Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Hurricane Gustav

(I think everything is as it should be. Most of this was written on my iPhone each night. I don't have the strength to read over everything and make corrections!)
Hurricane Gustav
Monday-Day 1

The first winds of hurricane gustav began around 5 am. They weren't
too bad, just a nice breeze. Around 10 am it got pretty bad. Our
electricity blinked off and on many times until 12:44 it went off for
good. After that things got much worse! We went from continuous
tropical storm force winds to continuous hurricane force winds with
gusts of 91 mph. At least that's what I heard on the radio. I think we
had higher winds than that. Around 2 we started losing roof shingles.
At first they were gently flying off but as the winds grew stronger
the shingles started shooting off like missles. Most landing in our
front yard, driveway and street. We lost about 40% of our roof. At one
point we heard a loud thud on the roof. I thought for sure we had lost
our chimney! I looked out the window and saw my neighbors turban in my
driveway and then a gust take it to the end if the street. About 1
minute after that I hear another thud and as I looked out the window
I saw my roof vent fly across the street into my neighbors driveway. I
had opened the front door then yelled back to eddie to see if he
wanted me to go get it, right as I did that he opened the back door.
Do you know what happens when 1 door is open and you open another? It
creates a suction. Then add the 75 mph wind to that! Well, it slammed
the door on my hand, right in the middle. Omg it hurt so bad!
After seeing the vent fly off we went up in the attic to see what had
happened and saw a huge hole in the roof! Rain was just gushing in! We
really didnt have anything to cover it with so eddie just stapled some
plastic sheeting over it.
After that it just got much worse. I'd say it was really bad for about
2 hours. The wind was so strong...probably the worst I've seen in my
32 yrs. that I've lived in Louisiana. I was actually scared.
When it got dark it was even scarier! It was pitch black not a light
in site. It was so dark you couldnt even see your hand in front of
your face. And all you could hear was the sound of generators. Three
if our neighbors had them along with window AC units. This is when i
realized how unprepared we really were!
All we had was an inverter. It plugs into the truck lighter and we
could run a fan and nothing else. But it kept tripping, not good. It
was dark, hot, muggy and sticky. I could not get to sleep and neither could Chase.
The rain and wind continued through the night but not as bad.

