Laurie Notaro and Her Fellow "Idiot Girls" Help a Friend in Need After Hurricane Sandy

Laurie Notaro is an author, crafter, and expert at finding a good cocktail. She grew up in Phoenix, but is currently based in Eugene, Oregon. Each week, she'll be joining us to share a crafting adventure, draw a flowchart, or remember a few of her favorite things about Phoenix. This week, she's on a mission to help a friend who lost everything in Hurricane Sandy.

My friend Lucille Ascolillo, who lives in Ship Bottom, New Jersey, kept posting as Hurricane Sandy began to beat at her house that sits on Long Beach Island, a barrier island that faces the Atlantic Ocean.

Despite the order to evacuate, her 19-year-old son named Franky is a fire fighter on the island and she was determined not to leave him -- aside from the fact that she couldn't find a shelter that would also take her dog. She wasn't going to leave Sandy, ironically the dog's name, on the island alone, either.

From her posts, Lucille's friends keep track of the storm: First, the neighbor's patio furniture is blown away, then another's neighbor's boat is lost. Then the cable, internet and power go out. Then water begins seeping into the house and quickly, the house is flooded an hour before high tide. And then there's nothing. No posts.

Nothing from Lucille until hours, almost a day later, when she reappears on Facebook to tell everyone that she and her husband Bobby are safe with their children and Sandy. They'd been rescued by the National Guard. Lucille says they are sheltering at the fire station where Franky is a firefighter. We are all okay, she assures everyone, but that everything is gone -- the house, the cars, everything.

"I can't believe I'm homeless," she types, closing out her post.

The Ascolillos lost everything except what they were wearing and the oncology medication for Bobby, Lucille's husband. Bobby was a first responder on 9/11 at the World Trade Center. He spent nine months clearing the debris site at Ground Zero and has since developed terminal esophageal cancer as a result.

He and Lucille moved to Ship Bottom in order to spend whatever time he had left in the most beautiful place they could think of. Because of the high cost of Bobby's medical treatment, the Ascolillos did not have renter's insurance, and nothing they owned was covered. Their cars were also submerged during the flooding, and wont be covered under their auto insurance because of the water damage.

I know Lucille because she read my books, and we have corresponded frequently for the last several years. We have never met, but I know we'd fall into the fast-paced banter of old friends if we ever did. She's hilarious and sharp and is a constant presence on my Facebook page.

So I went to Facebook to let other readers know that someone we knew was in trouble and that maybe we could help out -- make something shitty a little less shitty. Someone suggested starting a page on Kickstarter, but the circumstances didn't meet the guidelines. Someone else suggested, a fundraising site.

Within 20 minutes, we had an account and url ( I posted it to Facebook and sent an email blast to people on my mailing list.

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Laurie, I LOVE you. And Sasha. And Wendy. And every one of your readers. Thank you! xoxoxoxo

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