Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Road Trip!!

Details to come later, but here's the teaser:

2 senior citizens, 2 adults, 2 kids, 2 dogs for 2 weeks in an RV! 2 CRAZY!!

It's the Griswold family Christmas, and it's all going to be happening here live starting December 19th.

For those of you who haven't followed my blog for years (come one, there's gotta be some poor soul), we've been this crazy before and the Cast of Characters hasn't changed except for the addition of 2 dogs!

Stay tuned!!

What I Lost, What I Miss

For the most part, we were very fortunate in that most of our keepsakes and heirlooms were in storage and were safe during the storm. What we lost was mostly material things that can be replaced (if and when we *ever* get any insurance money!!). But, even still, there are a few things...some replaceable, some not...that I really miss:

1. My Gap Body robe & slippers. I am sooo cold natured, and i literally *lived* in that robe from about this time of year until the spring. Even Jackalope misses it, as he's cold natured and also a cuddle bug and could not resist snuggling with me when I had it on. It was incredibly soft and cozy!! And my feet are cold in the mornings now, dang it!

2. My iPod. Anyone who knows me knows that my mood can be completely altered by music. I miss having it to clean by, to walk the dogs, for work, etc. There are several times a day that I think about it and wish I had it. Of course it's replaceable, but as long as we're paying for everything out of pocket it's just not a necessary item right now.

That's it for the replaceable items. Now for the irreplaceable:

1. Cuddles. My pink teddy bear that I've had since my 5th birthday. He went to college with me and has sat on a shelf where I could see him since he became too fragile to sleep with. He was on the top shelf of my closet, wrapped in the handmade blanket I came home from the hospital in as a newborn, both lost despite all my neighbor's efforts in looking thru debris!

2. Pictures from high school and college. This box was mistakenly brought to our house, unbeknownst to me, when we moved here, although it was clearly marked "Storage". We knew we were remodeling soon (turned out to be 2 years later!) and that kind of stuff was never supposed to be here. I only know it was here and destroyed because pieces of it are all over the place. I've found only 2 photos from my college photo album....both of me dunking my ring at the Dixie Chicken! WHOOP! But my high school memory book and yearbooks, college memories and photos from both are all gone. I found one college diary in my neighbor's yard across the street. Good thing i found it first!! Otherwise, i could *never* be president!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The FEMA visit

So I'm sitting in the RV about to go to work and eating Spaghettio's (no, not just because I'm's a sick comfort food for me!) The FEMA guy was very helpful in steering me in the right directions, and basically giving me a checklist of tasks.

First of all, proving my house is "unliveable" will only get me temporary housing money, which I first need to exhuast from my windstorm insurance. Then i need a letter from windstorm saying I've exhausted my coverage, and letters from me saying why it wasn't enough. Separate letters for each type of expenses like gas, utilities, food, etc.

Then there's the issue of repairing/rebuilding the house. I have to have letters of denial from all 3 insurances, even homeowners although there's no question they aren't liable here. I told him our flood story and how we now have no flood but can't get them to send us a letter stating that fact. He referred me to a sign in sheet for the Texas Insurance Commission. They will "call me back tomorrow" and get on my insurance company to make them send me a letter. We also have to apply for an SBA Disaster Loan. When i have letters from all 3 insurances and a letter from SBA, THEN i can apply to FEMA to meet any expenses those 4 didn't cover.

He also gave me all kinds of advice on how the FEMA system works, how to fill out the paperwork for the best results, etc.

6 Weeks in, and we're just getting started.

Pleading my Case

These are the photos I'm about to present to FEMA to argue the "liveability" of my house:

Showing the destroyed utilities

Our bedroom

Window on the left was our bathroom

general carnage

Monday, October 27, 2008

Jackalope's Birthday Week!

