The results are in

MRI-3T LEFT ANKLE NON CONTRAST

HISTORY: M25.672 Left ankle stiffness M25.572 Left ankle pain

TECHNIQUE: MR imaging of the left ankle was performed without IV contrast on a 3.0 Tesla high-field wide-bore magnet.

COMPARISON: None

FINDINGS:

TENDONS/MUSCLES: There is moderate Achilles tendinosis with a high-grade tear at the myotendinous junction. There is no full-thickness discontinuity however fibers there is marked laxity of torn fibers at the myotendinous junction. Additionally, there is a second site of interstitial and superficial tearing comprising 30-40 percent of the total tendon surface area along the course of the distal tendon spanning a length of 4 cm up to the calcaneal insertion site. There is no muscle atrophy or intramuscular edema.

LIGAMENTS: The syndesmotic, deltoid and lateral collateral ligament complex is intact.

BONES AND CARTILAGE: The talar dome and tibial plafond are intact. There is no evidence of tarsal coalition. The cartilage of the tibiotalar, subtalar, calcaneocuboid and talonavicular joints is preserved.

JOINT FLUID: There is a physiologic amount of joint fluid. No loose bodies are identified.

PLANTAR FASCIA: Intact.

NERVES: Unremarkable.

TARSAL TUNNEL: No masses.

SINUS TARSI: Fat signal within the sinus tarsi is preserved.

SUBCUTANEOUS TISSUES: There is mild subcutaneous edema laterally and posteriorly about the ankle.

IMPRESSION:

High-grade tear of the Achilles tendon at the myotendinous junction with markedly lax fibers but no full-thickness discontinuity. There is a separate site of partial-thickness tearing along the distal aspect of the tendon.

ICD 10 –
Achilles Tear, S86.012A

Signed by:  MD
Signed Date: 7/9/2018 2:17 PM EDT

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What the hell happened to my leg?

Yesterday, Saturday, July 7th, 2018, I went to Flying Point beach in Southampton. I went by myself because my son felt like he had swum enough during the week, and I didn’t feel like convincing him, and my wife also didn’t want to go. The weather was gorgeous, and I’d been in the ocean a couple days before at Tiana in Hampton Bays.

I got to the beach around 3 PM. All I brought with me was a towel, my phone, and a Gatorade. I dropped them off about 20 yards from the water and walked down.  The only people in the water were a couple of teenage boys, despite a pretty big crowd on the sand. I figured the water must be pretty cold to keep so many people out, but when I got my feet in it felt pretty nice.

I decided to just jump right in. After about a minute of looking, I found a good opening and dove in.  As my feet left the sand, I felt a huge boulder or something hit me in the back of my left calf.  I turned around to see what the hell it was, but there was nothing there.  When I surfaced a couple seconds later I realized I couldn’t put any weight on my left leg at all. My first thought was, holy shit I tore my Achilles’ tendon.  I tried to make my way out of the water but it wasn’t happening.  I managed to get upright but a wave knocked me down, and then the lifeguards ran down to help me.  Me, a 39 year old guy being helped out of the water by a 90 lbs 18-year-old. I told her “I think I broke my Achilles’ tendon” and she looked at me like I was insane.

Anyway, two of them helped me up to the lifeguard station and gave me a chair to sit in. They got me some ice packs and an ace bandage to attach them to my calf.  There wasn’t really any pain in the leg at all except when I put weight on it.  They offered to call me an ambulance and I begged them not to.  It was embarrassing enough that I couldn’t even dive in the water.  They also offered me a wheelchair, which I also refused. When I felt like I was good enough to leave, one of them helped me to my car.  She said she was a first year physical therapy student and she figured it was probably a pulled calf muscle that would heal in a couple weeks.  I was able to drive home without any issue since the thing happened on my left leg, and the car is an automatic.

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I had fully briefed my wife on the situation as soon as it happened and she made an appointment at the urgent care in Hampton Bays. As soon as the doctor saw me he had me lay on my stomach and started squeezing the calf muscles.  He said it was probably a partial Achilles’ tendon rupture and would probably require surgery. I guess the test he did was called the Thomson test and is a standard way of diagnosing Achilles tendon tears.

He put a cast on it and gave me crutches and said I’d need to find an orthopedic surgeon ASAP.  According to Dr. Google, treatment for Achilles tendon ruptures ranges from surgery+6 weeks recovery to 12 weeks. We just got home today (Sunday) so it looks like there’s going to be a long road ahead, and I’ll be out of commission for the remainder of the summer. I’m more pissed off than anything. Mostly at the fragile nature of the human body.  Stupid meat bags.

