Tuesday, September 13, 2005
First Day Back
Our subdivision has a different water company than most of the city and our neighborhood in particular is still on the "must boil" alert. It still tests positive for bacteria. So, I stopped at the FEMA supply station this morning where hordes of FEMA workers very efficiently directed cars through the stations, opened my trunk and loaded it up with water, ice and a case of MRE's (meals ready to eat), and then hustled me out of there. No, I did not ask them to smile for the picture. The security folks had HUGE guns and made me nervous. They were there to do their job, not to mess around. We'll have to go back for more water tomorrow, and ice for the neighbors who had to toss their fridge.
I also went to St. Margaret Mary school where the Army Corps of Engineers has set up their office to help homeowners with the temporary "blue roof tarps". More than half of my neighbors have them already. We got on the list, but it will be another week or two before they get to us. I hope it doesn't rain before then. We can get some real frog chokers here. I can't seem to get a hold of my friend who is still holed up in a hotel in Texas to see if I can get a blue roof for her house which needs it very badly. From what I could see in the front door window of her house, it must have gotten water inside too because the mold is growing about 18 inches up the walls and all her neighbors have their carpet out on the street already. I can only imagine what it smells like in there right now. :-(
I also stopped by our insurance agent's office. We are on the list with an adjuster, but I was told not to try to repair anything until he looks at it first. We have no idea when he will be able to show up. I also tried to go to the bank that was open today, but the line was all the way out the door, so I gave up.
We worked for hours trying to pick up all the fiberglass insulation that is all over the place. We were actually using the shop vac to try to suck it up. It worked a little. Hubby cut down the tree that fell and hauled some of it to the curb. We'll need a truck or something to remove the stump. We also propped some of the fence up and removed the more dangerous parts. Almost every fence post will have to be dug up and replaced when we eventually repair the whole thing. They are all bent or broken at the base. Pretty amazing considering they are made of steel.
We made a little area for the dogs to run around in, and they are so happy to be out of that little crate. I worked hard on my freezer and even used a pressure washer, but I think it's hopeless. I tried to help my neighbor's with their fridge, but the pressure washer revealed an area where maggots had gotten deep inside the walls where we could not clean, so then I helped them haul it to the curb! Everything stinks. Stink stink stink.
There is garbage everywhere and blue roofs all over the place. People are working hard and helping each other, but everyone looks so tired. They have lost jobs, homes (many are living with friends in our neighborhood), and some have already moved away permanently and rented out their home to the contractors who are in town.
We found the kid's playhouse one street over and all the way at the end of the street. We walked up to it carefully in case it had landed on the Wicked Witch of the East. I'm sure her name must have been Katrina. The playhouse was badly broken and we couldn't find its roof anywhere so we left it there for now.
It is so crowded here and the traffic is double what it usually is. There are FEMA trucks, Red Cross people, insurance company catastrophe teams, police, disaster relief volunteers from other states, and tons of contractors, builders and tree removal people. Helicopters fly over every few minutes. Hubby and I had a long talk with the kids at dinner tonight about all the new strangers in town. There are already many strange men working in our neighborhood. We want the kids to be extra aware with so many strangers around. There will likely be plenty of them in town for months to come.
I am unable to send email from my regular email account because of this crazy dial-up AOL account. I'll have to work on that tomorrow. One more thing for the list. At least we are able to have internet at all. Oh, and hey, Devra, I took a picture of the Daquiri place which looked ok, but they were definitely not open. Tonight, I will be opening my teensy tiny emergency bottle of Bailey's Irish Creme that you sent me for emergencies only. If this isn't an emergency, then I don't know what is. I live in a freakin' disaster area!