The Jackalope will turn 7 this Thursday, October 30th! And because he's lucky enough to have a mom who believes in week-long birthday celebrations (yay me!) we're partying it up. Starting with his party yesterday at the ONLY place open for parties on the island....Moody Gardens Aquarium. It was *such* a blast. The party room has a big wall that is part of the coral reef aquarium, so you can watch all the fish/turtles/sharks while the party is going on. The party hostess was incredible and kept the kids busy the entire time with all kinds of cool games, etc.....and then the Big Moment. We all get to go "backstage" of the penguin exhibit, and this little Rockhopper Penguin named Hendrix comes out with his trainer. The kids got to see him do stuff, ask questions, and generally become Hendrix fans and treat him like the Rock Star he is! Jackalope had a blast and declared it a complete success, despite the fact that only 2 of his friends could come, so counting his sister there were only 4 kids. His Gran, Grandaddy & Granny all came as well.

Then on Thursday, his "real" birthday, he'll get his present from us and also from his sister. She picked out a cool game for him. We, on the other hand, have obviously lost our minds. He wanted a replacement battery operated 4-wheeler like he lost in the storm. Well, he's about the maximum age for those things so we looked for an alternative. So...on Thursday, our 7 year old Tasmanian Devil will be the proud owner of a Razor Electric Go-Cart!! Yes, we bought him a new helmet to go with it....AAAHHHHHH!


Our Insanity!

Some Signs of Life

I don't want to be overly positive.....that would ruin my reputation! But, after hiring our PA (Public Adjuster) we have had *some* signs of life in the insurance area. First, he met with our wind adjuster on Friday. By the time they were finished, the wind adjuster agreed to cover the roof, the floors & ceiling upstairs and a couple of other things. Yay! We have yet to see a dime, but the potential is there.

Next, my neighbor Bart's FEMA guy says there was some kind of major error in the sytem that deemed our house "liveable". He gave me advice as to what to take when I go stand in the FEMA line tomorrow to "appeal" that decision. I have serious doubts as to whether it will make any difference, but what can you do. We're 6 weeks into this deal and still paying everything out of pocket!

On the other hand, though, the flood insurance front is not so hot. Basically, our agent, which we were just switching to in July, has admitted he erred when sending us our first payment notice, and it turns out we paid it late without our knowledge. As a result, they say we have no flood insurance. Nice, huh? So now, we have filed a claim with our agent's E&O (errors & omissions) policy. Sort of like malpractice insurance for accountants & doctors. We have no idea what to expect on that front. Luckily Big L's best friend is a lawyer....

So, that's the state of family today, 44 days after the storm, and 37 days on the RV....

Thursday, October 23, 2008

When is shopping NOT fun?

No, it's not a trick question. The answer is....when you're paying for it and it SHOULD be paid for by insurance!!

Now that it's getting colder, my new wardrobe of t-shirts & jeans is not cutting it. I *had* to go shopping today after work to get a few outfits to wear to work. Now I'm not going all-out work clothes, mind you. I'm still wearing jeans, just got some shoes (all I had were 2 pairs of flip flops that I evacuated with) and I got some jackets & long-sleeved tops that I can wear to work. The idea of buying a whole new wardrobe should be fun, you would think. If only....

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Dear City of Galveston...

...thank you so much for taking time to drop by our home/RV today! When I got home from work/picking the kids up from school, I was excited to see your flyer on my door, hoping it meant you had finally had a chance to inspect our house and let us know if we are to rebuild or repair it. But I was NOT expecting what I found instead. I didn't realize you guys had enough extra time to go around putting flyers on RV's solely for the purpose of letting those folks know that you've now made up a bunch of new rules regarding RV's. I was surprised to find out that:

1. I have to PAY YOU for a permit to have an RV
2. I have to PAY YOU for a permit to hook utilities up to it
3. I can only park in my own driveway, not my neighbor's
4. I can't cross the easement, so the RV we purchased is too long for our driveway, even though I live on a dead-end street.
5. Whether my house is finshed or not, I have to remove the RV from the city by June 1, 2009 (start of next hurricane season). After all, it would be horrible for a hurricane to appear in the Gulf and for my family to be able to pack up our entire home and drive it off the island, huh??