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The fading

It’s been a rough couple of months. I feel like I’m just now starting to feel normal again after the dog died on March 13th. The dread is still there, but it’s more of a whisper than a shout. Every once in a while it pokes its head back out but generally it’s just… like an app you left running in the background a couple weeks ago and forgot about until you get a stupid push alert.

What it’s really reminding me of is one of my favorite TNG episodes, “The Inner Light.” The one where the Enterprise finds this probe floating in space and it hits Picard with some beam that knocks him unconscious. In the 90 minutes he’s out, he “lives” an entire lifetime on the home world of the probe’s creators, who it turns out all died long ago because their sun went nova, or whatever. When he first “arrives” on the planet, he spends a lot of time trying to “get back” to the Enterprise. As time passes, he falls in love, gets married, has kids, learns to play the flute, and eventually dies. All the while, his memories of the Enterprise get fuzzier and fuzzier, though he never really stops thinking about it. Once he “dies,” the people in his new life all come back to explain that this was essentially a time capsule from their dying world, and he is now the only one who knows about their people. The simulation ends and he wakes up on the Enterprise’s bride, with only 90 minutes of real time having elapsed. Sort of like Inception, I guess.

That was sort of a long-winded way of explaining what I’m feeling now. Just like Picard never really stopped thinking about the Enterprise, I suppose I’ll never stop thinking about these things, but hopefully they’ll stay in the background as much as possible.

Where did this emptiness come from? Out of nowhere I feel hollow. How can I make it stop? There’s joy. But it seems so fleeting. Work seems silly and pointless. But what’s the alternative? Sit at home and rot? Is work just a way to spend time until our clocks wind down? What is wrong with me?

Chaka, when the wall fell

When I was in elementary school, I had a best friend, “Pat” (not his real name). Pat and I had a lot of fun playing video games and computer stuff. He lived in a really nice house in a development in the woods and his dad had a black Corvette. Memories fade, but one that stands out was when we were exploring the swamp near his house in the middle of winter, and we were hopping from icy patch to icy patch, and somehow I fell in. It was me and Pat, and I was in the icy swamp up to my knees. I got out, we went back to his house and warmed up, I think his mom washed off my shoes or something. We had a lot of fun together, doing all kinds of pre-internet and pre-cellphone stuff like starting fires and hitting each other with sticks. Then at some point around 8th grade, his family moved to Connecticut. We lived on eastern Long Island so, that was basically that. It’s 25 years later now and we’re friends on Facebook but I haven’t seen him since then, and doesn’t seem like I’ll ever see him again. He comments on my posts now and then. When he moved away, it hurt.

After Pat moved, for a few years, I had no real friends. Lots of acquaintances, but nobody like Pat. My home life was kind of a disaster, which made me self conscious about inviting people over. I had (and still have) no interest in sports, either playing them or watching them, which was another thing that kept me isolated from “normal” kids.

In 6th grade, a kid named “Steve” moved back into our district. He had been in our elementary school, but then moved away for a couple years, and was now back. When I first talked to him in social studies in 6th grade, the first thing he said to me was “I remember you, you’re Spock Ears!” I had gone through elementary school with people calling me Spock because of my “pointy ears,” though nobody had called me that for a long time. When Steve said this in 6th grade I instantly hated him.

I’m not sure how it happened, but sometime in high school, Steve became my best friend. Maybe because we were in Latin class together and we were the only two kids who didn’t do the exchange student trip to Italy, so we spent two weeks in Latin with just me and him. I remember once when it was me, him, and the teacher in the classroom during that time and he said “this guy Michael came to my house looking for you. Do you know him? Michael Hunt?” I had never heard this joke before, and after like 5 minutes I think he finally got me to say “Mike Hunt” in front of the teacher, though she also didn’t seem to get it. Steve and I hung out all the time. We listened to all the Jerky Boys CDs endlessly in his bedroom hundreds of times and laughed hysterically. To this day I quote Jerky Boys and think it was one of the funniest things man has ever produced. He was a couple months older, but I ended up getting a car before he did and I’d go pick him up and we’d just spend hours driving around. We’d drive all over the place, into the backwoods of East Hampton. Just listening to the radio, talking, laughing.

