TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. My name is Trudi-Ann Lawrence. Today is June 5th and we are at Dunkin' Donuts in Port Monmouth. Can you state your name?

ANDREA BULVID: Andrea Bulvid.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: And your age, if you don't mind.

ANDREA BULVID: Twenty-seven.


ANDREA BULVID: White. Caucasian.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: [Laughs] How long have you lived in your home?

ANDREA BULVID: My home, it'll be four years in November. And in the neighborhood, going on 11 years.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. How much was the cost of the house, if you don't mind sharing?

ANDREA BULVID: It's was $120,000.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: How many rooms were there?

ANDREA BULVID: Just two bedrooms, one bathroom.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Is there any specific reason why you chose that house?

ANDREA BULVID: It was in the price range, it kept my daughter in her same school, and it was close to my mom. I didn't really plan on ending up being 120 1:00feet from her but…

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: [Laughs] It just kind of happened.

ANDREA BULVID: [Laughs] It happened that way and it had the right… The circumstances were right. It wasn't necessarily about the house.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. Have you lived in New Jersey all your life?

ANDREA BULVID: No. I was born in Florida and I lived there until I was nine and then we moved to New Jersey. We moved to Secaucus. We were in Secaucus for about seven or eight years before moving down here in July of 2001.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. Tell me about who makes up your family in your household.

ANDREA BULVID: It's me, my daughter who's 10, and my husband who is the same age as me, 27, and our dog that just turned a year old.


TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: What is your occupation?

ANDREA BULVID: I am a real estate paralegal.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: How long have you been doing that?

ANDREA BULVID: Going on eight years.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Do you mind sharing your income bracket?

ANDREA BULVID: My husband and I make… I think we probably make somewhere around $80,000 a year.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. What do you like about living in New Jersey?

ANDREA BULVID: For this area, I love living here because it's not the city, but it's not too rural. You have everything near you. You can ride your bike to the ferry to get down to Lower Manhattan if you wanted to. The beach is right there but there are plenty of trees and the parks and it's just a beautiful 3:00area. It's just a beautiful place to be in and it's close to everything.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Where would you say that your family usually spends their time mostly as a hangout spot?

ANDREA BULVID: Most of the time on the weekends, we do our best to make it to the beach.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Which shore exactly is it?

ANDREA BULVID: If we're going to the ocean, then we usually go down to Monmouth Beach because there's a beach access that's free over there.


ANDREA BULVID: If we're looking to just hang out in the sand, we'll go over to Ideal Beach.


ANDREA BULVID: Which is in North Middletown.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Do you watch Jersey Shore?



ANDREA BULVID: No [laughs].

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: From what you've heard, do you think that it portrayed the Jersey Shore properly?

ANDREA BULVID: For the area and the people that visit it, probably [laughs].



ANDREA BULVID: But maybe not necessarily the residents. I think the show is just a mess.


ANDREA BULVID: [Laughs] Maybe it could, and the few times that I have gone down to seaside… because I don't particularly care for seaside. The boardwalk smells like puke and… well, it did, at least. My girlfriends had to spend the weekend down there and it shows you how long we've been out of school. We didn't realize it was prom season. The hotel that we stayed in was just completely overrun with high school kids after prom. We went looking for breakfast the next morning and all you smell… everywhere, there was like just this cloud of weed just sitting over.




ANDREA BULVID: It was like all we smelled was just burning pot and the boardwalk smelled like puke and I just had… either I'm getting old or… I don't know 5:00[laughs]. Because it just was like not pleasant. But I haven't seen the show so I don't know if I can really comment.



TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Tell me about your neighborhood and your community, how involved you are.

ANDREA BULVID: We have a few neighbors that we have grown really close to. I think we're friendly with most of our neighbors. We all have a few neighbors on the block that are kind of quirky that you really don't [laughs]… some interesting characters but I think that that's anywhere. But for the most part, I never realized how much I appreciate the neighbors that I have since we've been gone, since we haven't been there. I definitely appreciate my neighbors a lot more and we've actually gotten quite a bit closer to a few of our neighbors 6:00since all of this happened.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. How do you like the schools? Is there any crime in your community? Is there reputation or any nicknames?

ANDREA BULVID: Just like anywhere, you have the rich side, you have the poor side. We're technically on the poor side. I don't really think that there is too much difference between which side of town you are except for the price of the drugs. That's going to be any school that you are in. I think that we have a very good school system here. They've done well for me. I'm a product of… 7:00I ultimately graduated here so I spent the majority of my high school years here. It wasn't always pleasant but it worked. There are things that could be better, could be worse, but for the most part, I think we have pretty good schools, pretty good reputations for them.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. We're going to start asking questions about the storm. When did you first hear a storm was coming?

ANDREA BULVID: I don't remember. I want to say that we started preparing probably maybe a half a week before it… towards the end of the week when we realized how big it was actually going to be and what was actually coming.


ANDREA BULVID: But we didn't realize all the way.


TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Right. What were your first thoughts?

ANDREA BULVID: I didn't think it was going to be… I thought it was going to be more like Irene.


