Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Hurricane Katrina - Our Story - Part 2

On Monday it is a wait and see game as news coverage is scarce at first. We initially think all is generally ok in New Orleans. (I mean not what it would ultimately turn into.) Ya know, normal storm damage. By Monday night we start to see photos of houses cut in half by pine trees from our area. The photos of extensive tree damage start to frighten us. We are scouring NOLA forums looking for info about our neighborhood and our house. We find a woman who posts that she is going the next day to our street to check her parents house. We give her our house address and she promises to check our house and report back to us when she returns to Baton Rouge and can get internet again. So we wait. I am sick to my stomach.

Hubby is consumed with work. His vacation has turned into running things from our hotel while his boss (at the time) tries to figure out what to do. We think we are going back soon - until the flooding of New Orleans starts.

On Tuesday we got the email. I actually was the first to read it. I remember checking my email and seeing the woman from the forum's email in my inbox. I started shaking. I just knew it was not going to be good. By this time I had seen way to many photos with trees on houses from our area to think that my very wooded lot was spared from having any fall. And so many are very close to our house.

I opened the email. I remember it being about two lines of text that said our house had a tree on it and she was sorry about our lose. WHAT? What does that mean I yelled out loud. Hubby read it. He got angry. He said how could someone write that and not explain in more detail. Was the whole house destroyed? Did it look like those houses cut in half? I quivered with fear and thought the worse. I didn't cry. Just stood stunned and silent. Hubby furiously wrote back as nicely as he could muster to please give more details. She said she wasn't going back until the next day and would take another look and pictures and email them to us. So again we waited. . .

Feeling helpless we walked down to the hotel restaurant. We went in silence. The entire hotel staff knew where we were from and were always asking if we heard anything yet. As we walked to the restaurant I couldn't look up and make eye contact out of fear of them asking. We slid into a booth by the window overlooking the beach. I looked out towards the water and spotted my 2.5 year old daughter romping around with my parents. I started to sob. The waiter walked up and handed us the menus, saw me crying and knew. He said simply, "I'm sorry" and walked away. He must have told others as the manager came by and told us that we could stay at the hotel as long we needed. He then brought us iced teas. I don't recall ordering or eating.

In the meantime, we had a lot of preparations and decisions to make. By now we know there is no returning home. We don't know where hubby will be going to work yet. We don't know when we can even go to our house. Entire area closed. We don't even know what is wrong with it. We have dogs in Tallahassee with a friend who also needs to go wherever my husband goes. So again we wait for direction from Scott's boss on where they will go. That will determine where I and My Girl will go. If his business goes to Dallas, I will go with him and we will stay with his parents. If the busineess goes to the other two city options then I will drive home with my parents from VA and stay with them until further notice. So I can't cancel my flight or change it yet. We decided to at least stay at the hotel a few more days. That was the only certain we had in our life at that time.

On Wednesday, no email with pictures came. The woman sent a message that there were 2trees on our house. One on the left side. One on the right side. Looks bad. She had a difficult time getting to our house to see it. What? Can't get to our house? We sighed. Ok. Still don't know how bad, but at least that is a bit more info. At that point we would take anything. We appreciate her efforts. We feel bad about our initial anger. In retrospect, how could one not feel so emotional?

Hubby's boss decides on Dallas. Good. Now we can move forward with whatever plans.

First problem. We are in VA. Dogs are in FL. Gotta get all of us to Dallas. Can't fly to FL, get dogs and drive to Dallas. NO GAS ANYWHERE between Tallahassee and Dallas. Friend evac'd with dogs in Tallahasee can't get gas to take on road with him. Can't even find gas cans. He is sending his wife and kids to Philadelphia to his mother's house.

What to do? My best friend, Jen, has been in contact with me telling me to tell her how she can help. I call her and ask a favor you can only ask on a best friend. I ask her to drive 5 hrs one way to pick up my dogs and keep them at her house for an undetermined amount of time. She agrees immediately. Her husband? Not so hot on the idea. She doesn't care.

But first, I must find a kennel to keep them at overnight since our friend must leave Tallahasee on Thursday and Jen can't get to the dogs until Friday. I google kennels in the area. Call and explain the situation of one person dropping and another picking up. She asks if they have shot records. I freeze. I think, "Please don't let this one thing ruin what is turning into a feasible plan!" I say no and explain where we are at and where we live and that our vet is not even open or in town to fax records. She kindly apologizes and says not to worry about records. They will take the dogs and just keep them together in a kennel seperate from all the others. I breathe a sign of relief. One problem down. Many more to go . . .

Jen and her hubby drive to get the dogs. When they arrive both dogs had been nicely groomed by the kennel. No charge. They stop half way home at a waterfront restaurant that they have frequented in the past when scuba diving in the area. The waitress finds out the mission they are on and tells them they can bring the dogs out on the restaurant patio while they eat. So they take her up on the offer. The dogs lay at their feet and sleep. Jen's hubby is amazed at how well behaved they are and admits to her that he was not hot on the idea of a 10hour round trip to get them but he prayed to God how he could help the people of New Orleans and got the answer that he needed to do his part by helping us and this was how. He knew we would do the same for them.

That was Sept 4th. They kept the dogs until Nov. 11th.

Continue to Part 3

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Hey, I hope you had a nice weekend. I have an award for YOU on my blog! :)