Saturday, February 18, 2006
Happy Mardi Gras!
So there are some people out there still checking out our blog! My apologies for having not updated it in so long. It’s a
rainy cold day in New Orleans but it’s carnival! The World’s Greatest Free Show goes on, in fact 5 parades are rolling down
St. Charles Ave today. They started at noon and every once and awhile the sound of a marching band drifts in. There are some
people who think Mardi Gras shouldn’t happen since so many people are still displaced from their home, stuck in Houston, Atlanta,
etc. Mardi Gras is like Christmas, even if there were no parades, people would still get in costumes, throw beads, catch beads,
and make merry. If City Hall decided not to put up a tree for Christmas, would that mean Christmas isn’t happening? Of course
not. Plus the parades aren’t paid for by the city, they are paid for by the krewes that ride the floats in the parade. The
city has to pay for trash pick up and overtime for police officers. So get down here and spend your money and catch some beads.
If you can find a hotel room. My father’s coming for a visit, today as a matter of fact. He was trying for next weekend, closer
to my birthday, but all hotels were booked. Several of the larger hotels downtown still have not reopened and others still
have people living in them. FEMA’s new cut off date is March 7. I think there are still people living on the cruise ship too.
The FEMA trailers in the park behind our house sit empty. The workmen have been gone for weeks, and the newspaper said people
were supposed to move in Feb. 14. Doesn’t look like that has happened.
1:54 pm pst
Is everything back to normal? Hardly. In our part of town we still only get trash picked up once a week and no recycling.
Mail delivery is regular but it still takes a long time for mail to reach us. Still no bulk mail, magazines or third class
mail. FedEx and UPS seems to be doing better. There are still part of the city that don’t have mail delivery. Or gas, electricity,
phone, water, cable... I was reading a story in the paper today, the guy said he goes over to his father’s house to shower
because he has gas for hot water, and his father comes over to his house because he has electricity. People are living in
gutted homes making due. Many people have waited in vain for a FEMA trailer. The universities have reopened, but all at a
smaller scale. Large parts of the city are still disaster areas, like the hurricane happened a week ago, not 6 months. Water
mains continue to break so holes appear in streets either from the break or crews who have come to fix them. Traffic lights
go out frequently. Everyone around here has gotten much better at 4-way-stops since so many traffic lights are still out.
The upside, if your business is open, you are busy. Both Greg and I have more work than we know what to do with. Greg left
the company he was working part time and has rented a space in my office and is 100% on his own. People have become more politically
active. Groups keep forming for change - levee board consolidation, trash pick up groups, “Women of the Storm” -- a group
of women who went to DC to personally invite every senator and congress person to visit New Orleans and tour the destruction,
trip paid by the women. We will have elections in April. About 6 people have officially announced they are running for Mayor,
and a few others are pending. I still support our current mayor, even after his crazy “chocolate city” and “God is punishing
us” comments. Not only do you see Mardi Gras floats and costumes poking fun at blue tarps, MREs, and refrigerators, you also
see a lot of chocolate references. Tulane hospital said they are opening in time for Mardi Gras. That makes 3 functioning
hospitals in the city. Our favorite wine store has opened a mini-store a few blocks away while they rebuild their building.
And maybe best of all, JazzFest is happening. I’m very happy about that.
Sunday, January 1, 2006
Happy New Year!
Time to break out the new calendars. I actually had to go buy a calendar at Office Depot - normally I'd receive more than
I need from various organizations or vendors but this year received zip. Not even as a Christmas present! The post office
still isn't delivering bulk mail though one catalog did manage to sneak through.
6:38 pm pst
Greg and I celebrated the end of 2005 with Scott, Kristen and Ian. Dinner at Nirvana (Scott sweated profusely thanks to the
vindaloo), drinks at Dos Jeffe Cigar Bar then over to King Pin for more drinks and to ring in the new year. The crowd at both
bars was surprisingly thin. Just before midnight the bartender handed out noisemakers and champagne. After midnight he switched
off the jukebox we had loaded up with songs and played disco. Not sure why but we sang along and danced. Scott was so impressed
with my disco moves he asked if I'd be in his band's video. We headed back to our house. Greg pooped out so we hung out on
the side porch, greeting the neighbors as they made their way home.
