Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Mucho Gracias and Answered Questions

O.k. First of all, I just want to say thanks to all of you who have stuck with me through the blogging of my Katrina experience. I know it was tedious at times and sometimes it was overwhelming, but I’m glad I got it out.

Thanks, too, to all who commented and linked. I do appreciate it and believe me, I read EVERY comment!

In the comments section, several of you asked some questions and made some observations that I’d like to acknowledge.

After this post, it will officially serve as the closing of this chapter in my life.

Thanks again.

(click on the person's name below to get directed to their blog)

Sassy-I’m so sorry to hear of your cousin’s townhome. I worked with a few people who had water to their ceilings and truly did lose EVERYTHING. That broke my heart. To imagine the loss of not only material possessions but your memories as well. I’ve seen pics like that (the black line of mold along the walls, the tossed appliances, etc…) and you’re right, the pictures don’t do it justice. And, technically, I’m not a Jeff girl. I lived in Orleans, but right past the Jeff line. I know peeps in the Ridge, too! Light of my life actually didn’t know any different when it came to starting kindergarten in a different school. Since she had only been to daycare (which was a combo pre-school, too), she was going to attend a new school that fall anyway. It just so happened that it was in MS instead of LA. Now, her first grade year, that was a different story. That was harder on her and on me since we were back in LA (and knowing that we were going to move the next year…again!) and having to go to a new school (the school she was originally to attend before Katrina) with new people. She LOVED her school in Flowood and missed it terribly.

Jenboglass-I’m glad to hear that at least one candidate mentioned Katrina. Hopefully, they’ll still have NOLA in mind when whoever comes to office. They could still use the assistance down there. Thanks for all your thoughts during this saga. And it was a little like Christmas running all through the house…all excited to see our things again and to see the non-damage. Yeah, we loved Freddy. He actually lived about another 6 months before finally passing away. I tell you though, it was a hardship for him, too. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that animals don’t feel things. Before the storm, he was a placid little fellow but after….he was mean. I mean, really mean. He would attack the inside of the bowl and would swim furiously if you tapped on the glass. I love how you dumped the Vamps novels for my story. That’s high praise indeed!

Rhea-Thanks for all your support during the story. Yeah, hearing about the levees breaking just about broke me down. I was already stressed enough as it was with the not being able to react and having to stay “on” all the time. Yeah, Anderson Cooper is gay. Not confirmed, mind you, but it’s pretty much a given. Remind me to tell you my story about seeing him. Did your family make it out OK with Gustav? I tell you, it looked like a third world country after the storm hit. It was eerie and smelly and…heartbreaking. It was hard to believe that this was IN a US city. Yeah, the insurance covered all the damages. The few things that weren’t covered, we were able to replace with some excess insurance money (that was legitimately owed).

Kat-Do you ever hear any flak about having the same name? Unfortunately, that storm has ruined that name for me. I always thought it was such a romantic, mysterious name, but not any more. Anytime I hear it, I automatically think people are talking about the storm. That makes me sad. I’m so glad to hear about your church sending the youth to Biloxi. They really needed the help over there. Dealing with Gustav was pretty rough. The same nasty butterfly feelings came back. I had problems in the bathroom area, if you know what I mean. I wasn’t even going through the storm, personally, but it was a combination of PTSD and worrying for my friends and family still in NOLA. Thanks for the good thoughts. Light of my life dealt with seeing things first hand pretty well. She decided to skip out on seeing the house the first day, but when she finally decided to go, she was o.k. When she saw that all her stuff, for the most part, was o.k. I think the worry she was holding on to finally let go. I did take her on a tour of the most devastated parts of the city so she could see, first hand, the devastating effects of a hurricane. I think that was the first time I saw any empathy from her. Being 5 years old, that was a big deal. The flood lines do linger. You can still see them on some people’s houses to this day. The fridge, by far, was the worst part. At least, physically. Emotionally, it was seeing all the devastation all around the city. We moved away from the city in August of 2007 and my mom followed the next month after she sold the house (to the neighbors that helped us out during the storm…coincidentally enough!).

