Sunday, October 29, 2006

October 24, 2005

4 working days left. Yesterday I was too beat to finish my entry.
There was the same trouble with getting through on my phone. When it was working for awhile, I got a call from K.’s brother J. as I was handing food out the window of N’s truck. It was a horrible connection and I couldn’t stop to talk, so I got off with a promise to call back. Of course, it wasn’t working when I got back and settled. K. called after I went to bed and I told him to let J. know. Evidently M.’s called a few times, too, but I found no messages on the phone.
Yesterday L. took us on a mobile feed of the Loyola area in Kenner, then we were in Bucktown in Metairie with N. People told us of the problems they were having trying to rebuild, with insurance refusing to pay, saying it’s flood damage, and the authorities are requiring $100+ permits to rebuild, which means first an inspector is needed. Of course, there’s a line for the inspections, which means it can take 10-15 days or more before they even get an appointment, plus the fact that many of these folks haven’t had income since the storm. People are angry, and disillusioned, and traumatized.
One thing I came to terms with yesterday as I heard T. and the apostle P. sniping at N: personality conflicts and head-butting are more common than I thought, and it’s not just me. L. asked me how it was when she got in later, and when I told he, she wasn’t surprised. It’s like having 3 or 4 people in the same kitchen, each with their own ideas about how to do things, and each wanting to control those things. Some folks, like T. and the apostle P., eye folks coming on who they think are new, like M. and I, and take a patronizing attitude, or an “Oh God, here we go again” attitude. Others, like me, see new people with a friendly eye and patiently help them learn. When “P.” found out I had been here longer than he, his eyes got wide. He’d never seen me before. Well, I said, it’s a big shelter.
So this a.m, after a restless night from much loud banging and blowing, I awoke to discover that the wind outside, which had been steady but pleasant and a balmy all yesterday, had turned nasty. Last night it came up so hard it blew over a porta-potty and sheared off a car’s side view mirror. M. just said it’s 48 degrees outside, and when I stepped out earlier, the trees were flagged and there was much violence. Yes, it’s practically freezing outside.

8:15 p.m.---Turned out to be a great day. I rode with L. again this a.m.,, and a couple of women I didn’t know, one new, one with a little experience, and we only had the 1st run. Instead of looking for a 2nd ERV like yesterday, I hitched a ride back to the shelter with someone who was finished (since L. was going out scouting), and decided to try to get a car to go to Wal-Mart and try to get a new pair of sunglasses to replace the ones that broke this a.m. on the truck. When I asked for one, the only one available was about to be used to ferry a guy to Harvey for outprocessing, and R. told me I could have it if I rode the guy down there. I jumped at it, and on the way back stopped at a Target in Harvey, then later got off Rt. 10 at Tchoupitoulas St., which goes right into the French Quarter. I drove in, marked the parking and landmarks like the French Market and Café du Monde, then got out and took I-10 back into Kenner. The combination of getting out of the shelter, doing some shopping for myself, and finally seeing the French Quarter (not much, admittedly, but I was worried about being gone too long) was like getting an IV tonic. I was transformed into a happy, happy woman by the tiniest things. I made a to-do list of my plans for while there on Friday. Thinking about getting out of here is like imagining a great cloud breaking inside my head, and the sun coming through.
Lots of new people have arrived in the last few hours, and some who have been here a long time are getting ready to leave. The place is loud with many animated conversations.
I have new p.j.s from Target, Halloween socks, a Halloween hand towel, and just took a shower using new body wash, a new poof, new conditioner and new face cleanser. I feel and smell delicious.
Oh, Sunday, come soon!

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