September 2, 2012

Isaac....and shit


Friday, August 25:  I notice that a few people on Facebook have changed their profile pictures to this:
 
I chuckle nervously.  When you grow up here, hurricanes are a part of your life.  Just like earthquakes are if you live on a fault line.  When we were growing up, 30 and 40 years ago, hurricanes didn’t incite panic from flooding.  We were always warned about what could be the doomsday scenario.…a Category 5 hurricane moving up the mouth of the Mississippi River, which could overtop Mississippi River levees and flood the entire Metro area.  Now things are different.  We are losing wetlands.  Wetlands and small barrier islands that used to stop the storm surges.   Still, Isaac appears to be a bit of a sissy.   A Category 1 just doesn’t pack the punch that a bigger storm does.   At this time, it’s not even a hurricane, it’s a tropical storm.  Isaac is unorganized and hard to pin down.  What a man!  (We later learn he is quite the asshole, and even worse, he won’t leave.)

Saturday, August 26:  The models are still not certain if Isaac will commit to Nola.  Sometimes the smaller storms are harder to predict.  They’re not the bowling balls that bigger storms are.  They don’t barrel through.  They linger.  Lingering is bad.  These yats around here are just funny, and this starts appearing on my FB news feed
 
No one knows where it's going, but since I'm also a meteorologist, I decide it’s clear we’re going to be on the windy, rainy side.  I see the words "Party popper" in the photo and realize I need supplies. So I drag 3 kids to Wal-Mart, where lunatics are pulling water, liquor and canned goods off shelves like the hurricane is directly overhead right now.  I chuckle at the mayhem because I was smart and took a chill pill.  I got this. 

While unpacking our supplies and trying to figure out where to hide the flashlights from my boys, I get a call from the Kentucky muthas.  BFF’s only child, Drew, age 23, has flipped his car, been sawed out by the jaws of life, airlifted to a hospital, and is profusely bleeding from multiple head wounds.  I grab the kitchen counter for support because my world is momentarily pulling a G force that threatens to knock me on my ass.  I hold my breath as I wait for the answer.  For the first thirty seconds of the phone call, I’m pretty certain she’s going to tell me he’s dead or dying.  Instead I learn it’s bad, but not that bad.  I feel far away and helpless because all I can do is offer love and prayers from afar.  Everyone here is texting back and forth about hurricane plans, and I am transported to Kentucky emotionally.  I don’t even care about the hurricane.

Sunday, August 27, 3:00 pm:  My brother texts to say his pregnant wife has toxemia and is being induced at 36 weeks with their miracle baby.  I’m not worried at all, but sense they are terrified.  Again I feel helpless and wish I were there.  They live in another state.

6:00 pm:  We gather with neighbors to commence the hurricane gluttony.  We begin grilling our freezer contents in anticipation of losing power, and drinking from hoarded stocks of alcohol.  By now it’s clear Isaac has plans to hump Nola.  I walk up 16 steps to get in my raised house every day.  My house is 100 years old and has proved itself worthy over as many years.  Other muthas plan to evacuate here.  It’s still just a tropical storm.

11:00 pm:  We walk home from neighbors after drinking and especially smoking way too much.  Between the vehicle accident, the hurricane and the baby on the way, I was chain smoking.  I now have an Emma voice.

Monday, August 28, 4:00 am:  I wake up and haven’t heard anything about the baby.  I frantically text and learn he’s been born, but wasn’t breathing well and is in NICU.  Mom and baby are both in jeopardy.  I rush to coffee pot and start pacing and texting.  There are no pictures of the baby.  I wonder if he’s deformed? 

10:00 a.m.:  The evacuees arrive to hunker down at my house.  We have enough food and drink for a small Caribbean Island, yet we nervously anticipate running out.

11:00 am.  I text Kentucky mutha to check on her and get a reply saying: “This is dress boss” and then a bunch of shit I’m not sure about.  Has Kentucky mutha lost her mind?  The muthas here are already drinking and are yelling at me and calling me a pussy because I’m hung over.  They’re telling funny stories about a mutha who had a tumor with hair and nails on it.  “Sweet Baby Jesus, was it a baby?” I’m screaming.  “It wasn’t a baby!” is the response in a hysterical yat voice.  I’m laughing so hard, I decide I should drink a Bloody Mary and join in the fun.  I text my brother for baby info.  He responds with nothing about the baby but says he hasn’t drank water or eaten anything in 24 hours.  I finally scream text: TAKE A PICTURE OF THE BABY YOU FOOL AND STICK YOUR HEAD UNDER THE FAUCET FOR SOME WATER.  We make fun of him for the rest of the night. (Mom and baby are fine.)  We try to watch the news stations with the most hysterical coverage.  We find it makes you drink more.