Surely you can imagine my surprise to discover that not only have you made up a bunch of new rules which make life MORE difficult for your citizens, but you've also wasted precious time handing out these ridiculous rules instead of doing what's important like inspecting my house so I can work on it!! I suppose I should've just moved into a FEMA hotel room (which, by the way, time runs out on this weekend) and waited for YOU to tell me how to live before I made decisions on my own about putting a roof over my kids head. I should've somehow known you would have some rules that would limit me to a tiny trailer in my own driveway rather than a 35 foot motorhome in my neighbor's giant driveway. I suppose you think it would be better for me to live in your lovely tent city (that you are, by the way, closing tomorrow) than to provide my own shelter in an effort not to live off of others. What was I thinking?!?!?! So, City of Galveston, thanks SO MUCH for all your help during this difficult time. I'll see you soon, as I'm heading to City Hall with my two kids, two dogs and a few sleeping bags. Slumber Party!

another loyal citizen, barely hanging on

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

6 Days? Wow!

I can't believe 6 days have passed since I last posted. Time is starting to fly! Probably because we're settling into a routine both at home and work.

Yesterday, Big L and I took a step forward in our rebuilding efforts. We hired a "private adjuster". Basically, they represent you to your insurance companies and try to get the most they can by proving your case. They do this by bringing in people to give estimates, appraisers, structural engineers, etc. You pay them with 10% of your insurance proceeds. Not a bad deal, considering the amount of time all of that nonsense takes! They meet all the people at your house for you, do all the paperwork for you, etc. They only thing I *still* have to is my inventory. So I asked the in the world do I begin to list the contents of my closet? i was hoping he'd say they had some formula for estimating it. No such luck. Instead, he gave me a list of items commonly found in each room of a house that you can use to jog your memory. I still have to list each and every item in detail.

OK, i want you to practice this with me. Close your eyes and think of your closet. Now start listing things in your head, including an amount: 10 pairs of jeans, 2 pairs of sneakers (New Balance), 6ish pairs of flip flops?, how many hoodies again??, oh wait, there's that red fluffy robe and matching slippers...oh, and that dress I wore to my niece's wedding, and let's see....winter stuff that I haven't looked at since last many jackets? Sweatshirts? Oh, that reminds me...Aggie gear! Now how many pairs of socks? What kind? underwear? Thermal underwear? swimsuits? Lingerie from a shower before I got married that I never wore? Oh wait! The gloves I DID wear in my wedding!! You get the idea. Then think of the contents of your nightstand, under your bed, shelves up high, what was sitting on your dresser, contents of the medicine cabinet in the bathroom....etc.

So...I haven't started yet.

And since I've been depriving you of photos, I'll just post a bit of a hodge podge here for ya:

My Garden
My little container garden by the RV!

Big L
Here's our party area in Bart's driveway...complete with Big L!

Big J in pj's and camo rubber boots riding his debris covered bike on our trashed out street!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

You Know Your Dog Needs a Bath When...'re sitting outside with your neighbor and he points out the swarm of flies surrounding and landing on said pooch. Nice.

Roadtrip for Backpacks

I've got myself in a pickle that I have a *bad* habit of doing. I don't have enough gas in my car to get the kids to school in the morning. And I never get up early enough to stop on the way! I was planning on begging Big L to go fill it tonight, but now it's so late...*sigh*....why do I do it?

Anyway, there's a very good reason I'm so low on gas. First off, yesterday we had to drive to the mainland, all the way up to Baybrook to the nearest bookstore. The Princess has a TAKS assignment (may the all those who invented and/or approved the TAKS test burn in....oh, nevermind) and it required reading several books at home. And no, the books weren't provided. They're supposed to use books they already have at home. WTH?? We actually did have some books make it, but that's about the 2nd thing I packed up and shipped to storage in Rubbermaid containers...just after the kids clothing. And there's no WAY I'm gonna try and find anything in storage right now. Ain't happening. thing ya know I've burned about a gazillion dollars in gas and spent a Ben Franklin at Barnes & Noble, because I can't get The Princess 4 books without getting The Jackalope 4 books. Now, mind you, books are one thing I do not mind spending money on. However, if either of them had teachers that sent home Scholastic book orders I could've gotten these books for like $1 each. Oh well!