We had breakfast at Slim Goodie's - the diner Greg and I had breakfast the day we came into New Orleans in September to get
a load of stuff to move to Houston. We then took Scott and Kristen on a driving tour of the "disaster zones" the
areas of town that had flood. Even now, 4 month later, these areas still look like a nuclear bomb went off - no people, gutted
houses with trash piles out front, a fine layer of white on everything, dead trees and yards. We went to areas I hadn't seen
yet - the infamous 17th street canal levee breach. The destruction was unimaginable. Cars had floated when the water rose
and were lodged on fences, on trees. One house the couch had floated then smashed through the front picture window, and sat
there, stuck and moldy. Houses had been pushed off their foundations. You could tell many houses no one has been back to do
anything. They may have perished in the flood so there isn't anyone to came back. By the levee breach, there was a tour bus
and a bunch of people climbing around the huge pile of dirt, taking photos. We had the windows down and I heard a man ask
"Is this the only levee that broke?" I yelled "NO!" and kept driving. We were all speechless. It was pointless
to take photos, you couldn't convey the destruction with a few photos. You have to be in it, seeing first hand how it stretched
block after block. I tried to find the house of someone I teach with at Delgado, I had been to his house once, but couldn't
tell which one it was. In this part of town, you can still smell the mold as you drove down the street. We passed by the trash
staging area on West End Blvd. with the huge mountains of debris. There's a huge median on West End, six times as wide as
Canal or St. Charles Ave., and this is where all the trash is brought before being sent to landfills. Trash is still picked
up and kept separate - yard waste, household stuff, building materials, environmentally hazardous materials and appliances.
Wish I had a dollar for every time one of us said "look at that..."
One can argue when New Years Eve passes nothing really changes. It's symbolic. Well... I received an e-mail from my service
provider that my DSL high-speed connection had been reestablished - one-day early! Two television stations returned to the
air today (yeah PBS!). So things really do change. All of this was really uplifting after today's sobering drive. Too bad
the Saints didn't win today (and I'm not even a fan. LSU stomping UofM was nice.)
I think mentally, a lot of people are glad to have 2005 behind us. The number of people back has increased, and things will
get stretched tight when the college students come back. Stores and restaurants are packed already. Hopefully more will open
soon. Trailers are started to show up. The park behind us has the trailers in place and they are hooking up the services.
They had to take down our neighbor's chain link fence but replaced it with a nice new wood fence. Little more privacy. Today
the workers have off. They've had crews back there working 7 am until 9 pm.
If you didn't see our holiday card, you can see it here: http://creativefatcat.com/ecard/cardart.html Greg's cousin, Lyle,
took the photo. Here's to 2006! I leave you with Chris Rose’s last column of the year "Cry me a New Year." http://www.nola.com/living/t-p/index.ssf?/base/living-5/1136101137176420.xml
Monday, December 19, 2005
Sunday afternoon in New Orleans
Today was an interesting day... After breakfast Greg and went grocery shopping. I ran into a women I hadn’t seen in years.
We gave each other a huge hug, found out that our houses both had made it through OK. Caught up on things. She said she’s
try to send some work our way so I gave her my card. I remember one Mardi Gras several years ago she was riding on a float
for the Krewe of Isis, an all-woman krewe. She spied me in the crowd and pelted me with whole bags of beads. I was an instant
celebrity with the people stand around us. “Wow. Who is she? Who’s that she knows?” (Riders wear masks. She had lifted hers
up so I could see who was showing me with goodies.) I shared my bounty with those around us-- what was I going to do with
several gross of Mardi Gras beads? Put them in the attic with the others?
