Friday, October 28, 2011

Putting the past behind us and our behinds in gear for the future

Haven't thought of that quote in years. One of the plays we did in high school required my friend Tree to say this. She said it with such zeal. And while considering a title, it popped into my head.

Rather fitting, because lately, I've been confronted with things long gone.

First, I have set my DVR to record all of these amazing new episodes of Pop Up Video. Holy cow. I loved half days in high school, because I'd come home, fix a PB&J sandwich or biscuit pizzas or a Lean Cuisine, plop down in my dad's blue recliner, pull up a nesting table, and watch. Also, sometimes, because I got out of school at 2:20, I'd catch it when I got home.

In college, my roommate Lisa and I would race back to the dorm from the cafeteria in order to watch it. Sometimes, we cut it close. Always, it was a bad idea to do so. However, it was always worth it.

When I met Mark, I quickly learned that his musical trivia knowledge knows no bounds. He would always get so mad because he would tell me facts, and I would frequently respond with, "Yeah, I saw that on Pop Up Video once." He hates the show because it allows people to know obscure music trivia that generally only he knows. When it went away, he was happy. He's not so glad to have it back.

In my journalism class, one of my seniors is going to do a new feature called "That '90s Column." In it, he is going to pick apart '90s culture. I guess that the '90s for him are the '80s for me. He did an article on older generations' opinion of Gen-Y. I was his Gen X-er source. First, older generation? Mannnnn. But seriously, he is apparently a fan of everything I find amusing. He wanted to know what some of my earliest memories are and what things I liked. Most of it didn't make it into the article, but it was still fun to talk about. I guess I gave him too much information, haha.

He interviewed me about "Ren and Stimpy" the other day. Another kid did an article on the return of "Beavis and Butt-Head." I then watched that last night with Kurt, Alicia, and Joe. Kurt and I were way into it. Joe watched some through his bottle. Alicia tolerated us fools. Mark didn't get to watch it, but I DVRed it, and we're going to watch it when he gets home.

Both returning TV shows are just as good as they were back then, and have lost none of their appeal. Makes me so happy.

Last week, I once again brought my seniors to my collegiate alma mater. We had a journalism workshop, toured the campus, saw the Dyslexia Center, and visited Student Publications and Printing. Met up with Mark's cousins, Drew and Alison, and my brother-in-law from another mother-in-law, Clyde. He looks like Jones on "Reno 911." I look decidedly nothing like that. For fun, I introduced him as my brother-in-law. The kids' faces were priceless.

It was so much fun going back and showing them every part of the campus I loved so much. Thankfully, I worked so much and spent so many hours in the theater, so there weren't too many stories I had to censor myself on. I guess playing it so safe in college was a bit of a waste, but it was also a good thing. Several of my seniors are interested in going there next year, as opposed to the group I brought last year, so they were very interested in everything I showed them and everything I told them.

Two things that you would have died over.

One. My adviser, who is kind of an ass, but also one of the greatest teachers ever, Dr. C, was handing out some papers. M made a comment about how freezing it was in there, and Dr. C said that it had to be that cold because of all of the equipment in the room. He then added, "So, this is the Iceland of classrooms." He hands B a paper, and B goes, "You mean Greenland. Iceland isn't the one covered in snow. That's Greenland." Dr. C looks at him and goes, "O.....kayyyyy...." and all of us lost it.

Two. My b-i-l Phil's BFF Clyde works for the sports information office. He's a big goofy light-skinned black guy. I used a picture from Phil's wedding as one of my FB profile pictures. It has my m-i-l, s-i-l, b-i-l, f-i-l, Mark, Clyde, and his gf. I introduced him to the kids as being my bil. Their faces were priceless. Clyde explained to them what I meant.

The other teacher, also an alum, who came with us had C and D. C wanted info on remedial courses and math and stuff, so Mr. W brought her to a math dept friend of his. He brought D to visit the basketball team.

