Friday, September 26, 2008

So this is it....

Dr. Feld officially discharged me for good yesterday.

I have already made arrangements to start driving again on Monday, hopefully everything will work out OK. We are so darn broke and we need to start working the financial side to get the heck out of the USA and on our way to Argentina.

The other drivers I've spoken to say that the job is so slow, but I know I'll do fine... Just need couple of weeks to get used to the beat again.

I guess that if my blogging was slow, now it will be once a week or so, unless I take the laptop daily, maybe I will. AFter all, if it that slow, I may as well take the Laptop.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

700 billion of confused thoughts

700 Billion dollars, that is more than the cost of the Iraq War since it started, what the heck did Wall Street do?

Who the heck dropped the ball or decided to look the other way? How long did they think that the US economy was gonna hold?

What I want to understand is...

How is this 700 Billion dollars going to help me and my neighbors, how is that money going to help the 2700 ex-employees of Bill Heard Chevrolet, that out of nowhere where told yesterday that the company was shutting down and yesterday was the last day of work and pay?

How is this 700 Billion dollars are going to help people like Horacio and I, we work driving taxis in a Touristic Area, if there are no Tourists...then we have no income.
We are the entrepreneurs that try and survive with the breadcrumbs of what the Hospitality and Theme Parks Industry leave on the roadside.

The parks are so empty... It's ridiculous, the people that are in town for the Neurosurgeons Convention (that normally would create a very good economic week for the taxi drivers in this town) have been provided Bus transportation by the convention center.... sucks!!!!

Then at night the convention has also arranged for bus transportation to wherever they will meet that night, let it be Downtown Disney or CityWalk....

Ahhhh and speaking of how much more bad can it get? Pleasure Island will close down for renovations on Friday or Saturday!!!! I know it is needed, but it will definetively put more strain in the drivers income or possibility of income.

While people go to Downtown Disney because of the restaurants and shopping, thursday thru sunday Downtown Disney is the center of the quick runs and easy money. What else is this country going to do to kill the independent self employed citizen?

OK, I'm alive

So how's everyone? I hate when I get sidetracked and just don't write anything for days or weeks. Anyway....

Well I had a Doctor's appointment last Tuesday which was supossed to be the last one for full discharge, but the Doctor did some weird movements while examining me and actually hurt me. Therefore, he gave me more meds and gave me 12 more days of "rest"... Ohhhh frustration. I need to get back to work, I need to get out of this house, we have bills to pay, money that we need to save. Poor Horacio is killing himself day and night and we are hardly and barely making it month by month.

Anyway, today @ 3PM should be my LAST DOCTOR'S APPOINTMENT. I'll keep you posted. If everything goes well, I should be back working my van sunday or monday.

I have couple of things in my head, but I'll write them in different posts.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sept 11, 2001

Most of you may not know about the fact that I am a 9/11 survivor.

7 years ago, at this precise time (7:31 am) I was hopping on the J Train from Brooklyn to Broad Street (off Wall Street). At around 8:20AM, I was walking into the South Tower Concourse to go get my breakfast. Normally I'd go straight to my office and have breakfast later (around 9-9:30) but that day I was hungry early, so I went to breakfast.

8:46 AM - I was on the line to grab breakfast, when the whole floor started shaking, as if we where having a 3.0 or so earthquake. Next thing we know is that all the fire alarms around us starting going off but people thought it was just nothing, not many people paid too much attention to it.

Next thing we know is that the Fire Dept Personnel started running around the concourse screaming to get out in an orderly manner. We had no clue what was going on at all. They would not tell us, they just said to get out.

I come out the same way I came in, south entrance, facing Deutsche Bank... As I finally made up to the street level and looked outside, I saw people running in all directions and screaming, looking towards the north tower, high up. I could not see what they where looking at.

I did notice that there was a lot of strange debris floating in the air... Papers, what appeared to be ashes, but very weird type....

The firemen where telling everyone that "something" had hit the north tower and they where taking care of it, to just go to Broadway (2 blocks east).

I started walking up towards Rector & Broadway (the corner of my office) towards Trinity Church. I had a very important international conference call at 9AM. It was already 8:55 as I ran as fast as I could. When I actually got to the corner mentioned before, I decided to finally look back towards the tower to see what the heck was going on.

I freaked out, the hole on the north tower was rather big, the something must have been huge, the tower was obviously "cut". I started walking ino 65 Broadway and got into the elevator to get to my 5th floor office. Made it in the nick of time ... the phone was ringing already for my conference call.

Got inside my office, closed the door and joined the conference call with Canada. As I joined, many of the participants was aware of my location and started asking me if I had seen anything. I commented on my recent experience and what my receptionist had told me as I was walking in, that the rumor was that a Helicopter had crashed into the north tower.

