29th of october | 53



I know it sounds silly but we really did miss “our” food. Cooking (and having leftovers for lunch) is something we enjoy and look forward to (though Doug does most of the cooking…). The tofu and mushroom piccata I keep bringing up is basically the best thing ever as far as I’m concerned; it’s by Robin Robertson. The butter is unnecessary; serve it over mashed potatoes and enjoy the rest of the wine with dinner.

29th of october | 52


A note about the flood insurance: We were very lucky. Most renters, if they have any insurance, don’t have it to cover floods, because it’s separate and can be expensive. Another issue that came up a lot after Sandy had to do with “garden apartments” and some nuances of flood coverage. We had an adjuster come a few days after the storm to assess the apartment. No adjuster came when we purchased the insurance, and at the time we weren’t asked specific questions about the apartment we were insuring. What we (and many other people) weren’t aware of is that flood insurance doesn’t cover the contents (other than a few types of appliances such as a washer and dryer) in anything that’s considered a “basement.” What makes a basement, you ask? Any type of step down below surface level. Our apartment had two steps down in the front, but the back door opened flat out into the back yard. If we’d had even a two-inch step *up* into the yard, we wouldn’t have been eligible for any insurance money. Many, many houses in the area with garden-level rental apartments¬†are just slightly below grade.

So, many people lost essentially all their belongings (the flood wasn’t just water–it was sewage overflow and all kinds of other yucky stuff so it wasn’t like you were just going to let stuff dry off and be fine… though some people tried that) and even if they had the foresight to buy flood insurance, found out that they weren’t covered. We were also lucky that our landlord gave us our security deposit back with no hassle and quickly–that also became an issue for many displaced people. Imagine having to throw out all your stuff, having nowhere to stay (FEMA hotels were available but filled up quickly and this is an area where many people don’t drive), and having your landlord refuse to refund your security deposit, meaning if you want to get it back you have to go to small claims court to do so.

Anyone (insured or not) who was flooded and displaced was able to apply for FEMA assistance, which we did in addition to the insurance (FEMA was much faster; we applied for it the day after the storm and received money within a week). However, FEMA coverage was about $2,500 for a household, so while it might have been enough help you find a temporary place to live, it wasn’t going to¬†go far beyond that. Anyone without insurance or who needed more help could apply for loans; thankfully we didn’t have to go that route but I’m sure many people did. Many of the apartments in the area rent for around $2,500 a month (or more), so if you were lucky enough to find an available place, you’d need double or triple what you’d get from FEMA to secure it. Hotels were available, but like I said earlier may not have been nearby, and most wouldn’t take pets, putting people in very difficult situations.

29th of october | 50


As with every move we’d made in quick succession, the cats went through stages of adjustment. First Gus, Earl Grey, and Kevin all hid. Then Gus would come out and sniff around, leading the way. Later on Earl Grey and Kevin would (very tentatively) follow. Joey, as always, didn’t care and acted like he’d been in the new place forever.

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