They came in after this while Clyde was talking with the kids. Clyde asked if they had any questions, and D goes, "Yeah, I got one. Who are you?" I said, "He is my brother-in-law." Well, the reaction was as awesome as you could expect. The kids played along. I pulled up the profile pic. Now, the gf, Stephanie, is white, so I guess he thinks Clyde married either my sister or Mark's hahahha, because he said, "Ohhhhhhhhh. I see."

So we let him think whatever it is he thinks. In following days, several kids asked me to ask my brother-in-law some stuff about athletics and the school. Heehee.

On the way home, a different female C was behind me and she leaned forward and said, "I never knew people could have black in-laws." This from a white girl dating a black guy. What happened that some level of disconnect exists?? At least Clyde brought some multiculturalism to her life.

Then, on Saturday, we drove to the M.C. to take a photo of three generations of alumni with Mark's family. His grandpa, aunt, uncle, mom, two cousins, brother, sister-in-law, and the two of us all graduated from there, and his two youngest cousins are there now, as I mentioned earlier. Stephanie is actually writing an article for the university about the family's three generations of grads. She and a university photographer took the photo.

After that, we had to go back to Thibodaux to pick up some costumes from my friend Wade, who is also a drama teacher. He did "The Wizard of Oz" a year or so ago, and that's what I'm doing this year. He offered to lend us his costumes, and we detoured to get them. Then, we went to Houma and ate at Outback with Mark's parents and made a detour to the mall for a minute. When we were in college, that was one of the few restaurants there. Good times.

On Saturday, I heard from Wade again, but it was not for good news. Marie, a girl I'd hired based on the fact that, as a freshman, she reminded me of me as a freshman, died. She climbed the ranks and eventually edited the paper. She worked in the same school system I work in, and we would run into each other at workshops and things. We kept in touch via Facebook, but were not close any more. She was an amazing person, and I am very sad about this. She was only 29. Everyone began posting photos from Student Publications. I did, too. It was fun looking through my photos and reminiscing. And it's been fun to see people comment on the pictures, too.

In addition to this revisiting my past stuff, I have listened predominantly to the Gen-X radio stations we have now. Fantastic stuff.

Tomorrow (today?) We are attending a college radio reunion for Mark. It just keeps going!

But then, there's so much progression. It's my 7th year of teaching. I took the GRE last week and have applied for grad school to get a master's in journalism education. I spent the evening with new mommy Alicia.

In fact, babies are stealing my friends, haha. There's lingo I don't speak, there's trick-or-treating plans, there's no one to do things with after work, events end earlier, one moved back to California...glad I have other friends who are childless by choice out there. Otherwise, the world would be so lonely.

Things are changing. When did we get old?

Monday, August 29, 2011


Don’t rebuild.

Those two simple words were heard ‘round the world six years ago. But I’m not hearing them today, the day after Hurricane Irene flooded parts of the northeast.

Vermont, oh Vermont. My heart goes out to you. I know all too well the pain you went through and will go through as you slog through your lives and realize there’s nothing left.

New Yorkers who were not able to evacuate due to some decisions of Nagin proportions, our neighbors hear your frustrations.

People of the Virginia and DC area, I know what it is to have a one-two punch. You could consider Katrina and Rita, or Katrina and the oil spill… your choice… our one-two punch(es). Counterparts to the earthquake and Irene.

And while I empathize with you on levels that no human should ever have to empathize with, I am also filled with self-loathing.

Why is it that, knowing full-well what you all are going through, in many cases on a grander scale, I sat there watching some footage and thought to myself, “Good!”?

How can I, as one of the countless number of people whose lives were unexpectedly changed forever, sit there and think cold thoughts?

There’s a sick satisfaction running through me. And I hate it. I hate it, but I can’t seem to stop it.

Maybe it’s because Washington had two back-to-back natural disasters, and those were the people who spit on us, turned their backs on us, and said we shouldn’t rebuild.

Maybe it’s because people sat there, and said, “I’m so tired of hearing about this coverage.” Well, I’m sick of seeing you whine about a Cat 1 storm, people. Unless you live in one of those hard-hit areas. You can complain all you want. You’ve earned that right.