3:27 pm pst
We then drove out to Gentilly, one of the neighborhoods that got badly flooded. My friend and her husband in were in town
salvaging more things out of their flooded house. They are still waiting to find out what the insurance company wants to do.
they were going to prepare the house for demolition, but said now they aren’t doing anything until they get $$$ from the insurance
company. I asked if their insurance adjuster had come out --there are people STILL waiting, 4 months later for theirs to show
up. She said yes, as had the mold adjuster. Mold adjuster? They got their check from the mold adjuster. The mold was growing
in what could almost be called an artistic manner. Surprisingly it hadn’t started growing on the ceiling. But it was growing
everywhere else. Their furniture was flipped over and spread haphazardly around the rooms. It all floated when the water rose,
bobbed around, then settled where ever it was when the water level dropped. She showed me the top shelf in their bathroom
- a stack of perfectly white fluffy towels sat there, like nothing ever happened. There is no power, or phone, or water. Surreal
is the best way to describe it. After we left, we drove around looking for places we knew, houses Greg had worked on. Drove
through Lakeview, the neighborhood by the notorious 17th street canal. Most building in the city have been tagged with spray
paint left by groups searching for survivors, victims or animals. The water had gotten so high, that the marks were on the
second story or on the roofs of the building instead on the front doors like in other neighborhoods. It was freaky that we
were driving down a street that back on August 31, we would have been completely underwater. There are no people around and
very little traffic since no one can live there right now, we did see that many people had been back to clean out and gut
their houses. It was comforting to know that there people were planning on coming back. Why else gut their house? One house
had a spray painted message “Good-bye New Orleans, we’ll miss you.” The trash removal crews had been busy though because Lakeview
didn’t have the big piles of garbage like Gentilly did.
That was pretty sobering and made us so thankfully our house and neighborhood was spared. All day we could hear the machinery
in the park behind our house, preparing it for trailers. I read in the newspapers how some people are screaming “NIMBY” Not
In My Back Yard. The people who will be living in these trailers, lost their home, and will have to live in a trailer for
a year or two and you won’t let them? How can people be so selfish?
I did laundry, cleaned, Greg worked on the house as the bulldozers plowed the field. Greg left to go to the office after he
wore himself out taking out an old fireplace. I heard a lot of traffic on my street and stuck my head out. 3 of my neighbors
were out there so I asked “what’s going on?” and they said a parade was coming. It was really a second line, but we got cups
of wine and sat on one neighbors porch and waited and talked. Finally the police drove by, the start of every parade, wedding
or funeral procession. A limo carrying some men with santa hats drove by. We yelled “throw us something santa” and he replied
it was all gone, all they had left was love. The sign on the limo identified the procession was for the “Prince of Wales”
- one of the black “Aid and Pleasure” Clubs. The Rebirth Brass Band was next followed by about 200 people second lining.
My neighbors flowed into the dancing crowd and were gone. I sat on the porch waiting for their return.
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
I have been closely watching operation “ignore it and it will go away” playing out at nearly every level of the Federal Government
as it applies to the wasteland of what was the city of New Orleans, and I am struck by something.
8:55 am pst
There is a larger issue here, and the rest of the country needs to realize that should disaster befall your city or state,
you will be on your own. You’ll get a few weeks of hand wringing and some empty promises. Then it’s: thanks for the tax dollars,
but it would be irresponsible to help you, so we’ll go through the motions so as to not look callous.
The ambulance will pick you up, drop you at the door to the hospital, and you’re on your own after that. Can’t make the crawl
to the door? The Federal Government will simply cross to the other side of the street. No insurance? There’s a chair for you
next to the morgue, but try not to linger on too long, another person will be along shortly. Hurricane season starts in less
than six months.
New Yorkers really should take a look at the projections of what a major hurricane would do to Long Island and the city proper.