All this took about 3 minutes to discuss, we started the actual meeting and as I was on the speakerphone with everyone hearing all my background noise, suddenly, a deafening noise (like something breaking the sound barrier right over me) and I turned to the window that faced Bank of NY (all reflective windows on their side, not clear windows) I witnessed the second plane hitting the south tower with my own 2 eyes, thru the reflection. All the conference got quiet, I excused myself after telling them what I had seen, I started to run around my office doing the head count as the whole building shook with the closeness of the plane to the surface and the consecuent explosion.

Everyone was there, except my boss, Chris was at JP Morgan, by Battery Park with a new recruit that was to start working there that very day.

I started trying to get him using the landlines to call his cellphone but, by this time, all cellphone line where dead and unusable. I started getting all the people from the office down to the lobby to join the other offices to finish the head count and get out of there.

I gathered all the employees outside of the main entrance of 65 Broadway and told them to try to get home and that we would work remotely as we all had the capacity to do such. That we would play it by ear as I was not really sure what was going on or what was going to happen later.

I was stupid, I just walked back up to my office, hoping to get a hold of Chris somehow. When I walked back into the office, the switchboard was flashing more than a Xmas Tree. I sat down on the reception and started fending and answering calls. One of the calls was from Eliott from PR, that working on the news in PR saw more than I did as he had video footage already. I called my house to tell them I was fine and on my way home.... somehow.

He was the one that explained what the news was saying and what the rumors where. I thanked him for the call. Other calls where from our home office, I reported what actions I had taken and the fact that I had not been able to get a hold of Chris yet. They told me to just get out. I proceeded to go around the offices shutting down the computers. By the time I finished Chris walked into the office, asking me, what was I still doing there, I answered, trying to find you. We walked outside together and agreed to try to get a hold of each other over landlines later today.

I struggled to get to the Broad Street Station, most people where going against the way I was going, so it was a pain. It was already around 9:25 or 9:30, I can't remember.

As I was getting close to the station a loud roaring noise was coming from my back, like from the WTC area, I did not want to stay around to find out what would that be. Walked inside the station and miraculously, a train was just there with doors open. I saw this from the stairs and started running so I can get to the turnstyle and inside the train... The roaring sound got louder and closer.... As I made my way into the subway car, a big white cloud covered me from top to bottom, and the doors closed.

As we started to move, there was about 5 people in the car. Everyone was quiet, more than usual, their faces where obviously with looks of deep shock.

Suddenly, somebody open their mouth to say, isn't this train going too slow? Indeed, the route that normally would take 5-6 minutes to the bridge, was apparently taking over 12 maybe even 15 minutes.

As we finally made it outside of the tunnels to the bridge that was bringing us to Brookly, my cellphone signal bounced from another tower and I got a call from home. I was asked where I was and I said... the bridge, they asked me if I could see from there to the WTC area, I said... Yes, the fire must be very dense, because I only see one tower and lots of heavy dense smoke.

This is when I found out that one tower had collapsed, I basically screamed, the other people in the car asked me and without hanging up I told them, also I was asked via phone, if I knew about the other stuff, I was like "What other stuff?"

This is when I was told about the Pentagon and the missing plane from Logan. At the same time, the Subway's PA went off telling us that Lorimer St. (first stop in Brooklyn) would be the end of the line for us. That the city had suspended all subway service until further notice. That buses would pick us up and run around all the subway stops. I notified the person calling from home that I should be home in less than 1/2 hour. I asked him to check the girls schools as I was fully aware that the ones in the elementary school had a clear view of Downtown and also 2 of my girls knew my complete schedule for the mornings because the week before was bring your daughters to work day and they knew where I was supossed to be at in the mornings.

I got out of the train in Lorimer St. Walked downstairs, and as most of the people that came down with me, we live in Brooklyn, we work in the City, we DONT KNOW BROOKLYN. Most people know how to get from your house to specific places that you need to know. We where all lost and confused, no buses where coming about, 10, 15, 25 minutes. I suddenly had an epiphany, walk under the elevated rails, I knew where the rail divided to go to the L line, so I just had to walk underneath the rails. The only problem was that I had not a clue as to how far I was from my destination.

I decided to call my family in PR to let them know that I was OK. Hoping my signal would bounce from the tower it bounced before. Unfortunatelly, it seemed that every Boricua in NY was calling PR or viceversa, all lines where busy.... frustrating.

I was able to get a call from home thou and the person asked me if I knew where I was and I said Broadway and Black.... Next thng I know, about 10 minutes later, ther he was, picking me up. We drove to the girl's school to get them.

I walk into the principal's office and I sign them out.... My daughters saw everything, more even than what I saw. They actually thought I was inside the Towers at the moment based on the itinerary we followed the week before. Thank God I was not. I would normally be having breakfast @ 9-9:30.

I am tired, physically and emotionally right now. I'll continue later.