ANDREA BULVID: We got through Irene by the skin of our teeth. The water was 10 inches below my first floor. We planned based on that, just trying to protect whatever we could. The only thing I could have done differently was to have rented a U-Haul and moved everything out of my house which obviously looking back on it, I probably should have.


ANDREA BULVID: Yeah. All of those other people in the neighborhood, they did.



TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: What was the availability of the supplies?


ANDREA BULVID: We decided at the last minute that we wanted a generator. Obviously, there was none on the shelves anywhere close to here. My husband had called… he's a contractor and he had called the supply house that they do work through. He put it through the corporate account through his job. They let them do it, no problem. He ended up driving all the way out to Long Island to pick up a generator on Sunday before the storm hit.


ANDREA BULVID: We were lucky.


ANDREA BULVID: Then he stocked up on gas because we knew [laughs]. That was going to be the next thing.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Did you go to the stores for any groceries or anything?

ANDREA BULVID: I did, but I really wasn't as prepared as like I thought I was because you don't realize like something as simple as like a can opener.


ANDREA BULVID: I had tuna fish but…


TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: No can opener.

ANDREA BULVID: I didn't think about the can opener being electric.


ANDREA BULVID: You don't think about those things so I didn't have… My mom thought of that. But I had fruit cups and bread and basic things like that.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Do you feel like you received an adequate warning about the storm?

ANDREA BULVID: Yeah. I don't have cable or internet at my house. We didn't, so anything that we've heard about was just through like whatever we saw online.


ANDREA BULVID: My mom was all upset about it. I brushed it off a little bit more than I should have. Because my mom was all like, "You got to get ready. You got to get ready." I'm like, it's going to be another Irene but she wasn't here for Irene. She was in Florida.


ANDREA BULVID: Yeah, they were in Florida on vacation during hurricane season and the hurricane hit here and not there.


TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: What do you make of the governor's warnings?

ANDREA BULVID: He's right [laughs]. He was right. At some point, you got to… He's right.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Did your area receive evacuation?

ANDREA BULVID: Yes. They came down the street with the horn, "Get out. You have until eight o'clock. Be out."

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. Did you respond?

ANDREA BULVID: We went to my mom's house, just 120 feet from mine. But her house is higher. But once we realized how big the storm was, there was no way… we never planned on staying at our house. If my parents left, I would have left. But we were all together and I didn't think it was going to be as bad as it was.


TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Did you make any preparations for your pets or your cars?

ANDREA BULVID: My car and my husband's work truck, we put across the highway at the elementary school. And we kept his truck closer. It was actually in the park. So we moved it but it just wasn't far enough away. We kept it close in case we needed it. Even at that point… I mean, we did use it because the generator was at my house. After the first high tide that morning, we realized that the generator would not have been safe there. My husband went and got his truck and put the generator in the back of the truck and brought it to my mom's house. At the height of the storm, the generator ended up in her living room up on the coffee table, and the gas was in the bathtub, hoping that the water won't come over it, just to protect it. At that point, the truck was completely 13:00submerged at the park.


ANDREA BULVID: That was the end of that.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Take me through the day of the storm. Where were you? What was the first sign of the storm that you saw?

ANDREA BULVID: The storm itself actually was pretty calm, if that makes sense.


ANDREA BULVID: It was windy but you didn't have the driving rain. The rain wasn't so terrible. The first high tide that came in, we had pretty high water.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Around what time was that?

ANDREA BULVID: I want to say that the water started coming in around six o'clock a.m.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. That was Monday morning?

ANDREA BULVID: No. The storm hit Sunday night, right?


TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay, for you guys, yes [laughs].

ANDREA BULVID: The storm hit us Sunday night, so Sunday morning. Saturday night, we had stayed at my mom's house.


ANDREA BULVID: Sunday morning, the water started coming in into her basement.


ANDREA BULVID: We finished bringing up as much as we could because she had a lot of things stored in her basement. So we just finished bringing up as much as we could from the basement. Then the tide went down. I guess it was somewhere around the afternoon. We lost power probably around twelve, one o'clock Sunday afternoon.


ANDREA BULVID: It was just wind. The water had gone down but not completely. That let us know how bad it was going to be. My dad took a stick that he had and he measured it. I want to say the stick was somewhere around five feet.



ANDREA BULVID: He labeled each foot going up. Then at the very top of the stick, he wrote, "Oh, shit." So it was the "Oh, shit" stick. We were like, "Okay, well, if the water goes over the "Oh, shit" stick, now we're in trouble."


ANDREA BULVID: The water went way over the "Oh, shit" stick [laughs]. We knew we were in big trouble when we didn't see that anymore. Around one o'clock or so is when the first high tide went down and it didn't completely go down. Everything was still flooded but it was low enough. My husband went and got his truck and that's when we went and got the generator and took it to my mom's house. Then we just like sat and waited. Then that night, as the high tide 16:00started coming in with the actual storm, the water just kept coming up and coming up and coming up. As visibility lessened outside because, of course, there is no light, transformers were blowing everywhere. The last transformer in our area blew probably around ten o'clock which was almost the height of the storm. When it lit up, we realized how high the water actually was around us. It was pretty scary. But then we were sitting in the kitchen and you could feel the basement filling. We knew the basement was filling with water and everything that's floating was starting to bump up against the floor and getting like stuck in the rafters, and you could actually feel that. That was pretty scary, just feeling all of that bumping and everything. Then my husband said to 17:00me, "We're going to have to go upstairs," because she had two attic bedrooms. "We're going to have to go upstairs," he says, "so get ready." Then he was in my sister's room and he stepped down on the carpet and you could just feel the squishy of the water. The water came up through the floorboards like under the carpet.


