle of such a mess. Glad your mom was able to help and take care of you. Glad your girls are so giving. I remember my daughter donated $60 to a charity that was raising money to help bring clean drinking water to villages in Africa. I wasn’t sure whether to be horrified (that’s more money than she EVER has, it was birthday money I’m sure), because I knew she’d be wanting to buy something the next week, or proud, because she’s SO generous with her time and money. I decided to be proud. And I restrained myself, and did not pay her back the money…what lesson would that have given? I wish I could say that I matched her donation instead, but honestly, I didn’t have $60. Sigh.

    1. Well, about the small business thing…

      think about Governor, a great restaurant in DUMBO. it’s individual people who poured their money into a restaurant 3 months ago, earned 2 NYT stars, and now it’s decimated. Besides killing their dreams and source of income (and it’s likely people on that block have no flood insurance because…why would they?) think about the employees. There are 35 servers, bartenders, managers, dishwashers, cooks out of work. All individuals. Many with families to support. Nate will be out of work close to 2 weeks as a restaurant manager. He’s lucky that I’m salaried and so I get paid to work at home even while our office is closed. But a lot of people won’t be able to pay rent this month.

      I love the story about your daughter. Wow. She will always remember that, and I bet it will shape her life somehow.

  3. Hi Liz,
    I haven’t had a chance to write for months for health reasons and then work but I do follow your posts. Looved the one on your trip to Africa, really super! Anyway, I have the flu today but in haste, thank you soo much for the list of charities – will reference it in my blog. I mentioned the red cross to friends and someone asked ‘how do you know that they will forward your donation onwards and I thought silently ‘coz the red cross just does’. A picture says a thousand words so I can now show this to her. Thank you for taking the time again to get this list!

  4. Hope you feel better! I work taking insurance claims and I’ve talked to many people who just lost their homes in severe storms. It is such an awful conversation to have. My heart goes out to everyone on the E. Coast.

  5. Thank you for sharing the list of charities. We all need to pull together at this time and help rebuild the communities that were so devastated by the storm. Thank you for sharing your experience and thank goodness you and your family are okay.

  6. Feel better Liz!
    Your girls are a fabulous reminder of this – in something as horrific as sandy, there is goodness.

    So glad your mom was there…..even as moms ourselves, nothing beats a little TLC from our moms.

  7. When I was little someone quoted me “jewish” (likely not) curse: one should have, then loose. It is really a curse when you see homes washed away, livelihoods swept away by wind/water/mud, families crushed by loss. I can only wish for boring life – no upsets, the life where lost cat is biggest news.
    But then – this provides sooo much opportunity for our kids to grow and become generous, giving adults. I can only hope I can model your kids to my own offspring. They are wonderful role models, not only for my kid, but myself too.

    Hope you feel better soon.

  8. It doesn’t matter how old you get, when sick you still need your mom. I hope you start feeling better soon.

    Thank you for putting up real charities giving back. I’ve seen many people wondering what to do to help. I’ll send them to your post. I gave to Red Cross mostly because I know they help as much and as quick as they can.

  9. Thanks for posting, Liz, especially when you’re not feeling your best. Love that your mom was there to be awesome, love that the girls are also being awesome and doing what they can.

    Hope you’re on the mend. And maybe South America bound?

  10. I felt so guilty this weekend as we celebrated my daughter’s birthday and went about our every day life–completely without incident.

    Thinking about the thousands who have lost everything, made me feel very small for complaining that my coffee wasn’t right.

    Thank you for the list of charities. My daughter raised $250 for a charity at her birthday party–that will go to provide clean water in Ethiopia. I will match it and donate to one of these charities. It’s not much, but it is something. We have to support each other in these times.

    Hope you feel better.

  11. I can understand what all had gone through,as my dear ones were struck by sandy in Connecticut BUT, by God’s grace everyone is well and my little niece is alright.
    Really People, its time to join hands to fight the destruction done by SANDY!
    Thanks for Charity list, I am doing my bit and everyone out there do yours

Comments are closed.