Saturday, October 20, 2001

Breakthrough

Saturday October 20, 2001

Today I feel more like myself, albeit a lazy self.
I feel less a captive of anxiety and more like being lazy and staying
in. It's so difficult to get around right now that, even if I wasn't
going through this trauma, I wouldn't go out if I didn't have to. I
guess Monday will be the REAL test. If I feel too freaky than I'm
clearly in denial. The sirens outside my window still startle be, but
wouldn't that startle anyone?
Sometimes it's police, but mostly it's a caravan of military cars racing
to and from ground zero.

I stopped taking zoloft today. It was making me sick.
Thursday and Friday I had a fever: 101 at night
and a low 99 during the day. I felt like crap. I still have the cough
and my right rib cage hurts, but other than that, I'm feeling better.
I'm eating dinner tonight. First time in 4 days.

I noticed they are taking down the white tent at the corner. Perhaps
they are moving the tire washing location.

Thursday, October 18, 2001

Re-Birthday

October 18, 2001
This morning I padded over to my window for my ritual gaze at the river.
I was greeted by a rather unusual sight. A parade of military vehicles
leaving ground zero. They stopped at the check point outside my bedroom
window to have their tires hosed off. It must be cold outside because
there is a bonfire blazing at the corner checkpoint. Strange sight!
The building across the street has yet to be hosed off - the balconies
and window sills still covered with ash. Looking down upon the tree
tops, I notice there are still some papers caught in the branches from
over a month ago when they rained from the sky like giant confetti.
I notice that, despite the numerous cleanings, the side walks still look
dusty. It is remarkable how much cleaner it is, yet when on closer
inspection, one can spot debris on tree trunks and in flower beds. My
window ledge has bits of glass, yellow insulation fuzz and grey gunk on
it. There are discolored cars and some are even missing windows.

Tuesday was my 38th birthday and I forgot all about it until my mother
called. I am usually quite excited about my birthday and begin the day
with ritual birthday dance around my flat to The Sugar Cube's song
"Birthday"! I've always embraced the opportunity to celebrate another
year of life. This year was quite different. It came and went with out
my awareness, without the dance, without the elation. Perhaps when I
feel more like myself, when I feel happy again - I can celebrate on THAT
day. I will call it a re-birthday. I will dance around my flat and eat
cake!

Sunday, October 14, 2001

Endless Dust

Click on photos to enlarge!

The dust continues to settle even after numerous cleanings as seen here along the inside of my window.



Dust continues to
settle on window
ledges and balconies.

Note the smoke film on the windows.

This is why they keep hosing us down.

Saturday, October 13, 2001

My Worst Night So Far

Last evening I thought I smelled smoke in my flat. Odd since I haven't opened the windows or turned on the a/c. I've been running the air filters 24/7. My neighbor said he smelled it too and that the wind shifted. The acrid smoke was permeating our homes. It makes your head ache and your throat sore. I went down to the maintenance room and got some heavey gage plastic and taped it around the entire base of my a/c unit. I then taped any separation where I felt air coming in. I soaked 2 old towels and covered the vents. I thought I had won the battle. I was even a bit smug about it and called 2 other neighbors to boast about my victory and share my technique.

Then.....I woke at 2 am (and several other times) this morning smellng it again. I rinsed the towels, checked the plastic, patched the places I may have missed. I cranked the air filter to the highest level. I tried turning the a/c unit on exhaust bit it made no difference. I put lavender essential oil in a diffuser to help mas the smell. I moved to the couch at the south end of my flat for the remainder of the restless night. The smoke is seeping into our building somehow and we don't know how or where it's getting in. All we can do is hope for rain...or for the wind to shift again so we can breathe.

Friday, October 12, 2001

Picture This

Someone drops 2 bombs approx 4 houses away from yours, but by some miracle you lived and your home is still standing. Most of your neighborhood is a smoldering mound of rubble 16 acres square. The surrounding streets are closed off, thousands dead. Many of your neighbors leave their homes behind and never return. Moving trucks come at all hours of the day and night. You are left with 1 or 2 neighbors on your block that you know of. The other homes are dark and empty. you live 4 houses away from a gargantuan crime scene. The works work around the clock removing debris and hosing he relentless fire. Your town coucil begins to replace the lawns and hose the ash off the homes left standing. The town sweeper truck washes the streets day and night to remove dust. No more family picnics, no more children playing on the lawns...these scenes are now replaced by police, military, FBI, and CIA. You notice that all the workers outside wear speacial masks and you question the reports you've read about the air quality being "clean". You can't open your windows or turn on your a/c because it brings in more dust and you've spent over a month cleaning and re-cleaning your home. You tell yourself that it wont' be forever and eventually it may even be more than just bearable - it might actually get back to "normal". A good day depends upon which way the wind blows. When the wind is blowing in YOUR directon, you suffer greatly.

