Sunday, October 23, 2005

As Wilma comes barreling across the gulf

I'm just sitting here chilled. No stress here. Don't get me wrong though, for I am watching the news and wanting to be in the know of things, but no stress going on here because I'm prepared and have been prepared -- for days.

I'm so prepared that today was a day of shopping, or so I thought. My husband and I decided to go check out the new Super Target and I wanted to get my two grandkids some shoes to go with their Christmas outfits (HEY! It's not that I'm anal about things, but the outfits have to get together so pictures can be taken and received in time for Christmas!). So we arrived at Super Target at 11:45 this morning and were told the store was closing in 15 minutes.


So I went to the shoe department and got the kids their shoes and went to the hair department and there is not one red hair thingy for my grandaughter's hair except for a regular, plain red headband in a generic package with all the other colors, nor was there a shirt or sweater in red for my grandson.


But those are the only two things left to find after Wilma blows through.

And then we went to Home Depot. NO!!! Not for plywood!!! Just a drain for the bathtub and a cord protector for my cable cord going to my computer.

But oh how I wished I had carried my camera with me (I can't keep it in the car because of Florida heat) because I'd have LOVED to have taken pictures of the many, many people stacking plywood into pickup trucks and stacking it on top of cars. Now that one was funny. They had the windows down and were using a roll of shrink wrap to tie it down. Wrap around plywood on roof, bring in through window on passenger side and over and across and then out the driver's window and back again. Over and over again. Yep. Your windows will be good, but how about the top of your car???

I have to say that I was surprised Home Depot had the plywood. When Charlie blew through here last year there was not a piece of wood of any kind to be found anywhere. Perhaps it's because we've been PRACTICED??? Ha ha ha ... that sure isn't a lie, or perhaps it's because Wilma decided to hang around Cancun for a couple of days and dumped 64 inches of rain giving us more time?

Can you imagine that? Sixty four inches of rain. As in 5'4" of rain. I've never heard of such a thing before. Fortunately for us here in Southwest Florida the weather forecasters (shoot the lying buggers!) are saying that Wilma doesn't plan on staying for lunch when she blows through here tomorrow morning.

Anyways, Harold and I came home and he went to work fixing things and I went to work fixing food in the kitchen. I made M&M cookies and put a pork roast in the oven. Speaking of the roast ... it bears going to check on it. Lord knows I don't want to do to it what I did to the last pan of cookies.

We'll catch you all on the flip side of Wilma!

Love and peace,

Saturday, October 22, 2005

And here comes Hurricane Wilma

And I'm still talking about Hurricane Katrina. Sheesh. Here are some of the cabinets that were filed with over-the-counter medications and prescription medications. There was so much!!!

But I now need to talk about the waste I saw. In my humble opinion if the Red Cross was a business it would be out of business. But they're getting so much money in donations and they have to spend it somewhere. Let me list all the waste I saw with my own eyes.

First and foremost was the fact that we were told this would be a hardship case and be prepared to sleep on the floor. Okay. So I bought an air mattress because my old bones don't do floors anymore. It's still in the box. We stayed in a motel and were also given a rental car to travel back and forth to the shelter. HUH??? They flew us in and one way from Fort Myers to Pensacola was $550.00. I don't know what the trip home cost. We were also given checks for $900.00 for expenses. And now if this isn't bad enough, there weren't many people left at the shelter but there were always 4 nurses on duty splitting the 12 hour shift with another 3 or 4 nurses. WE COULD HAVE STAFFED A WHOLE UNIT AT A HOSPITAL!!! But keep in mind that they were paying all the above expenses FOR ALL OF US. Sheesh. And about 4-6 people would come in for medical assistance a day. Period.

There was also the problems with them handing out the money to the people who needed it. I couldn't believe that they were so strict with these people looking for any reason to turn them down. For two days I worked at headquarters doing case work. It had been swamped initially and when the people called their names and numbers were taken. My job was calling them back (three weeks later) and finding out if they'd gone another avenue to get help from the Red Cross. My conversation went something like this:

Hello, this is Alicia from the American Red Cross. I was wondering if you'd received a check from us yet? If the answer was no, I'd ask if they'd been given an amount. Since the amounts varied by the size of the family it would mean they'd been processed. But if no amount was given then I would ask if I could take a few minutes and get them processed.

A lot of them had left the Pensacola area and headed back to their homes in Mississippi or Louisiana. Or what was left of them. I'd ask how their homes were and some were camping on one side of their home, some had to leave as their homes were inhabitable, some were camping outside the homes, etc. No problem, I'll have the check sent to your house.

Or so I thought.

On my second day, a meeting was called around 4 pm and it was explained that all the people who were getting checks sent back to Mississippi and Louisiana would be voided. Those people would have to go to their local Red Cross chapters to get assistance. I was stunned by this turn of events. These people needed help DESPERATELY and I HAD PROMISED them a check in a week to ten days and now they're going to void them??? I spoke up and said, but it's normal for these people to head back to their homes now. They're trying to put the pieces back together along with getting on with their lives, but they still need help. It was now THREE WEEKS after Katrina and they'd received nothing from the Red Cross, the first responders. HELLO??? Well, being a nurse was advantageous as I knew how to get what my patients needed so I continued on with my phone calls the rest of that day and asked for a Florida address to send it too. I was successful with all.

And the next day I requested to get out of there as I couldn't handle the restrictions put upon me to help the people and that was how I ended up in the Molino shelter.

Meanwhile here comes Hurricane Wilma and I've been called by the Red Cross asking if I'd be available to assist with Wilma.

Hmmm ... I believe I can do more on my own thankyouverymuch.
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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

And here is PJ and her three boys

I sit here now and wonder about her and how she's doing. She was from Slidell, LA. She was contemplating relocating to Fort Myers, FL and the weekend I left, she was leaving also to go back and look at her home and find closure. I had given her my phone number and told her to call me if she came to the Fort Myers area. I'd call all my friends and find whatever that girl needed. I will continue to pray for her and wish her the best.

In the background is the elementary school that was being used for a shelter in Molino, FL. I felt very guilty having a rental car and an AC hotel room when I'd been told to expect hardship and had brought an air mattress to sleep on. Why did I deserve any better? *I* had a home to go back to!

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Meet Ms. Judy Cook

This is one phenomenal woman, a local of Pensacola, Florida who was relentless and tiredless in her battle to help the evacuees. She performed miracles by finding stoves, refrigerators, and the like to the evacuees that had decided to stay in the Pensacola, Florida area.
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Friday, October 14, 2005

I'm baaaaaacccccckkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk!

And it hasn't been easy either. Sheesh! Besides being gone for so long and having a TON of stuff to do when I got home, my computer was fried. FRIED! It didn't even hum when attempting to start it up. Not a noise of any sort was detected. So a quick call to my daughter and she had a computer bought and paid for and being shipped to my door. Which then brings me to the fun of installing everything and bringing it up to snuff. Sheesh! The most difficult part was trying to get online. What a pain in the butt to get the computer to read my cable modem! ARGHHHH!!! But finally, they united.

Meanwhile, here's a picture of my handsome boy. He missed me so while I was gone. He's going to be 10 years old this December. I believe, for being such a huge dog, he's looking pretty good. Even if he does need reading glasses now.

I'll be back with more details of all. For now? What a gift just to get to my blog again.
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