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Thread: Lessons learned from taking a direct hit by a Cat 5 Hurricane- ground zero, USVI

  1. #61
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    Without reports like yours we can't possibly imagine how people are getting along, even with simple things like schools for the kids.

    The brother of a friend of mine had to bring his family here after his houses was destroyed - his sister enrolled the kids in a local elementary school while the dad works to rebuild. I haven't talked to her in a couple weeks but at least for a while the brother was even unable to get back to the property due to airline/airport issues.

    JKJ

  2. #62
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    Good day all: Thanks for the well-wishes. Folks have asked me for an update, so here is the status as of today-

    I still don't have power- 97 days and counting- but 55% of the island is restored, and they are saying that 80% is the goal to be restored by Christmas. Here is the kicker- I am at the end of one feeder, and the street light next to my house is at the end of another feeder. That light is on- and just to rub it in- it stays on all day! UGH!!! So at least I have the light shining through my window. Unfortunately, there is a lot of work to be done to my feeder, and they said that they can't get the trucks up my hill because of the narrow streets, so they are going to have to do it with a ladder. Translation: They ain't coming any time soon!

    Just a reminder- one of our biggest grocery stores got completely wiped out, and also Home Depot had all their inventory damaged and are having to rebuild. The store that was wiped out will have to rebuild from ground up, and it will be a year and a half before it is complete. In fact, they don't appear to have even started yet. Home Depot is open, but only the lumber, paint, and lawn and garden aisles are open, as well as the main aisle when you walk in. The main aisle has been stocked with things people buy most- screws, Bull Bond, some power tools, and other items. They won't be fully stocked and reopen until some time next year- hopefully January, but maybe later.

    There was an advertisement for help wanted at the theater, so it appears they are planning to reopen soon. That will be nice to have something to do. We are kind of stir crazy here- especially our 4-year-old. All the things we did with her are gone- the Children's Museum, the movie theater, the playground, the water park- all damaged. It will be nice to be able to take her to a movie.

    This week I'm getting a "100" cake for 100 days without power, and we are going to celebrate. Unfortunately, I have now contracted "hand, foot, and mouth," which is the worst virus ever to be bestowed upon any human being. I look like I have leopracy. I have sores INSIDE my ears and nose. Seriously- this is almost comical- what's next? DON'T ANSWER THAT!!!! For the next 5 days or so I am quarrantined to the house, which has no power- ha!!!

    There are 800 linemen from the US helping us, and if you know any of them, please tell them we appreciate them more than ever. They brought in (literally) shiploads of trucks to help out. They backed a ship up to the cruise ship dock and it was full of bucket trucks and pole setting trucks with big claws on them for putting poles up.

    The stores are restocked, but only one K-Mart is open- the other one was badly damaged. The problem is that K-Mart is our one big stateside store. We also have PriceSmart, which is a membership warehouse store. Our K-Mart is the largest grossing K-Mart of them all. They enjoy the fact that we have nowhere else to shop! Well the "Big KMart" was destroyed, and the "Littel KMart" (That's what we call them) is having to fill the gap. They don't have as much floor space. They have squished as many pallets of merchandise as possible in there. Next thing ya know, THAT KMart started to flood in the downstairs and closed for a few days. Fortunately, they got it back open.

    I have all new gutters now- and I put them up all by myself. I'm pretty proud of that, because I had to also put up fascia boards. I used Cumuru, which is so hard that I had to use self-tapping screws to put the clips in for the gutters. (Plastmo 5" half-round gutter system) Holding a cumuru board in one hand and drilling with the other is no fun, but my gutters are now the most solid gutters on the planet- cumuru fascia boards with stainless steel 3" tapcons set into masonry, and gutter clips every 18" instead of 24". They are glued and then for added measure caulked with 3M 5200. I'm so happy to have that project out of the way.