Then toward the end of our junior year of high school, in AP English class one day he said “guess what, I got some big news,” and my heart sank. “You’re moving…” I said, and he nodded. “Yup, to Wisconsin.” When that year ended, his family did indeed move to Wisconsin. I spent my senior year of high school once again friendless. The summer after I graduated from high school, I flew to Wisconsin to visit him for a week. That was fun, like old times. Then I came back, and that was that for a while. He eventually moved to California, lived there a few years. Then around 2006 he moved back to New York. I saw him a couple times, but after a few months he let me know he would be moving to China. That was about 10 years ago. He has two kids and lots of family there, so I probably won’t see him ever again. I’m happy for him, but sad for me.

Anyway, when Steve left the first time, after 11th grade, I decided that I was simply done with friends. After being abandoned by two best-friends, it seemed like having them was a losing proposition. Around that time I began building an emotional fortress around my psyche. I was determined not to let anyone hurt me that way again.

Soon after starting college I met my first girlfriend. That was quite a new experience. Despite the feelings of youthful love, I made sure to keep my wall strong. If losing a friend hurt so bad, what would losing a girlfriend feel like? So I let myself love, but kept a good chunk of my emotions in reserve. After all, any minute now this thing could sink, and then what? I was young, in college surrounded by people way smarter, cooler, and better looking than I was. What were the odds I’d find another girlfriend if I lost this one?

That was over twenty years ago. She and I ended up getting married and we have a beautiful son now, who’s twelve. The year my son was born was the year my dad died. He had been terribly ill for years, in the VA nursing home. I visited him once in a while, but not as often as I should have. When I first went to visit him, after several years having not seen him, he was so happy to see me. I was there with my girlfriend, and I introduced her to him, and he looked confused. He said “I thought the reason you didn’t come see me was because you were gay.” I saw him a few more times, and called him a bunch, but he couldn’t really talk on the phone. When he finally died, I was sad, but because I had selfishly cut myself off from him, the wall protected me.

When I met my girlfriend she had a big dog, who I grew to love as much as he loved me. When he was 12 he got cancer and I had to take him to the vet to put him down. That was like a Howitzer blast to my wall. My son was about 3 months old at this point, though, so I had a lot of other stuff to worry about, and the general newness of a baby is enough to distract from a lot. We still had a second dog, and we were moving to a new house, so I was at least able to paper over the hole left by putting that dog to sleep.

A couple years later, I had to put the other dog to sleep when she was suffering from congestive heart failure. When she was gone I told my wife I didn’t want any more dogs for a while. I wanted to be able to go on vacation without worrying about who’d watch the dog, or having to rush home after a night out just to let the dog out. That lasted about 6 months. We went to the animal shelter one day to get a cat for my son. We came home with Chloe. I was so fucking mad. I felt I’d been bullied into adopting this dog.

Ten years later, in early March 2018, Chloe got sick. One day she was healthy, and the next she looked terrible. She wasn’t eating, not even chicken or cheese put right in front of her. We took her to the vet, who did an x-ray, and she told us her abdomen was filling up with blood, a result of a massive tumor in her spleen that had ruptured. The vet recommended euthanasia.

And just like that, the wall I spent over twenty years building came crashing down. Chloe was a Trojan horse. She snuck past my defenses and I only realized how much I loved her when we got that call from the vet. I think now how my reaction to that call differed from the call when my dad died. I feel so guilty.

We pulled our son out of school and went to the vet to say goodbye to her. We were all hysterical. My wife and son left the room, but I stayed with her until the end. In that room, in the body of my dead, beloved dog, was the rubble of my emotional defense.

