Saturday, August 30, 2008

Oh no. Here we go.

Last night, at work in the Fauborg Marigny section of New Orleans, shots were flying - of the vodka variety, not bullets. (I didn't do any - that wouldn't help me.) We are all nervous, yet it's a little exciting to be in such a tentative state. Newscasters, forecasters, metereologists all mention the "cone of uncertainty" when explaining the range of potential landfalls of Hurricane Gustav. Now, it is expected to be a Category 4 by landfall and it is looking more and more ominous for us. I am tired of hearing about the cone of uncertainty. I am so hoping it becomes certain, and not for us, soon.

Gas is already dried up in my area. We just emptied our 5 gallon container into the generator and want to refill it, plus fill my tank. I have less than 3/4's now and have to use up a quarter to pick up my teens from their friends. Oy vey. I worry and then take a deep breath and surrender.


Michael says, "blow it out, Dear."

That's what I do.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Eyes glued to the tube

These are my kids on top of the debris in Synchronicity. I took this picture and then yelled for them to get off that stuff and come back where it was safe. They found my cash jar, sitting atop a pile of debris, the lid was off, but $150 cash was unmolested and safe. That was synchronous as I needed the cash. Machines didn't work around here; it was cash and carry only.

This hole was knocked into the wall of Synchronicity, the retail store I bought one month prior to the hurricane. It was funny because I was complaining to the city about the dilapidated building on the side of Synchronicity. I also called and left messages on the owner's phone. He didn't care about that funky pink house, but he was attached to it and wouldn't do anything with it. I told him I'd sell it for him. Hurricane Katrina took any choice away from him. Oh well.

Hurricane Gustav is expected to be a category 3 - which is a bad mamma jamma- and most projections show Louisiana as one of it's targets. Actually, all of the gulf coast is in the danger zone.

Recollections of gas supplies drying up for miles around are activating panic buttons. I am going to fill up my tank and some containers after I post this.

Yesterday, my sisters grabbed the last 4 rooms at a hotel that accepts pets in West Monroe. Our weatherman, Bob Breck, shook his head at people making reservations to get out of town last night. Said it was premature. Today, he might sing a different song. My daughter wants to go with the sisters and my Mom, and is welcome to. The lady she baby-sits for is also willing to take Julia. I want to stay with Michael and so does Aaron. We have two dogs, two cats, two parakeets, and a beta fish named Sammy.

I was just kidding yesterday when I said, "Gustav, bring it on." Heh. Heh. Isn't that funny?

I also joked the day before my accident on the Causeway Bridge the other day that I could have an accident and go off the side of the bridge. I was sarcastically chiding Michael of not caring about my front tires being bald. I wanted to take his car. He doesn't want it getting scratched up when I park it on the street. I have had my car smashed into on two different occasions while I was at work, minding my own business. It was a possibility, and much more probable to me than going off the side of the bridge. I just wanted him to feel guilty about it if it were to happen - not that I thought it would. It almost did.

Meanwhile, I have the tv turned on - and forecasters keep saying that it is unpredictable at this point, but all of us need a plan; from Texas to Florida. It will be a tension-building time until the impact. And then we'll deal with it better than Hurricane Katrina, right?

At least this time, we are hurricane-wise and know our dangers and deficiencies. Most of us have some plans in place. I am probably hunkering down again. I know what we are up against. Gotta go get that gas now for our generator. Peace and love, Janine.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tropical Depression Fay

I take the longest bridge in the U.S. to work. The Causeway Bridge is 24 miles long and provides a way into New Orleans from Mandeville where I live, over Lake Pontchartrain.

I started to go to work two nights ago, as this tropical depression made it's way over the city. When I went on the overpass with the grate that opens and closes, before crossover #3, there was a gust of wind. My little Kia didn't stand a chance against it. I lost traction, the car blew and slid every which way, smashed into the side of the bridge (where I rec'd a vision of going over the side in my car) and slamming on the brakes, spun around facing traffic coming at me when I finally stopped moving. I couldn't believe it, but my car was maneuverable. I got it facing the right direction, and then turned into the crossover. Two police cars beat me there.

I told the officer what happened and then sat in my car, which was throbbing and rocking in the breezeway of the crossover, while he wrote up an accident report for my insurance purposes.

He then asked permission to get in my car; it was windy and rainy outside. He gave me the information about obtaining the traffic report, and then gave me the ticket he wrote for careless driving. He was apologetic, but felt that it was necessary because thousands of cars have passed over that grate and not done what I did. The insult to injury came later about that ticket on top of the trauma of the accident. At the time, I was counting my blessings. It could have been much worse.

I didn't go to work that night. TDF was going to be hovering well into the next day. I would have to come back that way. When I called home to tell my husband about the accident, he fussed at me about my low-tread tires and how he told me so about the weather. I guess I do feel guilty of carelessness after his "told-you-so."

I got new tires yesterday.

Hurricanes, tropical storms, and now, tropical depressions... what will layway my plans next? Gustav? Bring it on.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Caterpillar hell

I have had a lifelong magnetic association with caterpillars. I have been stung by and bitten by them intermittently throughout my 48 years. If someone asks me if I am phobic about anything, it would have to be caterpillars.