Tuesday-Day 2
Its still raining with a little breeze. The kids and I didnt get any
sleep last night. It was just too hot and sticky. We had a fan going
but the inverter plugged to the truck kept tripping. Once the fan went
out it was just unbearable. Bren and Logan did sleep a little but
chase and I were up all night. Chase has severe eczema, asthma and
allergies. He can't be in this muggy stagnant air. And the heat makes
his eczema so much worse. I am debating on whether or not I should
leave. I am torn between doing whats best for my kids and having to
leave my husband behind. Eddie has to go check the dealership each day
to see if they have power and when they do he'll need to call his
employees into work and get things rolling again so that they can get
back to business and make some money or we're gonna be screwed!
I did get to take a warm shower though, there was still a little hot
water left.
Even though we weren't really supposed to we went out on the roads to
see the destruction. It was bad! Trees and power lines down
everywhere. Business's ripped apart. We had heard on the radio that a
restaurant a few miles down the road was open on generators. So we
took a ride over there. Well, it was packed. But then we heard that
the Jambalaya Shop was opening up at 10:30. We got there at 10:48 and
there must have been 100 people in line We just decided to head home
so we wouldnt waste gas.
Once home i went outside to clean up. Its still raining on and off
and breezy. I cleaned up all the shingles in my yard, street and
driveway while eddie went up on the roof to nail the tarps down. We
didnt have enough tarps and theres none left in town so part of the
roof is still exposed. Its just going to have to wait because there's
no more tarps left in town.
After that I went out to see if any stores were open. We had heard
that albertsons was going to open at noon. So after I was done
cleaning I took a ride over there. It was even worse. There must have
been 200 people in a line that wrapped around the strip mall its
attached to. All I needed was bread really so I asked a lady walking
out if they even had any bread. She said they didnt and that it was
hot and dark and they were only letting 5 people in at a time and they
only had 10 minutes to shop. I drove off crying. Everything that was
going on was just too overwhelming for my tired brain.
Later in the afternoon we all went out to go see the damage that was done to Eddie's brother's neighborhood. It was bad, there were so many trees down and so many trees IN people's homes. On the way back we did find a gas station that had just opened and we were only 3rd in line. We sat there for almost 30 minutes b/c people werent just filling up their cars they were filling up their gas cans too! After we left there we found a Chinese restaurant open and got a few things since we hadn't had lunch.
We went home and hung out with the neighbors that were talking in the
street. Our neighbor and good friend 2 houses down invited us to come
over for dinner and told us we could sleep over. It was the best news
of the day! They have a generator and a window AC unit. His girlfriend had cooked brisket on the grill, homemade mashed potatoes and little sausages in the crockpot, it was awesome!
We ate a nice hot meal then went home for a little bit. Eddie had said
he didnt want to sleep there, he wanted to stay at the house. I wasn't
sure what to do b/c I didnt want to leave my husband home alone but
yet I knew I couldn't sleep in our hot house. We tried to stay and go
to sleep but it just wasn't happening. We were sweating so bad. So at
1 a.m. I told Eddie that we were going to Marlen's. He said he didnt
mind so I told I loved him and off we went with our pillows. Marlen
had left the door unlocked for us so we walked in and made ourselves
comfy on the couch and floor. Oh my gosh, it was so much better! We
all fell right asleep.
Just an add on...You should see how bright the stars are when there are no lights around to interfere! It was awesome!
They have put us on curfew, you can't be on the roads between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Wednesday-Day 3
Today was a HORRIBLE day! It started out great. We slept so much
better at Marlen's. Finally got a few hours of sleep in the nice cool
generated AC. Woke up and watched some TV. Dana fixed pancakes and
sausage on the propane grill, it was awesome. After breakfast I went
home and took a freezing cold shower. All of our stuff is electric so
no more hot water, that sucked! It was so cold i couldn't get all the
way in. So I hung my head down and washed my hair and at the end I
spun around real quick and jumped out! That was not fun.
When we were all dressed and ready we hit the road to to find gas and
food. I was in desperate need of bread! The gas lines spanned miles so
we went to find a store with food instead. We ended up at a local
grocery down the road called Ralph's. They were running on generated
power strong enough to power everything in the store including the AC!
They didnt have much, no bread, but i was able to get some cheetos,
doritos, sprite, capri suns and some spaghetti and noodles to give to
marlen for dinner that night since we were supposed to eat dinner and
sleep over there again.
We also went looking for a generator and a window AC unit. Of course
the whole rest of the city was doing the same thing! We just gave up. Instead we went by Eddie's parents house to see how they were. His Dad let us borrow his inverter which is much bigger than ours so hopefully it will work better. We also stopped by Eddie's work and they had just gotten their power back.
Here's where the day gets bad.
When we got home I was sitting out front on my bench smoking and
Marlen came over, he wanted to know if we got a generator. I told him
we didnt have any luck. So he tells me that some friends of his were
coming to stay at his house and that there would be no room for us. I
almost started crying right there. I'm glad I still had my sunglasses
on. I walked down there got my stuff and was gone before he walked
back in. When I got back in the house I just started balling like a
big baby. The thought of having to stay in my hot ass
sauna house, in the dark, with no real food just sent me over the
edge. I was so upset. Eddie heard me and came to check on me. I told
him what happened and he tried to console me, he was so sweet. He told
me we'd run the truck all night so we could run the fans and we'd go
find some real food. This was around 7:00. We found a McDonald's open
but only the drivethru. There were 20 cars in line. We were going to
wait but we saw Popeyes was open across the street with no line so we
jammed over there only to find a sign saying "closed for curfew".
Great, just great. We knew if we got back in the McDonalds line we'd
never make it home by the 8 o'clock curfew. So we went to 2 other
restaurants, 1 was closed and the other stopped serving. I was really
freaking out then. It was almost 8 so we headed home hungry and tired.
We ended up eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and chips.
We hooked up the inverter to the truck and were able to run the fan,
lamp and TV. It was still hot but I knew I had to just deal with it. We ran the truck all night so that we could have the fans. Again though, I couldn't get to sleep.
Oh, and I almost forgot...I washed our clothes outside in the baby pool! And actually hung a line in the carport to dry just like in the old days! Only thing's so humid here they wouldnt dry. And what happens when it's 100% humidity and wet? Things mold! So one of Bren's new shirts got mold on it.