ANDREA BULVID: Then I took the dog and I took my daughter and I said, "Okay, we're going to go upstairs. When you step on the carpet, it's going to be wet but it's okay. We just got to get upstairs." We did. The dog and the guinea pig and the bird and the seven of us all go upstairs. At that point though, that was pretty much the height of the storm because within about fifteen, twenty minutes of us having to go upstairs, the water started to recede.


ANDREA BULVID: We had a blow-up kayak that we put upstairs because we were going 18:00to toss that out on the roof if we needed to.


ANDREA BULVID: We had life vests up there. Not that it would have saved us but…

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: It would have helped.

ANDREA BULVID: It would have helped [laughs]. Then when the water started going down, we settled down to go to sleep. You could just feel the wind just howling and the house just shaking in the wind. I didn't want to think about it but I was like, "Oh, my god. This house is going to be shaken right off its foundation." [Laughs] But it didn't. It was fine. Thank god.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: How was your daughter throughout the storm?

ANDREA BULVID: She handled it better than my 19-year-old sister. She was quiet and she just did what she was told. She told me she was scared and I kept telling her that it was okay, that we're going to be fine. The water is going to go down soon and this is it. When we did go upstairs, my husband and my 19:00father were downstairs like checking on things and getting the generator up and taking care of the gas and that kind of stuff. We would hear them splashing around downstairs. We just started singing songs to just drown out the noise of the wind and the water and just to try to take that edge off.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Yeah. What was going through your head the next day when you woke up?

ANDREA BULVID: We didn't really sleep too well.


ANDREA BULVID: Because all you heard was the wind against the house.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Did your daughter get to sleep?

ANDREA BULVID: She did sleep.


ANDREA BULVID: She did and when we got up, I want to say it had to be around six o'clock. It had to be about six o'clock in the morning because we just… basically, as soon as we realized it was the crack of dawn, we were just up and out. We just couldn't wait to come down. We looked around at the floor and what 20:00was there and we're just looking around. Then when we go outside, like everything was just everywhere. The weeds were just… I don't even know how to explain it. The reeds from the wetlands were just laid out across the front lawn. There was a plastic playhouse in the yard. Everything just lifted up. There was like a mass of tree trunks that were just dumped in the wetlands that shouldn't have been dumped there, just all over the neighborhood, just all over the place. The water was still up. The water was in the street for about three days after.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: How high in the street would you say?


ANDREA BULVID: Probably about the middle of your calf.


ANDREA BULVID: It came in and out with the tide I guess until the bay had like emptied.


ANDREA BULVID: There was just so much water that came in that it like had to drain. Once the water was down, once we were on a low tide, then we took the generator over to my house and we pumped the water out of the crawlspace. But we had to break in the back door because the water rushed out under the front door.


ANDREA BULVID: Everything that just lifted up and floated and dropped down, it dropped down like… they moved with the water. As the water came out the front of the house, everything went forward. We had to go in the back door to un-barricade the front door so that we could get in and do what needed to be done. And my oil tank that was on the side of my house floated into the 22:00backyard and landed down on its side and the port railings were on top of the shed. The shed had to have floated. It didn't flip over like other sheds did. There was a lot of sheds in the neighborhood that were like flipped on its side and everything. The Jacuzzi is still in the middle of the wetlands right there.


ANDREA BULVID: The meadow, yeah, the marsh. I don't know. It came off of somebody's porch. But they had hazmat out on the road between Port Monmouth and Belford, the back way by the ferry. Because there's oil tanks. There was about three or four oil tanks just lying in the street that's floated away from people's houses. They had hazmat out there taking care of those oil tanks.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Did you contact anyone, any other family members that were around? I mean, you were with your mom. Did you have anyone else to contact?


ANDREA BULVID: My husband's family.


ANDREA BULVID: The interesting thing was our phones worked the entire time, our cellphones.


ANDREA BULVID: We were, of course, trying to conserve the batteries. We would post on Facebook and like I would post on Facebook that the water came up onto the first floor and we were upstairs.


ANDREA BULVID: I would tag my mom and my sisters, like everybody that I was with that had a Facebook so that they knew. Then when the storm was done, I took a picture of everybody laying around.


ANDREA BULVID: I said, "Look at us. We're all okay. Now, the water's going down." Because like my mom had called my one sister that wasn't with us and she called my uncle, because we were worried. If something happens to this house and we're all up here, like who's going to know?



ANDREA BULVID: Play it safe. We were all together. We were just trying to let like key people know that we were up there. It's the height of the storm. If you don't hear from us in an hour, something's wrong. That's why when the water started going down and everything about 15, 20 minutes after the height, I posted a picture of all of us on Facebook and I said, "Oh, look, we're all hunkered down for the night. Water went down. Everything's okay now."


