Sunday, August 31, 2008

Gustav Update #2

Well, a few hours after I posted the first update I got word that I was being moved to Baton Rouge. Everything I have with me was packed in my rental car and I started driving north. Jim and the boys are certainly relieved, as am I. I talked to my sister today and she told me by what she is reading she can't tell if I am excited or nervous. Well I can't either. I am glad to be a small cog in in this machine that is helping save lives but there is the fear of the unknown. I don't know what to expect. For those of you that don't know, I have hard time with that. I like to have a plan. I like structure. I guess I will have to get over it this week. Just know that I am further from the coast and a bit more safe.

Gustav Update #1

They have moved me yesterday from Belle Chase, LA in Plaquemines Parish further inland to a Regional Coordination Center in Jefferson, LA. The storm surge is projected to be as high at 24 feet in Plaquemines and the levees in that area are only as high as 18-20 feet. That parish will be under water in the next 24-48 hours.

As of now (noon Sunday), I have packed my bag and plan to ride out the storm here. After Katrina, this building was rebuilt to withstand 150 mph winds. There are several police, fire, EMT, FEMA and Red Cross people staying here so I feel like this is the place to be if I have to be here during the storm. (They are all excited to see my reaction to my first hurricane) Tropical storm force winds are expected to hit the coast in the morning and the eye of the storm should be here my mid-day on Monday. The storm is moving at about 17 mph which is good but it is going to be a very strong storm.

Bus evacuations are ending in the next few hours. Traffic is backed up on I-10. It is now to the point that if you are not headed out now you need to be in a place where you can ride out the storm. I bought a few provisions yesterday but not many stores were open and those that were open were low on several items. I wish I had been able to come home and get some of our backpacking gear. I would feel a lot more comfortable.

Friday, August 29, 2008

From Mobile, AL Straight into Hurricane Gustav

Last week, about this time, I was called by my company to see if I could travel to Mobile, Alabama to do some "site surveys" at some Hurricane Shelters and Pick-up Points. I thought, "No problem. I will be home by Thursday."

Well, Wednesday, just before I was about to go home, I received word that I needed to be ready to travel in case Tropical Storm Gustav turned into a hurricane. Last night we were told that we need to head to New Orleans so this morning I got into my rental car and drove west on I-10 from Mobile to New Orleans. I am actually writing this post in the New Orleans Region I Emergency Operations Center (EOC).

I have gone through several emotional stages in the last few hours. Part of me is fascinated by what I am learning. Another part of me is eager to help in any way that I can. But the biggest part of me is saying, "What in the world am I doing driving into New Orleans when all the traffic is headed the other way? I should be home taking care of my family and my other obligations. Nothing here is as important as my family." Plus, I only packed to be gone for three days. If Gustav turns into a category 3 hurricane and comes this way, I may be here until next Friday. That is seven days more than I packed for! Even if it heads toward the west, I am probably still going to be here until then. I miss my family. I want to play Rock Band tonight. I want to take my kids to school and to their dentist appointments. I want to do laundry and dishes.

Pray for those of us here in South East Louisiana. Pray for my family to be strong while I am gone.

I am sure I will have pictures and video for you all to see when this is over.

P.S. This is where I am for the duration:,-112.075288&sspn=0.007875,0.013733&ie=UTF8&ll=29.859357,-89.991943&spn=0.004531,0.006866&t=h&z=17

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Day of Kyle

I forgot to talk about Kyle after his 14th birthday. He woke up, did his paper route and then wanted a McGriddle sandwich for breakfast. That was easy! I had some running around to do in the afternoon and then we all went out to dinner together as a family. It wasn't that eventful but he got the gift he wanted...a new cell phone. It is a cool phone that also plays music. He was pretty happy about it and we spent some of the afternoon adding music and downloading ring tones.

I can't believe how grown up my boys are getting. School starts on Monday and we won't have any kids in elementary school! We are so proud of them and how well mannered and responsible they are, especially Kyle. Happy birthday, sweetie! We sure love you!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Nice Weather + Tired of Cleaning House = Hiking!

We finally got some cooler weather here last Saturday. (And when I say cooler I mean not in the 90's) It was just right for an afternoon hike. In May, Jim and Austin hiked up Adams Canyon which is about 15 minutes from our house. About two miles in there is a great waterfall. The boys had a great time playing in it with our friend and neighbor Alex.
This was Austin's second time to this waterfall. He enjoyd it more because he could bring Macy along this time.

The water in this waterfall and stream comes from right out of the ground from an underwater spring. I guess Josh thought it was too cold!

Kyle and Alex didn't think it was too cold. They loved it!

We are so blessed to live in a place that is so beautiful and has so much to offer!

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Day of Josh

Yesterday was the day of all things Josh. To get ready for Jr High, he has been taking "Summer Band". He started playing the clarinet. We then needed to go shopping for some black pants he could wear to his first band concert. Later he had his first gymnastics class. He was so excited. Jim and I both think that will be the best thing for his bouncy energy two days a week. He was pretty good and that leaves 4 days that he can skate. We went straight from gymnastics to his band concert where we were treated to band beginners playing warm up scales and Jingle Bells. It was pretty funny and we were very proud of what they could do after only three weeks. Sadly, we don't have one picture of anything that happened on the Day of Josh. I guess there is one more thing I need to fit into my purse so I have it all the camera!

Today is Kyle's 14th birthday. Get ready for tomorrow's post...The Day of Kyle!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Scout Camp

Scout camp (for Kyle and Josh) this year was at Camp Loll. Located on a small strip of public land, in Wyoming, which separates Yellowstone and Teton National Parks. Needless to say it is located in some of the most beautiful county, this country has to offer.

This is a picture of me (Josh) doing the swim check. We all have to do it right when we get there ad it is fereeeezing cold. They told us it was about 48 degrees but it felt colder. We had to swim 100 yards using different strokes and if you didn't pass you couldn't use the kayaks, row boats, sail boats . . . . I passed!

This is a picture of me shooting the .22 caliber guns. That was a lot of fun but very hard to get the merit badge. You have to get 5 groups of shots within a quarter 5 times. I haven't done that yet but one of the times I did it I was within a dime witch made me and only a few other boys part of the dime club.

I (Kyle) already had all the merit badges I needed for my eagle so for scout camp I got to do all the High Adventure stuff like shoot .50 caliber black powder rifles, throw tomahawks, repel and climb, and sail the catamaran. Me and a friend of mine you can see in the black powder rifles picture were the oldest ones there in our troop and were able to do all these things and more. First we got to go bouldering on Monday and then Tuesday go climbing and repelling. We didnt get to do much more after that though. The scout master said that since I'm the Senior Patrol leader that I need to go with the younger scouts and help them with the merit badges. What the heck are the camp friends and counselors for. Any way, I think that my favorite thing was climbing and repelling by far. It was so awesome to just lean back off a 90 foot cliff and start walking down it. And to climb back up it was even better. Out of the two pictures below I liked the black powder rifle the best. I just couldn't figure out the tomahawks. It was all fun though and hopefully I will be able to work there for a summer. I think that would be awesome.