No one in their right mind should live there. And Houston? The projections when Rita was approaching were frightening enough,
but just like stupid Texans, once the storm passed they all came right back into the future path of destruction. Seattle and
Tacoma have a nice active volcano right in their backyard. What kind of stupid idiot would build there? California, what
do you need to say? Besides the obvious earthquake risk, those faults extend offshore and pose a tsunami risk as well. But
there just a bunch of liberals anyway; they don’t deserve our help. I wonder what would happen if a cat 4 or 5 Hurricane turned
up the Chesapeake Bay? There has to be some projections somewhere. Think you are safe away from the coast? New Madrid Fault;
last time there was a major eruption there were four 7+ earthquakes and the Mississippi ran backwards. The stupid people living
in the four states that would be most affected didn’t bother to enforce any seismic building codes (I blame it on corruption).
Scientists say we’re due. Or I should say “you’re” due. None of us in unaffected areas have any concern. Our Government has
shown us the way: we’ll donate a few buck to charity, take in a few refugees and then bitch about how ungrateful they are,
and then we’ll find plenty of reasons while those wretched people don’t deserve any help. But we can sure make a buck off
it; we’ll set up tours for people to see the devastation.
It used to be that the call of “every man for himself” came after the lifeboats had been filled, usually with women and children
first, and launched, and every heroic effort had been made to save the ship. Today we recognize that this is merely quaint
sentimentality, and that we operate under a far more enlightened philosophy, “every man for himself” begins when you purchase
your ticket. Civilization is such a quaint concept.
Sunday, November 27, 2005
Well it’s been a while since either Greg or I updated the blog. Is there anyone out there still reading this? As I mentioned
before time has just been flying by at a rapid pace since we’re been home. Both Greg and I have plenty of work to keep us
busy-surprising for me, not so for Greg; he foresees a shortage of architects in the near future. Things at the office has
stabilized and we now have reliable phone, internet and mail service. We are getting regular mail at home too, though it takes
a while. There was an article in the paper recently that revealed why the mail is so slow... for example, if I mail a letter
to another part of town, it gets shipped to Baton Rouge then to Houston for sorting. Then back to Baton Rouge and then to
St. Rose where it get sorted for delivery. The main post office flooded so it’s out of the picture for a while. Mail from
other parts of the country take a week or more. And we’ve also started getting mail that was forwarded to our PO in Houston
and now being forwarded back. Thank goodness for on-line bill pay; most creditors have been understanding, waving late fees
1:59 pm pst
I heard a statistic that only 500 people actually line in New Orleans right now... more people who be living here if FEMA
got around to delivering trailers to them. People come back to gut their flooded home and salvage what little they can, and
then wait and fight with insurance to cough up the money they need to rebuild. During the day, the city is swamped with workers
who commute from outside the city. I even know some who live in the city but commute to Baton Rouge because their office has
been moved there temporarily. The beginning of the year, the population should soar as people with school age children come
back and the colleges start classes again. I’m still waiting to hear if they will need me to teach a class this spring at
the community college.
More and more businesses and restaurants keep opening. The biggest problem is finding workers. Every place has “now hiring”
signs in their windows. I contemplated taking a retail or cashier job if I had to, but as I mentioned before, my business
is doing OK for now.
I hope none of you reading this watch the “60 Minutes” last Sunday where a so-called expert said New Orleans should not be
rebuilt - or if you did see it, didn’t believe it. President Bush said that “what ever it” takes to rebuild our city but there
are some especially in Washington who don’t feel that way. It’s the government’s (Army Corps of Engineers) fault the levees
failed and the city flooded, so the least they can do it rebuild them the way they were supposedly built and then some.
On the positive side, Mardi Gras will roll this year - February 28 is fat Tuesday this year. The city is starting to gear
up for the holidays, though it sure doesn’t feel like it’s almost December. Thanksgiving crept up on us. We spent it with
Greg’s extended family in a log cabin in the woods north of Baton Rouge - it was very nice, relaxing and rustic. We’ll go
up to his parents for Christmas also. It’s too expensive to fly to Florida right now-only about 20% of flights have resumed
so with low demand and high fuel prices you don’t have much choice. But frankly, after being in exile for 2 months, we really
just want to stick close to home.
