Monday, October 6, 2008

Louisiana Part 3...

Well I thought you might like to meet the main characters of this story. Sure you know our names, but you can't quite visualize us. So here we are... me and my partner. I would be the girl. LOL. Oh wait the one with the long hair. LOL.

If you aren't quite sure what this post is about you can check here and here to catch up.

The infamous tire blow out...

So where were we, ahhh yes, sleeping after our rough evening. Like I said my partner and the chief that was with us went out to grab something to eat and plan the route we were going to go to meet up with everyone else. Good because I am not good with directions. Just tell me to look for the gas station or the big tree on the corner and I'm good. Don't say turn north, south, east, or west unless you don't want me to get there. There were also a lot of phone calls being made both to our chief (not by me because I would have been fired while standing along side the road) and the State of Ohio EMA, our unit commander who was with the other group of people. They were trying to decided what to do. I slept and didn't want to be in on it. I figured my partner could handle the truck maintenance part of the trip if I handled everything else. AHHHHH... that bed never felt so good.

Skip ahead to 6am wake up time. I get up do my thing and wake my partner up. Before all of you get excited, yes we slept in the same room, yes we had 2 beds, and yes it stayed that way, and yes my hubby knew. Like I said we are partners that's it. We meet up with the chief and go for a nice continental breakfast courtesy of the motel. I'm betting that the rest of the group didn't get a nice breakfast like this. LOL. Ahhhh.... this is nice we're watching the hurricane report on the TV while we eat and hear that the winds are starting to pick up a bit. Great!!!! Then we need to hurry to get to the shop for our truck. We arrive just as they open and one of the guys was taking our shredded tire off. We had blown out the side wall of it. Of course we get the "Where ya'll from?" And we explain about 1 hour south of Cleveland. "Oh, why are ya down here?" "We came just to meet you so you could change our tire." I said. He laughed and I told him about the hurricane. Next words out of his mouth "So, you ever been in a hurricane?" "Nope I live in Ohio the biggest body of water is Lake Erie." "Well, there's just lots of wind and rain." "So do you actually get hit here in Clinton with hurricanes?" "No ma'am (I'm starting to get use to this ma'am stuff), but we do get hit with the tornadoes that go along with the hurricanes. " WHAT???? Now I'm standing there and the wind is picking up and blowing pretty hard. "You're kidding me right?" "No ma'am" UGGGHHHH of course tornadoes now!!!! By then the tire was fixed and we also had them check out our transmission. There was nothing wrong they told us that we ran it to hard for too long in the heat and it boiled over. SHEW!!!! That's the best news so far I can continue on with the rest of the team. We go to pay and I open the door and the biggest black nasty bug (swear it was as big as a dog) ran in front of me in the door. I scream and they all just look at me. We don't have bugs that big where I live. I asked the lady sitting there waiting for her car if it was a cockroach. "Nope I've never seen one of those before." YUCK!!!!! big bugs I hate bugs. So lets see we have snakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, and huge bugs to worry about what was I thinking.

As Willie Nelson would say "on the road again, I just can't wait to get on the road again." LOL we set our Tom Tom for Zachary,La. The chief says he likes to follow so we should lead. OK. We have about 3 hours on the road to meet up with our team. Wow isn't this pleasant driving through these little back roads our Tom Tom showed us. This is quickest way according to the device. Turn Left it says. OK. Hey partner isn't that a dead end sign up there. Hey partner that is dead end sign!!!! Now what??? Yep our handy device had us go down a dead end street. NICE!!!! Once again the two manly men confer and decide to follow the chief's Garmin. By then he knew the exact address of where we were to go. We would be staying in a church for the next few days.

This is what we saw along the way...

A terrible rain storm that we could not see but 20 feet in front of us. Would have been nice if we had new windshield wiper blades. LOL We discussed it at one of the gas stations, but didn't do it.

Lots of homes with tarps for roofs thanks to Hurricane Gustav.

Finally, a few hours later we arrived at the church courtesy of FEMA. This would be our home away from home for a few days.

This place is huge. When we arrived I'd say there were at least 200 people there with only 2 showers. Yeah you heard me right 2. Luckily at this point the women were in the minority still. After we were done the men started to use ours.

These are not my feet.... LOL. Are ya kiddin I would have at least shaved my legs for ya. And the shoes.... don't get me started.

SHHH... I don't know who's stuff this was, but this is how it looked all around the church. (I borrowed other peoples pictures that went with me. hehe)

This was another church that would serve lunch to those who were around. Ummm... my partner and I missed lunch the first day do to our breakdown. Luckily they had left overs and I got my first taste of dirty rice and I LOVED it.

