Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sandy and Me

Hurricane Sandy landed on my town last night.  Port Norris, New Jersey sits at the Delaware Bay, on the southern edge of the state.  It was a once prosperous town due to the robust oyster industry.   But since the mid 1950's, it has been known mostly for "the good ol' days".  I grew up here and credit this town for my blunt manner.  "What the hell do you want?" is just our way of saying "Hello." in good ol' Port Norris.

Moore Studios building, before and after renovations
Not an animation mecca by any stretch, I found myself moving back here in 2004 to help care for my aging father.  I bought a commercial building for studio space and renovated the 1890 structure with modern conveniences like central air conditioning, heat, and plumbing.  Yes, plumbing.  And because it is in an area with no municipal water or sewer,  I had to pony up for a well for water and a septic system for you-know-what.

During the renovation process, an old timer - a very old timer - stopped me in the post office to ask, "Are they going to make you put a toilet in it?"

"Yes."  I said.

The old timer shook his head incredulously.  Back in his day, the local septic system was a stream called "Dickey's Ditch" that snaked through the town.  It runs directly behind many of the old commercial buildings along Main Street, including my studio.  What was then a place to pee is now protected wetlands.

After a complete overhaul, I set up shop and have worked on features such as Coraline, Despicable Me,  and The Lorax with a half-mile commute from my house.  I cannot underscore how great it is to work without daily visits from an art co-ordinator, throwing me out of my drawing zone to ask me how my drawing is coming along.

Sandy, last night, a little past high tide.
Yesterday, Sandy came to visit.  At about 10:30 last night, an 18 foot wave came charging up the bay and over  into Port Norris, flooding Main Street.  There had not been a flood like this since the '50's, with water cresting about a foot high on the ground floor of the studio.  My house was on higher ground, undamaged (whew!).  Water had receded by morning, and I found Sandy had curiously rearranged things inside the studio.  I had a large plastic storage bin full of animation papers dating back to The Nightmare Before Christmas - all personal stuff saved from these productions.  The bin was tilted against the wall, perilously close to tipping.  Had that happened, everything in the bin would have been wrecked.  I immediately move the bin upstairs (duh!).  Had I stored this stuff in a cardboard box....ugh.

Let that be a lesson for youse!

Evidence of Sandy's visit.  A very dirty girl. 
All in all, it could have been much worse.  A half-mile south of the studio is a clam processing plant under eight feet of water.  Holy Clamato!  My first floor is a soggy mess right now, and Moore Studios has temporarily relocated to a corner of my bedroom.  Stealing a nap at work has never been so easy.

-Steve
My Dickey's Ditch over-floweth.

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