9:00 pm:  We get texts from some muthas across town.  Apparently they are not rationing alcohol because their text says:  “Pine tree down across street.  Drink heaving omit.”  We crack up laughing at the Chinese text then go to bed.  The wind is whipping ass but we still have power.  Cable is now out so we no longer have a visual of what’s going on beyond our street.  Facebook is out, but works slowly on our smart phones.  Cell phones never work during hurricanes.  Historically texts have been reliable during storms, but now they are not going through most of the time.  Facebook quickly becomes the only reliable means of communication.  The muthas who evacuated to Baton Rouge want updates.  We refuse to tell them what anything looks like.  It's their punishment for leaving.  We won't even say it's windy or raining.

Tuesday, August 29, 5:57 am:  It’s the 7 year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.  Adonis texts asking my whereabouts.  I say I’m home and house is shaking and rattling but I think the worst should be over.  He is watching news about levees breaking and streets flooding and he thinks we are drowning.  I say I’ve been sleeping, but all is well.  He calls us a bunch of “cwaaazy coonasses” and I go back to sleep.

8:00 am:  I wake up to find out that Isaac has moved a total of six miles all night long.  A couple hours later I figure out what Adonis is talking about.  I have family in another town, and it’s flooding.  People are being evacuated in boats.  I’m in panic mode now.  The storm is not even to us yet, and there is flooding.  Isaac is enjoying his stay, barely moving, while dumping rain and swirling Lake Pontchartrain in a counterclockwise motion.  Right now, the water is pushing southwest into LaPlace.  There are no levees there, this town has never flooded. 

1:20 pm:  Receive text from cousin saying her gran and paw paw had to be evacuated by boat because their neighborhood is flooding. I think about how nervous they must have been.  How she is always pretty with her jewelry and makeup on.  My heart aches for them.  A photo follows of someone standing waist deep in the neighborhood. 
 
Facebook is still our only means of communication.  People are posting their parent’s addresses on their walls, and other people are confirming whether or not they have been rescued.  Good old social media is not just for being social now.  It seems incredibly crazy, and it is.
We finally lose power, so we sit on the patio and drink heavily, while the kids play in the rain.  Little darling falls asleep for a 3 hour nap.  When he wakes up, I notice he is drenched.  Forgetting he has played in the rain, I conclude he is sweating due to being in a diabetic coma.  I scoop him up and race downstairs for an assessment by the muthas.  I am quickly scoffed at and reminded that he was playing in the rain.  Clearly, I'm losing it.
Niece arrives with friends and some new tasty liquor.  We discuss the flooding and their eyewitness reports, including a photo of a transvestite in a bathing suit and heels, holding an umbrella, which was apparently taken around the corner just minutes ago.  Niece feels sorry for Tran, so won't give me the photo to post.  Try to visualize a skinny African American Tran, kinda pretty, pink bathing suit, driving rain, black umbrella, big smile.
We slept with the windows open, and the wind was gusting strong all night.  With the rain, we have a slight mist coming through the windows, so we are not hot at all.  But when the power comes back on, my a/c is broken.  There’s the usual broken limbs and leaf debris in my yard.  No other damage.  We pack up our hoard of food and liquor and move everyone to the other muthas house.  We forget little darling's clothes.  He yells at us the rest of the night because his shirt is too big.

Thursday, August 30:  I can’t take not knowing what is going on at my grandmother’s house and I know she can’t stand not knowing either.  Some people are saying inches of water went in, some saying four feet.  Everyone just keeps saying, “You can’t get there.”  I find this an unacceptable answer for the 93 year old matriarch of our family, so I impulsively leave my kids with the muthas, hop in the car and just drive there.  Some roads are underwater, so we bobble and weave through neighborhoods until we can’t get any further.  We then hoof it about 10 blocks through thigh deep water to her house.  As soon as we put her key in the door we know she’s had water.  It smells like poo.  We quickly move furniture to the dry part of the house, then rip out carpet and padding and throw it out the window.  There’s no power and no running water, so that’s about all we can do for the day and it’s getting late.  We give all her frozen food to the neighbors because it’s too heavy to carry.  Does anyone understand what food cooked by a 93 year old Louisiana native tastes like? I felt like I was sinning when I reluctantly handed it over.  I should also add that her fudge is so incredibly delicious that some people ate it with poo-y fingers and it was indeed carried 10 blocks through floodwater in a Styrofoam container.  I will never tell who ate the poo fudge.  It wasn’t me.