Maybe it’s because so many people claimed we were worthless and that we were hit for being a den of sin. New York comes to mind. DC. And every other major city that got so much as a drop of rain, for that matter.

Maybe it’s because anyone who sat there and said, “Well, New Orleans is below sea level, and it’s a hurricane prone area, so what did they expect?” might be getting just a taste of “it can happen to anyone.” I mean, a pretty big earthquake on the east coast? A 500-mile-diameter hurricane hitting North Caroline, New Jersey, Boston, New York City, and everything in between? All impossible to imagine, yet in the span of about a week, both happened.

We may be below sea level, and it may be a hurricane prone area, but that doesn’t mean we deserved what we got. And, I was here. On Monday, August 29, my house was fine. Early Tuesday, August 30, the inferior levees broke. And boom. Homeless. Thanks, Corps.

My mother told me that a coworker of hers was on vacation and got to talking to a couple. It came out that she was from New Orleans and had lost everything. For the sake of the story, this woman is white and lived in one of the more affluent areas that was destroyed. The wife turned to the husband and pointed her out like an oddity in Ripley’s Believe It Or Not museum and said, “Look, honey. She’s from New Orleans, and she lost everything in Katrina.” The husband sized her up and said, “Really? I thought only Ward 9 flooded.”

So many things wrong there. First, it’s 9th Ward, but that isn’t the worst of what you said. You looked at this white woman and assumed that she wasn’t from there. I have an uncle from the upper 9th. He’s pretty white. You also seemed surprised that she was middle class. And most of all, you had your facts wrong. How did you miss that so many areas were flooded? Downtown isn’t the 9th Ward. Old Metairie isn’t the 9th Ward. Mid-City isn’t the 9th Ward. Lakeview isn’t the 9th Ward. Chalmette isn’t the 9th Ward.

Katrina didn’t discriminate. Everyone was affected, no matter the color, the gender, the age, the religion, the education level, the financial status. Mother Nature doesn’t care.

Mark told me a great quote: If life was a sport, Mother Nature would be undefeated.

I’m sitting here with clogged sinuses and itchy eyes. Not from tears, but from a marsh fire in New Orleans East which is being left to burn. They are waiting for the surrounding waters to extinguish it. The winds shifted, and the smoke is all out here now. It’s a bitter reminder of today’s date. It is simultaneously a reminder that Mother Nature doesn’t care who you are or where you’re from (since the winds shifted and the smell has wafted all over the place) and a trigger for memories of smells I hope to never smell again. That Katrina smell. If there wasn’t smoky air irritating my allergies (and if I think it’s bad in my classroom, I just have to walk down the hallway to the gym to be completely unable to breathe), I would have smelled and tasted that smell again. They say smell is the sense with the closest ties to memory. That’s the truth. Aryanna and I went to Greek Fest in May, which was more than 5 ½ years since the flood, and while walking through the Gentilly neighborhood where we parked, there were patches of the smell. You never forget it once you smell it. All I have to do sometimes is think about it for a few minutes. I can do it with the scent of my house, as well as the scent of my parents’ refrigerator.

I can’t help this, and I hate it. I hate it, hate it, hate it. How could I become so bitter and still be so angry? I have always said that I would never wish this upon even my worst enemy, and here I am, smiling smugly. I can’t stop. I’m trying to push these feelings out of my head, and I can’t.

Every time the news shows an area where shingles are missing from rooftops, or the raging floodwaters, or people who evacuated, I can’t help but think of two little words.

Don’t rebuild.

And then I hate myself. But they keep creeping up.

Don’t rebuild.

You said we couldn’t. You said it was pointless. You said we were stupid to try.

Maybe we are all a little mad. Maybe we all went off the deep end 6 years ago. But we had something worth fighting for.

We had to rebuild to keep busy and stop the downward spirals.

We had to rebuild to pick up the pieces.

We had to rebuild because we love this state, flaws and all.

We had to rebuild because that’s what we do.

We had to rebuild because we had to prove those naysayers wrong.

We had to rebuild to prove to ourselves that we weren’t ruined.