I was stung by this tiny, piece of fur today. I didn't see him and was minding my own business on the bench in my backyard. The sting is on my lower butt cheek and I am sitting with a leg up at my pc as I write this.

This latest bobo just adds to my collection of stories of encounters I have had with these creatures. I think I have had a phenomenal amount of them compared to anyone else. They've happened in the most unlikely places, at unlikely times of the year.

One spring, the actual caterpillar season that we forgot about, we decided to take a walk along Bayou Coquille. There are some incredible nature trails in Louisiana. This particular trail is a favorite of mine. We stopped at the picnic area to use the restroom before embarking on the trail. The ground was swarming with caterpillars and they were dropping from the sky like a light drizzle of rain. We still needed to use the restroom, and I thought we'd be safe once inside. I held Julia's hand, and Aaron was following me, as we walked swiftly towards the restroom. I was doing chopping motions over my head with my free arm to prevent them from landing on me. We got to the bathroom and saw that the entrance was teeming with them, so we made our way back to the car poste-haste. I was screaming and doing the crazy hand-chopping motion all the way. I quickly opened the door and shoved Julia in the back seat, climbing in after her, with Aaron frantically crawling in behind me. It was every man/child for himself there. I told Michael, the driver in the front seat, to step on it. As we got going, we discovered two caterpillar hitchhikers on us, released them, and then high-tailed it out of the nature reserve. We saw pedestrians on the road and shuddered and felt sorry for them. Didn't they know those were man-eating caterpillars?

One time, I was sitting in the middle of a concrete plaza, reading a book, when someone walked up behind me and said, "don't move, there's a caterpillar on your back." She proceeded to try to scrape it off with her key, as I did the screaming heebie jeebie dance. It held on like a trapeze-artist-caterpillar. That was not even caterpillar season.

I have many other incredulous stories about incidents I've had with caterpillars. People have told me they don't bite when I tell them I've been bitten by one. I know for a fact that they do, because I've done wardances while they were clutching my knee, elbow, or other body part with their teeth, as the rest of their body swung in the breeze. Don't tell me they don't bite!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Glitches in communication

I have been having a bad time with communications companies for the past few weeks.

The latest surreal event happened just this a.m. with Charter Communications. After much back and forth for two weeks, and then in a chat on-line with a live person to re-schedule a cable hookup, I was told they wouldn't talk to me because I am NOT the account holder. I couldn't switch it to my name, and couldn't get them to scratch the order and start anew.

First off, I placed the order for a bundle package, arranged the scheduled hookups, and was going to be paying the service techs when they showed up on Aug 4th and 14th to hook up cable and then phone. I stressed to the sales rep that a tech would need a bucket truck to hook up that cable. We had problems getting cable post-Katrina and had Charter prior to K., so we knew what we were up against. The service tech, of course, showed up without a bucket truck. He told me someone would call me to re-schedule the installation. No one ever did.

I spoke to a supervisor at the cable company about the idiocy of this rule. I am Mrs. Michael and as such, I represent my family. Michael and I are ONE. I could have gotten any male around to speak into the phone, giving me permission to make changes to our accounts. The Charter supervisor knew it is bogus to not let me make changes, or in this case, just reschedule an appt to have their product installed. He apologized and said it was the FCC rules that had them take precautions. He still couldn't do anything about it.

I chatted on-line as Michael because I got nowhere fast as Janine previously, and then called to cancel the account telling them my name - Michael. The operator asked me a couple of times what my name and last 4 digits of my s.s. are. I thought she was thinking of how I don't sound like a Michael, but she said that wasn't the s.s. that matched. So, I said my own s.s. digits, and that was it.

I had the same problem over a week ago with Verizon when I called to change my plan. That sales rep wouldn't even put me on hold to get a supervisor to speak to me because I am not the account holder.

My vehement argument that I do all of the expediting, arranging, and bill-paying of all phone services fell on deaf ears. the case of changing my service plan with Verizon, I called right back and said my name is Michael. The operator asked how he could assist me and then he did so.

That got my fire up for the day. Michael should not be given the priveleges he has as account-holder. He never handles such things. This whole fiasco had me feeling like the second-class citizen of yore.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The people

I had three nephews and two nieces from three different siblings spend the night last night. It's a last hurrah before school starts this Friday for most of them. We had pizza, brownies, and popcorn last night and then watched "Toy Story" which has got to be the most clever film for kids (that adults like too) ever made.

Everyone was in bed before 10 - rehearsing for school days I told them. And now we are up and at 'em. The first up were the two best friend cousins - Jackson and Joe - playing their hand-held gadgets, and next up is Polina. Polina, and others in my family, have ADHD. So what? We've learned to live with our symptoms. Some are medicated. Me, I self-medicate. I don't have it as bad as some do.

It won't be long before I get some of the other nephews who are too little to join our slumber party. Plus, there are some nephews and nieces that are too big, or who live out of state.

I have 7 siblings. Between us, we have about 20 grandchildren. They are close, these kids. Maybe next time Aunt Katie might want to host the party.