NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- It's hard to believe that it's been a month since my post-Hurricane Sandy column ran. I'm still grateful to my editors at the Street.com for publishing this piece, which was personal in nature and a vast departure from my typical value-related drivel. After experiencing some of the devastation first-hand, it's all I could muster. And I still count us as among the fortunate.
It's an ongoing story, too, as the cleanup continues and I still count us as among the fortunate. We've personally ripped out much of the downstairs of our little cottage, carpets, padding drywall, insulation. We've thrown away most of the contents: beds, clothing, furniture, appliances.
Much of what we had was old, or hand-me-down, but it was ours, and despite the fact that most of it was worth little, it was still ours. This little cottage was no palace, but it was the source of years of family-time, and a place we have watched our kids grow up.
But there was one huge bright spot here. After another long day of tearing things apart, and adding to the huge pile of debris in front of our house, a woman approached me saying she thought she'd sighted our front porch, which had floated away during the flooding.We walked a block and a half, and there it sat! Our old front porch, which we figured was long gone, looking a bit more ragged, and covered with debris, but intact. The best part was that one of the pots of flowers I'd left on it pre-storm (a gesture of hope) was exactly where I'd left it! Our porch floated down our street in five feet of water, took a right turn, then a left, before ending up in a driveway. Somehow, the flowers stayed. It was not only unbelievable but the little shot in the arm that we needed. Now the rebuilding begins, and it will be an enormous task, with huge economic implications. In the aftermath of this storm, there are thousands and thousands of homeowners that have much to replace in order to get their homes back in order. The number of appliances that will need to be replaced due to water damage -- stoves, refrigerators, washers and dryers, dishwashers -- is staggering. Add to that all the drywall, carpeting, flooring, that will need to be re-done, and it's safe to say that retailers in the affected areas will be extremely busy, especially once insurance claims are realized.