Louisiana has been populated with rejects since its inception. The Islenos were sent here to give the Spanish some allies when they took over. The casket girls came over to find husbands. The prisoners, loose women, and convicts were sent here because no one else wanted them. The slaves were sent here to do the white man’s dirty work. The free people of color flocked here for better opportunities. The privateers came here because they were chased out of other ports. The Irish were sent here because their parents needed them to make money for the family during the potato famine. Jews escaped the Holocaust. Natives settled here after being run off by the settlers back east. Italians and Germans and Croats all came here for a chance at a better life. Hispanics came here for a better life and to find work. And the Acadians. Oh, the Acadians. Kicked out of Acadia in Canada because they refused to swear allegiance to Britain, to speak English, and to become Protestant.

Our people have a history of staring down adversity. We don’t laugh in its face (at least, not any more), but it’s what we do. Are we crazy? Probably. But, rest of the world, that’s what you get for casting out your less desirables.

Sure, we had French nobility, explorers, pioneers, Natives, military, “Americans,” and more nuns and priests than you can count. They’re probably the ones who kept the state from going completely off the deep end. Maybe they were voodooed into assimilation and became as mad as the rest of them. I don’t know. Either way, we should have been named Phoenix, for we rise from the ashes (sometimes literally) over and over and over again.

The flood of 1927. Getting traded between France and Spain, then getting sold to America. Yellow fever. The oil spill. The two great fires. The Battle of New Orleans. The Civil War. Camille and Betsy and Andrew and Katrina and Rita and Gustav and…

The list goes on and on.

And we, possibly admirably, possibly stupidly, will continue to rise each time something new is thrown in our direction.

So let me motivate you to do as we did, northeast. Let me give you two little words that lit the fires in our bellies:

Don’t rebuild.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

ah, nuts

Summer's over. I go back for staff week in..oh...less than 8 hours.

It was, hands down, one of THE best years at camp ever. We have a solid staff with, BEYOND competent head teachers. We had people who didn't create or care about drama. It all went too quickly.

I have had to spend the night away from home every week for like 8 weeks.

Week 3 of camp had me spend the night to babysit the Tzofim Friendship Caravan, which is our favorite event. These singing and dancing Israelis are amaaaaa-zing. They stay the night with us the day before performing, and the director and I had to stay with them.

One week later was the camp overnight.

The next week was my cousin's wedding in the French Quarter, and we had a hotel room for two nights.

The next weekend was my brother-in-law's wedding in Thibodaux, so we had a hotel room there.

The next week was the final camp overnight.

This past weekend involved driving my brother-in-law and new sister-in-law to their new home in Starkville, MS.

We should be going to stay at a friend's camp near Baton Rouge this weekend. It'll be nice to put away the suitcase.

Okay, 7 weeks.

Speaking of putting things away, we have not done any more to the house. Too many weekends out of town. There was a third wedding in there, but we didn't have to stay in any hotels for it, haha. I'm losing my mind.

Some people nest because they are having kids. Other people nest because there are too many huge things which need to be done around the house, and they are powerless to do them, and so they start tinkering and upgrading little things around the house as a means of controlling some little part of their lives.

Yeah, that second one is me.

For instance, now that my b-i-l and s-i-l are 5-6 hours away from us, we have no idea how often we'll be able to see them. We'd like to have a place for them to stay if they have a chance. This is really hard to deal with, especially for Mark. He is so close to his brother, and while we live an hour and a half away from his family, he could and sometimes did visit at random. You can't really do that on a 5-6-hour trip.

Anyway, we have two guest bedrooms which double as our offices. Each has a twin bed in it. It would not be fair to have them sleep in separate rooms. While wandering in Target, we were checking out all of the fun back-to-college stuff, and we found a futon on sale. We decided to do what my mother-in-law did for us when we would visit: put the two twin beds in one room (my office, in this case), get one of those foam bed bridge thingies, and turn the two twins into a king. The futon will go in Mark's office.

So now we need king-sized bedding, to get the stuff moved out of my office, and start turning this into a nice guest room.

I've also picked up curtains, some new pillows, new flatware since the dishwasher ruined ours, some new sheets, and countless other things that needed upgrading around here. And I feel like there's SOME control regained over my house.