    Now I am actually organizing my workshop and have ordered some slatwall and am also building a small closet to hide... I mean STORE... things in. I have to get this shop in order so I can work on the next project- build new shutters and front door. They are old and I don't think they will make it through another storm.

    There is only ONE hotel that is partially open. All hotels were badly damaged. They are saying that Mariott Vacation Club (timeshare) is going to reopen in February, but that it will be over a year before the main property is open. Similar reports from other hotels- a year or more. Caneel Bay in St. John was wiped out completely and I don't think they are going to rebuild. The Westin Resort in St. John is going to be at least a year before they reopen. This is killing St. John more than St. Thomas. St. Thomas at least gets cruise ships. St. John depended very much on the hotels there. It's going to be very rough. My friends who have lived there 30 years have left island and may not return.

    Keep us in your prayers, but we are strong and surviving. Things are bouncing back. The orchids are blooming again, and the island is green again.

  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malcolm Schweizer View Post

    ... 97 days and counting...

    ... the street light next to my house is at the end of another feeder. That light is on- and just to rub it in- it stays on all day!.....
    At 100 days, I am going on record advocating the Moderators establish the Australopithecus forum. Mr. Schweizer and Lucy (the fossil) are currently the only ones allowed to post!

    (Were it me, I might have to splice into the street light..?
    )

    Hang in there man. It can only get better, I hope.
    Molann an obair an saor.

  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malcolm McLeod View Post
    At 100 days, I am going on record advocating the Moderators establish the Australopithecus forum. Mr. Schweizer and Lucy (the fossil) are currently the only ones allowed to post!

    (Were it me, I might have to splice into the street light..?
    )

    Hang in there man. It can only get better, I hope.

    I literally laughed out loud! By the way, there are some hot splices I have seen around the island, but I am not going to die for power. The thought has crossed my mind a few times.

  5. #65
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    Thanks for the update and keep your chin up!!
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  6. #66
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    Malcolm, you sound like an incredibly strong, resilient, and very positive person. I realize many people would just make the best of the situation but I can't help imagining the social collapse around here if millions of people who take their easy lives for granted were suddenly thrust into similar conditions. There might be widespread looting, robbery, and chaos. Some would probably have mental breakdowns if simply deprived of their daily dose of TV.

    Any pictures you can share are appreciated. In fact, I have room on my prayer wall for a people photo. (actually it's a steel door in my shop; I can hold things with magnets!)

    JKJ

  7. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by John K Jordan View Post
    Malcolm, you sound like an incredibly strong, resilient, and very positive person. I realize many people would just make the best of the situation but I can't help imagining the social collapse around here if millions of people who take their easy lives for granted were suddenly thrust into similar conditions. There might be widespread looting, robbery, and chaos. Some would probably have mental breakdowns if simply deprived of their daily dose of TV.

    Any pictures you can share are appreciated. In fact, I have room on my prayer wall for a people photo. (actually it's a steel door in my shop; I can hold things with magnets!)

    JKJ
    I greatly appreciate the thoughts. I guess it is safe to post a family pic here. Also found some of my hurricane signs- one of which made the Washington Post. Photo taken in front of St. Thomas Reformed Church, which fed thousands of people and gave out supplies daily after the storms. They gave everyone who volunteered shirts, and we were really proud of them because they remind us of the coming together after the storms. Me and my two troopers. They are tough.

    IMG_2741.JPGIMG_2742.JPGIMG_2743.JPG

  8. #68
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    So nice to meet the Schweizer family. Thanks for sharing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Malcolm Schweizer View Post
    By the way, there are some hot splices I have seen around the island, but I am not going to die for power. The thought has crossed my mind a few times.
    I would be one of those tapping into whatever power there is.

    I don't know how you're doing it Malcolm. I certainly admire your resilience. The report about the lineman trucks rolling off the ship gives one a pretty good how dire the situation is down there. Here's to hoping they get your power up soon. You're doing better than most of us would!
    “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness..." - Mark Twain

    Diapers and Politicians need to be changed often... Usually for the same reason.