Thursday-Day 4
I got a little sleep last night, not much. It was really hot and 100%
humidity. We let the truck run all night so we could run the inverter
to run the fan. It worked, well it was still hot but at least the air was moving and the truck did fine and only burned like an 1/8 of a tank so that's not bad at all. Eddie had to go to work today. I really don't know why, they do have power but the phones and Internet are out so they
really can't do anything. So while he's there in the ac we're stuck
here in this hot ass house. And now the truck battery is dead from
running the fan with the truck off. Not that it really matters anyway,
I'm about to run out of gas! And I know what your thinking...go get
some gas, right? Well, its not that easy. Only a few gas stations are
open and the wait for gas is 3 to 5 HOURS! Its unbeleiveable. I am
going to go out for a bit just to see whats open.
Ok, eddie came home for lunch and jumped the truck off for me. We had
a little gas in one of our gas cans so he put that in the truck. He
took the truck back to work and i took his car to go find gas and food.
Everywhere I went the lines were too long. Now it would be different
if I didnt have 3 kids to tote with me. But they just can't handle
sitting in line for hours.
So we got on the interstate and headed to the next city just a few
minutes east. Right when we got off the interstae I saw the gas line.
It wasn't to bad at all! We got in line and within about 15 minutes we
were pumping gas! They had security guards guiding the line and it
went very smoothly. After pumping gas in the car and gas jugs we
parked and went in because they had a Subway! AND as we were getting
out of the car we saw a guy carrying ice! I was in heaven...gas, food
and ice with little wait :) we grabbed the ice first because they were
almost out then we got lots of subway sandwiches and pizza's and large
drinks with ice and dr. Pepper and candy! We were all so happy :)
On the way home we found a Rite Aid that had just opened on generated
power. I was in desperate need of some pull-ups and wipes for Logan. They had
those and anything else u could need. Then we went home, Eddie was
there they closed the dealership early. Then we went out looking for
an open chase bank. We did find one but they had already closed. What
I really need is our bank that has our savings to open! Hopefully that
will be tomorrow!
Tonight we ate our subway sandwiches and cold dr. Pepper. It was 95
degrees today so its hot as hell in this house! So tonight we set up
our tent out back and we're going to camp out! It actually feels cool
out there unlike this sauna house. I think it will be fun :)
Today really turned out to be a good day. And we just heard on the
radio that one of the stores is getting a truckload of food and will
open tomorrow at 8 a.m. AND there's a possibility we could get our
power back between tomorrow and Monday according to the radio news

Friday-Day 5
Today was a pretty good day. We survived our campout in the tent! We
got up at dawn and it was actually chilly. We headed in the house,
Eddie had to get ready for work and I wanted to go lay in my bed
and try to get some real sleep b/c Chase kept me up most of the night!
At 9:30 my brother text to tell me my parents house got power back on.
So the kids and I went over there to take warm showers and wash
clothes. We got cleaned up and hung around waiting for my brother and
his girlfriend to finish their wash. Around 1 the next door neighbor
came over with roast beef poboys for all of us! He is so sweet :)
After we ate I went across the street from my parents house to my 2nd parents house. That would be Mr. Sonny and Mrs. Kathy. The ones who's house we swim at every Summer, I've known them for 18 yrs. now. Well, they also got their power back on so they let me borrow their generator! Yeah, that was so sweet of them. So now tonight we can at least turn on a light, run the fan and watch TV! We had tried to find a window AC unit but couldn't so we'll go again tomorrow and see if we can get one.
And just in case you're wondering why we're not staying at my parents house since they have power and we don't...well, they have cats and have had cats in that house for 20 yrs. And bring Chase has severe eczema, asthma and allergies he can't be in that house too long before his asthma attacks start and his skin starts turning red and even more itchy! So there was just no way we could sleep there at night. During the day when I'd be there washing clothes he'd stay outside half the time. So that totally sucks that we had a place to stay with power but couldn't stay there!
The kids and I went to the grocery store for a few
things, Bren and Chase waited in the truck so they could make sure nobody stole the generator. Not only were they open and fully functional but there was not
a line 200 people long! It was actually very slow and quiet in there.
I got most of what I needed except for cold stuff. There was no
produce, no frozen food, no meat or chicken and no deli stuff like ham
and cheese. But that was ok b/c I don't really have anywhere to put it
just yet. Speaking of not having a place to put cold stuff...I had
cleaned the nasty, stinky fridge out but the ice that had melted in
the freezer leaked down to the bottom of the fridge. Well it started
to mold, EW! I didnt touch it b/c I wasn't sure what I should do. With
chase's asthma I didnt think it was a good idea to clean it with him
in the house. Well, when we got home from washing clothes Eddie was cleaning it out with the shop vac...he was NOT happy! He washed all the shelves and stuff in the kids pool and I cleaned out the inside of the fridge with bleach.
After we were done with that we walked down to Marlen's house. They and some of our other neighbors were having what we called a "Goodbye Gustav, Hello Ike" hurricane party! Our neighbor across the street, Chuck, brought down all of his fish from his freezer and we had fried speckled trout, fried and grilled bass, hamburgers, fries and beans. Since I lost everything in my fridge and freezer I brought a big box of Hunt's snack pack pudding for dessert, LOL! My friend Katie made us some mixed drinks and we had a great time.