Hopefully, after this weekend, we can get back on this renovation thing.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Back into it

I've had several people tell me that I need to get back into this. I had neglected things a bit, but the school year tends to be a little difficult for free time. And once we hit spring, I have my bowling team, and then I go back to camp every few days to prepare for the upcoming summer. My available hours are slim.

Don't let my Facebook presence throw you, though. I keep the browser window open and the FB tab on top, so I see notifications. And I get all ADD and start looking at whatever went up there while I'm working on other things.

Anyway, I hate that all of my posts over the past year or so have been "let me catch you up" posts, but, well, sometimes, that's just how it is.

And, unfortunately, I guess that's what this one will be.

Last regular post I'd had was about my little Nala cat. I think I just couldn't write again for a while after that.

The biggest thing to change in my life was a life-saving moment. My quality of life dropped significantly last year. It started getting worse towards the end of the summer and into the beginning of the school year. I would come home, fight to stay awake, fall asleep on the couch, have Mark wake me up, eat, fall back asleep, have Mark wake me up, shower, go to sleep, go to work, drag all day, go home... and repeat.

It was scary, but I'd also lost my will to care about it. I was shedding like crazy, couldn't stay awake, quick to fly off the handle, and constantly dealing with broken nails. As much as I hate the phrase, Mark tried a "come to Jesus" moment. My annual exam was approaching, and he made me promise to talk to my doctor about it. My mom's theory was that I was having thyroid troubles. That WOULD explain the weight gain I've had over the past few years. I just chalked that up to Katrina, but maybe there was more to it.

Sure enough, I was suffering from hypothyroidism. My levels were dangerously low. A few weeks of trying different dosages, and my quality of life started to improve. I was also given something for the PTSD I've been dealing with the past few years, and that did it, too. I lost about 10 pounds almost immediately, all without changing any dietary or exercise regimens.

What do you know. I wasn't crazy. I was just in physical trouble.

The school year was a very good one. I got to repeat my classes from the year before. This is the first time in 6 years that I've been able to reuse my class materials. What a wonderful, wonderful thing. Of course, adjustments needed to be made here and there, but wow. Just reducing that level of stress was amazing.

I remember being in school, probably middle school, and thinking about how my poor teachers had to teach the same things, year after year after year. Little did I know that one day I would long for that luxury. It's pretty neat knowing what I have coming up for first quarter. I like that I can improve upon what I did the year before. It's funny how your perspective changes as you age.

I still do not see much of Mark. He works nights, I work days, and we frequently worked Sundays, and he sometimes worked Saturdays. It's hard. But we try to find things to do, be it drive around or watch a movie we DVRed two weeks prior.

We do have one project we've tried working on together, though. My father told us that he would help us remodel the front of our house. We hit a huge snafu, though. Well, many of them.

We tore down the paneling in the den. Bit by bit, we worked a little on the weekends. We got some of the sheetrock up, but the holidays started getting in the way. The weekend before my dad's birthday, Mark went to work for 5 a.m. Shortly after 5 a.m., the phone rang. It was my mom. My father had a heart attack, and they were in the hospital. I showered, ran out into the cold early Saturday morning with a soaking wet head, and somehow safely made it to the hospital. While they were working on him, my mom broke the news to me that she was having a lumpectomy that week, and she was only telling me because now I would have to take her in for the procedure.

My world crashed down. That night, my family was supposed to go to 5 Happiness for my dad's birthday dinner. We were happy and excited. He was going to come over to work on the house a little with me while Mark was at work. It was going to be a busy but fun day. And then, there we were. In the Cardiac Care Unit, waiting to hear how my father was after a heart attack, my mom telling me she could have cancer, and all of this being the absolute last thing I ever expected to happen.

The heart attack turned out to be a small one, and Dad went home for his birthday. I spent the night there so that I could get up early and bring my mom to the hospital for her surgery. My aunt, a breast cancer survivor, came to keep me company while we waited. Hours later, I was able to bring her home. That weekend, I spent most of my time chauffeuring them around, putting almost 200 miles on my car. Mom's results were good, no worries. Dad has also made a great recovery.

