I will preface the following with this: we are lucky.  Beyond lucky- blessed, privileged, and in no way entitled to pity or assistance or anything like that.  People all around us have been literally devastated by this storm, and by bitching about our experience I in no way mean to trivialize what those folks have been through and are digging out from.

So basically our storm experience was that many of the old trees around our property came down, domino style, with one big old tree belonging to our neighbors falling and starting a sort of chain reaction that led to 6 trees in our backyard, and a 75ish footer actually on our roof.  We didn't flood since we are, thank God, far above the flood table, and we never really lost power.  The roof ended up with about 6 puncture holes from the tree that hit it, and of course we have tons and tons of lumber to clean up.  The Nor'Easter that blew in the following week did manage to get some snow in the roof holes, but the water damage wasn't too bad.

If I seem stilted in the writing of this it's that I can't put much of a spin on it- this thing sucked, you guys.  My Mom's house had 6 feet of water in the main living space.  My brother's rental house is likely condemned.  Two of my cousins are gutting entire floors of their homes. Many businesses in our town were destroyed and many people are still without power and heat since they have to be re-wired due to the water in basements where their junction boxes and heating equipment were.

Our own small inconveniences (the subways were closed and Gavin walked into Manhattan over the bridge to get to work, we weren't able to get gas for our car until three weeks post storm, etc.)  pale in comparison to those who lost homes, lost livelihoods, lost family.  But all of it combined to create the surreal atmosphere of actually walking around a literal disaster area, and the feeling of vulnerability to your basic sense of security that comes with that.

The lighter notes- we got most of our damage dealt with already.  The roof has been patched and looks as good as new.  We had to go the cheap route for the clean-up, since insurance doesn't cover removing debris (!), but the trees have been chopped up and stacked in the backyard for later disposal (some for our fire pit, some to help heat my mom's house, some to ultimately be chipped for mulch when we tackle the yard).

We've begun regaining some of the pre-storm momentum, and lots of work has been done this week in the (probably naive, but tis the Season, yes?) hope that we can still be moved in by Christmas.

Our main issue now is that the gas company is so inundated with issues from the storm that getting them to deal with us has been a challenge.  I'm ready to send them pictures of our kids looking into the camera with sad eyes at this point (maybe with a c-note in envelope) to get our gas turned on.  Heat! Hot Water! MAKE IT SO!!

So we'll see.  Cautiously optimistic.  I'll post a far more shiny happy blog next week...Spoiler Alert: Our FLOORS ARE GETTING DONE!!

Anywho, here's a Sandy photo- montage:
That big tree on top of the house? Yeah, it's literally on TOP of the house.

View from the master bedroom

This is usually our driveway...

Fitz and Fitz Fine Lumber Inc.

My Boy

When I was a kid, one of my favorite things to do was dig out my "baby book"- the little album where my mom recorded my milestones, stuck my hospital bracelet- all that parental jazz. My siblings each had one too, but with each subsequent kid, there was less in the book.  I now think I understand why- it was more than just a lack of time with each child or that a new baby is no longer novel after the first.  It's that when you are immersed completely in the day to day existence of not one but two or more small humans, after you finally tuck them into bed at night and wearily pick up the clothes, cheerios, and assorted tiny foot-killing toys scattered about your floor, you become, for a couple of hours before your own bedtime, YOU again- the individual you.  The you who goes to the bathroom in privacy, the you who swears (too much) and drinks a glass of wine and maybe has a couple of friends drop by to watch zombies eat people on tv.

It's not that this you loves your kids any less, or even that this you is any less absorbed in their every breath (I still sneak in to check on my 3 year old every night and lay my hand on her back to feel her rising and falling breath).  But being this version of you for a couple of hours is what re-charges yourself for the next day, for the next round of being a SOURCE for someone else; a source of comfort, knowledge, food, tushy-wiping.  You love giving to these little people- you love it more than anything you've ever been privileged to do, but if you don't collect and reassemble that essential you, there simply isn't anything left to divvy up amongst them.   Sooo...this is my long winded way of saying that some days the friggin' last thing I want to do post kid bedtime is write about them! But this has short-changed me.

My sweet, sweet Wes.  My darling dimpled little boy.  I feel like I have scrimped on the chronicling of his first year.  So to make up as much as I can for lost time, here's 10 things about Wesley:

1.  He cries inconsolably at the part in Lady and the Tramp where they yell at Lady, and the part where the dogs are sad in the pound.  His little shoulders begin to heave, and his lower lip quivers, and the next thing you know he's just in pieces and I scoop him up and cuddle him until the dogs are all happy again.  He's only 15 months old and I can see his good, kind heart just beaming out of him.

2. He is in love with a blue blanket square that has a bear head sewed on it that we call "Claude".  Claude came into being when Wes as a tiny infant would rake his little sharp nails over his face until he had something soft to rub between his hands.  I told Gavin to get him a "lovey" and he came home with our blue friend, who is called "Claude" since it prevents Wes from "clawing" his face.  Claude is carried around much of the day, and whenever Wes is feeling blue his holds it up to his nose for a quick "hit".  If I dare launder it (which we MUST do from time to time, as you can imagine how dingy this thing can get what with Wes dragging it through the dogs water, or the mud, or peanut butter and jelly) he gives it a sniff and throws it down in disgust and rejection (but not for long).

3. He poops like 40 times a day. What. Are we feeding. This kid?

4. He says "DADA!" when he's happy to see anyone come through the door having associated Dada coming home from work as a wonderful thing.

5.  He sometimes wakes up in the middle of the night to laugh hysterically, and anything I do to lay him back down and get him back to sleep results in more insane laughing.

6.  He knows many words.  I was told that since he's a boy not to expect him to be as verbal as Gwendy but he's really an incredible imitator of sound.

7.  He likes to walk around with a Matchbox Car in each fat little hand and hope you'll ask him about it:  "Whatcha got, buddy?"
"CAR! VROOOOM!!" and then he rubs said cars on his tummy.

8. He is huge.  Like wearing size 24 months at age 15 months.  Gavin's hoping for professional basketball. I'm hoping we can afford to keep him in shoes.

9. He loves to read like no baby I've ever seen.  He comes up to you with a board book and hits you with it repeatedly shouting "BOOK! BOOOOOK!" until you capitulate and then he chortles smugly as you settle him on your lap.  His current favorites are "Are You My Mother?", "The Story Of Ferdinand", and "The Best Book of Sharks".  That last one requires a lot of skipping around as it is a science book written for school age kids.

10.  I love him, in a completely separate yet equally mind-blowing way from the way I love Gwen.  I love Wes for Wes.  For his bravery and silliness and goofy reckless way of getting into things and his volcanic temper and his sweet shy smiles and for falling asleep while I hold him every so often.

So here's hoping I set aside some more chunks of time to chronicle my sweet kiddos, because when I look back over the past three years and read what I've written, it's a little terrifying how fast the time is flying.  I only get to borrow these children for a spell, before they become their own people and write their own stories.  While I get to be the author, I'd better write it down.