Wednesday, September 7, 2005.
Today was mostly a decompression day. I updated the blog, put some pictures up, and started planning the next phase of putting the scattered pieces of our shattered lives back together. How's that for drama?
We needed to run some errands, so we took showers, and generally got a late start. We drove down to the Cinco Ranch area of Houston (just west of Houston, actually) so that we could go to our bank. There aren't many branches since our bank is based in New Orleans, but there are some here and there. We took the scenic route and made it easily. The lady at the bank was very nice, printed us some statements, and we verified our accounts. Easy as pie. On the way in we had noticed a Chick-fil-A, and Virginia demanded to eat there. Since her life hasn't been very normal, I figured we could oblige her.
That's when we discovered that Cinco Ranch is a very creepy place. Now, when you think of creepy places, you usually think of strange little towns that are frequently portrayed in B movies. Cinco Ranch isn't like that. It's a nice place. A very nice place. The homes are new. The roads are new. EVERYTHING is new. It's like it wasn't here yesterday, but it is today. There is not a speck of trash on the ground, and everything - the buildings, roads, cars, and people - are all shiny and new. We went into the Chick-fil-A and placed our order, and before it was humanly possible, our order was given to us. All of the staff were extremely friendly. Too friendly. When someone uses the phrase, "It's my pleasure.", and they smile and really mean it, I start to worry. I mean, it's like Invasion of the Body Snatchers where everybody has been replaced by aliens or robots or something. Cinco Ranch is a nice place to visit, but I couldn't live there without wearing my tin foil beanie...
We meandered back into Sugar Land and hit the Wal-Mart for a few things. We're going to cook a few dinners for our hosts so as not to wear out our welcome. The Wal-Mart in Sugar Land is nearly normal, but they don't have the kinds of foods we can get in New Orleans. That's what I miss the most a this point. Real New Orleans cooking. Texas cooking is pretty darn good, though, so I'm not really complaining.
I worked with a bunch of paperwork that I won't bore you about. We keep hearing from more and more people, and everybody we know seems to be OK.
Thursday, September 8, 2005.
We got a late start again today. There isn't much point in getting out of bed early when you don't have to be anywhere at a particular time. I got up, fed Madeline, filled out some more unemployment forms, and took a shower. We got the kids dressed and went for lunch at Sonic just down the road. We pulled in and got out of the car to eat at the little tables they have in the middle. It was a nice day and we needed to be outside for a little bit. We ordered our burgers and when the order came I handed the lady a 20, but she shook her head and said, "The man in the white truck already paid for you. I'm not supposed to tell you it was him." Andrea went over to thank them, and they asked us if we needed anything else. Folks in Texas sure are kindly.
That's actually pretty hard for me on some level. I've always been one to position myself so as to be of assistance to someone else, and now the shoe is on the other foot so-to-speak. It's humbling.
Andrea heard from her boss today, and she is going to have to go back to work shortly if she wants to keep her job. Her office, being in LaPlace - 20 miles west of New Orleans - didn't take any damage and they want to resume operations. Of course there are displaced people looking for jobs, and some of them are probably willing to work cheap in the short term. Her immediate supervisor wants to keep her, so we've got a little time, but we're going to have to move closer than Houston in the coming week or so.
I've spoken to Larry a few times, and we can bring our office back online shortly. I'm anxious to get back because I know that there are clients that need some support on the ground, and I'd like to get as many up and running as I can. I also need to fix my roof, and in order to do that we'll have to be closer. Jack and Ashlee have offered for us to stay in Denham Springs with them, and that seems the best option at this point. I'd really just like to go back and live at home because I've got a lot of work to do in the short term there. I need to get some supplies and get back in as soon as I can to keep water out of my house.
Right now we're just taking it day-to-day, but I also need to get off my butt and make more phone calls and try to get as much lined up as I can. I don't think I'll have internet access once I get back in for a bit.