Posts Tagged ‘Atlantic Avenue’

I thought my 5 hour walk down Table Mountain in South Africa was one of the greatest feats of my life.  Truly, it was an amazing experience fraught with anticipation, anxiety, fear, determination and adrenaline.  I’ve just had my second life-altering experience.

Let me just fill in a few back-story details because I do believe lack of sleep exacerbates every other emotion.  I woke up at 5:50am – God only knows why?  And then I couldn’t fall back to sleep…I knew I had to get up around 7am to make sure the girls got up, brushed their teeth and got dressed and fed.  Well sometime around 6:45am I heard screams!  I also heard heavy footsteps above me so I didn’t jump up.  Regardless, the idea of a 10 minute doze was out of the question.  Turns out Finley decided to lock Francesca in the room.  Of course, she screamed, poor thing!

I’m up and not in a good mood at all, tolerance level way below normal so any long-winded whiney discussion about hair bows or outfits was going to be cut short.  Finally with everyone fed and ready to roll, we left for school drop-offs and Belle came with me.  First bit of drama was that usually on Fridays, Finley wears her dress uniform and we see lots of girls going into school wearing dresses (and you know how much Finley likes to dress up) and Belle is saying “uh oh” because she thinks we made a mistake. NOT – Finley already had a dress-up day this week when she went to the museum.  Dropped Frankie off, no problem. 

Image representing Siri as depicted in CrunchBase

Image by None via CrunchBase

I’m off to Starbucks to get coffee for Chiara and me. God, do I need caffeine!  Note: Since I’ve been here I’ve had to up my intake – It’s no longer Grandé Americano with a light splash of steamed brevi – NO, it’ Venti now!  I turn to the GPS so Siri my new best friend can direct me to Starbucks but Siri is silent!  Yesterday Chiara turned off the voice prompts and I can’t figure out to get them back on.  Ok, so I’ll try to follow the map which might require taking glasses on and off which is never a good thing when you’re driving.  I look to punch in the Starbucks location which Tom had programmed for me and that’s gone too!  Yikes!  Belle assures (as best she can in a language I don’t understand) that there is  no problemo.  Really?  

Belle is directing me where to turn and when to go straight and I mention to her that this is not the way Tom and I went to Starbucks.  Again, no problemo.  She says in English, “Atlantic Avenue”.  OH NO! I know Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach.  It is the main commercial thoroughfare.  Yes there is a Starbucks there BUT where do you think I can park the car?  Again, no problemo.  I look at Belle and with hand gestures and some Spanglish I inform her that of course it’s no problem for Belle, Belle is NOT driving!  Sure enough we get there and she points to a parking space and I shudder no.  I head for a parking lot that I know is down the street and I don’t mind walking and remember that Chiara parked there once.  However, I see the sign as I pull in that clearly states this a RESERVED ONLY parking lot and ALL OTHERS WILL BE TOWED.   Naturally, being half-German,  I turn around and leave, I’m not parking there.

We are now headed back to the Starbucks we passed and sure enough, there is a parking spot just near the store.  It’s a PARALLEL PARKING spot!  “Si, si, ”  Belle points to the spot.  Are you f________g kidding me?  I’m not going to park there!!!! Apparently I am 😦  – I have no choice but to bite the bullet so to speak.  This is a horror;  there is a car in front of and behind the spot.  17 ‘ long 7’ wide and sitting up a mile high on the opposite side of the car from the curb.  I try to back in and end up parallel but about 4′ from the curb.  I see in the rear view mirror that the car behind me is going to pull out.  I just sit there.  He just sits there.  He is waiting for me to pull out, I’m waiting for him to pull out.  I look in my rear-view mirror and he’s staring at me. Finally, he pulls out and stops alongside to give me a dirty look.  I don’t care, I’m so happy he moved;  Now I gingerly move the car backwards trying to trust the electronic back-up guide and not my instinct which is to look over my shoulder.  Actually you have to both but the latter is so hard to do considering the car has 3 rows of seats!  I’m pretty sure I’ve backed in close enough to the curb and not hit the tree so I pull forward and stop.  BREATHE, I’m exhausted and literally a bit shaky.  Starbucks here I come, I need the caffeine to calm me down, the parking was enough of an adrenaline boost!