We arrived safely and were met by the other team members with lots of hugs for me, not so many for my partner, and glad your back and safe. I was never so happy to see people I had only known one day. At this point we were still awaiting our mission from FEMA so my partner and I unpacked and reorganized the truck. The weather reports were moving in that Ike would be hitting that night. Now we had the option of either sleeping in the truck or in the church. My partner and I decided we would stay inside. I figured with the way my luck was I'd be Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz or a huge tree would fall on my truck. Hmmmm.... I wasn't taking the chance.

So we found some FEMA/Red Cross cots and scoped out our spot with the rest of the team along the wall of the huge gymnasium. Well let me tell you this place got extremely cold at night. It was so cold I couldn't keep warm so therefore I was awake most of the night along with the rain pelting the roof of this building. What was worse is that our one team was broken down in to 3 smaller teams of 5 each. Well, teams 1 and 3 were given their assignments and had to leave at 11pm. They were going to man shelters and fire stations to ride out the storm. They were our night shift guys as I call them. My team was on days because the commander was our boss and he needed to be able to communicate during the day with both Ohio and La officials. Well, of course I could not be left to try to sleep now could I. Team 1 and 3 came and woke me up to ask me what team I was on knowing full well I was on 2. Oh wait I know lets shake her cot and scare the crap out of her this'll be fun... Psssttt... Mary are you awake??? What do you guys want??? Hey what team are you on... 2 why... Never mind... GRRRR... I'm awake now what do you want. So I was told since I was up I needed to see them off. What am I your Mother??? But being the nice person I dragged myself outside to see them off. The wind was blowing and the rain was beginning to come down. I waved to them and took off back inside where it is dry.

As the night goes on people start doing stupid stuff like take pics when you are sleeping. I hate people who take pics when I'm sleeping... I'm the second white blob in the blankets... that didn't bring her sleeping bag because said partner said I could use his and not to take mine. The poop hogged his sleeping bag for himself. That would be him laying ON TOP of it next to me with the leopard pillow and feet you see. Let me just say this he is a snorer. OH MY WORD!!!! I can not stand people who snore. I am a light sleeper so any noise just bothers me. This will be important later on. Gee I hope the other guys are ok that rain is just echoing off the roof. Boy am I glad it's not me working out in this. LOL. Oh wait we're a team here right??? LOL. Not so much when it's raining and blowing this girl looks like a drown rat in rain. LOL. Besides we have to be up and ready for briefing at 0700 in the morning for our mission specifics.

This is it for today... Whew this got long winded. Another part next week. And the drama intensifies.
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carolyn at cranberry crossings: said...

What a time you had! Sounds like the only good thing was that you were one of the few women and got first dibs on the showers!
Again, thank you for all you do! Not too many people would even attempt to do such things.
Have a great week!

Jenn said...

I think you should put this all into a book!??

Back in the Day said...

I couldn't help but laugh about the picture with the feet and how you would have at least shaved! Too funny!

Julie said...

WOW!! You have a very interesting job. I love your sense of humor!! Hope you're having a great day. Julie


Yes, I agree! You have such an interesting job! Love reading about your life!!!

Linda said...

WOW - what you volunteers go through is amazing! And the drama continues? Can't wait!

basketsnprims said...

Mary, I give thanks for what you do along with others like you. Thanks for sharing & all the pics.


~The Robin's Nest~ said...

What more drama? :)
You are a skinny little thing aren't you Mary! What a cutie!

Shay said...

I just love reading about this! You are just so wonderful and your job is so neat! Oooh I'm a southern girl, so the "ma'am" thing has been embedded into my brain, when I moved up North, that was probably, (next to my southern draw), the most irritating thing to Northern women to answer with a "yes Ma'am!". BUT, they LOVED my cooking! hehe!

YUM on the dirty rice! I love going down to New Orleans and eating the food their, my fav is muffuletta & Beignets!! Thanks for sharing your story, I agree, I would think about a book with all your experiences! You write so wonderfully too, plus I love your humor! Have a great day!
Hugs & blessings,

Mrs. Trixi said...

I have really enjoyed your story on this trip. You do an amazing job!! We too, love Dirty rice. So good.

Elise said...

We southern girls are taught to respect our elders!! I have kids saying ma'am to me and I am not even 30 yet!!

~Jess said...

I give you a lot of credit for being a volunteer. It certainly sounds like you guys had an interesting time of it!

PS. I'm doing a giveaway on my blog starting Thursday (10/9), just wanted to let you know.

Farmchick said...

You are too funny and tell a great story! Can't wait to hear the rest.


JenW!~ said...

Sure sounds like you've had a very interesting time in Louisiana. Look forward to hearing more about it.

Nicole said...

Wow, what a woman. I don't think I could do your job in a million years.