Sandy Sum-Up


Funny Farm has been victim of a weather delay.

And complications with Brynn’s health. And car malfunctions. And horse injuries. And pest problems. And pink eye. These in the last 36 hours. (But I’m in no mood to rehash. Let’s just focus on the weather, shall we?)

A week ago Friday Martin and I were focused on picture-perfect weather and sandy beaches, not Sandy. We were 2,700 miles away. Right here:



LA for three days and a friend’s wedding.

We arrived Friday to spotless blue sky but we couldn’t ignore what brewed back home. Standing in baggage claim a message flashed on my phone: Maryland… state of emergency for Sandy.

We tried to file the message and CNN’s continuous news crawls under hurricane hype. We pretended all was well, then quietly shortened our trip.

Shorter was not enough. Our Sunday flight was canceled. Try Wednesday or Thursday, Southwest said on the phone.

We hastily packed and left the beach house. “We’re going stand-by,” I told Martin.

At LAX a fantastically long line lapped the terminal, both inside and out. At least 1,000 people paralyzed in a sea of suitcases.

All bound for Southwest travel.

We didn’t stand a shot… we knocked on every other airline counter. Anything to DC? Phili? New York? How about Pittsburgh? Charlotte?


At an empty Air Trans counter, I asked again. The agent had two tickets.

How much? I asked.

$350 each.

Can I think about it for a minute?

Not really, she said.

I slapped down a credit card and she grabbed my shirt collar and dragged us to the front of the security line.


A sullen crowd waiting approval to join the sullen crowd cued for security check. 


Clutching our shoes, loose change, belts, IDs and plane tickets — still warm from the printer — we sprinted for the gate. We flew to Atlanta, then connected for our final destination: Columbus, Ohio.

Bleary, we arrived at 12:30 am Monday. I was thrilled.



Shivering in our shorts and tees, we rousted the car rental desk, and hopped into a four-door something. We drove all night, cracking the edge of Sandy in Wheeling, West Va.

Twenty hours after our LA leaving — following two flights and 485 miles of driving… after a car rental return and personal car retrieval — we reached the farm. In time for frantic hurricane prep and the race against power loss.


Hasty gutter clearance…


It wasn’t long before Sandy left her sticky fingerprints. A leak sprang from the light fixture in the newly renovated bathroom.

The leak’s origins were unknown so Martin gouged the ceiling, guiding the leak over the bathtub. Wet insulation, plaster and lathe littered the bathroom.


Disemboweled ceiling


Torrents lashed the house and by afternoon new leaks sprang in my office, spreading like a family tree. Out came the pots and pans, and then the plastic tubs.



The kids came home and by dinnertime someone hit the light switch and turned on the dark. Powerless and sump-pumpless, the cellar flooded. Martin and I fumbled in the dark to clear my leaky office but the cellar was hopeless. We went to bed, leaving the basement contents bobbing around.

Tuesday, Sandy scaled down, big-time. Still powerless Martin finally invested in a generator. And the act of buying it was enough — the electricity returned. Well rested the sump pump cleared 90 percent of the cellar flooding in a matter of hours.

It’s now three days later and the house is dank and damp and in need of sizable repairs. In the cellar we’re plotting a trash-it session. It’s a mess. Not comparable to New Jersey/New York but a mess nonetheless.

California seems like a lifetime ago.