Insane Mama-I think any kind of natural disaster is bad. I’m sorry that you have to deal with earthquakes. As much as I hate hurricanes, at least they give us some time to get the heck out of dodge before the devastation arrives. With earthquakes and tornadoes, you really don’t have much of a chance.

Tamie-Thanks for stopping by and reading! I don’t know if I 100% blame the mayor for everything that happened after. I do feel he’s to blame for lots of the fumbling and the mistakes that occurred afterwards, but I think it’s a combination of the government and the citizens. I strongly feel that the citizens should have heeded the warnings far earlier than they did (I’m talking about the ones that evacuated real late or didn’t evacuate at all). To me, it’s logical. You live on and/or near the water, a hurricane’s coming, you make the preparations to either evacuate or ride it out. None of this counting on the government to help you out of the circumstances that you created. I’m specifically referring to those citizens that you saw all over the news wearing Tommy Hilfiger clothes, with the 2 inch manicured nails and all the gold jewelry. Those people obviously had some sort of means to get out of dodge and chose not to. However, since you can’t get people to think logically 100% of the time and there are human lives at stake, I do think the government should have done a better job of taking care of those that did stay behind and were stuck in the city. That’s all I’m gonna say about that.

Lime-Thanks for stopping by! I think that’s awesome that your husband and daughter helped out the 9th ward. I love hearing about all the support from those outside of the state. It warms my heart and is much appreciated. And, yes, it’s still shocking to see how much devastation is still around.

Jennifer and Sandi-Ahhh…another hurricane survivor. I remember Andrew. I was in school at the time, but my mom (working in the insurance industry) had to go down there to work the storm. She was changed by the experience.

Minivan Mom- (If you haven’t given to her cause yet, please click on the link above the current post…you still have time to give). Tracey, for those of you who don’t know her, is one of the Yahoo group members that I mentioned in my last Katrina post. She (and the rest of the ladies) went out of their way to make sure that my family and myself were safe and sound and fully entertained. I am forever grateful to them for all of their support. This goes for Mary and Karen as well (I mention them specifically since they commented).

Ron-Thanks for stopping by! Yeah, I went through one hurricane that affected Orlando directly, but since Disney didn’t let us off of work the day it passed through, it couldn’t have been too bad. I don’t really remember it too well.

Afro-You’re welcome for remembering the brave, wonderful, stoic people of Mississippi during this time. I truly believe that these people were some of the real heroes during all of this. In my own personal opinion, they are the quiet survivors of this devastating storm and should be recognized as such. Like I mentioned to Kat above, the emotions from Katrina reared their ugly head again during Gustav. I didn’t rest until I had all my peeps accounted for. So cool to hear that your boys were born in Flowood. It was such a lovely city to while away the year til the house was repaired. I really do think that it was best that I offered light of my life the chance to see the devastation first hand but I was absolutely 100% o.k. with her decision to back out at the last minute. There were times when I didn’t want to go either.

Heather-I think that was one of the worst parts, as well. The “not being able to communicate” aspect of it was killing me. Thanks for all your support.

MAW-Yep, the not being able to react about did me in. I did manage to sneak off on long walks and cry and yell and shake and bitch and moan. So, I did eventually get some release. But, never at the exact moment I needed it. Don’t you love how karma works? I’m referring to your landlord/plumbing story in the comments. Served him right! I have not seen Déjà Vu….yet. I may, but I don’t know when I’ll be able to stomach it.

Maggie, Dammit-Thanks for stopping by and thanks for the support. I also want to commend you on your beautiful post and the support that you and Lance give to the city of New Orleans.

Trooper-Ahhhh……my pillar of support. Not only has he read faithfully, but he’s linked to me and sent me a private e-mail…and no, all you ladies out there can’t have his e-mail address OR know his real name like I do! Nanny, nanny, boo, boo. In terms of your questions and observations, I don’t really know what was worse. The not knowing anything make me nervous as all get out but I felt so helpless knowing that even if I knew anything, I couldn’t do anything about it. Both gnawed at me day and night. I debated long and hard over whether or not to take light of my life to see the house, but in the end, I felt it was a more of a disservice to her NOT to take her. Or at least, not to give her the option of going. The drive into town felt like a Twilight Zone episode. The stillness and quietness was eerie. I kept expecting to see aliens or Godzilla stamp his foot down right in front of our car as we were driving. And, yes, it was therapeutic to write all this down. I didn’t realize how much I needed to do so until I did it. It was so hard to talk to people after the storm. I couldn’t talk to my aunt about it because I felt guilty that she suffered so much worse than we did and I couldn’t really talk to someone who had not been through it because they didn’t really understand. Through discussing it with a few people and finally getting this down on “paper”, it’s truly helped enormously. I never thought of blogging as therapeutic, but, I guess, in this case, it is. And I’m grateful.

