September 11, 2001: Are We At War?

It is hard for me to believe that of all of the days to not blog about, this day 9/11/01, would be one of the days that I missed and did not return to until more than six years later when I added this entry in December, 2007. In fact, no entries for the entire month of September were recorded for over six years leaving this critical point in history rather a blank in my recorded memory. Of all of the days that I have written about I imagine that more people have looked to see what I have had to say about this day than any other and have been left wanting.

I awoke to the phone ringing. My cell phone. Eric Millen was calling me from his office at the University of Rochester Medical Center’s Strong Hospital where he worked as the manager of the waste processing facility there. (As of December, 2007 he is still working in that capacity at that facility.) At the time that he called it was early in the morning and I had been planning on sleeping in late because Dominica and I were due to drive down to Washington, D.C. that evening and I was getting plenty of sleep before making the drive.

Dominica had gone to work. At this time she was living in Enfield in her small studio apartment there. She was working in a bio-chem lab in Ithaca and was at work already by the time that Eric Millen called me.

Eric just told me to turn on the television. I ran upstairs to the living room (my bedroom was located in the basement) and turned on the television. Luckily at the time the house was splitting the cost of having Time-Warner Cable so I was able to get the news right away on the 32″ Sony Trinitron that served as our house television. The Northern WTC tower was impacted at 8:46 am so this was several minutes after this when I received the call.

At the time that I turned on the television the first of the twin World Trade Center towers had already been hit by an airliner and was smoking badly. It was early yet and no one knew what was going on other than the fact that New York and Washington were in chaos and panic. The second plane had hit the Pentagon but we were not hearing too much about that yet. The news was mostly showing live footage from Manhattan.

I ran upstairs to Andy’s room and woke him up telling him that he needed to come down and watch the news. He didn’t believe me that anything was going on but I finally convinced him to get up as we didn’t know if the country was under attack or what. At this point the news was very sketchy and no one knew what was going on at all.

Andy and I spent the morning just watching the news as events unfolded. There was so little information. You really couldn’t afford to leave the television for any length of time.

We were watching early enough that we were watching, live, as the Manhattan reporter spoke to the world and over his shoulder the second airliner crashed into the second tower. The south WTC tower was hit at 9:03 am. So thus far only seventeen minutes have passed since the time that the first plane hit, Eric called me, I woke up Andy and now we have seen the second plane impact.

It was one of the strangest feelings ever – seeing the second WTC tower get hit by an airliner while the reporter was obliviously talking to the camera. And then watching his reaction as his camera crew sees it happen and then he whips around to see it himself. News doesn’t normally happen like this in American and never before in a place that I knew so well.

It was another forty minutes before the third plane hit the Pentagon in Alexandria, Virginia. By this point we were beginning to become very alarmed. When it was only New York that had been attacked it seemed very isolated regardless of how much destruction there was. But once another site hundreds of miles away – and a military target at that – had been hit then the scope of things seemed to be changing. And to make it all more personal, every building that was hit was a building that I had been in at one point or another.

I took a tour of the Pentagon with Nathan Parker in 1993 while we were in Washington, D.C. on our “Close Up” trip. And I had been to the top of the World Trade Center’s Observation Deck in 1997 with Leanne Cooley while on a music department performance trip to New York City while I was doing my degree in Music Performance at Monroe Community College. And, by this point, I had living in Alexandria for six months of my life and had commuted past the Pentagon during most of that time. It was a familiar sight for me on the road.

It was 10:05, almost an hour and a half since this ordeal began and just over an hour since Andy and I started watching the news that we witnessed the collapsing of the south World Trade Center tower. This is the first building that we see be totally destroyed. And once again, the crisis was escalating.

Five minutes after the first tower collapsed we received reports of a fourth hijacked plane crashing into rural Pennsylvania. We have no idea when this is going to be over and the government has no plan for dealing with what is unfolding. All that has been done at this point is that the FAA has closed all US airspace and all inbound flights are being diverted to Canada. A first in US history.

Two minutes before 10:30 the north tower of the World Trade Center collapses bringing the disasters of the day to a close. But it will be some time before we know what is going on and that we are all confident that the day is over. It has been the most riveting two hours of my life and for just about anyone in America on this day.

Dominica was at work while all this was happening and did not get the news as early as we did. But her office did get a television, I believe, so that they could watch the news and she was following the events of the day as they were happening.

At four in the afternoon a small tower, Building Seven of the World Trade Center was reported to be on fire. Five years later (March, 2006) I would take a position with a company in the New York Metro Area and end up working in one of the offices that was evacuated from Building Seven and subsequently relocated to Warren, New Jersey.

My morning was cut short, however, as there was work to be done. Shortly after the “events” of the morning seemed to have settled down I was contacted by one of the guys who worked down at Lucente Homes and said that they needed me to come down and work with them as quickly as possible. The urgency was so high that he actually drove up to the house at Sanctuary where I was watching the news to pick me up.

My morning was spent as the technical adviser as Lucente Homes split into two companies. I had been working to a limited degree with Lucente Homes for the past year or so but this was a major change. Things had to move extremely quickly so we actually spent time today physically visiting Ithaca’s local Compaq vendor (this is before the HP buyout of Compaq) and getting much needed computers and equipment for the new company, Lifestyle Properties, ordered as quickly as possible. I spent most of the day working to get the new office up and running.

It was a long and busy day.  I can’t believe that we were working even with everything that was going on.

After Dominica got home from work she and I had to drive down to Arnold, Maryland as we were scheduled to spend a few days down in Washington.  She had decided to come along with me when I went down to work down there this week.