Saturday-Day 6
Today didnt start off so great. I slept a little last night. We had
the generater running the fans but it was still hot. Around 5 a.m. I
woke up because the fans had gone off. So I got a flashlight and went
out back to check it and it was out of gas. I wasn't able to go back
to sleep after that. Eddie got up at 7 and got some gas so now it's
back on. Eddie had to go into work for a little bit to get some things
done. When he came to tell me bye he was being really mean so we
fought. I called him after he left and he told me that he's just
aggravated and wants this shit to be over with. Don't we all!?!
Its 10 a.m. now and the kids are still sleeping. I'm laying next to
Logan listening to the radio and its just not good news. Now they are
asking us to prepare for hurricane Ike. They're telling us what they
are doing to speed things up here as far as the cleanup goes. SO MANY
people had tree damage and everywhere you look there are piles and
piles of tree branches and debris. They don't want this stuff to
become missles if this new hurricane comes! At first they said they'd
have everything cleaned up in 6 months! Are they crazy! Then they
renegotiated 30 days. And now they say they have to have it cleaned up
in 5 days!
Oh, and how in the hell are we supposed to get food and the supplies
we need to prepare for another hurricane? Our stores still aren't
fully stocked! And the cost of all of this? Omg, don't even ask. Its
cost a lot of money buying extra gas and food. I'm seriously almost out of money.
I spent most of the day at my parents house, washing clothes and cleaning their kitchen since they will be coming to visit on Sept. 20. Eddie drove up before going home to show us what he was a window AC unit! We were all so happy! Finally we would be able to sleep with cool air.
We went home and put it in the kids room since it's easier for us all to sleep in there. We turned it on and it cooled that room pretty darn good. I must say we all slept better that night. AC is such a wonderful thing =)

Sunday-Day 7
We woke up freezing cold this morning! That little AC window unit is
kicking ass! I slept much better and so did Eddie and the kids. I got
up and went outside to cut the grass and clean off the front porch. I
also put my plants and stands back up. I thought maybe I should wait
since we're not sure where hurricane Ike is going but I guess I'm just
hoping for the best.
By the time I was done I was all sweaty so I figured a cold shower
would feel good, but I was wrong, LOL, not that cold!
After getting ready the kids and I took a ride over to the FEMA/Corps
distribution site. This is where they hand out MRE,s (meals ready to
eat), ice, water and blue tarps for free. They had said that the lines
had dwindled and there was no wait. And there wasn't. It was very
easy. We parked and walked over to the line entrance. There were army
trucks and many guardsmen all with rifles over their shoulders! They
were really nice though and gave the kids some stickers. I had
reminded my kids beforehand to say thank you and to tell them thank
you for everything they do. That put a smile on the guys faces :) So
went through the line with a shopping cart and they gave us a box of
12 MRE's then walked up a little more and they gave us 2 big bags of
ice. They were out of water and tarps so we might try to go back
tomorrow. The reason we went to receive this stuff isnt just because
it was free but b/c #1 its really hard to find ice and #2 b/c they
told us to prepare for hurricane Ike and its hard to do that when the
stores only have limited supplies AND Its really hard to cook a hot
meal with no power! Plus we thought it would be fun to try a MRE to
see what its like! When we do try it I'll update on how it works and
how it tastes!
Speaking of power, Eddie hooked up the computer and Internet to the
generator this morning and went online to our power companies
website. We thought we would have power by now but according to the
outage map we are in a red box area. What does the red box mean? Well,
it means we should have power sometime between Sept. 11 and Sept. 24!
What? Are you kidding me? I really don't know how much more of this I
can take! I'm tired of the darkness and the heat and all the extension
cords and my messy house and most of all the constant loudness of the
9 generators on our tiny street! Just picture 9 loud lawnmower
engine's running 24/7. And to top it off Logan (3) has started doing
this very irtitating screaming/screeching sound whenever he hears a
generator. I'm guessing its his way of coping with the noise?
Anyway, this afternoon we went over to my parents to wash some more
stuff and Brenden went across the street to finish cleaning the
neighbors yard. He made 30 bucks, he was happy. And tonight we went
out for a hot meal at Golden Corral! A buffet with everything you
could want and after not eating all day I wanted everything, LOL!
We stopped by the store for few things then headed home. When we
turned onto the main road to our neighborhood we noticed some more
places with power and street lights all the way down. But as we turned
into our neighborhood it was pitch dark :(
So we can only hope they're getting closer, right??
Tomorrow, maybe tomorrow. Goodnight.