Then, today after school, we took yet ANOTHER trip to the mainland and back. This time, though, it was for an even better reason. The principal at Westwood Elementary in Friendswood, where the kids went to school for a couple of weeks, called me at work to say they had 20+ backpacks filled with school supplies that they'd like to donate to our school in honor of our kids who had attended there. Fantastic!! And soooo nice of them! So naturally I volunteered to go pick them up. Talked to my principal on the way back and he agreed that the kids could just take the supplies in the backbacks home to use for homework, etc. Our school has plenty of supplies, but I've noticed lots of kids carrying folders home. I'm so excited to take them to Parker tomorrow!! There's an "official" donation/distribution center for items for kids at one of the other campuses, but this will be just for our kids and that makes it personal and fun.

On another positive note, tonight I finished planting all the plants that Bart had chosen for his driveway side planting areas. They look fabulous!! If you know me at all, you know I *love* to get my hands dirty in a flower garden. It's the best therapy in the world, I tell ya! Now when we sit out on the driveway in chairs, me with my Michelob Ultra and he with his Diet Coke (Big L is working late these days, so he's absent) we have something pleasant to look at. My containers all planted up and his flower beds. I've even seen 1 Monarch butterfly in my largest container! I kinda figured they'd pass us right over during their migration this year, since there are no blooming plants for food right now. Last year at this time the kids and I drove down to the beach after school one day during the Harvest Moon Regatta and watched the sailboats go by with our windows down and Monarchs flying all around in droves. I will never forget that day, as it was one of the most beautiful I've ever seen. The kids and I still talk about it to this day. We had chosen to go watch the Regatta because the ELISSA was sailing in it as well. The sight of that beautiful ship in the distance, the beach and waves, and the Monarch butterflies....aaahhhh.

Tonight after I put the kids to bed, I headed to Bart's garage to change out the laundry. (MAN am I thankful for our laundry setup!) As I walked in by flashlight I could hear Bart playing his electric keyboard upstairs. Bart is quite the musician and plays all kinds of instruments from piano to tuba by ear. I stopped with the laundry basket on my hip and just enjoyed the music. It was especially wonderful considering my surroundings at that moment. And I thought "beautiful flowers, beautiful music, great friends, and my family......what else could I possibly want?"

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Top 10 Things for Kids to Do in an RV

This list was compiled with much input from The Princess and The Jackalope, collectiveley known as "The Monkeys":

10. Jump on Mama's bed and make the whole RV shake
9. Clean the entire bathroom with only 1 Windex wipe
8. Honk the horn loudly when the parents are outside trying to roll up the awning
7. Make a river that flows from the shower to the bunk beds
6. Wait until we have a visitor, and then open the pocket door while Mom's changing clothes
5. Have friends over on the same day, then play hide and seek with 4 kids in 1 RV
4. Open the fridge immediately after travelling and watch the contents fall all over the floor
3. Lose the only 2 remotes in a 35 foot long space
2. Read your monster joke book out load, following each with your loudest fake laugh until your mom yells "STOP IT!"

And the number one thing for kids to do in an RV.....

1. Hang like a bat from the crown molding above the couch!!

Bat Boy

Monday, October 13, 2008

One Month Mark

So it was one month ago today that Ike came ashore. Feels like a year. Here's what we know now that we didn't know a month ago today:

1. FEMA has denied any housing assistance because "based on FEMA's inspection, the damage to your home does not prevent you from living in the dwelling". WTH?
2. We have YET to get a claim number or adjuster for our flood insurance.
3. We have a cell number for our wind adjuster but haven't seen or heard from him.
4. All we've gotten is a check for $2,500 from TWIA, and that's only because I stood in line for 2 hours at Gulf Greyhound Park to get the evacuation cost refund.
5. Our out of pocket expenses, not counting what we put down on our motorhome, is over $6,000 so far. That does not take housing into account.
6. We are back in Galveston and the kids are back at school.
7. We have laundry facilities set up on Bart's garage.
8. We have a new mailbox so we can receive mail, but it hasn't happened yet.
9. We've only been able to access our house by vehicle for one week.
10. My kids now look forward to the Red Cross truck coming down our street so they can get snacks like pudding and cookies.
11. I wanna go to sleep and wake up when it's over. And by over, I mean I have a house to live in, clothes in my closet, my city is clean, trees are green, and businesses have re-opened.
12. yes, I know people have it much worse than me, and they have my complete and utter sympathy.

