When you walk through a storm, bring a domain expert
11/12/2012 12:37 PM EST
Other domain experts
Other domain experts were at the ready. The insurance adjuster’s wife called us; he had so many calls to return that she was helping him out. She was able to answer basic questions: Yes, we could begin cleanup right away. Just keep samples of everything that was ruined, get model and serial numbers where those are available, and take lots of pictures. My husband handled the photos. You can read the serial number on the rusted panel of our old gas burner plain as day. The swirls of home heating oil on the den carpet and the eelgrass peeking out from under my son’s ruined fridge are artful.
The boats shown in these Amityville, NY, backyards had been in dry dock in the marina across the canal. Our boat's still on marina property, but it's lying on its side.
Our alarm guy called us, before we could call him, with advice for securing the house against the rumored boatloads of looters that haunt my husband’s post-storm dreams. When the alarm guy discovered that the contractor’s crew had tossed a piece of warped molding without first removing the alarm sensor, he showed up with a new one.
We don’t expect to have the power back for weeks, and we have months of work ahead of us, but we’re lucky. Our mess is just about cleaned up, and we’re already rebuilding. Just two doors away, a neighbor’s basement caved in. As I stood outside her condemned house, listening to her horror story and trying to figure out what to say, a van pulled up and a woman got out. “We have hot coffee and doughnuts; help yourselves,” she said, as my neighbor burst into tears at the woman’s kindness.
Like everyone else who has mobilized in our neighborhood, the woman with the coffee had her domain of expertise.
Diana Scheben is copy chief of EDN.