No locusts, but more rain...
J and I drove through Little Falls and Paterson, Wayne and Lincoln Park on Monday. My heart simply bleeds for those people. They're no longer getting rid of "stuff" from their flooded basements; they're getting rid of their basements! The piles of "stuff" on the street, waiting for trash pick up, no longer include Grandma's old sofa, Lola's toy kitchen, Roy's train set, last year's Thomas the Tank Christmas present.
They're throwing out insulation, oak floors, sheetrock, paneling, water heaters, washing machines and dryers, refrigerators and freezers, dehumidifiers, shop vacs, cars, bicycles, milk crates of tools...
I complained and bitched and moaned about the water in my basement, water that J and I spent hours and hours sucking up with a shop vac, carrying up the stairs and dumping it outside the side door.
Guess what? WE.HAD.IT.EASY. I am ashamed that I spent all that time groaning about 6 total inches of water in my basement that never got over 2" since we were on top of it. Eventually we were able to sweep it all into our sewer trap, once high tide went down.
We didn't lose anything, not a stick of wood, not an appliance, not even a lousy garbage bag filled with crap I took out of my red Honda when I sold it - in 2000!!! (Side note: that WAS my favorite car EVER!) My treadmill never got wet, our washing machine and dryer are up on a 3" platform so the water never touched them. None of J's tools were damaged or ruined.
We saw PSE&G volunteers and command centers and food stations giving out hot meals in styrofoam containers, a guy driving around in his SUV giving away cases of water. I watched a guy carry 2 cases of water into his home, shouting to the driver, "I wish I could do something for you, but I'll never see you again, so I'll pay it forward, I promise! I'll do something to help someone, someday. Thank you! Thank you so much!"
I am ashamed.
Yes, we had hoped to stop by my girlfriend's house in Lincoln Park to see if there was anything we could do, but honestly, it was more like a field trip on the way home from the lake than a mission or a call to action.
My life has changed. I have been sending extra clothes and stuff to the Vietnam Vets for years because they come pick it up at the house (how convenient, Krys!).
I will be doing a bit of digging today, online, making some phone calls, to find out where I can help LOCALLY. There's got to be a place I can bring things for these people, people like me and like you who just happen to live a little too close to the Passaic River. People whose lives were affected FOREVER by Irene last week, and guess what?
That damned river is going to flood again this week! All the clean up and siphoning out of their basements they did this week? For naught, because the water is coming again.
There's a guy on William Street in Little Falls... I don't know his name but here's a video of his home:
He sets this up every year and opens it to the public in his 2-car garage. Trashed. So much damage to his home and to his garage, and it's September. He should be preparing to bring joy to thousands of kids, he should be plugging in light strand after light strand, getting ready for the holidays.
Instead, he's cleaning up. Again. And Lord knows how many of his decorations were damaged in this latest flood...
I want to help these people, all of them, directly, not through the Red Cross, not through Flood Relief organizations, I want to touch their lives directly, and I'm going to find a way to do it, even if all it means is buying a handful of pizzas and dropping them off at the Command Center/Food Tent...