Thursday, October 09, 2008


As I've already's getting hairy at work. So, to describe where/how I now find myself, I've come up with the following little equation (of course, I'm an accountant, what'd you expect??)

Accountant = Payroll Person
Payroll Person = Human Resource Person
Human Resource Person = Counselor for all types of employee grievances/disturbances

Add the confidentiality element of accountants, plus the impartiality and you get Confidante Numero Uno. Like it or not. The ironic thing is, I didn't choose accounting because I like to work with people! I chose it because I can work ALONE! LOL So, as I was told today by one such employee, since I'm the default HR person and I have to keep things confidential....I'm their whipping boy when it comes to venting. And vent they do!! About each other, and who is spreading rumors around town about whom, and who is being intolerent and judgemental vs. who is being a crybaby and a whiner. Geez Louise!! This is NOT my area of expertise, lemme tell ya. If it doesn't have a formula with an exact answer, I'm out! But it's definitely been a learning experience, and I AM happy that they see me as impartial and trustworthy and generally uninvolved in the office gossip. I just wish I had something to offer other than practical, logical stuff like "try to focus on your job and let things roll off your back".

The truth is that these people are all suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and they all need professional counseling! And I include myself in that, too! The fact that so many of my coworkers are unhappy and disgruntled makes going to work exceptionally stressful. I can't fix it, and I feel helpless. But, if I have a gift, it is the gift of empathy. This is the stuff that wakes me up at 3am and won't let me go back to sleep. My heart hurts for all of these folks and what they're going thru. And I *want* to have some helpful words for them so bad i can't stand it! All I can do is encourage them, and try to help them stay as positive as possible, and CARE about them. Ultimately, that's what they all want. For someone to CARE about what they've been thru and what they are facing. That's so hard to come by here, because everyone is in the same boat. It's hard to find sympathy or a shoulder to cry/lean on because everyone else needs the same thing. Their anger and frustration really stems from not feeling valued or cared for. "I'm going thru the worst thing I've ever experience and nobody I know gives a sh#t". I know exactly how they feel.....because sometimes I feel the same way.

Gosh! I didn't start this post out planning on it being a downer! Once I left work and picked up the kiddos, which is my favorite part of th day, we got to work again. It didn't end until Big L was home from work and Bart, and all of us including the doggies were outside working. Well, the doggies weren't working unless you count rolling in The Stank as work! Now we've ALL had showers and are settling down to some good old pizza and beer....Yippee!!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Washin' Wednesday

Wow. That's all I can Life is so freakin' weird it's surreal.

So, when I don't post for a few days, it means one of two things (or both, as in this case!)
1. I'm just too darn busy to find even 5 minutes for computer time or
2. I've lost my sense of humor and any posts would just seem like whining.

Miraculously I'm in better humor today, so the blogging can commence. Well, as you know, we re-located to the island but it didn't happen until Monday afternoon due to the boats *still* blocking our street. We didn't have time to do anything but get it parked, leveled, go eat and get ready for bed on a school night. Now granted, when we decided to go eat, we went all out. We headed for Gaido's with Bart, where I had fresh Red Snapper dredged in parmesan & flour and pan fried, then topped with fresh lump crabmeat. MAN I love this island!! We had a great time, then came home and crashed. The next morning, while eating his ceral, The Jackalope said "Man, I love living in this place!"

Tuesday morning was so wonderful. it was our first day back at Parker Elementary here in Galveston. While we were getting ready, we were watching the morning news and they were interviewing our principal, etc. When we arrived, it was so emotional. Everyone was soooo happy to be there! There were hugs and tears galore! The kids saw friends and teachers they had missed, and so did I!

When I picked the kids up from school, we went straight to Target & Home Depot where we got them rubber boots, gloves for all of us, a heavy duty rake, street broom, giant trash can and some flowers & potting soil for the pots we recovered in the backyard. My Jack Daniels half-barrell survived and was *begging* to have some life breathed into it!!

