We survived Hurricane “Ike” from Galveston

Dear Friends,

We hope all of you are healthy and well.  Michael, Josh and I have really had a crash course in “priority setting” over these past few days and we apologize if we haven’t been dutiful in returning emails and phone calls.  Know they have been very appreciated.  I know several of you have emailed and telephoned (when you could get a line into Galveston and after FEMA stopped confiscating all towers) wondering why Galveston was dropped from the main media scene – as if it never happened.  I guess we need to question the media’s priorities about that.  Too bad real life tragedy is often replaced by greed, egos and scandal.  There have been deaths, huge losses and heartbreaking stories on this island.  Thousands are living in a tent city at one of the elementary schools, but go figure.

Trust me when I say it still looks like a bomb went off here, especially on some parts of the island.  Large boats can be seen sitting on the side of the freeway and stacks of soggy garbage lines the streets.  Thankfully, our house is on the street where the high school is, so we now have “little” stacks of sheet rock, fallen branches, refrigerators, water heaters, peoples memories – such as furniture, photo albums, clothes, moldy luggage and more.  There’s a gigantic pile of garbage covering acres of land as one comes onto the island.  This is where all of the flooded out cars and trash is being dumped.

A sulfur producer and sewer on the bay side washed into Galveston, so as you can imagine initially the smell was terrible.  Our basement was full of this mess, (10 feet) but with a lot of hard work, we’ve disinfected it and almost dried it out.  Water from the 20 foot surge came into our garage and destroyed property and then came underneath our back door.  So, our floors need some help.  I’ve finally got our home disinfected and de-molded, but as I said, we still need to get to the floors.  My office in the back is not in great shape, so for the time being, I can’t see any of my clients.

We have yet to receive a visit from FEMA and though a flood insurance adjuster came to the house, we haven’t heard back from him either.  As I’ve shared, I made a decision that I wasn’t about to just sit around and wait on these folks to show up.  Michael is of the same mind set.  So, slowly “we” are putting the pieces of our lives back together again.  Our yard was a toxic, bug infested mess (I’m covering my legs in a steroid cream right now) but we pulled up dead trees, bushes and tossed out stacks of garbage the surge had dumped on our yard.  Feeling very brave we also have tackled scraping one floor.  Yuck!

So, as it stands – one month after Ike, we’re still without air conditioning down stairs and we don’t have a hot water heater.  So, though the water is finally usable, its cold showers for everyone.  Josh uses this as an excuse to not take “great” showers! The gas came on yesterday, so now I can cook!  But, as I said – no hot water.  Today, the Internet and telephone land lines were repaired!  If you’ve called our home phone and not received a call back, this has been the problem.  I almost hugged the AT&T guy! Josh will be thrilled when he gets home from school today.  Maybe I can use this as leverage to get him to shower a bit longer!

We still have the vents on the first floor covered in plastic to keep the remaining stench out of the rest of the house.  All electrical and duct work in the basement will need to be replaced.  We’ve lost a lot of property in the basement and I have no idea what will be covered by insurance.  And, though the once scary looking baseboards of the house are bleached, as I said the floors must be stripped.  We all wear socks or shoes indoors because we just don’t know what’s embedded in that wood.  I’ve disinfected it to death, but they need more work.  Yesterday the bug guy showed up and said, “Watch out for rats and snakes.”  I replied, “Hey thanks!  Any other great news?”

Michael and I have our moments where we both just sit down and cry, but we know it could have been so much worse.  Even poor Josh was getting pretty overwhelmed, but several of his friends have been through the same trauma, so talking to them has helped normalize the situation for him.  Aaron felt powerless being off at college, but tried to cheer us up with text messages and phone calls.

When I get tired of “bleaching Ike” out of my house, I get on my bike and ride around.  It’s a good reality check for me.  Things really could have been so much worse.

Thank-you for your care and concern.

Carla

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