But then we were stuck. We didn't know what we were doing with regards to home repair. My dad wasn't allowed to do anything for a while. We decided to go through a contractor. He was going to replace our doors, but it took him about a month or so to return the new doors to us. All of our old doors, save for the ones on the bathrooms, were gone. The guys skipped out on a lot of stuff, and months went by. We fired him, got all of our doors back, and tried another guy, who gave us the runaround for a few months. We hired a third guy, who came on time on the appointed days, brought a crew, and had the den sheetrocked and floated in two half days. Booyah.

This was in February/March. We started in October.

We are still not finished. We have trouble aligning my work schedule with Mark's work schedule with my dad's work schedule. We've had another guy do our crown molding, and we'll have other people come in to finish the rest. We'd planned to be done by Christmas. We had no idea it would be June and we still would not be finished.

What we've accomplished:
Painting the range hood and the oven/broiler
Repairing the roof
New A/C and heater
Fixing the ceiling in the den, where the leaking roof ruined things
Removed paneling in the den
Put up sheetrock in the den
Painted the den and the kitchen (we left the paneling there, and deglossed and primed it before painting)
Crown molding in the den and kitchen
Removed the doors to the upper cabinets
Put cabinet contents in boxes in the den (sighhhh)
Deglossed the upper cabinets
Painted, mostly, the upper cabinets
Purchased new hinges for the cabinets
Purchased new drawer pulls/handles for the cabinets
Ordered new flooring which will go in the den, kitchen, and hallway
Had the flooring delivered
Put new doors up

What still needs to be done:
Bottom cabinets
Reattaching cabinet doors
Installing flooring
Finishing the doors
Repairing a kitchen fan
Painting pantry doors
Installing a new countertop
Installing a new kitchen sink
Repainting woodwork and reinstalling it around the windows

Sigh. Mayyybe we'll finish before the first anniversary of this project.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

I'm not crazy, I swear.

As of last Friday, I have officially spent half of my life working at my summer camp. Sixteen years. In some ways, it doesn't feel like it. In other ways, I feel ancient. I think about how young I actually was, about how green I was, and about all of the big events I've gone through since I started working there.

There was the burial ceremony for my grandfather's ashes, the deaths of my maternal grandparents, high school graduation, going to college, meeting the man I would marry, editing the college newspaper, flying to Idaho with my friends for the first wedding of a friend I ever attended, going to New York and DC for conventions, interning for a local weekly paper, spending a summer as a secretary, beach trips, the family trip where we drove to Philly, 9-11, graduating from college, getting my first real job, getting married, having a honeymoon, moving into our house, getting downsized, getting a year-round gig there for three years, taking tests towards certification, going back to school, getting hired at school, travel camp with children, Hurricane Katrina, going back to my alma mater, living with my in-laws, living with my parents, Mark living in Baton Rouge in a trailer, Mark moving in with my parents, living there for 2 years, rebuilding our lives, buying our home, working on our home, swimming with manatees, becoming a certified teacher, getting the plays, taking over the yearbook, coaching bowling, getting my coaching certification, traveling with students, Obama's election, attending his inauguration, getting my car totaled by a drunk woman, traveling to Greece, becoming a certified journalism educator, and so many more little things.

Sixteen years ago, I couldn't drive. Stacy and I rode our bikes to work that first year. Later, she got a car, and she would bring me. We were junior counselors. I rose to senior counselor, then unit head, and now I'm the assistant director. I've been through more directors and assistant directors than I can count.

Sixteen years ago, I wasn't anywhere near what I am today. I teach a kid who was my worst camper ever (the kind that makes you never want to work with kids again). Ten years after he was the bane of my existence, he was one of my bowlers, and he's working for me now. He didn't remember having me as his counselor, but he did remember how he acted back then. He was concerned that I would hold his past against him. I told him that I wouldn't hold his past against him, because I didn't want him to hold my past against me. Ha.