Tuesday, November 8, 2005
I'd like to buy a vowel
One other thing... the week before hurricane Katrina hit, Wheel of Fortune was filming in New Orleans. They had to re-edit
some parts to be sensitive to what has happened, but this week, the episodes air. Check them out.
8:06 pm pst
Looking over the earier post... My father is doing fine, his power was restored after a week. Internet, phone and snail mail
seems to be working again at my office - Pshew! Mail comes more frequently at home and the city has announced weekly garbage
pick up. Yeah!
What day is it?
How did it become November? 2 months of our lives have disappeared - I have to keep looking at the calendar. It seems like
it should only be September. When in exile, the days dragged on. Now we are home, they fly by all too fast.
2:30 pm pst
There's been numerous articles in the paper about post-trama stress disorder or something like that. (There are also daily
"Lives of Katrina" that profiles people who perished in the storm. Most were elderly people who wouldn't leave their
homes. But I digress. At least we have a daily paper delivered again!) Anyway, the following article is a humerous article
that represents how people, Greg & I included, are feeling.
Are you nuts?
If you're from around here, you can't help but be
Sunday, November 06, 2005
It has been said to me, almost a dozen times in exactly the same words: "Everyone here is mentally ill now."
Some who say this are health care professionals voicing the accumulated wisdom of their careers and some are laymen venturing
a psychological assessment that just happens to be correct.
With all due respect, we're living in Crazy Town.
The only lines at retail outlets longer than those for lumber and refrigerators are at the pharmacy windows, where fidgety,
glassy-eyed neighbors greet each other with the casual inquiries one might expect at a restaurant:
"What are you gonna have? The Valium here is good. But I'm going with the Paxil. Last week I had the Xanax and it didn't
agree with me."
We talk about prescription medications now like they're the soft-shell crabs at Clancy's. Suddenly, we've all developed a
low-grade expertise in pharmacology.
Everybody's got it, this thing, this affliction, this affinity for forgetfulness, absent-mindedness, confusion, laughing at
inappropriate circumstances, crying when the wrong song comes on the radio, behaving in odd and contrary ways.
A friend recounts a recent conversation into which Murphy's Law was injected -- the adage that if anything can go wrong, it
In perhaps the most succinct characterization of contemporary life in New Orleans I've heard yet, one said to the other: "Murphy's
running this town now."
Ain't that the truth?
Here's one for you: Some friends of mine were clearing out their belongings from their home in the Fontainebleau area and
were going through the muddle of despair that attends the realization that you were insured out the wazoo for a hurricane
but all you got was flood damage and now you're going to get a check for $250,000 to rebuild your $500,000 house.
As they pondered this dismal circumstance in the street, their roof collapsed. Just like that. It must have suffered some
sort of structural or rain-related stress from the storm and now, two weeks later, it manifested itself in total collapse.
Now I ask you: What would you do if you watched your home crumble to pieces before your eyes?
What they did was, realizing their home now qualified for a homeowner's claim, they jumped up and down and high-fived each
other and yelled: "The roof collapsed! The roof collapsed!"
Our home is destroyed. Oh, happy day. I submit there's something not right there.
I also submit that if you don't have this affliction, if this whole thing hasn't sent you into a vicious spin of acute cognitive
dissonance, then you must be crazy and -- like I said: We're all whacked.
How could you not be? Consider the sights, sounds and smells you encounter on a daily basis as you drive around a town that
has a permanent bathtub ring around it. I mean, could somebody please erase that brown line?
Every day I drive past a building on Magazine Street where there's plywood over the windows with a huge spray-painted message
that says: I AM HERE. I HAVE A GUN.
OK, the storm was more than two months ago. You can take the sign down now. You can come out now.