I don’t think it was my imagination but there were a couple of men sitting at table outside of Starbucks and they all looked at me when I walked past them and into the store.  No, NOT that kind of look;  more like why is this lady driving a car she can’t park and why is someone this old driving a Tahoe??

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It’s still dark, the phone is ringing?? It’s 5:30am! WTF? It’s Susan and from her voice I can tell she is upset.  FIRE!! Oh no, not again…just like last March.  She can’t tell where it is but the fire engines are going north on Central Ave.  I jump out of bed, and look out the door of the guest room and there it is-an eerie orange glow in the northern sky.  I’m going. Dress quickly, grab camera, license, gloves, hat, rain boots, car keys (I forgot my house keys).  Later I realized I didn’t have a lens in or a pair of glasses.  I drove up Broadway to Ocean Ave and went North to Ocean Pathway.  I parked the car in front of the Pavillion because I knew the police wouldn’t let me go any further.

I walked to Surf Avenue and saw the flames engulfing whatever fuel their greedy fingers could reach.   The fire apparently started in a construction site where a former boarding house stood and was in the process of being rebuilt as condos.  But in Ocean Grove, fire never stops where it starts.  Already the house to the west had flames shooting out of the roof.   The police tape was up so I could only get so close but clearly the fire had already jumped to the next street to the north-Atlantic Avenue.  Just like last year, the wind sent sparks flying and fanned the flames so they were able to leap to the houses behind the site.

People were gathering quickly, word of a fire in the Grove spreads as quickly as the fire does.   I watched a man try to get across the street – later I spoke to him and one of the houses that were being “streamed” with water simultaneously while the firemen valiantly tried to control the blaze or blazes as now there were at least 4 houses on fire.

I focused on this little bungalow thinking it would survive but then smoke started to seep out of the dormer.  OH GOD!!! I don’t think anyone had been in that house and I thought how devastating it would be to find out that the little cottage you left during the week or winter would be gone AND everything in it 😦  The bungalow was all that was left between the fire and the house of the man I met on the sidewalk.   The firemen were soaking his house from the front and the back as he paced back and forth but basically remained calm and resolute.

I imagined myself in hysterics jumping up and down in his place.  We have so many one of a kind collectibles in the cottage and worse yet the cats.   Cats are not like dogs who would follow you, come to you or bolt out-no cats would hide under the bed amidst the “stuff” stored there and you wouldn’t be able to get them out easily and quickly and unfortunately quickly is the key word in a town of wooden houses.  As far as I know, all animals got out, all the people got out although one elderly gentlemen was taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure.

Surf Avenue, Ocean Grove, fire,

Fire Before the Dawn

Surf Avenue, Ocean Grove, construction site blaze

Surf Avenue Blaze

Atlantic Avenue, Ocean Grove

Atlantic Avenue Houses are Destroyed

the bungalow, Surf Avenue, Ocean Grove, NJ

Trying to save the Bungalow

streaming, crane, Atlantic Avenue

Streaming the gold house from behind

I got to the fire about 5:45am and the fires were roaring;  I left about 7am and now it’s 10:30am-some fire trucks have just gone west on Broadway, several flatbed trucks and pick-up trucks have gone east on Broadway which makes me think that some clean up is taking place.   In about an hour I have to pick up Peter and we will go by the site or as close as we can get and I hope to post “the remains of the day”.

My thoughts and prayers are with my neighbors who lost so much today.  I may not live next door to them…however, this is a small community and one person’s loss is felt by all.  The temporary shelter is up and running;  Susan brought dog food and leashes and I contributed kitty litter.  I’m so sad over this destruction-every historic home lost in this little community cannot be replaced.  The very charm of Ocean Grove lies in its Victorian cottages and of course its community.  And every time there is a fire, the phrase, “…there but for the grace of God…” comes to mind.



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