We came home and It was crazy! We planted 3 containers, hosed of the street, picked up screws & nails from the street & driveway, raked leaves, raked & swept glass that I swear multiplies while we work, and utterly exhausted ourselved. We hardly made a dent, but it made all 3 of us feel better to do something to improve our landfill of a neighborhood! When Bart got home from work, he helped us too. Two of the most annoying issues for me...wait, make it 3....are:

1. The oodles of crushed/broken glass everywhere
2. The non-stop mud that I'm always fighting to keep out of the RV
3. The STANK

Although I swear today it wasn't as bad, and I really think washing the street helped The Stank. (The Stank is an entity of it's own, therefore deserving of proper noun treatment). I'll be pouring Lysol on the blacktop before it's over...I can feel it coming on! As I tell the kids, "We're camping in a landfill, kiddos".

The dogs are utterly hilarious thru it all. Buster is truly a junk-yard dog and seems to be thrilled with his new environment. He has had a total of 4 baths in 2 days becuase of his fondness for rolling in anything smelling of The Stank. For a dog that like to sniff around....this is Disney World. Suzie-Q, on the other hand, is far less than thrilled. The first morning, when we went outside for their morning regular, she reluctantly went to the lawn of our house, lifted one hind foot off the ground and turned and looked at me like "Ewwww!" Then she quickly ran back to the steps of the RV and stared at me until I let her back in. Still, today, she will only go onto the grass if I go first, and then she will not go more than 12 inches away from, tinkle, and run back to the RV steps. Hilarious! Both of them!

So that brings me to today and what was waiting and looming over me all day until I picked the kids up.....Laundry Mountain. Never mind that every single thing we owned was clean when we left Friendswood. The dirty clothes fairy came and dumped 10 tons of laundry in the RV, and forgot to leave me a connected washer & dryer! Yes, there's a perfectly functional set (as far as we know!) in the house, but it has no water or power. The plan is to relocate them to Bart's garage this weekend. Howevery, if we intend to shower between now and then, Laundry Mountain must be conquered. And so today my kids experienced yet another thing they've never before witnessed....a washateria. No, it was not a laundry mat, it was a washateria. They helped me sort the laundry into 7 washers (why do those things only hold 3 freakin' items??), pour in the detergent and insert the quarters. The Jackalope managed to immediately jam a machine by putting in two quarters at once and we had to get a refund from the owner. Perfect. Then they sat and read the new books I had just bought them at Wally World while I watched the timers tick away. After cramming the piles into 4 dryers, we were out in just a wee short hour! I forgot how irritating it is to fold your panties in front of 15 total strangers. Especially when they're asking to borrow soap, or quarters, or dryer sheets. And all of this cost me $15!!! Holy Freakin' Crap! Not to mention I'm now BFF's with the Pakistani owner, who ended up leaving me in charge of the place while he went to get a beer next door. Told me to have anyone who needed help to call his cell phone. He also asked me to drive by his house in G-Town and let him know how it fared because he hasn't been able to muscle it up and go check on it yet. He happens to live in the same neighborhood as me, just further towards the point. Out of morbid curiosity, we drove by it on the way home, and it ain't pretty. Described by him as the 3rd house down from the barge, house number 2 is now spread all over his driveway. His is still standing and is probably salvageable, but his 3 jet skis that he says were in the garage would be toast and the whole thing sustained quite a lot of damage. Wonder if I'll go back this weekend and let him know? If I do, it better be just to give him the news, because otherwise it'll mean Big L hasn't gotten my laundry facilities up and running and that would not be "in his best interest" if ya know what I mean!

And just in case you haven't been to one in a while either...let me remind you how fortunate you are:

Note the cool shadows of The Princess, Jackalope, and me taking a pic! LOL!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Home Sweet Home

So the time has finally come. After 2 weeks in my Brother-In-Law's driveway, we are headed back to G-town this weekend! The power is back up on our street, so we're all set for hooking up. We are so pumped!! Not that it hasn't been super nice here, but there's just no place like your own place. I may even get to have a beer on my own dock before the weekend is over....heaven! So before we relocate, let me show you how we've been set up for the past 2 weeks.