ANDREA BULVID: Just to let whoever know.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: That was a…/AT/rj/mb

Break in tape.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE.: Recording part two, Trudi-Ann Lawrence.

ANDREA BULVID: Andrea Bulvid.





TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE.: How long did the storm last?

ANDREA BULVID: The storm lasted from about Saturday night. I guess it started like raining from Saturday night into Sunday. No. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And then 25:00by Monday morning, it was over.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE.: Okay. What happened the next day when you got up?

ANDREA BULVID: When we came out, it looked like a warzone. Reeds were all over the yards and everything was just… Some of the boats had floated on their trailers and there were tree stumps everywhere like they were illegally dumped in the marsh. It was just a mess. There were toys and debris from other people's yards just everywhere.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE.: Okay. Can you tell me about your community, the mood that you experienced, how they were reacting to the storm?

ANDREA BULVID: The one neighbor, she ended up in her attic and it wasn't a very 26:00spacious attic. It took her about four hours to come down. We all were just trying to figure out where to start, making sure that everybody who had stayed in the neighborhood was okay. The neighbors that weren't affected as badly were really gracious to those of us that were. Everybody just pulled together to make sure that everyone was okay.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE.: How did you go through your day-to-day necessities?

ANDREA BULVID: Well, we were lucky enough to have the generator. When gas started coming low, my husband's truck that was up at the park, that was totaled. We cut the gas tank out of it and had twenty-six gallons of perfect gas to run the generator for a couple more days until the gas line started to go down.



ANDREA BULVID: Because they were just crazy and we just cooked whatever food we had. We tried to cook things as they were defrosting out of the freezer which included a roasted chicken one night [laughs]. My in-laws were very, very helpful in that they brought a lot of food and my one neighbor who really wasn't affected, they let us stay at their house because we were between our house and their house and they still had hot water so they let us shower there. The other neighbor had brought her chickens back to their coop and of course they were still laying eggs, so we at least got to have fresh omelets. Everybody just kind of pulled together and tried to help each other get through it all.


TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE.: How long were you out of power?

ANDREA BULVID: We were out of power until November twelfth and that was the same day that the kids went back to school. And our school was the last school in the district to get power back. Our power came on around five o'clock in the morning.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE.: When did the stores open?

ANDREA BULVID: The Foodtown in Atlantic Highlands opened within the first couple of days of the storm for nonperishable items because they had brought in generators. Wawa was open because they had brought in generators ahead of the storm because they learned from Irene to keep their pumps going. It probably did very well [laughs].

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE.: How did you begin to clean up?

ANDREA BULVID: We just started taking things out. We didn't really know where to start or what to do but we pumped the water out of the crawlspace as soon as we could. We just started cleaning out and my in-laws came up and my husband 29:00called one of his cousins and she brought her lacrosse friends with her, and Monmouth University Lacrosse Team helped us clean out our house [laughs]. They were amazing. They were absolutely amazing in packing up our knickknacks that didn't get wet. They just gave me a direction because I just stood there staring at my house and just was so overwhelmed by it, I didn't really know where to start. We had four feet of water in the house.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE.: Tell me about your losses.

ANDREA BULVID: We only have one floor so everything was in the house or in the shed. We lost pretty close to everything that was on that level. The couches seemed to be okay because we put them up on the coffee table. So even though 30:00the coffee tables were completely destroyed, they saved the couches. We had to throw the mattress away that was in the couch but I kind of feel like that's a small price to pay for replacing furniture that I had just gotten in June [laughs].


ANDREA BULVID: We just did it and we hung all the wet clothes out along the fence and up the rungs of a ladder so that they would dry out, so that they weren't heavy. My mother-in-law, as she was driving home at night, she would just watch to see who had electricity and then go fill up their Laundromat with all of our stuff. We got to save quite a bit. We were lucky that way but we lost a lot, too.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE.: Okay. Who did you look to for support, your power company insurance, FEMA?

ANDREA BULVID: The first thing I did was called the insurance companies -- 31:00homeowners, auto, and flood -- to get that started. They actually responded pretty well as far as the timing that it took to get the adjusters out and everything. That wasn't too terrible. There was just the waiting, just the waiting on the flood that was kind of crazy but talking to others and seeing what my other neighbors experienced, I really had it pretty easy with the insurance companies. But we all compared notes just to share ideas and see who sound out what. I had filed for FEMA right away, too, and they had money deposited quickly in my account so I was able to get the apartment so we had some place to go.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE.: Okay. Were there any common protocols or was there a curfew in your town?


ANDREA BULVID: I think it was like seven to seven or six to six, something like that, and the National Guard was checking IDs. They were being really picky about who they let in the neighborhood. My mother-in-law tried to bring food down for us and she got stopped at the firehouse and I had to pick her up and take her in. All she was trying to do was bring us food.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE.: Right. Was there any looting in your community at the time?

ANDREA BULVID: Right after the storm, there was quite a bit and there were four arrests right on the block, right in front of my mother's house. At that point, I had already sent my daughter and the dog up to my mother-in-law's in Bayonne just because I didn't know what was going on in the neighborhood. I didn't want her to be around it because everything was already molding and she is asthmatic. I didn't feel like it was safe. I was scared to keep her there so I'd sent her 33:00up there.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE.: How did you cope with the storm?