It’s been about six weeks now since Chloe died. After the initial hysterics, I had a brief upswing, and then a 10 day vacation in Florida, but with my defense gone I now realize that I, too, am subject to time. For most of my life I felt like an outside observer, watching things happen to other people. Even having a kid didn’t drive that home. I saw pictures of Obama when he took office and when he left office and thought “sheesh, he got old,” without acknowledging that I went through those same eight years, and my bag of meat was also aging. When Chloe died, all that knowledge got poured into my mind at once. Since that day, I can’t look at anyone without seeing them old. I feel like all of time is being compressed now. Today I’m 39 and my son is 12. In ten years I’ll be 49 and my son will be 22 (God willing). What will the world look like then? Will he be able to get a job? Will I have a job? Will he find love? Will we still live on Long Island? Do I want to deal with all these shitty winters and shitty trains until my knees give out and my meatbag falls apart? Should I get that surgery now, before I’m too old for my body to handle it? Will AI put humanity out of work? How will America compete against China? Will our politics ever become civil again? When will we build an automated drone that kills in the battlefield without human approval? Will my son ever remember to brush his teeth if I’m not around? What am I going to do for fun when he moves out? Will he ever love playing drums again? Will I ever find music I like again? Should I get my bathroom fixed? Or just sell the house? Or both? What will I do when my mom dies? Will I ever be good at my job? If I leave this one, will I even be able to get another? Is there any place in the for a hardware-focused devops engineer in a cloud-centric world? What are we going to watch on TV once Game of Thrones ends? How am I going to make it through the next shitty-ass winter? If my son moves out when he’s 18, that means his time with me is already ⅔ over — am I doing everything I can to make him into the man he needs to be? Do I even know what that is? Am I even the man I need to be? My mom is almost 70 and lives all by herself in a big empty house an hour away; is that my fate? How much longer will I have her? She got to meet her grandson, and her mom even got to meet a great-grandson. Will I? Should I replace this goddamn dishwasher that never gets the dishes clean even though we just bought it 3 years ago?

These are the questions that have been eating at me every day for the past month. We went on vacation to Disney World, which was a welcome break. I had some truly joyful moments, but going to Disney with a 12-year-old isn’t like going with a 5-year-old. It’s fun, but it’s not magic. He’s twelve now, so his time with me is ⅔ over. Then what? Before he was born we had a pretty unconventional family: me, my girlfriend, her two nieces (long story), and the two dogs. 12 years later and it’s just the three of us. We’ll probably get another dog, or maybe a couple, but for the first time in a long time, I am terrified of the unknown. I have no armor left. My self is floating, adrift, on the river of time. There’s a waterfall up ahead, and each of us faces it eventually, but for most of my life I’ve been facing the other direction. Now I see it. It’s there, we must all face it, though we never really know how far or close we are to it.

Why am I writing this? Part of it is just to leave some graffiti on the river wall that someone will read down the line and think of me. Hopefully my son will someday, when he’s very old, remember his “old man.” I told my wife one of the things that’s upsetting me is the idea that I won’t see how the story ends. Each of us is a chapter in the great story of life, hopefully a neverending story of humanity. But I want to know what happens 300, 500, 2000 years from now. Do we colonize Mars? Will mankind ever stop killing each other? Maybe I don’t really want to know.

I turned 39 in February. Maybe this is just a cliched midlife crisis and I should just go get a mistress and a Porsche. Ignorance is bliss, and after how I’ve felt the last couple weeks I completely understand why Cipher wanted Agent Smith to put him back in the Matrix. Knowledge can be a curse. When Chloe died, I told my son, “it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” Easy for me to say, but after I said it I realized it was the opposite of how I’d lived my entire life. Building an emotional wall prevented me from fully loving, for fear of loss.

I’m still trying to work this all out. Hopefully these feelings will lessen over time. Maybe I should talk to a therapist. I’m tired of crying though. I long for the days of 2 months ago when I just didn’t give a shit. Not that I was the paragon of happiness then, but at least I didn’t feel like a salted wound.

I think I’m done for now. If you’ve read this far, thank you. I guess it feels good to get it out, whether in speech or in text. If you’re a historian reading this long after my barrel went over the waterfall, hello to you too.

I never even wanted a dog.

I never even wanted a dog.

I can still remember the day we got you. I felt so duped. We were supposed to be going to get a cat and somehow we came home with you. I was angry for months. I had wanted to be able to go on vacation without worrying about a pet. Still, you were very cute.

April 26, 2008
May 5, 2008

I was mad, but it wasn’t your fault, and my anger was more than offset by the happiness you brought everyone else.

You got bigger but you still loved jumping up to kiss people on their face, and nothing we could do would stop you. For some reason you really loved my mom, though the feeling was not mutual.

September, 2008

You were always a very pretty girl.

Jan 2009

Eventually we moved and we made sure to get a house with a big yard. The yard became your territory. You found a whole area behind the shed that we didn’t even know existed. You went there every time we let you outside. Sometimes we’d see squirrels or birds fly out once you ran in. You loved the yard.

August, 2009

At some point we started spending most of our summers out east and you were in heaven. I set up a clothesline and attached your lead to it so you had plenty of room to run. If we weren’t so close to a busy road I would have loved to let you run free. But we didn’t want you to get hit by a car.

