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What a Stomach Bug and Hurricane Sandy Made Me Think

My mother in law's neighborhood had it relatively easy after Hurricane Sandy and there's still lots of junk in the street

I recently had one of those desperate times when I realized that I need to do something about my “support system.” As in, I don’t really have one.

I need more people who I can rely on in case of emergencies.

A few weeks ago, I got a 24 hour stomach flu which had me bed ridden and useless. I couldn’t move. Lucky for me, Joel happened to be home during that time. Amazing luck, since he’s been traveling a lot lately. My babysitter wasn’t available to help Joel with Laszlo. So Joel pulled through, putting his work aside and taking care of Laszlo in my absence.

But if he had happened to be away that day, I don’t know what I would have done.

Laszlo is only in preschool for 5-6 hours a day, on weekdays. The rest of the time, I’m usually on my own with him. Joel works all hours of the days and nights, including weekends. Often enough, he travels. I’ve been burned by a couple of sitters in the past and have come to really only fully trust one woman, who is a friend of a friend. And because she has other jobs and is going back to school, she has limited availability.

Even though I don’t work much, I still need people to help me with Laszlo sometimes. I can’t do it by myself all the time.

The whole puking-my-guts-out and unable-to-move thing really got me to thinking just how screwed I am out here. Joel and I live in California, but all of our family members are in the states of New York and New Jersey. Nobody in my family or Joel’s is willing to move out here. And as desperate as I feel sometimes, I’m not willing to move back to icy winters and some other things I don’t like about the east coast (which I won’t mention for fear of inciting the wrath of east coast devotees.)

My parents will never move out here because they have chosen to move to a town not far away from them in upstate NY, where my two brothers are living. Two out of three of their kids live there and one out of two of their grandsons, so I can’t blame them for choosing to live there. They also want to live out their (and by “their”, I mean “my dad’s”) post-retirement plan of getting into the wine business. (My brother is a wine maker.)

I would love to have Joel’s mother move out here. (I know! Crazy, right? I love my mother in law!) She’ll probably never sell her home on the New Jersey bay because her daughter and grandson live there. I can’t blame her for that. But she also has a condo in Florida, where she has no old friends and no family. What both of her residences have in common is that they are both in prime hurricane zones.

But something happened last week. Her home in New Jersey miraculously survived Hurricane Sandy. All the houses surrounding hers had varying degrees of flooding or damage. Many houses further down the bay were actually washed away into the bay. Tragically, they just floated away.

Obviously, she should sell the Florida place and move out to California. Having two homes in hurricane zones is just too risky. She could live near her son and grandson in California (and awesome daughter in law) for the winters and live near her daughter and other grandson in New Jersey for the warm seasons. Sure, her and her husband would be helping me out by helping out with Laszlo sometimes, but really, they would also be helping themselves, too. Bonding with a young grandchild is one of the most precious things in life. I’m already looking forward to it. Every day, I’m ready to be done with this motherhood thing and ready to be a grandma.

I need to convince her and her husband to move out here.

Or I need to work harder at finding a good back-up baby sitter. But that sounds even more difficult than convincing someone to move here.

But aside from my needs, it really would be in their best interest to move here. They shouldn’t have two houses that are in prime hurricane zones. It’s very dangerous and I’m concerned about their safety.

Also, their tiny grandson Laszlo loves them and would love to have them here in California.

Also, let’s face it. Someone needs to take care of me the next time I get the stomach flu.

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