ANDREA BULVID: I really didn't know what to do. I didn't know where to start. My husband as a boy scout just went into his emergency mode and he just did it. He told me what to do. Then once I had paperwork to fill out, then I was okay. Then I was in my zone because I'm a paperwork filer kind of person. I'm not an emergency person, not at all. It was very overwhelming but we had a lot of people around us that just helped pull us through it. I got lucky.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE.: How was your community? How did they respond? Did you get any help from your local community members? How about any religious communities that helped out?


ANDREA BULVID: I have to say the Mennonites and I want to say the Christian ministries and I don't remember where they were from. I want to say maybe Oklahoma. But, I mean, they all came in. They were all there. They were great for a lot of people in the area. They stayed right at our church. I know that the township had put a fund together. And so right away, they had issued Target gift cards. They're trying but I think the religious groups, really, hands down. And just the normal volunteers from around town and all the people that kept the firehouse going as far as serving food. They served food like there was no tomorrow. You know that their houses were flooded, too. I mean, they're 35:00from our neighborhood and they spent their time at the firehouse, too. I mean, between the firehouse, all the volunteers at the firehouse, and the religious groups, I have to say, the Red Cross, they really stunk. They came down our street with meals once. Once the Red Cross came down our street with meals. So I just am not a fan of the Red Cross. They didn't really do anything for us that wasn't already being done. I mean, the fire truck came down the block handing out blankets and lunches. They had sandwiches in bags with a bag of chips and a bottle of water. You can't ask for more than that.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE.: Right. Did you contribute to helping the community in any way that you could?


ANDREA BULVID: We did. The one neighbor directly across the street from my mom who we're pretty close with, when they came in to clean out their house, his wife Cathy was having a real hard time cleaning out the baby's playroom. And so I went in to try to help her clean out his playroom because it's really emotional to see all the things that your child finds joy in and here they are; everything is just completely destroyed. My husband helped him with his furniture. Then as far as food goes, my in-laws had come in with big trays of… they just picked up catering trays. All of the neighbors that were around, like, "Hey, come have something hot to eat." Always had the coffee pot going, whoever needed a warm cup of coffee. One neighbor had a wood burning 37:00fireplace and my dad had a bunch of wood in the yard and told her she could come. We helped her load up her wheelbarrow. So wherever we could. A few other neighbors came to charge their cell phones. I mean, we didn't have much to offer but…

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE.: It made a difference.

ANDREA BULVID: Yeah, we tried to. We tried to.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE.: How did you feel about the response from your local government in the organizations FEMA, insurance, etc.?

ANDREA BULVID: I think I had one of the more pleasant experiences that most people didn't have. My insurance was very responsive. They were very on top of things. My flood took a long time to get the structural engineer's report which I complained about. They told me two weeks. On the two-week mark, I was calling them, "Where is it?" At the end of the day, I probably should have 38:00gotten more money from them but then I wouldn't have been able to do anything to my house because you can't destroy that evidence. If I wanted to appeal them or anything, the house would still be sitting there while we report it out. I just didn't want to do that. I just didn't want to waste that kind of time. I just took it and walked away. I guess that I can't complain about FEMA because they've already… they paid my first lease for six months. Now they're paying the second lease for the next six months. They've already deposited that money in my account. I really can't complain about that. I got lucky. I think that the government shouldn't be so stingy about the grant money. Start giving it to people. Get us back in our homes but they have a "process" that they have to go 39:00through. Even SBA, I mean, they can move it along a little bit.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE.: Do you think that New Jersey prepared adequately? Do you feel like they could have had more dunes, required you to raise your houses way before?

ANDREA BULVID: Particularly in Port Monmouth, I knew you were at the one town meeting that I had a lot to say about. They need to do the projects that they've always known that they needed to do. They have the money. They need to just do it. My issue is that now, we're going to be spending hundreds of thousands of dollars fixing our homes with no guarantee of a protection because they still haven't done talking about it and do it. They should have done something a long time ago. As far as the barrier islands go with their little easements and things, it's baloney. You sign the easement and keep your property or let them 40:00use eminent domain to take that sliver of property and build up the dunes that they're supposed to build. Quite honestly, that's what eminent domain is for. Eminent domain is a whole big thing in Long Branch but Long Branch used it for developers and that's not what it's for. This is what it's for because one person, to protect their view, should not subject blocks and blocks of houses to devastation because they don't want to ruin their view. It's just wrong and the beaches should be public if they're going to use taxpayer money to protect them.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE.: Do you think that anyone is to blame or it was just a freak incidence? This is just Mother Nature taking her toll?

ANDREA BULVID: I think that it's Mother Nature just taking back what's hers. I think that we need to be more cautious about how and where we build because it's 41:00as much our fault.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE.: How do you feel about the media coverage? Do you feel like it was sensationalized or was it an accurate description of what happened?

ANDREA BULVID: I think it's like anything else. It's, of course, sensationalized. I don't know because we didn't have power for the first three weeks after the storm. I don't know. We don't really know what was covered [laughs]. I mean, yeah, we saw the President's helicopter and I can only imagine just like Katrina. "We're here for you." None of those people got to see that.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE.: Oh, well, yeah [laughs].