Monday Sept. 8
Day 8
Eddie went to work this morning. The kids and I got ready and went to
see my brother at my parents house. He wanted to go to the FEMA
distribution site to get some MRE's, water and tarps. There was no
line so we went through pretty quick. We got another box of MRE's to
keep on hand for emergencies. We also got a 24 pack water b/c I
couldn't find any at the store. And they had tarps, that's what I
needed the most! They give you 2 and they are huge.
We went back to my parents to hang out and while we were watching the
kids jump on the trampoline I figured I'd call my home phone to see if
my answering machine would pick up. That's how I know if the powers on
or not. And guess what? It picked up! I was so shocked I hung up and
called back just to make sure I heard right! I packed up the kids and
went home and we had power! Lights, hot water and cold AC! Electricity
is the best thing ever!
Of course now it's time to clean up, ugh.
My house is a disaster, there are extension cords everywhere and more
stuff to be washed. BUT at least I have the resources to do that now!
There are still people in this city that don't have power so I guess I
should be thankful :)
Eddie got home around 7 and he went right up on the roof to put the
last tarp up. Now I have a blue roof! The insurance adjuster comes
I need to go to the store so I can restock the fridge but I'm just too
tired to do that right now. We have nothing to eat for dinner so
tonight I let each kid pick out an MRE to eat! I figured we should try
them and see what they are like and let ya'll know too. I took
pictures too, they are interesting and come with a lot of neat things!
Ok, so Bren picked the Beef, cheese macaroni. His came with the beef
mac, a packet of cheese, bread, applesauce w/ raspberry purée,
skittles, lemon-lime drink, and hot apple cider.
Chase got Meatloaf w/mashed potatoes, crackers w peanut butter and
jelly packets, cookies, tootsie rolls, orange drink and a tea mix.
Logan got meatballs w/ marinara sauce, bread, tropical punch drink,
cheese pretzels and some peanuts. And something else but I can't
Eddie got chicken pasta w/ pesto sauce, bread, chocolate pudding,
pears, lemon lime drink and coffee.
I got cheese tortelini in red sauce, crackers w peanut butter, spiced
apples, M&M's, a lemonade drink ( w aspartame in it, yuck) and a tea
mix packet.
All MRE packs come with napkins, spoon, salt, wet nap, matches, and
mint gum. You also get a hot beverage bag and the MRE heating bag. You
stick the meal bag into the heating bag and add a small amount of
water. Once the water is added it activates the heat pack and starts
to steam right away then gets really hot. Its really neat how it works
and within a few minutes you have a pretty decent hot meal!
After dinner which was late probably 9 I was so tired. I cleaned up a
little, checked my e-mail then hit the bed. The kids said I was so out
of it that I was talking nonsense!

Tuesday Sept. 9
My last update...
I finally got a good nights sleep! I'm still tired and I wish I could
have in more but I have to get the house clean b/c the insurance
adjuster is coming today. I'm not sure what time he just said in the
So I cleaned the house then got showered and dressed in something
decent (compared to the shorts and t-shirts I've been in all week!)
and fixed my hair and put makeup on. I actually felt like a normal
human being again!
The adjuster got here around 2. He was an older man, and really sweet.
I invited him in and offered him a cold water and we talked for a bit.
Then he started his inspection of the damage. An hour later he was
done. He told me I will be getting the money for a complete new roof,
my fences fixed, my meter box fixed, new sheetrock for the den
ceiling, paint for ceiling and walls in den, kitchen and kids room.
Oh, and a new mailbox, lol! He noticed it was open and tried to close
it but I had to tell him to be careful b/c it'll fall off. He asked if
the hurricane had done that but I was honest and told him it had been
like that from before b/c the kids football had hit it more than a few
times! Well, he tilts the mailbox to it's side and took a picture of
it. He said mailboxes are expensive these days and told me he was
going to include it in the damage estimate! That was really sweet :) I
need all the help I can get b/c after hurricane's Katrina and Rita our
ins. company implemented a 5% of homes insured value deductable, plus
the normal deductable so they will deduct that from the estimate check
to m. That really blows. I'm just hoping that it leaves me enough to
get everything fixed properly.
After he left we headed to the grocery store. Our neighborhood Walmart
market finally opened yesterday! I just got a few things to get
through the week. I'm not sure I want to re-stock my fridge yet b/c
hurricane season isn't over yet. I couldn't get any cold stuff anyway
b/c the stores are still trying to recover. There were very little
cold things out. No lunchmeat, no cheese, no butter and maybe 5
different frozen items. They did have ground meat. But we made do with
what we could get. Tonight we had scrambled eggs and microwave bacon.
Tomorrow night I'll use the ground meat to make spaghetti.
Alright, I'm going to get some more sleep in my nice cold room :)