Our Rig!
Our Rig!

And on top of re-locating to our own neighborhood, the kids will be starting back at their own school on Tuesday! They said goodbye to their new friends and teachers today. Knowing the Galveston rumor mill like I do, I'm sure at least one of you has heard something awful about the state of the schools in Galveston and how horrible it will be for the returning students. So, to clear the air and try and get actual facts out there to dispel all the rumors, here's some info I gleaned from a personal meeting with our Principal yesterday, and then emailed to our PTO email list:

I just finished meeting with Mr. Bouldin at Parker. I also met the
Burnett principal while I was there, as they will be joining us at
Parker. First of all, I toured the school and went to the library and
multiple classrooms. There is no evidence of damage anywhere,
although i'm sure there was some minor water somewhere. Everything
looks just as it was left on Wednesday. The library was untouched as
were all of the classrooms i went in. They are all being
professionally cleaned anyway. All of our copiers and computers are
fine and working as well. The Parker gym sustained major damage, but
it is detached from the regular building. We do not have a time
estimate as to when it will be functional again. Here's the rest of
what I found out while "interviewing" Mr. Bouldin:

1. Several school districts including HISD have loaned or donated
buses and ALL normal routes will be running next week!
2. Truckloads of supplies have been donated by other districts across
the state, so no one will need to purchase supplies (although all the
Parker student's supplies are right where they left them anyway)
3. The building has been treated and "fogged" for any potential mold
growth and the air quality is about 90% in the building. It smells
very fresh and clean!
4. If the city water is not drinkable by Tuesday, bottled water will
be provided to students and staff every day.
5. All students are eligible for free breakfast and lunch for the
first 2 weeks.
6. No uniforms for the first two weeks, and then it will be re-
7. All Parker teachers have said they are returning
8. All GISD staff will keep their jobs thru the end of the school
9. Parents will be provided forms for free counseling for themselves
or their children on the first day back.
10. There is a Pep Rally at Spoor Field tomorrow at 10am
11. All bldgs at Parker are open this weekend for staff if they want
to work in their rooms.
12. YMCA will be providing daycare for GISD employees at the San
Jacinto building.
13. Moody and 1st Step daycares are both open and accepting students.
14. Palisade Palms on East Beach is offering short term leases on
housing...The Dawn condos are offering month-to-month leases.
15. Several soccer teams are regrouping and beginning practice next

And this, i thought, was some of the best news. On the first day,
former Parker students will go to their previous classrooms as usual.
Burnett students will meet their regular teachers in the cafeteria.
Their teachers will then escort them to their new class room where
they will join a group of Parker students & teacher and will be "team
taught" by both teachers. The student/teacher ratio should be
exceptional! All of the Parker teachers that Mr. Bouldin had spoken
with were anxious to get their hands on their students and show them
the love. They are excited about returning and seeing the students
and getting back to a "normal" routine.

On a personal note, I feel that if we care about the survival of our
island and our community we need to get back as soon as possible.
Businesses are re-opening every day and they need customers to
survive. Many have help-wanted signs in the windows, including Kroger
and Gaido's. If these businesses can't get enough customers to stay,
then they won't be there 6 months down the road. if we want our
community to rebuild and to survive this crisis, then we need to rally
and return as soon as it is feasible for each of our families and our
personal circumstances.

Thanks everyone! Hang in there and I hope to see you all again


So, I didn't post anything yesterday....well I had a great excuse! Last night I hooked up with my former Bunco group here in Friendswood that I played with back when we lived here! Only now, they don't play Bunco, they play LCR....I *love* to play LCR! So not only did I get to hang with some great friends, but I also had some girl time and MAN did I need it.

Yesterday, the bottom fell out at work. For various reasons, and because tensions are very high, there ended up being a screaming incident complete with f-bombs directed at my boss, the Executive Director. Not by me, mind you, but still. I don't like to see any of our employees that upset and it has caused a real division among the troops, so to speak. Everyone is just so emotional, and dealing with stressful situations at both home and work. People who've had little damage seem to be impatient and short with those who made out less fortunately and are not quite up to their normal productivity. On the other hand, those dealing with heavy issues at home are not seeming to be interested in the good of the organization. I have a feeling it's going to be tense like this for a long time. As if working in 90 degree heat with no A/C didn't make the working conditions bad enough! In fact, here's what the downstairs of our building looks like right now...