ANDREA BULVID: We didn't get to see that coverage. I think the sad part about it is that the media came and left and it's not even showing the true trials and tribulations of what we're living day to day to put things back together. The 42:00storm came. They warned you about the storm. Then the storm left. They'd covered the devastation then they were on their way. It's kind of like any other fad that's kind of… It was like a trend. It's old news.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE.: Did your opinion of Chris Christie change?

ANDREA BULVID: No. I think that he needs to do more as far as getting the money into the hands of people like me who are just trying to get their house back and get moving and stop with the rest of the nonsense. He kicked and screamed over 43:00how long it took to get the aid package approved. The aid package is approved so where is the money now? That's the issue that I take with it.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE.: How do you feel about the rest of the response from the country?

ANDREA BULVID: I've got to say, I kind of laughed at Oklahoma. I feel bad for them but they voted against their aid package. Hello! [Laughs] I'd like to see what's going to happen to their aid package. It's karma. What goes around comes around. I feel bad for the actual people.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE.: How do you feel about the response that we received in comparison when Hurricane Katrina hit?

ANDREA BULVID: That aggravated me beyond aggravation because when has New Jersey 44:00ever asked for help? When have we ever asked for help especially in recent history? And they can't help us now? It's ridiculous.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE.: Has the storm shaped your environmental views on anything? Do you think that you… in relation to going green and any of that?

ANDREA BULVID: I think that this needs to be a big lesson on protecting the wetlands which I've always been for. Because when the water has some place to go, you don't get this. If you ever looked at a hurricane hitting Florida, there is devastation but you don't see flooding. There's a reason for that. Everglades, you can't build on them. Their beaches are actual beaches. They're not built on land like ours are here. I think that's a big part of things.


TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE.: All right. Does this change your views about where you live? Do you think that you're going to do anything differently from here on out?

ANDREA BULVID: My house is going to be sixteen feet up in the air, that's for sure. I am ready to just get off of that side of the highway. I'll always stay in this area. I've never loved living anywhere the way I love living here. But if the storms keep continuing like this, I'm just not going to be able to handle that. I can't go through it anymore.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE.: Okay. All right. Closing up, have things returned back to normal?

ANDREA BULVID: Not even close.



ANDREA BULVID: Not even close. I don't think anything ever will be. I think it's going to be a new normal. How can it be? I'm never going to have my house. It's going to be a completely different house which I'm happy about because it's going to be a brand new house and it's going to be bigger and better. But it's going to be a new normal. It's never going to be the same. Even my job didn't stay the same. We were moving out of our office that weekend and since then, everything has changed. It is never going to be normal.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE.: Are you back home?

ANDREA BULVID: No. We haven't even started demolition yet because I'm still trying to make sure that I can get the SBA loan that I need to cover the gap between when I'm building and my insurance.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE.: Okay. Can you tell me a little bit about how FEMA helped you, about how you got the place in which you got to live?

ANDREA BULVID: I got lucky again [laughs]. I had a realtor friend of mine call 47:00me right after the storm to see if I was okay. I said, no, that I needed a place to live and since he's a realtor, he told me that he would look up some listings but in the meanwhile, he gave me a couple of apartment complex to look at, one being Thousand Oaks. I went down there one afternoon right away because I knew everything was filling up. I got one of the last available apartments and I put the money right down on it and we moved in that weekend. Then I just had to submit the lease and the rent ledger to FEMA and they finished paying what I hadn't covered. They reimbursed me for the couple of months that I had covered and they paid me for the next six months because we're not going to be 48:00back in the house before that.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE.: What are the changes to your daily life that…?

ANDREA BULVID: Right now, I drive fifteen minutes down the highway which is normally a five-minute drive across the highway to take my daughter to school. Then I go to work whether it's back up the highway to Rumson or up to Somerville. Most of the time, it's up to Somerville now. Then I pick her up at my mom's house and instead of going around the block to get home, I go fifteen minutes down the highway. We can't just go walk on the beach like we used to or play out in the yard on the tire swing because we have a tire swing tied up on the front tree. The dog doesn't have a yard to run around in anymore. He's always got to be on a leash. He doesn't care for that all that much. He misses 49:00his running around time.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE.: Are there any changes to the outlook on your community?

ANDREA BULVID: I think we're all closer. I think we all have a better understanding of each other. And even like for the school, right after the storm, we did a trunk or treat in the parking lot and it was an unofficial school thing because the school had started it but then they were canceling it because the governor was supposed to be at our firehouse. He was but we decided that we were taking the PTA part of it out and we were just a bunch of parents meeting up in the parking lot. It was really good for the kids to get together and see their friends and really see that they were okay, that each other was okay. They got to sit and talk about their experience in their words and 50:00express their feelings on their level to each other. I think that that was really important for them.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE.: Okay. Are there any changes to your outlook on the world?

ANDREA BULVID: It's what happens in… it's why we got to plan. You got to make sure that you're financially set and you got to position yourself that in case something happens… if anything, it just teaches you to be more prepared and more… try to be stable.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE.: Are there any changes in your political views to the… well, the presidential election at the time and the governor election?