  9. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malcolm Schweizer View Post
    I greatly appreciate the thoughts. I guess it is safe to post a family pic here. Also found some of my hurricane signs- one of which made the Washington Post. Photo taken in front of St. Thomas Reformed Church, which fed thousands of people and gave out supplies daily after the storms. They gave everyone who volunteered shirts, and we were really proud of them because they remind us of the coming together after the storms. Me and my two troopers. They are tough.
    Beautiful family!! Your story reminds me a bit of another family and another hard situation for some small children, 6 and younger. The mother and three little kids were left homeless by an uncaring father, the four of them living for a year in a 10x10 room in the basement of a kind family and sharing one bathroom upstairs. They finally got help with an apartment, with food and such. During the next years I spent a lot of time with the kids and watched how they learned to deal with things. The whole thing was a terribly hard time but guess what - today, 10 years later, the mother and kids are stronger than most, healthy, happy, excelling at school and sports, always a positive outlook on life. It seems that after that experience no problem is too big for them, every obstacle is met as a challenge to be solved not something to worry or get upset about. Instead of acting like they are entitled like many lazy teens, these kids are all hard workers and seem to truly appreciate even the tiniest blessings. When I think of your little girl living through this time I suspect she will grow up to be one outstandingly amazing person!

    I've printed the picture and will put it on the shop door in the morning. (It's eye-catchingly colorful too. )

    BTW, here is the youngest of the three kids I mentioned, helping me change a tire on the bobcat. (He actually rolled the mounted tire into place by himself, lubed the threads, started the nuts, and snugged them up) He helped around the farm every Friday. Good fun!
    Elijah_bobcat_IMG_0887.jpg

    JKJ

  10. #70
    Glad you're doing OK Malcolm. Keep on keepin' on brudda!
    Fred

  11. #71
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    I don't know if it's coincidence, but the day after John Jordan put my pic on his prayer wall, the WAPA guys showed up on my street to do an assessment. They told me they were just assessing what needs to be done, and that they didn't know if they could get their truck up the hill with all the cars, but we all gave them our cell phones to call us and we will GLADLY move our cars!!! I might be on the "before Christmas" list after all.

    John- you have some direct connection to God or something?

  12. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malcolm Schweizer View Post
    I don't know if it's coincidence, but the day after John Jordan put my pic on his prayer wall, the WAPA guys showed up on my street to do an assessment. They told me they were just assessing what needs to be done, and that they didn't know if they could get their truck up the hill with all the cars, but we all gave them our cell phones to call us and we will GLADLY move our cars!!! I might be on the "before Christmas" list after all.

    John- you have some direct connection to God or something?
    Ha! We ALL do. Just have to find it.

    Fantastic news!

    JKJ

  13. #73
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    I had a cake made to celebrate 100 days without power. I also made a pirate toast to go with it:
    Here's to no power
    For 100 long days, and many long hours.
    It gave us warm refrigerators and cold showers.
    So now this cake we shall devour!!!!
    (Arrrrrr)

    Toast was made with Schweizersurf champagne glasses gifted us by our co-pirates and dear friends Jeff and Laurie for a wedding present. They only come out for the most special occasions. (Edit: I was referring to the champagne glasses, but come to think of it, Jeff and Laurie only come out for special occasions too!)

    IMG_2755.jpgIMG_2756.jpg

  14. #74
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    A truly worthy celebration! (What's not to like about cake and champagne? )
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  15. #75
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    image.jpegWe flew to the states for Christmas. This morning my neighbor posted this picture. That's my house!!! They say poles first day, lines the next, and then you get power. My weatherhead is disconnected (had to have a damaged one repaired) but the certification letter is zip tied to the meter box in a plastic sleeve, and a notarized copy was delivered by hand to WAPA. Let's just hope they hook it up like they are supposed to. :-)

    image.jpeg

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