It would have been about six in the evening when we were finally able to leave for Maryland.  That means that it would have been just before midnight when Dominica and I would have arrived at John Nicklin’s condo on Bay Dale.

Well, believe it or not, the Mazda has to go back into the shop this week. This time the speaker on the driver’s door, the antenna, the dash board radio faceplate all need to be fixed because they were not put back together the last time that the car was in the shop and the front license plate holder needs to be attached to the car now that it has finally arrived at the shop. So the saga continues. In addition to this story, there is also a side story…

I have been going to the same dealer now for a few weeks to have the RX-7 worked on up in Canandaigua. I have talked with them about getting a 2002 Mazda Protege5, standard in Yellow (yes, just like the Zoom Zoom ads.) I was told that I could not order the car and that I would have to get something else because Mazda had not yet decided whether or not they were going to make the yellow cars since they took such an effort to paint. Well, I wasn’t too happy about that since the Mazda web site and publications had led me to believe that I could get this car. So, I went up there on Friday to order either a blue or silver Protege5 instead. When I arrived at the dealer, I saw a yellow Protege5 in the back of the lot. I went inside and talked to the salesman and asked about the car. He informed me that that one was not for sale because someone had ordered it. I asked why someone else had been allowed to order one and I had not been since they obviously knew that the car was coming when they told me that it was not being made since it would have to have shipped by that time. I was told that they &quotmust have had a good reason.” Well, that gave me a good enough reason to hop into the RX-7 and haul my butt up to Rochester and drive right into John Holtz Porsche-Audi-Mazda on West Henrietta Road. I walked in the door and asked if they could order me a Yellow. 5-Speed 2002 Protege5 with a sunroof. They said sure. I said ” I’ll take it.” They said, &quotThat is the lowest pressure sale that we have ever made.” So, now I have the car that I want on order and it should be arriving in 2-4 months.

So that is the exciting world of Scott’s cars recently. At least the RX-7 has been running well now. That is a big relief.

The new house is still not done. Today is four weeks after when we were “expected” to move in. There is no sewer line run yet so that is holding things off just a little bit. They ran six Ethernet lines into Loopy and my rooms but didn’t know how to terminate them (as if there weren’t Ethernet lines in every other room of the house and in every other house that they had built) so we had to spell it out for the electrician. Who knows when the house is going to be done. Today we cancelled our second truck scheduled for the move. Anthony has been living in the basement here in our old house now for two weeks and Tim had to move into the dining room today. This place is starting to get a little bit crowded. I am looking more and more seriously at buying a house and putting all of this nonsense behind me. Our lease is getting shorter everyday that we are not moved into that house. Soon it won’t even be worth the effort of moving. Part of me hopes that the whole things just falls through so that we don’t have to deal with it anymore. It is just such a hassle and it isn’t getting us anywhere.

The font has been moved back up to the old size because we got a lot of complaints and no one really seemed to be liking the new smaller font. I am going to try to keep these updates coming, especially now that the school year is back in session and everyone checks the page all of the time. Look for some new pictures soon since this weekend is the infamous Party at the Pond. At least we don’t have to worry about moving during the party.

Finally we have some good news about the car! Nate and I drove up to Farmington (north of Canandaigua) to pick up the car and when we got there, they had magically fixed the window. So, needless to say we are very happy that our window is now in good working order.

Today is Dominica and Mandy’s birthdays so everyone give them a good spanking when you see them. We will be celebrating with a big Llama party down at Maxie’s Supper Club on State Street tonight and then a migration over to the Bear Lodge in College Town for some karaoke.

Not much to report since yesterday. I have been putting in a lot of time on the Ithacaportal.com site. The new changes aren’t up yet but I think that everyone is going to like the new facelift when it goes online sometime in the next few weeks.

Tomorrow Eric, Nate and I are taking Josh out for his first ever round of golf. This will be dangerous.

So the car is still in the shop and they weren’t even able to fix the problem. They said that to get the window to go up and down that we would probably spend $3000 in addition to the $500 that we already spent. So guess what work we aren’t having done. That really sucks. So the car managed to get stuck in the shop and then when we tried to go and get it, the shop closed mysteriously and we weren’t able to get it. The worst part is that we had them leave the window down instead of up on the car (it is a convertible, it is more useful that way) and then it rained for three days straight while the car was in the lot at the garage. Normally we would be able to put the cover on the car but not this one time. What a pain.

Yesterday Sara, Josh, Dominica and I all went up the west side of Cayuga Lake on the Wine Trail to do some tasting. That was a lot of fun. We ended up buying 40-50 bottles of wine, two bags of chocolates, two wine racks, a bottle opener and who knows what else. They made out on us. There is some great wine here though. It is really nice to have such a wonderful resource so nearby.

On Saturday (the 18th) Nate, Sara, Dominica, Amanda, Eric and I went out to Hillendale at 7:00 am and played Best Ball Golf. That was a blast. Eric and Amanda had never played before. Sara and Dominica ended up winning but Eric managed to play better than anyone but Sara. Which is amazing since he has never played before. He and Amanda had so much fun playing nine holes that they then went to the driving range that afternoon and hit two buckets of balls. I am challenging Eric to a game with Josh and I on Wednesday in Rochester to see if he can beat me again.

Today is Joe’s (Dominica’s little brother) birthday and tomorrow is Dominica’s so don’t forget to tell them happy birthday if you see them. Tomorrow is also Mandy’s (Nate’s cousin who used to live in the first Llama apartment before most of the Llama’s moved in) birthday too. So we are all headed to Maxie’s Supper Club tomorrow for dinner and then to the Bear Lodge in Collegetown for Karaoke.