ANDREA BULVID: I did change my perspective on the presidential election right after and I was horribly disappointed because I felt like having a Democratic president would have helped us sooner but it didn't. I think it made it worse and then thinking back, if you think about it, President Bush, he was a Republican president. He pushed the aid package for Katrina victims through in practically no time. So we probably made a huge mistake there. But I think that they just need to… Christie just needs to get… I would vote for him again because he does have… I think he has the right perspective on things and I think he's down in the middle of the road. I don't think he's from one 52:00extreme to another. That's what we need. We don't need an extreme. We've already had extreme on both sides of the aisle. We need somebody to get us back on track that's going to be realistic.


ANDREA BULVID: That's just common sense. That's not really political [laughs].

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE.: What will you tell your children or your grandchildren about the storm?

ANDREA BULVID: I suppose it's going to be in the history book [laughs]. It's going to be one of those things. So I get to tell them about 911. I get to tell them about Sandy [laughs]. I really don't know. I guess it all depends on their age when they… It was quite an interesting week [laughs]. That's for sure. I guess the bottom line of it, it was a smart decision to stay around? Probably not. If I had to do over, I definitely would have gone again. But you 53:00know what? You make your decisions and you got to live with them and it is what it is.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE.: If you wanted to give a message about the storm, what would that be?

ANDREA BULVID: I don't even know. I don't even know what to say about it. [Laughs] When tragedy strikes like that, you need to have the publicity. You need to have the coverage. But don't come down and be a tourist. That's the worst thing you could do. Those cars that were coming down the street that you knew they were just touring the devastation, get out of your car and help. You couldn't even get one car like… the road was so narrow because the garbage piles were just insane. Get out of your car and help us. Don't sit there and gawk at us. I think that goes for anything. That goes for an accident on the 54:00side of the road. Don't gawk at it. Just either help or get out of the way.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE.: Do you think the storm has a legacy? What would you say it would be?

ANDREA BULVID: It's going to be all about how the Jersey Shore was destroyed and how they rebuilt the boardwalk [laughs]. That's going to be the brand new boardwalks. Okay, fine. I'll go to seaside now. It doesn't smell like puke anymore [laughs]. That's exactly what I said to my husband [laughs]. It's true. I guess that's it. It's going to be all about the boardwalks and how Christie brought the boardwalks back. By the way, those are private boardwalks that were rebuilt on taxpayer money. Have fun with that [laughs].

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE.: Is there anything that I missed tonight that you want to share?


ANDREA BULVID: I think we covered everything.



TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE.: All right. I'm ending this recording at 8: 21.

0:00 - Interview introduction

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:Okay. My name is Trudi-Ann Lawrence. Today is June 5th and we are at Dunkin' Donuts in Port Monmouth.

Segment Synopsis: An introduction to the interview with Andrea Bulvid.



0:11 - Brief biography

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Partial Transcript:Can you state your name?

Segment Synopsis: Bulvid describes why she chose the house she owns and that she was originally from Florida but then moved to Secaucus and later to Port Monmouth.

Keywords: Beach; Bedrooms; Cost; Daughters; Ethnicity; Family; Florida; Home; House; Income; Lived; Manhattan; Moved; Neighborhood; New Jersey; Occupation; Port Monmouth; Rooms; School; Secaucus; Trees


GPS: Port Monmouth, Nj.
Map Coordinates: 40.430906, -74.100383

3:45 - Neighborhood / school systems

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Partial Transcript:Do you watch Jersey Shore?

Segment Synopsis: Bulvid describes her Port Monmouth neighborhood and her appreciation for those residents in it. She also talks about the school system which she feels is pretty good and gives her opinion on the television show "Jersey Shore".

Keywords: Appreciate; Community; Crime; Drugs; Jersey shore; Jersey Shore (TV); Neighborhood; Neighbors; Residents; School; School system; Seaside boardwalk; Seaside Heights; Town


GPS: Boardwalk (Seaside Heights, Nj.)
Map Coordinates: 39.942401, -74.070539

7:26 - First thoughts on the storm / preparation

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:Okay. We're going to start asking questions about the storm. When did you first hear a storm was coming?

Segment Synopsis: Bulvid talks about how her husband, who was a carpenter at the time, was able to pick up a generator for their household before the storm hit. Also, she describes the availability in grocery stores and that her husband was prepared with gas.

Keywords: Availability; Contractors; First thoughts; Floors; Gas; Generators; Groceries; House; Hurricane Irene; Long Island; Moved; Neighborhood; Preparation; Prepared; Renting; Stores; Storm; Supplies; Water; Work


GPS: Long Island, Ny.
Map Coordinates: 40.837565, -73.138590

10:19 - Warnings of the storm*

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Partial Transcript:Do you feel like you received an adequate warning about the storm?

Segment Synopsis: *******

Keywords: Adequate warning; Area; Cars; Evacuation; Florida; Gas; Generators; Governor; High tide; House; Hurricane Irene; Mom; Pets; Preparations; Room; Safe; School; Storm; Warnings; Water; Work


13:08 - First day of the storm

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Partial Transcript:Take me through the day of the storm. Where were you? What was the first sign of the storm that you saw?

