The Perfect Storm

In case anyone has been wondering when I would reach my limit: Tuesday, October 30. 3:13pm. That’s when my brain oozed out my ears and I turned into that pink slime that runs under New York City in “Ghostbusters 2.”

Obviously, the house buying is a big part of it. Turns out, so are Jack and Sandy – two characters from dueling rock stars’ songs that have ravaged my heart in equal parts.

Wow. That was some nauseatingly dramatic prose, right there.

We basically know the Jack story. I mean it’s devolved since last I wrote about it, but who cares. (That’s a period because I don’t have the emotional energy required for a question mark.) He’s not really in my life anymore. The problem is that he’s still in my head, so it’s Groundhog Day all the time. It’s what my friend Angie and I call a “baseline crisis.” Always there, low level, but easy to access via any other life drama. Anything else that comes up brings him with it.

Sandy proved to be so crushing to the Jersey Shore that I ache with every photo and video I see. We don’t yet know how my parents’ house down there is; it’s on one of the barrier islands down south, and no one can get out there right now. The great majority of the coverage has been from areas north of Atlantic City. I don’t know how to describe the feeling of seeing all these images. The one place in the world that has consistently brought me peace since my childhood has been destroyed.

Those who don’t have a personal connection to the Jersey Shore tend to make jokes, but in 24 hours, people’s entire lives and lifelong memories got washed away. Every business there is a small business. They’re all mom & pops. Tourist season will take a big hit and the entire state’s economy will suffer.  Not to mention the people whose life dream has been carried out to sea. I’ve been told that every storm is bad for every region it hits, and that’s true. But this one is personal, and it goes beyond devastating.

Fortunately, all my friends and family up and down the seaboard are fine, including those in Jersey and New York (though some friends have lost cars, and others haven’t seen their kid since Saturday because they’ve been working and the kid’s been home in Hoboken with the nanny, cut off from the world and now apparently set to be evacuated by the National Guard. They didn’t ignore an evacuation warning, to be clear. Shit just got real in ways they didn’t expect).

Rewind: While I was worrying about the then-looming storm and what it would unleash on the coast, my city and my workplace, I’d spent the weekend unable to get a hold of Hottie McHousehunter. I kinda needed to know what might happen to what, in retrospect, was the adorable idea of closing on the house Tuesday. I finally reached him Monday afternoon. I was at work. HMcH told me he was at home, thinking about how apparently the only thing people do in hurricanes is drink milk and use the bathroom, based on grocery store shelf data. (As opposed to my preferred method of storm preparation: wine, books and non-perishable tasty food… and what I really do instead: pack a bag and go to work.) When Hottie confirmed that closing was on hold until the house can be checked out again, and that the earliest that would happen is Thursday, that was it. There was nothing else that could be done. I had to switch my brain off homebuyer mode.

Except for constantly wondering if there was a sewage backup in the basement. Or water. Or a roof leak. Or a window leak. Or fish in the toilet. I mean don’t get me wrong – I was glad I didn’t sign on Friday and own the place when the entire ocean decided to migrate westward and bring a seaboard-sized wind tunnel with it, while I had to be at work just wondering if all these things were happening on my dime.

But anyone who’s bought a house knows the stress, and the constant “the underwriter needs this,” “the underwriter needs that,” “the seller says this,” “the inspector says that,” “the underwriter wants to see this again.” I was hoping all of that would be over as of Tuesday. As I mentioned in a previous post, my very carefully constructed schedule of painting and moving with no time off has collapsed. The light at the end of the tunnel suddenly went out and I sort of started rocking back and forth and muttering nonsensically.

When I got back into work Tuesday afternoon after being there til 2am, I discovered that someone had jacked up my computer and forwarded calls from some random phone to mine. Could I unforward them? Nope. And all of a sudden every little thing had me irked. Soon I felt that everyone needed to just be quiet until I told them they were allowed to speak again. But it wasn’t until someone teased me that I’m not actually from the Jersey Shore and therefore can’t “own” the disaster there that I realized I was a woman on the edge. I actually cried. And then I sat there going, “Why am I crying?”

Call forwarding. That was my undoing.

I got home Tuesday night around 11pm, poured a very large glass of wine and laid down on my couch. (Tricky drinking. I did it. I win.) I zoned out to “Sex and the City” reruns and tried to let everything that had been adding up in my head go away. I slept for 11 hours.

HMcH called on my way to work and said the bank wanted to close today. No can do. So then it was going to be Thursday. And now Friday.

By the time I actually own this house, I’m just going to lie down on the floor and whimper.

And then have Hottie McHousehunter over to warm it.