Sixteen years ago, if you'd told me that I would still work here, I'd have thought you were an idiot. I was going to be a JOURNALIST. I didn't know that my years at camp would lead to a year-round gig for three years, or that it would influence me to go back to school for my teaching certification and to make a big career change. I also had no way of knowing that print journalism is a dying art, and that getting out when I did was the smartest thing I ever did.

People always ask me why I keep doing this. It has especially been common this year. I don't really have a solid answer. My standard response is that I need to have something to do during the summer, or else I would weigh 800 pounds and be in debt. Which is true. I've never worked retail and I've never worked in food services. I need a teaching break, and we also don't do our own summer school, so I can't teach that. I'm the assistant director; if I was a counselor, I probably would have given it up years ago. I like being administration. Without a master's, I cannot be scholastic administration. And I'm not sure that I would necessarily want to be out of the classroom. So this settles that desire while keeping me in the classroom. And, it's just something I enjoy. I shouldn't have to justify that.

I guess people are just not used to people who have one, let alone two, jobs which they love wholeheartedly. But I somehow do. Neither pays well. Both demand ridiculous hours and mental strain, as well as work "after hours." And yet, I wouldn't have it any other way. I know how lucky I am. I don't take these things lightly. And so, I continue to work at both places. And will do so for as long as I can.

Tick tick tick

They did okay in certain areas. Areas which contain family and friends. But that clock is ticking. One could happen to you, too.

Friday, May 13, 2011

It's just Russian Roulette.

Mmm...yep. People of the Atchafalaya Basin, you are playing Russian Roulette. If I see/hear one more of you say, "Well, it never floods here," I will break you/the nearest item. It never flooded here, either. "But we check our levees!" I thought I picked good food that time I got food poisoning, too. Nothing looked weird, and I was sicker than I had been in a very long time; in fact, it had been more than 13 years since I'd last vomited.

Lakeview never flooded, either. So I guess that means we DIDN'T get 11 feet of water at our house. Silly, silly, silly me. I've just been through hell in my imagination.

Did you not learn from us? Three day, 5 days, whatever your window is, don't wait. Get the hell out of there. You want to drown? You want to sift through your bedroom looking for cufflinks (which, years later, your husband finds in a bag he'd evacuated with). Didn't you learn? Didn't you bitch and groan about our kids being in your class? What about all of us flooding Wal-Marts and parking lots where Red Cross tents popped up? Karma's a BITCH.

Didn't you see our zombie stares? Didn't you get impatient when we'd break down in a grocery store looking at something that was in our fridge that we didn't get to eat? Didn't you put up with our mass depression and talk about us behind our backs (or in front of us, because you didn't know we were one of THOSE PEOPLE)?

Go back and refresh your memory in my 2005-2006 archives.

Have you not seen Tennessee and Mississippi? Are you that naive that you trust government-built and -controlled levee systems?

To borrow from the kids, you all need to GTF.

You wait, you miss bringing things. You wait, you get stuck in evacuation traffic. You wait, you drive 36 hours and almost crash your car because you can't keep your eyes open, but a rest stop is 15 miles away. You wait, you drown. You wait, you lose everything.

To those of you who told me, "It's just stuff," well, I'm not going to hold my tongue when you are irresponsible with your life.

Get out. Get out now.

I watch the news and stalk websites. I see inundation maps in my sleep. I'm flashing back like no tomorrow.

I haven't updated since September. Oddly enough, that's a month or so before I got help. Prolonged, postponed PTSD. Five years and two months worth. It's made a world of difference. But, these visuals are bad. Bad, bad, dirty bad. And you're all blindly going about your business, spouting confident answers.

You may be okay. But you may not be. Learn from us. Please, please, please. I've had enough personal tragedy in the last 10 months or so. I should catch you up later.

Don't be heroes. Don't gamble. This could be an empty chamber, and life will go on. Or, this could be the one with the bullet. Learn from us. It's better to be safe than sorry. Go. If you don't, good luck. Don't say I didn't warn you. I'd rather leave every time a threat arose, 10 million times, than take the chance that the 9,999,999th time will be THE one.