Interesting date, don't you think? Well, maybe not to most but it is to us here in the South and this particular day for me especially. While it in no way compares to 9/11, it's my own personal version of that fateful day. The uncertainty, the turmoil, the anxiety, the desperation, the shock, the fear of the unknowing... That list could go on forever but every year that goes by, it gets a bit easier. You know all those emails and Facebook/Myspace entries that make you go back to high school so you can compare yourself to then and now? This weekend is full of that for us here and for some, it's harder than others. You'd think after 5 years it would be easier to talk about it but the truth is, for a lot of people, a lot of us, it's still too fresh. Too soon even! Hard to fathom? Maybe so but it is a sigh of relief to see how far we, as a city, have moved on. Like, if the city can then so can i kind of thing. It's hard to explain really.
i remember getting up on Sat 8/27 to go to work. Oh how i hated working on Saturdays! Even if it was only every 3 weeks, still hated it! i was a running a minute or 2 late because my happy hungry ass stopped at McDonald's for breakfast. i found parking on the street and as i was walking towards the building, i saw my Saturday co-workers riding away in their cars. They stop and tell me that we didn't get any work because the post office was closed and then tell me to call Paul and go home. i thought it was strange but who am i to argue when the team leader tells you to go home?!?! So i took note of the time and decided i'd go to Curves with Faith. i don't remember if i called her or decided to surprise her there but we worked out anyway and on the way home, i ran into some traffic. i remember being at a standstill at an unusually busy intersection near the apartment. i managed to get around it and saw what the holdup was... EVERYONE AND THEIR GRANDMAW was at Chevron and the rest of the world was waiting in line to fuel up. i thought it was weird and yet funny at the same time so i called Faith to let her know what the issue was and that way she could take a different route to get home. We had no clue! That may have been the last time i spoke to her, i think, i really don't recall. i got home and called my mom to let her know i wasn't at work and she begins to tell me about the hurricane and how we should go get some supplies.
The idea was that my mom, dad and sister would come hang out with Michael and i in the apartment. It would've been crowded for sure but we were on the 2nd floor so there'd be no threat of flooding. We went to the Dollar General Store and stocked up on canned goods and even got a small charcoal BBQ set in case the power went out. If you haven't noticed by now, we weren't planning on leaving the city. We evacuated for Ivan and it turned out to be a false alarm and Michael didn't want to leave either. He couldn't actually, he was on the home team at work as opposed to the away team that was sent out of harm's way. So here it is Saturday evening and Michael and i are up watching TV and my mom calls to say they'll see us tomorrow maybe, if needed.
i don't remember what we ended up watching that night but Michael and i fell asleep with the TV on. i woke up around 6am-ish when my cell phone rang. It was my mom calling to let us know that she had already spoken to the Berards (our adopted family) and that they were expecting us and that they were leaving at 10am for Breaux Bridge, which is normally a 2 hour drive west of the city. After i questioned her reasoning i was advised to check the weather and i when i saw the eye of that storm was bigger than Lake Pontchartrain on the map, i turned white!!! **FYI** It's not easy for Hispanics to turn white. So i wake Michael up, show him what i see and he heads out to work to get the backup tapes while i start packing our overnight bags. By the time Michael got back and i had finished packing, it was almost noon. i left my car at my dad's house and Jamina's car was in the garage. We got to Breaux Bridge in time for dinner around 7pm-ish. We watched the news, watched the weather, watched movies, we talked and we laughed. We'd be out of their way by Monday or Tuesday, or so we thought. We ALL thought! Michael was flown out to AZ with the backup tapes for work and then was sent to Pineville to start up the temp facility and for the next 6 weeks, my mom, dad, sister and i lived out of these people's house driving into Kenner almost daily to clean and gut the houses. After that, i had to report to work in Houston or lose my job so to TX my mom and i went and back home went my dad and sister and later on Michael, too...
i have no sense of time from that point on. Not just during that time, even now. i have a difficult time remembering if things happened before or after the storm and not necessarily things of importance either. For example, Michael's car has a dimple on the passenger side front door from a stranger backing out of a parking spot at Home Depot but i don't recall if that was pre-K or post-K. Did my mom's Buick die before or after? Had we just met Spongebob that same year or was it the year before? Did Noel really come visit earlier in the month? It really bothers me that i can't always remember certain times of events, be they good or bad and at the same time, there's things i wish i just didn't remember. Since the storm, Michael and i eat out a lot during this time of the year much to his dismay. Not overpriced fancy dinners, i mean neighborhood grills and restaurants and the occasional fast food eatery. And although i do admit to my laziness, it's not because of that either. There are times when i go to the store daily for that night's dinner items. Point is, fridge/freezer and pantry are completely bare. Never do i want to clean out a freezer again! As opposed to people like Faith who stayed home after we were allowed back in and after emptying her house of food didn't know when or where she'd be able to get food again so she stocks up so as to not run out. It's interesting to see how this has affected my friends. Jamie, who lost the most out of all my friends, seems to be the most carefree. She has young children so she has to seem like it, i guess. Still, i think it's interesting yet unnerving at the same time and even now it sometimes feels unreal and real all at the same time.
All in all, my little world survived, including my friends and their families. All that was lost were objects and we were able to rebuild, restore, reNew Orleans. The Saints play in the Dome tomorrow night... i hope we're in that number!!!