Or maybe the guy's still inside there, in the dark with his canned food, water and a gun, thinking that the whole thing is
still going on, like those Japanese soldiers you used to hear about in the '70s and '80s who just randomly wandered out of
hiding in the forests on desolate islands in the South Pacific, thinking that World War II was still going on.
The visuals around here prey on you. Driving in from the east the other day, I saw a huge, gray wild boar that had wandered
onto the interstate and been shredded by traffic. Several people I know also saw this massive porcine carnage, all torn up
and chunky on the side of the road.
It looked like five dead dogs. Directly across the interstate from it was an upside down alligator.
I mean: What the hell? Since when did we have wild boars around here? And when did they decide to lumber out of the wilderness
up to the interstate like it's some sort of sacred dying ground for wildebeests?
Just farther up the road a bit are all those car dealerships with rows and rows and rows of new cars that will never be sold,
all browned-out like they were soaking in coffee for a week, which I guess they were.
All those lots need are some balloons on a Saturday afternoon and some guy in a bad suit saying: "Let's make a deal!"
Welcome to the Outer Limits. Your hometown. Need a new car?
Speaking of car dealers, no one epitomizes the temporary insanity around here more than Saints owner Tom Benson, who said
he feared for his life in a confrontation with a drunk fan and WWL sportscaster Lee Zurik at Tiger Stadium last Sunday.
Admittedly, the shape of Lee Zurik's eyebrows have an oddly discomfiting menace about them, but fearing for your life?
Just get a good set of tweezers and defend yourself, Tom. Get a hold of yourself, man.
Maybe I shouldn't make light of this phenomenon. Maybe I'm exhibiting a form of madness in thinking this is all slightly amusing.
Maybe I'm not well, either.
But former city health director Brobson Lutz tells me it's all part of healing.
"It's a part of the human coping mechanism," he said. "Part of the recovery process. I have said from the beginning
that the mental health concerns here are far greater than those we can expect from infectious diseases or household injuries."
The U.S. Army brought Lutz onto the USS Iwo Jima a few weeks ago to talk to the troops about how to deal with people suffering
from post-traumatic stress. They were concerned, primarily, with the dazed-out looking folks who wander around the French
Quarter all day.
"I told them to leave those guys alone," Lutz said. "They may be crazy, but they survived this thing. They
coped. If they were taken out of that environment, then they could really develop problems. Remember that, in the immediate
aftermath of all this, the primary psychiatric care in this city was being provided by the bartenders at Johnny White's and
Interesting point. I mean, who needs a psychology degree? All anyone around here wants is someone to listen to their stories.
I thanked Lutz for his time and mentioned that our call sounded strange. It was around noon this past Thursday.
"Are you in the bathtub?" I asked him.
"Yes," he said. "And I'm having trouble coming up with sound bites."
Like I said, we're all a little touched by Katrina Fever.
My friend Glenn Collins is living in exile in Alabama and one Sunday afternoon he went to a shopping mall in Birmingham. He
went to the Gap and was greeted by a salesclerk with a name tag that said "Katrina."
He left immediately. He went next door to the Coach boutique, where he was greeted by a salesclerk with a name tag that said
He kinda freaked out. He asked the woman something along the lines of: What's with all the Katrinas? And she blurted out:
"Oh, you know Katrina at the Gap? She's my friend!"
"I wish I was making this up," he told me. "I mean, what are the odds of this?"
He needed a drink, he said. So he went to a nearby Outback Steakhouse and ordered a beer but the bartender told him they don't
sell alcohol on Sundays.
"But I'm from New Orleans!" he pleaded. "Don't you have a special exemption for people from New Orleans? Please?"
They did not. So he drove across three counties to get a drink. He said to me: "The Twilight Zone, it just keeps going
on and on and on."
