Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Heckuva Job, Barackie

For about 20 years I've lived very close to the water. Sometimes it comes to visit us, so we've got two sump pumps in our crawl space to discourage it. That usually seems to work. In case it doesn't, I've been paying FEMA for flood insurance for, oh, 20 years. I'm a pretty good customer.

So when Hurricane Irene came calling, I wasn't too worried. After all, I was insured. My little family evacuated that night and went to visit my brother, whose home was much farther away from the water. He lost power hours into the storm, but things went as well as they could.

When we got home, we couldn't help but notice that our garage and utility room had had four feet of water flow through it. Goodbye, washer. Goodbye dryer, hot water heater, boiler, and oh my gosh, that foundation is not looking too good. It took a few weeks before anyone bothered to look at it. I had to lay out for a hot water heater, because, well, you can't go running to friends' houses for showers indefinitely. As October approached, I figured I'd better replace that darn boiler, because who knows? It might get cold.

Now I'm looking at the last warm spell, so I'm having the foundation fixed. That's a little costly, but no one does cement work in the cold. My flood insurance doesn't cover possessions, so I applied to NY State to reimburse us for the washer, and waddya know? I just got a check. Now if I hadn't been paying flood insurance for 20 years, I could've had one for the boiler too.

Instead I call FEMA every week. Last week my case was so serious they were going to contact a supervisor. This week it appears someone will call me. But they're in no rush. If I didn't have the money on hand to lay out, we'd be in sad shape indeed.

I know our troubles pale in comparison to those of the people in New Orleans. But from what little I've seen of Barack Obama's FEMA, I see no indication it represents any improvement whatsoever.
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