Thursday, August 30, 2012

There's a Hole in the Wall & Our Katrina Story

SOOOOO.  One of my little ones put a hole in our wall and I'm not sure which one is the guiltiest, but one of them definitely is.  Apparently, someone knocked a toy into it and made the tiniest hole that has slowly grown over the past month to about the size of a nickle.  Well, I caught Griffin with is xylophone stick sticking it into that hole.  I took it away from him and told him 'no'.  I have never noticed him messing with it anymore, unless he is very sneaky.  Well, a few days ago, Little G brought me a CHUNK OF SHEETROCK, making the hole large enough to put my fist into it.  <sigh>  Now to explain it to our landlord.

Chris went over and got him last night and he came into our living room (he doesn't speak English), and he immediately started shaking his head and said "oh!"  He got down on all fours and examined the hole very closely, ha ha, and then motioned with his hands 'short' as in height and then said 'boy'.  We nodded our heads and then he chuckled a little.  WHEW!  I'm glad he thought it was funny.  And I'm assuming he immediately thought it was Griffin simply because we've never had damage like this before he came into the picture.  However, Little G is very destructive so he really has no idea.  So is Griffin more guilty than Little G?  doubt it.

Big G has her first cheer practice last night and had a blast!  I think she wasn't expecting it to be fun and was a little too nervous about it.  She was all smiles from the 1st minute.  She learned 5 cheers and got her cute cheer uniform.  Afterwards, she and I had a mommy/daughter date to the food court for dinner...and then to the BX to buy her some shoes and sweats for cheer.  We are so excited to watch her cheer at her first game in September.

But anyway, I'm so glad to hear that all of my friends and family are safe from the hurricane down south.  So thankful that it wasn't any worse than what it was.  Hurricane Katrina was just horrible.  Would you like to know our story? I wasn't planning on blogging about this at all, but here it is.  Chris, Big G, and I were living in CA, and my dad was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia and Big G and I were making monthly trips to MS to visit my dad until our humanitarian move got approved.  Big G was only 3 months old when we landed in MS one week before Katrina hit.  What a week to choose, right?  I remember sitting in the recliner at my parent's home watching the news as the hurricane tracker centered up right through our city.  Talk about scary.  We stocked up on water, filled our tubs and sinks up with water, filled up a couple of gas cans, but that's about it.  Then we just waited.

That morning, I woke up and looked out the window to see strong winds causing our bench swings to flip backwards, leaves were everywhere.  As the hurricane got closer, we started seeing bits of shingles snap across the sky.  The sky reminded me of watching a tv show plagued with static.  I remember rocking my tiny little Big G in the recliner that I had turned toward the window and I had my eye on a tall pine that was leaning to the side.  I thought to myself that if I sat there long enough that I would probably see it fall.  I drifted off and woke up to find it on the ground.

Since all of the shingles were being ripped off of the roof, it started leaking.  My dad was so sick but he would suggest that my brother would do things to try to keep damage from getting worse.  I remember at one point, my dad made his way out to the back porch to see what damage was happening to our timber.  I held a towel around his shoulders to try to keep the rain from blowing in on him, and then I assisted him back inside.  The sheer agony on his face from not being able to do anything to protect his land and home, along with the pain he was feeling from not being able to receive his chemo treatment that day was just too much for him.  My brother and I went into the attic to try to collect water that was leaking through the roof, just to ease his mind.  Honestly, there was just nothing we could do.  My dad was getting worse and needed his chemo treatment but no hospital would agree to give it to him under these circumstances.

Once the storm had passed, my mother attempted to take my daddy to 2 local hospitals, neither able to help him due to the power outage and the type of treatment he needed.  My brave mother took matters into her own hands and decided to drive him 80 miles north to Jackson, MS in order to get him the help he needed.  She had a rough drive ahead due to fallen trees and debris.  At one point, she actually had to drive through a golf course.  But they made it and my dad was safely in a hospital and out of the 100+ degree heat.

My brother, sister, and I, along with our Big G and niece, Ky, hunkered down at home, deciding what we should do.  My brother, the awesome man  he is, dove right in with helping to remove fallen trees, tarping roofs, etc.  A family friend of ours helped my brother tarp our own house.  By the end of the next few days, my brother would practically collapse in exhaustion from all of the hard work.  I remember taking his filthy gasoline infused clothing and hand washing them in rain water in an old ice chest. 

It started to become very obvious to us that we did not stock enough water or diapers for our girls.  My sister and I had to drive until we found a gas station that had enough water for us to buy.  Talk about stressful!  Gas lines were hours long and if you didn't have enough gas in your car to make your way through the line, then you were out of luck.  We had a generator and would use that periodically to cool off with A/C.  Our poor baby girls were so hot and sweaty with diaper rashes that continued to get worse.   People were starting to get desperate and causing them to do horrible things to others over bags of ice and gas.  It was scary to actually go to sleep at night for fear of what someone may try to break in and do.  We pulled mattresses into the living room and practically slept in shifts.

I stayed for 3 days after Katrina and once Jackson Airport reopened, Chris had my tickets changed.  My brother, sister, and I, along with our girls, loaded up and made the trip to see our daddy in the hospital before they took me to the airport.  It was so good to see him doing much better than when he was at home, but it was so painful to leave under all of the circumstances. 

I kept myself together until Chris picked me up at the airport and we were driving home... and then I lost it.  I cried for my daddy, more than anything, pleading with God to heal him... I prayed for safety for my family... I cried that I was so far away from them.  And when I got home, I noticed a half-full bottle of water on my nightstand that I had a very hard time throwing away.  Water was just that valuable to me.

But anyway, Big G has no idea what she endured at such a young age.  She has no idea the fear that Chris had for us as we were stuck in the direct path of that horrible storm...and the waiting...and not having a way to communicate to let him know we were okay.  God protected us... He provided for us.  And I pray that our country never experiences anything like that ever again.


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