July 2011
June 2012

You hated water so much. When our house was flooded by Hurricane Sandy, mom had to drag you out of the house into the flooded street. It was an awful time for all of us. Over the next week, while we emptied out the ruins of our life, you were a very good girl, laying calmly in the front yard, keeping away looters. Just kidding. You did keep the mailman away, though.

November, 2012

Mom started dressing you up for Halloween and Christmas. You clearly did not love it, but you tolerated it, except for the hats.

Halloween 2014
Halloween 2015
Halloween 2016
Halloween 2017

At some point over the years we had you I stopped being mad. At some point I guess I realized I loved you.

Me and you, December 2017

We always joked that you were so healthy, you’d outlive all of us. We took you for shots but you were never sick. Maybe if we’d taken you for a “checkup” things would have been different. We’ll never know. When you got sick a couple weeks ago we all assumed it was from the won ton soup you ate. You peed on the floor and couldn’t walk. We thought you were in diabetic shock. We took you to the vet. The vet said you probably had indigestion and gave you some shot. The next day you seemed fine. I posted a “thank god she’s OK!” pic on Instagram.

When you got sick again the next week we were worried. I dropped you off for an X-ray. When the vet called us later that day to tell us your abdomen was filling up with blood and you had a massive tumor in your spleen that had burst, and her only recommendation was the worst possible thing, we shrieked in horror. We had to get Anthony out of school so he could come say goodbye to you.

You were such a good girl, even at the very end. I stayed with you as you left.

If someone would have told me I would be sitting at my desk writing a dog’s obituary with tears in my eyes I would have chuckled. But here I am.

We will always remember you. How you talked to dogs a quarter mile away. How you kept the yard free of birds and squirrels. How you loved sitting outside in the sun. How you loved it when we cooked, but fled down to the basement anyway because the smoke alarm scared you. How you camped next to the table waiting for something to fall off. How you’d pre-wash the dishes in the dishwasher. How you’d pull everything out of the trash, so much that we gave up and just started giving the empty wrappers to you.

In the end, we all loved you and you loved us. You were a good girl. You loved it when I said that. It was true. You won me over somehow. We will miss you forever, Chloe.

March 2017
February 2017

New York Rising is a Scam

As most people who know me are aware, my house, on Long Island’s south shore, suffered heavy flooding on October 29, 2012 as a result of Hurricane Sandy, when the water level of a nearby bay rose several feet above its historic high and filled my house up like a bucket. My house was not in a flood plain – even today it’s not considered a flood risk according to the latest maps – so we didn’t have flood insurance.

We stayed as long as we could, and planned to ride out the entire storm in our house, but once water started pouring down the driveway and filling up our garage and first level (finished living space) we decided to vacate. We spent the night at a friend’s house, far from the water.

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The driveway, which slopes down from the street to the first level.
The next morning, I drove back to my house to check out the damage. There was about a foot of water still in the house, but the high water mark inside the house showed it had gotten to about 40 inches – level with the street outside. Everything downstairs was ruined. Washer, dryer, fridge, boiler, water heater, couches, TVs, video game systems, computers – the lower level was a living area, bathroom and our home office. Everything had been submerged in brackish water from the bay.

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I went back to the house where we’d spent the night, and as soon as President Obama declared an emergency, I logged onto FEMA’s website and requested aid. The details of the next few days are murky in my mind almost 5 years later, but the inspector came on Halloween. We received some emergency money from FEMA relatively quickly, which let us get heat and hot water back once the power was restored, but it was well below the cap of $31,000, and far short of what we’d need to get everything fixed and replace what we’d lost.

I should add that our homeowner’s insurance explicitly didn’t cover any flood-related damage, and as I said above, the area had never flooded before and is even today not considered a flood risk.

We were without power for 9 days, which we spent hauling waterlogged stuff out of the basement and onto the curb. It was depressing work, but since there was no power at home or at work (in lower Manhattan at the time) it at least gave us something to do. Our lifeline to the rest of the world was our iPhones, which we charged using solar chargers we’d picked up at a county fair the previous year. In hindsight, we were lucky it was a warm few days, since we had no heat.

I had some contractors come by and asked them to give quotes to repair the damage. Since hundreds, maybe thousands of houses in my area had been damaged by the storm it was really difficult to get anyone even to return our call. We finally had three different contractors come by, and they gave verbal quotes ranging from $40,000 to $80,000, but each of them refused to give a written quote unless we agreed to hire them first. This seemed backwards, and frankly shady, but it was their market and they had hundreds of other jobs they could do.