My Office downstairs
1861 Custom House - 1st Floor

So last night at bunco, while filling the girls in on our situation and Galveston, I realized that during those days/weeks without power, the communities closest to Galveston missed out on a LOT of news. They really had no idea the conditions. For example, none of them knew that there was a tent city of people who returned to the island from various shelters only to find themselves homeless! So for the it is:

Tent City at Alamo school
Tent City at Alamo school.

Granted, it has A/C, but inside is just a ward of cots. GISD has agreed to house some of them (they expect 2,100 by Monday) inside Alamo Elementary.....can someone say Superdome all over again?

So the other day, after work, I couldn't resist going by our house again. I don't know why I do it really, but I always pick up a few things to salvage. I was blown away to find one fish in our aquarium still alive! Now after making it for over 2 weeks with no filter and just his "vacation" wafer, I couldn't just leave him there to die. I thought about trying to get him in one of the local school aquariums, thinking the kids would enjoy an evacuee fish from Galveston, but ultimately we just wanted to keep him. So...I'm off to PetCo in a minute to get a little desk-top type aquarium that we can keep in the RV. I'm sure he'll appreciate it considering this is how he's been living for the past 3 days...

His name is now Ike of course!

As always, here are some parting shots from G-town today:

Heards Lane
Heards Lane, East of 61st....this area was hit hard by flooding

Home behind 61st Street Cemetery
Behind 61st Street Cemetery

Shops on Postoffice
The shops along Postoffice between 22rd and 21st

Sky Bar!  Sushi anyone?
Sky Bar! My favorite Sushi place!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

More from the War Zone

Well first the good news...I'm in a MUCH better mood and feeling MUCH better today, thanks to my steroid shot yesterday! WOOHOO! That's my kinda crack, baby!

My day started at McDonald's where I now have a new routine of buying a bag of ice for my ice chest every day.

Then I made my way to the make-shift Post Office at the outlet mall in La Marque. Even thought spotty mail service was beginning on the island, we couldn't be sure that we didn't have a stockpile at the PO. I waited in line for 2.5 hours. And I'll bet you can guess what I found out....the GHF mail was on the truck being delivered. AAARRRGH!! But, I did get my personal mail which consisted of a lot of junk mail and my Better Homes & Garden magazine. Yay me.

I met a really cool guy in line who is from Sea Isle on the West End of the island. He owns two Boston Whalers, and after hearing the fate of ours (badly bruised and landed in the Payco Marina yard) he gave me the name and number of a Whaler specialist in Seabrook. I immediately texted the info to Big L and he was thrilled.

One lady in line stated it very, we are all equal. People from every age, race and economic status are in the same boat, waiting and waiting and waiting. Some of the older folks would make use of the very few benches along the way. We were talking about how nice it would be for some group to hand out water bottles or something. Then, on my way out at 12pm, I saw something very inspirational. A local church had set up tables and was handing out hot hamburgers for lunch for those stuck in line! This church gets high marks from me for sensing such a need and meeting it:

The Vineyard Clear Lake/

So I missed our staff meeting this morning, not realizing I wouldn't get to work until 12:30! I spent most of the day making a list of urgent bills so we can see how much money we need to scrape this week from donors. Fun fun! But, feeling better physically helps me deal with it soooo much better!

The big dilemma for Big L and i is now how to get the motorhome placed in Galveston over the weekend so the kids can start school at GISD on Tuesday when it opens. Unfortunately, there are still 2 boats in our street blocking us from driving to Bart's big parking lot/driveway at the end of our street. We're going to go check out the possibilites this weekend, and also try to salvage some of our wooden furniture from the second floor.

As usual, I'll leave you with some parting shots of Galveston today:

Hanging out the Laundry
Hanging out the Laundry on Sealy

Brown Foliage
Winnie - notice all the brown, dead trees and foliage