Lisa-Thanks for stopping by and reading…and yeah, I’m pretty sure Anderson is gay. You’re right, he is easy on the eyes. Sigh…..

Captain Dumbass-That was the most bizarre story I’ve heard (about the fire in the town your mom lived in). Government is so stupid some times. Glad to know no one lost their homes. Thanks for your reading and support. I’m glad I could drive home the story to those who just watched it on TV and read in on-line.

Melissa B-Thanks for stopping by and reading! Thankfully Gustav passed them by this time. I am NOT the mammadawg that created that award. That’s actually Mamma Dawg and if you click on her name, you can get directed to her.

Uberburber-Thanks for stopping by and reading. Yeah, I’m thinking of trying to get tragiversary into the dictionary. I think it’s fitting.

Robin-Thanks for stopping by and supporting and reading. I’m just so glad to hear that your dad’s doing better.

Lula-I can’t believe I’m the only firsthand account that you’ve ever read! I thought for sure you might have known someone that was affected. Thanks for the support. I loved that pic of Mike peeking through the pillows. He got in there all by himself. To this day, I still don’t know how he did it.

Mekhismom-Thanks for stopping by and reading. It really has been a wonderful outlet to get all this out.

Jen-Thanks for reading.

Scargosun-You know, life is too short to be miserable all the time. I never knew if I was a glass half empty or a glass half full person until after Katrina. I’m happy to report that I’m a glass half full person.

LiteralDan-Thanks for your support.

Jen721-Awww…thanks for stopping by and reading. I’m glad to know that I opened some peoples eyes to the utter devastation that these storms can cause. It truly is a sight to behold.

Anymommy-Thanks for stopping by and reading. I appreciate the kind words and the support.

Greedygrace-Thanks for reading and supporting. I appreciate it.

John Deere Mom-Thanks for stopping by. I’m glad I could make it real for others.

For those interested, my friends that stayed with me during Gustav went home on Wednesday and they appear to have minimal to no damage. It looks like Ike may bypass them as well.

Fingers crossed.

Later,

9 really cool people who give a rat's patootie:

Lula!

You rock my world. Yeah. For real.

Maggie, Dammit

You're awesome. Those posts were amazing. I hope they brought some peace.

sassy stephanie

So glad to hear Gus didn't rip it too hard for your friends.

Thanks again for sharing this story.

Kat

Thank you for doing this series. And for answering my millions of questions. I find blogging so therapeutic. Even when I am not writing about what is on my mind.

And no, I really don't get flack from my name. More teasing, really. I still don't get why people still ask me to spell it.

Complaint Department Manager

I'm glad that the damage was at a minimum, I really had my concerns about the "rebuild" of New Orleans. So much bureacracy and not enough getting done, just like before. As a resident of the area, did you find that enough was getting done? Do you feel like they learned their lesson on not being prepared and take the welfare of people like yourself seriously?

jenboglass

Thank you, thank you for all the Katrina Posts. I had my family and friends read them. I haven't come across anyone who had experienced this and even though we've never met face to face, you brought your story to life and it touched me deeply.

Rhea

You're awesome to share your story and answer everyone's questions so thoroughly!

My poor 75 yr old grandmother in Baton Rouge is still without power from Gustav (going on a week now) and they two more weeks til her power is back on. TWO MORE weeks. And Ike is headed this way...

Needless to say, my mom's sending her a ticket to come stay with us.

Jennifer and Sandi

Mucho Gracias Tambien!!


- Jennifer

Mekhismom

Great post. Seems I have been missing alot by not being introduced to your blog. So glad you stopped by my blog for BATW.

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