Saturday, October 29, 2005
Home Strange Home
Greg and I have been back home for a week and a half now. We are very happy to be home but things are very different. The
first 4-5 days were really difficult for me. It takes a while to find a routine and figure out the new pace of the town. Things
you take for granted - daily mail service, regular garbage and recycle pick-up, even newspaper delivery - didn’t exist when
we first got back. Only three grocery stores appear to be open to service uptown, downtown and the french quarter, and they
now close at six and are short on cashiers. Otherwise you have to drive to the other side of the river, known as the westbank,
or out to the suburbs of Metairie or Kenner. Literally 70-80 percent of New Orleans proper is uninhabitable, the parts at
flooded. Seriously. People come in town to salvage what they can, pull out moldy drywall, with out water or electricity and
leave for the night. Before we got back there was a 6pm-6am curfew. It was shorted to midnight to 6am but the bar owners persuaded
the city to stay open until 2 am. You have to be off the streets when curfews start. And this is in a city where many bars
4:11 pm pdt
When you come back you don’t know what to do first to get your life started again. Cleaning up is a good start, restock the
fridge and visit with neighbors. Whenever you see someone you know, even in passing, you stop and share stories; how your
residence did, your job situation, where you evacuated to, etc. Many people moved around a lot like we did.
The first couple of days back, where ever you drive you see damaged houses, and it shocks you and you gawk. It seems so random,
there will be a single house surrounded by others that look fine except for down trees or a blue tarp on the roof. Some houses
under renovation collapsed. Some had a large tree fall on them. Some burned to the ground and you try to picture what the
building used to look like. In the flooded areas you look for the telltale brown high water mark, it’s very distinctive. The
areas that got several feet of water are mind blowing. I haven’t even been to the really bad parts of town; Greg went out
to Lakeview for a meeting and had nightmares from what he saw. You see photos on the TV or on-line and it’s just one or two
houses, but the destruction goes on and on, block after block. You never noticed the subtle elevation differences block to
block before, the damage can very greatly a few blocks over. But after a few days, the random damage doesn’t shock you and
you learn to avoid the hard hit areas and fine new routes to where you need to go.
But everyday, another traffic light is functioning, another restaurant opens, newspaper delivery resumed--though the paper
is much thinner. Mail comes when it comes if you even have any. Garbage pick up is sporadic. Usually crews troll the streets
and they have their assigned garbage to pick up; “white trash” of appliances, household garbage, hazard stuff or building
materials. Out of habit I still pull out glass and paper to recycle but who knows when they will be able to pick that stuff
up again. Hi-speed internet has been an issue for us, something we both need for work. I knew the phone and internet was down
at my office. But we had DSL at home, no problem. Problem. DSL wouldn’t be reactivated until January. We can occasionally
pick up a neighbor’s wireless signal but it’s not reliable enough for work. I ended up working from my former employer’s office
for a couple of days this week. The internet was restored at our office, yeah!, Thursday, so Greg and I both moved our computers
(again) in. I broke down and got myself a cell phone since it was uncertain when my office phone line would be functioning
again. Friday Greg and I were working when the internet stopped working. ARGH!! I called the company to report it. What’s
been happening is utilities get services restored, only to have clean up crew cut or break a line.
I will say this, we’ve been having some amazingly beautiful weather. Still no rain but it’s cool and dry and clear. The cold
front that came through was what pushed Wilma over to Florida. The eye of Wilma passed over my father’s. He rode out the storm
with some wind damage to his gutters and landscaping and some water leaking in a window. I wasn’t able to call him but used
the trick we learned with Katrina--text messaging. He wrote back he was OK. A few days later he was able to call me. Still
no power and he was starting to siphon gas out of his car for his generator. I haven’t heard from him in a few days, I tried
calling cell and landline which just rang and rang - good that it’s working but no answering machine which may mean still
no power. And Cyndi was supposed to e-mail once she had power but no e-mail. No reply to the text message I sent earlier today.
The end of hurricane season can’t come soon enough.
I still haven’t had a chance to post any photos, I’ll try to soon. As I’ve typed this 2 different patrols of national guardsmen
have come down our street. Not so many as before, but they are a welcomed, though still odd, sight. E-mail us and let us know
how you are doing.