Segment Synopsis: Bulvid described being able to hear things splash around, clank, and bump into each other in her basement because of the amount of water in there. She also tells about having all of her family end up going to the top floor which was prepared with a blow-up kayak and life vests just in case they had to evacuate their house.

Keywords: Area; Basement; Daughters; Dogs; Driving; Flood; Generators; High tide; House; Lights; Lost; Mom; Outside; Power; Rain; Room; Sleep; Storm; Tide; Water; Wind; Windy


19:27 - Aftermath of the storm

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Partial Transcript:Yeah. What was going through your head the next day when you woke up?

Segment Synopsis: Bulvid tells about the lack of sleep she and her family had. She also explained the appearance of the neighborhood after the storm hit.

Keywords: Batteries; Cell phones; Contact; Daughters; Facebook; Family; Floors; Generators; House; Mom; Neighborhood; Outside; Phones; Port Monmouth; Sleep; Tree; Water; Wind


24:41 - Losses / length of the storm

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:How long did the storm last?

Segment Synopsis: Bulvid describes that she cooked whatever was in her freezer at the time and her neighbor helped her with eggs her chickens were laying. She also tells that their power was out until the day the kids were able to get back to school.

Keywords: Atlantic Highlands; Attics; Boats; Clean up; Community; Cook; Debris; Electricity; Food; Foodtown; Gas; Gas lines; Generators; House; Losses; Mood; Necessities; Neighborhood; Neighbors; Power; Rain; School; Stores; Storm; Tree; War zone; Water; Wawa


GPS: Foodtown (Atlantic Highlands, Nj.)
Map Coordinates: 40.424524, -74.101709

30:48 - Support after the storm

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:Okay. Who did you look to for support, your power company insurance, FEMA?

Segment Synopsis: Bulvid talks about her experience with filing for FEMA. She also reveals that there were four arrests on her block after the storm.

Keywords: After the storm; Apartment; Bayonne; Community; Curfews; Daughters; Dogs; Experience; FEMA; Firehouse; Flood; Food; House; Insurance companies; Looting; Money; Neighborhood; Neighbors; Power; Safe; Support


GPS: Bayonne, Nj.
Map Coordinates: 40.668586, -74.113859

33:04 - Response of the storm / coping

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:How did you cope with the storm?

Segment Synopsis: Bulvid describes the help with her leases she is receiving from FEMA. She also describes all of the contributions from her family and neighbors.

Keywords: Area; Cell phones; Church; Clean; Community; Cope; Emergency; FEMA; Firehouse; Flood; Food; Furniture; Helped; Helping; House; Insurance; Local government; Meals; Mennonite; Money; Neighborhood; Neighbors; Oklahoma; Organization; Red Cross; Religious communities; Respond; Response; Storm; Target; Town; Volunteers


39:10 - Preparation of New Jersey / dunes and raising houses

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:Do you think that New Jersey prepared adequately? Do you feel like they could have had more dunes, required you to raise your houses way before?

Segment Synopsis: Bulvid believes that it's more important to not subject houses to devastation just because of the view. She also says that what happened was just Mother Nature taking what's hers and that there should be more dunes built to prevent such devastation.

Keywords: Accurate; After the storm; Beach; Coverage; Devastation; Dunes; Freak occurence; Home; Houses; Hurricane Katrina; Media; Money; Mother Nature; New Jersey; Port Monmouth; Power; Prepared adequately; President; Property; Sensationalized; Storm; Tax money; Town


42:22 - Opinions on the governor, response from the rest of the country, and environmental views

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:Did you opinion of Chris Christie change?

Segment Synopsis: Bulvid tells that she believes the water received on the land doesn't have anywhere to go. She also says that she doesn't want to leave her area and enjoys where she lives.

Keywords: Aid; Area; Beach; Chris Christie; Country; Devastation; Environment; Flooding; Florida; Help; Hurricane; Lived; Oklahoma; Response; Storm; Water


GPS: Everglades, Fl.
Map Coordinates: 25.858293, -81.385454

45:47 - Changes in outlook

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:Okay. All right. Closing up, have things returned back to normal?

Segment Synopsis: Bulvid describes that she felt there was a huge mistake with electing the president because of the length of time it took to receive the aid. Her outlook changed in the way of preparation.

Keywords: Apartment; Beach; Building; Christie; Community; Daughters; Dogs; Experience; FEMA; Firehouse; Governor; Gubernatorial campaign; Home; House; Hurricane Katrina; Insurance; Job; Mom; Money; Moved; Normal; Outlook; Political; Prepared; Presidential campaign; Renting; School; Storm; Tree


52:19 - Message of the storm

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:What will you tell your children or your grandchildren about the storm?

Segment Synopsis: Bulvid believes the storm should have been covered more and there should have been more help. She also believes the legacy of the storm is the destroyed Jersey Shore and how they rebuilt the boardwalk.

Keywords: Accident; Boardwalks; Car; Children; Christie; Coverage; Devastation; Garbage; Help; Hurricane Sandy; Jersey shore; Legacy; Message; Storm; Tax money


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