Welcome to the neighborhood.

Thursday, October 11, 2001

One Month Later

It's hard to believe it's been one month since the massacre. It still feels like yesterday. Trauma recovery is a slow and tedious process. My neighborhood is a ghost town. One of the largest apartment houses is completely unoccupied. It's creepy at night seeing all the dark windows. My building is now at less than 1/4 occupied. The same for Liberty Tower across the street. I can't open the windows or turn on the a/c because it brings in more toxic dust. I've cleaned the entire flat many times. I have to wash and re-wash clothes and linens. I think I'm beginning to win the battle over the dust. It's not ordinary dust...it causes headaches, nasal discharge, and a cough. My air filters are working...the cough and headache are beginning to go away. It's hard to get food. One grocer opened and it's slim pickin's for a vegetarian. There is one subway south of me that didnt' get crushed. People squeeze in like sardines. Sometimes one has to wait for 2 or 3 trains to pass until there is a spot to squeeze in. The streets are washed several times a day. All the grass is being replaced. The buildings are being hosed down too. There is a tent on the n/e corner where they hose off the vehicles leaving "ground zero". One must show proof of residence to enter my neighborhood. There are police and military everywhere!

I have on shinging NY moment to report. I have a patch from my Grandpa Cook's Fireman's jacket whiche reads "cookie", his nickname. My tailor sewed it on my jacket for me and wouldn't charge me for it. I thanked him in his native language, korean. I can't write it in korean, but it sounds like hum za hum nee da.

Wednesday, October 03, 2001

Happy go lucky?

I ordered my air filter directly from vornado via the phone. It should arrive in 5-7 days. I spent ALL DAY at the Red Cross yesterday trying to get assistance as I had to replace a lot of food and because the air filter was so expensive. The gave ma a small voucher which should cover the cost of the filter and some food. I had to ride my bike in a large "U" down near th esea port area and then back west to get them. Crazy! When I tried to find a more direct route home, I was stopped by police. They put my bike in a van and drove me home. The emergency and oficcial vehicles coming to and fro get their tires washed at my corner before leaving the area. I asked about this and was told somethimes dna (in the form of small body tissue) is often found on tires. HORRID!

Tribecca is quite a bit north of the old towers so I don't know why some friends can't move back. I am MUCH closer...one block south west. We residents say, "we live across the street from WTC because we literally do. Many residents are moving out, especially those with "the view". The few of us left in the building have banded together. My neighbor Phil lent me his hepa-vac to re-clean my flat. It's a Miele and it picked up a lot of residue that was still there even after the cleaning crew.

My mom phoned briefly yesterday. I don't think she fully undersands the severity of the situation here. If she only knew, she wouldn't want me living here.

As for my brother, well I never hear from him. He's only visited twice in 14 years. He's never been to my BPC flat.

Jose the super is always looking after things and the doormen are lovely people: Felix put air in bike tires yesterday because he thought they looked low. One of the residents asked jokingly, "how come she gets such good service?" and Felix replied, "She makes us cookies for Xmas"! Our other doorman, Jim, is back and we hugged. We're all so happy to be alive.

I return to work on Thursday. Is the antithesis of happy go lucky...crappy go sucky?

Monday, October 01, 2001

Extreme Pizza

My sensei's flat has a view of the former towers. I took a photo from his window and cried. He's been crying too. We all have. He asked me if I wanted to sit and look, but I told him I wish to stand (not sit) out of respect. He understood. If they let me up on the roof soon, I will pay my respects, cry some more. Right now I'm like a child afraid to go to bed, so I suppose I'll sleep on the couch again tonight. Elvis will sleep at my side as usual. I saw that Sid decided to spend the tonight in the cat carrier, perhaps it's his version of sleeping on the couch. I am especially afraid tonight - and for now good reason. I took some medication and paged, Steph. As I was falling asleep, I received his call. He put me into such a fit of laughter that I forgot I was afraid.

He's a genius:

He said that Domino pizza gives you a free pie if they deliver one late, so I should keep ordering from them because if they can actually find a way to get into my neighborhood, the guards won't let them past the blockade. I would get a lot of free pizza even though we don't like Domino's pizza.

He said that he would come over and watch movies on my big screen tv. When I replied, that I don't have one, he said..."One of your neighbors must have one and nobody is home...that's why they call it home shopping network.

Steph makes my face hurt from laughter.
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