Friday, August 31:  We return home, so we can meet the a/c man.  As I’m getting out of the car, my phone rings with a Kentucky number.  It’s a stranger saying they found Kentucky muthas wallet at Sams.  Apparently they watched her drive off with it on the roof of her car.  I have no clue how they got my number, but we coordinate the return of the wallet. 
Air conditioning is the Goddess of Everything.  It’s 85 inside when we get here, so not great but bearable.  Some of the muthas who evacuated to Baton Rouge want to come home, but they have no power.  They’re coming here.  We are so exhausted by this point that I’m staring at the microwave trying to feed people and I can’t even figure out what buttons to press.  I just keep staring.  I’m doing weird things, like texting people and then putting the phone to my ear while I wait for them to answer.  At first I silently wonder if I’m getting Alzheimers, but then everyone else confesses they are doing the same thing.

Saturday, September 1:  The last group leaves here, and I start cleaning up the frat house.  Everything is sticky.  There are almost as many leaves inside my house as outside.  Blankets are everywhere, pictures are askew, kids have scribbled with markers on my desk.  The baby has no shoes.  I’ve left all my condiments and liquor somewhere else.  We need to go to the grocery and start getting back to normal.  I put my kids to bed at 7:15.  I realize I haven’t spoken to big darling in five days.  I cuddle with him on the couch and suddenly feel like I have the flu.  I’m asleep in about 15 minutes; I miss all of the movie. I wake up and realize I didn’t have the flu, I was only exhausted.

Sunday, September 2:  I travel to LaPlace to my best friend’s house.  I’ve known her since we were four.  We danced in a recital together dressed like monkeys and pigs.  She is a teacher.  She bought a new house 20 days ago.  Her flood insurance was to kick in on day 30.  She had inches of water everywhere, just enough to require all new floors and sheetrock.  Did I mention she's a teacher?  We walk in circles and she mostly cries.  I boss them around for a couple hours, then can’t figure out what else to do without more labor.  In desperation, she calls the priest at church and he sends people over.  I leave.  I come home and bathe the stink off of me.    Dear Diary....what a crazy week this has been.
 

12 comments:

  1. thank you you are a genius i love you soooo glad you and nola are such mofo kisckass survivors

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  2. That poo-fingers fudge gives a whole new meaning to shit magnet... I'm glad y'all are safe, brother's baby isn't Quasimoto,and BFF's son survived, and your grandmother is ok. This post reinforces just how STRONG you are. You seem to be the glue that helps people hold it together in a bad situation, the one with enough ladyballs to get shit done on the fly when it is needed, or the one they turn to when their world is in a tailspin. Now rest your liver for next weekend's MMM festivities, because we are going to be some rowdy muthas up in NOLA.

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  3. I have inlaws in Picayune/Bay St. Louis/Carriere as well as all over NOLA. We left Belle Chasse about 12 years ago, so when ever a storm heads that way we're on high alert. You have touched that place in my heart very few do, you earned my thoughts during Isaac right along w/ our family.

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  4. Glad you and the fam are safe! Get some rest and love on those babies!

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  5. Wow, that certainly was some crazy week and I thought my life was out of control, I have nothing on you. Glad to hear you're okay:)

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  6. I live in Gulfport, Ms & work at a nursing home... I totally understand what you are talking about! Everything was flooded & the administrator at my job tried to force us to stay, saying no cars can make it out. That's when I clocked out & told her I have a truck beeatch. Sarcasm is how I roll. I hope things are well as can be for you and I LOVE your blog!

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  7. I live in Gulfport, Ms. I know exactly what you were going through with Isaac's bitch ass. Everything flooded & curfews. I work at a nursing home & had to work through the stupid storm that just HAD to hit on K-day. Everyone was bitchy (including me), all the employees thought I was their babysitter (sorry, I babysit old people, not your hyped up kids) and the administrator tried to prevent anyone from leaving work because of the flooding.... I clocked out & left in my pos blazer. Just wanted to let you know that your neighbors to the east are praying for you & I absolutely love your blog!

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  8. I'd love to help your teacher friend in LaPlace. Let us know how and I'll rally the troops! :)

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  9. I thought about y'all this week! Glad you are safe and praying for your friend

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  10. You are a rock...star! My brother, his pregnant wife and 1+ year old daughter also live in NOLA and braved the storm. I don't know if that in itself isn't crazy, but you definitely made the best of it.

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  11. I love your writing. A my cousins live I la place, the water destroyed almost everything in their house. The pictures she was sending us were unbelievable! She works at Riverside Academy in la place andi believe school is pushed back until tomorrow still. I can't believe all the damage and the stories of being saved by boats, it is all to amazingly shocking. Y'all down in NOLA are made of strong stuff!

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