We went back and forth with FEMA about increasing their award but they refused. Ultimately they directed us to the Small Business Administration about getting a loan. We really didn’t want to take out a loan, but on November 22nd I filled out the application beginning the months-long process of securing a disaster relief loan.

At some point, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo put together the New York Rising program to handle disbursement of federal funds for storm recovery. Going through my email history, I applied for this program on September 16th, 2013. On October 12, 2013, I received a letter from New York Rising informing me of my award of $193,728.73. We were pretty excited, as this meant we wouldn’t need to move forward with the SBA loan, and could use grant money for the repairs. By this point we had settled on a contractor, one who had been highly recommended by friends and had no problem getting all necessary permits, inspections, and most importantly, doing everything to town code. We were told he was very good, but also expensive, and his quote was over $80,000. We informed SBA we wouldn’t be moving forward with the loan since the NY Rising grant would more than cover the repair cost.

Several months passed and we didn’t hear anything from NY Rising, until February 7, 2014, when I received an email from NY Rising informing me of my award in the amount of $16,633.30. This was confusing, so I called our NY Rising rep to ask if this was in addition to the $193,728. She informed me that the $193,728 was “a mistake” and I should ignore that letter. NY Rising estimated that my total project cost should be $36,362.91. I was shocked. That amount was lower than the lowest quote I had received. I asked repeatedly for further explanation but never got one, and eventually they stopped returning my phone calls. I ended up actually receiving $12,689 from NY Rising – 75% of the $16,633.30 they gave me in their “revised” award.

In the end, I secured the SBA loan and the repair began on March 15, 2015 – two and a half years after the storm. The work was completed that July. The final bill for the repair and replacing furniture and appliances inside was well over $100,000, which I’ll be paying off over the next 27 years. The lower level is nice, and it’s nice to have that half of the house back after having been crammed into the upstairs for two years. But most importantly, as part of the rebuild, we filled in the driveway. Prior to Sandy, the driveway sloped down from the street level to the garage, which was what made the flood so disastrous for us in the first place. With the driveway filled in, another similar flood shouldn’t affect us so badly.

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That’s not the end of the story, however. On Feb 21, 2017, I received a letter from NY Rising informing me that because I had received an SBA loan in the amount of $117,543.20, and their estimated cost for the repair was $36,362.91, the entire amount they had given me was considered “duplication of benefits” and I had to repay the $12,689 I had received.

I called the latest NY Rising representative assigned to my case and asked about this and was told that I was free to appeal the decision. I sent in my appeal on March 30, 2017, explaining that the repair cost well over $100,000 and their original estimate of $36,000 was absurd. I also explained that filling in the driveway alone cost over $10,000, and it would have been foolish to do any repairs at all without filling in the driveway, as it would just leave us open to flooding again in the future.

I received a letter on April 19, 2017, informing me that my appeal was denied:

The Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery’s (GOSR) NY Rising Reconciliation Evaluation Team met on April 18, 2017 to review the appeal received on March 30, 2017. After careful consideration, your appeal is denied.

When you applied to the Program for assistance, an Inspector came to the damaged property address to calculate the extent of the damage to the property from the storm. The total of this amount was the Total Project Cost and is reflected above as $36,030.74. Subsequently, your Total Project Cost increased to add an additional design allowance for work completed prior to inspection. Your Reconciled Total Project Cost is $36,362.91. The documentation submitted with your appeal was reviewed and it was determined that even if all of the repairs in your contractor’s estimate were Program‐eligible, the total DOB funds you received would still exceed your Total Project Cost. Your current Total Project Cost includes a 10% design allowance to cover expenses such as architect’s fees. Additionally, content, such as furniture and personal property, and driveway repairs are not eligible for Program funds.

Since receiving that letter I’ve contacted every elected official I can think of, from federal through county representatives, and received responses from Congresswoman Kathleen Rice’s office and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s office. However, I have little expectation anything will change before NY Rising puts the account into collection, as they’ve threatened to do with each letter.

I hope that by writing and sharing my experience, others who have had similar issues with NY Rising changing their award amounts out from under them repeatedly, and ultimately demanding money back that was used to repair their homes, as it was originally intended, will similarly speak out and convince Governor Cuomo to stop this recapture program.