Monday, September 26, 2005

There’s No Place Like Home!

It’s been four very long weeks today since Katrina turned the world upside down for me. But yesterday, things righted in a huge way. I moved back into my own home! (Smile) I’m writing this on my own computer in my own tiny little office under my own lights using my own DSL. (Smile)

We can’t use the whole house since half of the rooms--the ones we’ve added since we bought the place twenty-two years ago--have to have the sheetrock and insulation ripped out and redone before they will be safe to use. But luckily the older part of the house is brick with interior block walls. We’ll need to repaint them and do some work in the older rooms, but nothing that will keep us from living in them while we work. We lived in this house while we built each new room on, so we can deal with the mess again. At least we’re home!

We had worked hard and planned to move in Saturday, but Rita messed things up for us. We still have two trees on each side of our house. The two biggest ones are next to the two rooms we are going to be sleeping in each night, so we figured it was best to wait until the winds from Rita were over before coming home. (Plus, we mostly stayed under a tornado watch because of Rita from Friday until early Sunday.)

Rita hit the Louisiana/Texas state line, and since we are on the Louisiana/Mississippi state line, I really didn’t believe the weather reports I found on line about the winds and rain we were going to get from her. But we got it.

Friday was a little rainy and windy and cloudy, but not bad. Saturday morning though the wind really picked up. The gusts were pretty strong, probably the highest about forty miles per hour or so. They were the worst about the time Rita was straight across from us. A few small limbs came down that were already weakened probably, some of my plants we had moved outside got knocked over, and a couple of pieces of tin and a lot of the blue tarps and such covering damaged roofs, including our own, got blown off. By late Saturday night I think the worst of the winds were over, and from the weather channel website I knew she was moving up and dying down, but we still got some good gusts all the way through the night, and even had a good wind going Sunday morning sometimes. The spells of rain we got didn’t last too very long though and were far between and then finally none.

Heck, after Katrina, Rita was next to nothing here in Bogalusa.

I will admit she played havoc on already threadbare nerves and ragged emotions. Almost everything in Bogalusa shut down Thursday evening and didn’t reopen until today, even the banks. The mail hasn’t even run since Friday morning. My son’s college is about an hour and a half away, closer toward where Rita hit, so it was closed too and the parish beside us was partly evacuated. (The schools here in Bogalusa haven’t ever reopened, though the hope is for them to be able to next week.)

Each time a heavy band of rain moved through Friday and Saturday I thought it would bring rolling water with it or last until it reflooded my home. It didn’t. I just knew those strong wind gusts were going to bring another tree down on my home, or on my husband’s truck. My son had already replaced his car since he has such a long drive back and forth to school each day and his wife’s car wasn’t in good enough shape to keep making that trip. His new car was parked under the half of his carport that made it through Katrina. Most of the day Saturday the winds we got from the side of Rita were strong enough to keep lifting the end of the carport. He just knew it was coming down on his car, but there was no where safer to move it because of the trees, or parts of trees, that are still standing, as well as the debris that the wind flung around.

I’m more than happy to report that through all of the weekend bad weather our power didn’t go out, though it flicked and blinked a few times and I feared it would go.

By Sunday we were a little worse for the wear, but we packed up our things and brought them home. Things aren’t perfectly clean here, but it’s our mess. (Smile) We spent a few days here after Katrina, what a nightmare that was, then we spent over a week all the way up at the top of Arkansas with my sister. She had one tiny spare bedroom. My husband and I shared the bed in there and my daughter slept on a cot-size mattress on the floor near the foot of our bed. My son and his wife slept on a mattress in the living room.

When we came back to Bogalusa we stayed with our son and his wife for two weeks. They didn’t have an extra room so we slept on a mattress on their living-room floor and my daughter slept on the couch.

I can’t tell you how great it feels to be back in my own home! I’m not back in my bedroom. That was one of the new rooms. But my daughter is back in her room and we are in the bedroom that used to be my son’s. We also have full use of the kitchen, my little office, and the bathroom. Not a bad setup at all! (Smile) We worked our butts off the last two days, and today won’t be much better, but that’s just fine.

We bought a new refrigerator last week. Yesterday we got out and bought milk, eggs, butter, cheese, mayo, lunchmeat, and all that kind of good stuff that you find in your fridge every day. I even have a gallon of sugar-free tea in there. Something I haven’t had any of since the hurricane. I planned to be refilling my freezer too. We plugged it in to check it a couple of weeks ago when we got back to Bogalusa. It ran so we thought it was working. We found out this weekend that we were wrong. I just finished paying for that darn thing a few months ago too. There’s so much we need to replace, repair, or redo, but I guess the only way to do it is just one step at a time. The most important needed things first and then every thing else as we can. I supposed the freezer, hot water heater and my car should be the next three things. We’ll take the others in some kind of order as we get to them.

Cleaning up more is first on the list for the next few days. Since we stayed after Katrina I was able to get all of our wet clothing out of the house and hang it around on lines and the fence to dry. (Got an awful sunburn doing it.) Being dry saved most of the clothes, but didn’t clean them any, so I have tons of wash to do. We’ve cleaned the mud and everything off of the floors, but everything in the house has a coating of dirt and grime on it. Some things are worse than others. I went to get a bowl out of one of the lower cabinets last night, one I thought was fine, but when I pulled the biggest bowl from the bottom of the stack, I found a little water in it and nasty dried stuff where it had been filled much more. I guess everything in the bottom cabinets will have to be pulled out and washed…. I probably should just wash every dish in the house. There’s just so much cleaning to do, and don’t we all hate housework to begin with. (Smile) We are still working in the yard too, cutting up fallen trees.

Now that I’m home and have my own computer and internet hookup back, I will finally be able to begin catching up on e-mail, hopefully by tomorrow. Of course I have a ton of messages to get through and I’m not even sure I got a lot of them. Seems sections of them, like a day or two’s wroth at a time, just never came through when I finally got where I could get to a computer and get mail. I also plan to be taking my place back over the RWC groups in the next few days or so. I’m sure the ladies who have worked so hard to watch over those groups and keep things going smoothly are sure glad to read that sentence after so long of a spell. (Smile) Now that I’m on my own computer, and can even get into my website and do an update on things when I have the time.

In other words, life is going to get back to normal here. I never realized what a great thing normal is.


Benoit Lapierre said...

Hi from Canada
Your blog is very interesting, keep on going!

Get Firefox!

JC said...

I just read somewhere during the past few days that even dead mold can cause problems, but that a 1/10 bleach solution can kill the spores. Make sure that after you tear out that drywall that you bleach down everything before you replace it. I don't know if any of you are sensitive to molds, but they can grow to be dangerous.
I am so glad that you are finally able to get back home. Our homes are our haven and such a comfort. You just can not relax in the same way anyplace else. Enjoy!

Charlotte Dillon said...

Thanks, JC. We've already planned to bleach the 2X4's and everything else in the walls before we put up the new sheetrock and insulation and close it all back up. It's going to be a messy and long job. We haven't even started yet. Can't even get sheetrock here right now. We still have a lot of other things to take care of first before we start redoing the walls. Maybe by the time we are ready, we'll be able to get sheetrock.