We got home tonight about an hour before sunset. I walked around my neighborhood for the first thirty minutes with my mouth hanging open. The pictures don't really prepare you for the overall amount of destruction that is here. Instead of suburbia, I feel like I live at the city dump. Everything is a huge mess. And the smell is really really bad. Most of the smell is from the rotting household garbage that hasn't been picked up yet.
For those of you who are wondering how I am online already, it's the first thing I did after I came inside. Our regular cable internet connection is out indefinitely, so I am on a slow AOL dial up that I arranged immediately. Except for this computer, we have almost no contact with the outside world. We can't get tv. We have no newspaper. I can't even get the radio station that we are supposed to be able to get. If another hurricane were coming right now, we wouldn't even know it. I feel like my computer is my only link to the real world right now.
The destruction of the trees and interstate signs got worse and worse the closer we got to home. It's strange driving down the interstate with almost no signs to tell you what city is at each exit. We passed a huge convoy of animal control vehicles coming this way. I wonder if they were coming to help relocate a few alligators.
When we pulled into my neighborhood, I almost turned down the wrong street because it was all so unrecognizable. I haven't even seen any of the nearby neighborhoods yet. The nieghbors were all outside and happy to see us returning.
Lots of stuff is up and running already, which is good. And most people in my neighborhood have come home. Chain saws were buzzing to cut down fallen trees. The corps of engineers has been helping people put big blue tarps on all the roof tops. We're going tomorrow to get our house on the list because it definitely needs one. The traffic lights are all working. Two grocery stores are open, and gas is available again.
I worked on the fridge for about 3 hours taking it all apart and re-cleaning every crevass. I also figured out how to remove the horrid drip tray and about gagged. I think it will be fine though. The freezer in the garage is another story. I don't think it will ever recover.
I was wondering how I would feel when I got here. I think shock is a good word. Also, scared. Just knowing that our home is in a hurricane alley is an uneasy feeling, especially after seeing what it can do. I feel like we'll always be looking over our shoulder for the next one.
Tomorrow morning we have to call the environmental services office to find out about our water because we are not on the same water system as the rest of the city. Then we're going to take down the plywood from the windows, build a temporary dog pen, check out our banking situation, and get some help with our roof. And that's just for tomorrow. We've started a long list of other things to after that. It's hard to know where to begin.