Well, it’s that time of the year in OK where our choice of sports to watch on tv is golf, boxing and rodeo. Hello? A couple of days ago we were so excited at the thought of getting the Sonics here. We have the Hornets for another season in OKC so it seemed a good time to plan for when they go back to NOLA. Then to hear that they will probably stay in Seattle. Bummer. Wouldn’t it be the coolest for Sonic Drive-Ins (OKC based) to be the arena sponsor for the OKC Sonics? I love it! Well, at least they are talking about college football on the sports page of the Tulsa World. Gives us something to live for. Going to definitely see about getting that Sunday Ticket.
It’s been a long time since I’ve read anything by Danielle Steele and it will be a long time before I do it again. Waste. Of. Time. I was on the wait list at the library for a long time for this book that was like skipping stones over the water. Very superficial. I really like to get to know my characters a little bit better. This was all very much on the surface. For as long as DS has been writing, I would think she could write something like this while sleeping and save her more productive time for something more intriguing. Hey, maybe that’s what she did.
The morning of August 27th, 2005 dawned like most August days in Bartlesville. Hot and sunny. It was Saturday and my husband had to work that day. I was in my normal routine of sittnig at the computer reading my email with Fox News on the tv. The big discussion that morning was of Hurricane Katrina which had come ashore in Southern Florida and then gone back into the Gulf and was heading for New Orleans.
We were pretty familiar with both New Orleans and hurricanes. Our oldest son, Brandon, had accepted a scholarship to play football at Tulane University. Over the course of his time at Tulane, several hurricanes had affected them even enough to evacuate all the student athletes to Hattiesburg at the beginning of his senior year. They took a photo of them all when they got there and it looked like a group mug shot.
Prior to Tulane, we had all lived in Clearwater, Florida for 7 years. In all those years, we only cancelled our plans one time and then picked them back up the following morning when the hurricane took a turn to the south. School had been cancelled only one other time and the day the hurricane was to arrive was a gorgeous sunny day. We were all pretty cavalier about what a REAL hurricane could really do.
As you can see, I’m not an alarmist about hurricanes but there was something different about this one. Joe Bastardi the Accuweather forecaster is a pretty smart guy and he was saying that this hurricane, which would eventually become one of the strongest storms ever recorded in the Gulf, was heading right for New Orleans.
After Brandon graduated from Tulane, he took a job in New Orleans so he could be close to his fiance’ who would be a rising junior in the fall. I spent several hours looking at the weather reports and going back and forth in my mind about whether I should call Brandon and tell him he needed to come home. He was, after all, an adult who had just moved into his very first apartment 3 days earlier.
The reports continued to get worse and I had a very, very bad feeling in my stomach so I finally decided I would call him and he could hate me forever, but at least he would be alive to hate me. Around 11 a.m. I decided to call Brandon. I told him, Brandon they are saying it’s going to be category 5 and it’s headed straight for you. He said, but mom, Erika is arriving back to school tomorrow and I need to be here for her. After getting off the phone with Brandon, I sat right down to the computer and wrote Erika’s mom an email. I told her the same information. That Katrina was strong and even if they were going to let planes land, which I sincerely doubted, please do not put Erika on the plane back. She had already received this information from the tennis coach so she was keeping Erika home in Mexico.
Once Brandon learned that Erika would not be coming back on Sunday, he decided he would leave very early that morning and got out of town right before the Mayor issued a mandatory evacuation. By that time, they had instituted the contraflow, turning all lanes of traffic to head out of the city. Living quite close to the I-10 ramp, Brandon felt fairly sure that he knew what he was doing. At 3:30 a.m. the phone rang and it was Brandon, crying. Now this is a big 6’5” 265 lb defensive lineman and he was completely terrified because he had no idea where he was going. He had had to get onto I-55 north which was actually a blessing and he made it home in the normal 12 hours.
In the meantime, he had no idea where his office mates had gone. On Monday, when the hurricane actually hit, all cell phone service went down. He had left a message on his office manager’s cell phone but was then unable to reach her. Initially, he had been able to get his office email and he emailed them to let them know he was in OK and then he couldn’t get his email anymore. On Wednesday, his office manager finally called him and by Friday, his company had rented 3 houses in Baton Rouge set up shop there. They flew Brandon to Baton Rouge on Friday. They were down for only 3 days.
In the meantime, Erika had to return to Tulane and the tennis team. The different sports teams were farmed out all over the south. We learned that her parents had put her on a plane but that was the last they had heard of her. We had no idea how to find out if she had been picked up at the hotel in Dallas. Rebeca, gave me Coach Shumaker’s cell phone number. The only way to reach people at this point, was via text messaging. For some reason this worked when the rest of the phone services were down. I didn’t have a cell phone at the time and Erika’s mom was beside herself with worry. I have a friend, whom I have never met but have “known” via email for several years. I asked her if she could help me and pretty soon, I was on a three way call with Patti and Coach Betsey Becker. Coach Becker said she had picked up some tennis players at the airport but she didn’t think that Erika was amongst them. I told her, Erika is a pretty blonde girl with amber eyes from Mexico. And she said, “Oh yes! I have Erika. Do you want to speak to her?” Erika got on the phone, “Hi Mom! I’m fine!” So cute. Oh I was SO happy that she was okay and that I could pass along good news to her mom and to Brandon.
The Tulane Women’s Tennis Team went to SMU originally but then were transferred to Texas A&M; for the fall semester. Coming from a small school like Tulane, Erika had a bit of culture shock being on such a large campus but my mom’s good friend from high school works at Texas A&M; so Erika had a surrogate grandma helping her out.
Brandon’s company move back to New Orleans just before Christmas and Erika returned after the new year. Although Erika’s sport was cancelled and her course of study was also cancelled, Tulane is honoring her scholarship and she has 18 months to complete her course of study to receive the Exercise and Sports Science degree. Brandon was very blessed indeed in that he only lost the items in his freezer. The people who own his company were very forward thinking and got the company reestablished in only 3 days. Compared to what many others suffered in the wake of Katrina, our story – while a little dicey at times – has a happy ending. The next time any of us are threatened to be rocked like a hurricane, you can bet we will take action!
My neighbor across the street, who does NOT want to be known as the neighborhood busy body, looks just like the Grinch (except she’s not green). Especially when she’s getting ready to lay her latest bit of gossip on you. She gets all in your space, screws up her face and morphs right into the Grinch.
I will admit, a couple of weeks ago when our other neighbors were busted for meth, I slowed down and listened to her. Only because I had been suspecting for months that something funny was going on. Seriously, it was like an airport over there with all the traffic. I had no idea what the meth cookers names were so when I saw the police blotter in the paper for that day, I didn’t know it was them. Fortunately, we have the Grinch to keep us up to date on all the happenings in the neighborhood.
Except I don’t wanna.
I don’t want to give up any time (or meals!) at all to participate in neighborhood gossip that will be repeated over and over and over until I come up with a good excuse for why I can’t stand there any longer. So now I have to plan my life around ditching the Grinch.
She’s a lot less apt to accost me when I’m with David. So that’s the bonus round. But David is getting ready to leave for 9 weeks to go to the Academy. Can I ditch the Grinch for 9 weeks? Her house faces mine. She sees me no matter how fast I move. It will be a challenge but one I am up for. Cuz I will win. She can be a busybody without me.
I don’t like the 4th of July. At least I don’t like it here in Oklahoma. When I grew up in Illinois, people couldn’t buy fireworks to set off by themselves. I have fond memories of the 4th of July from when I was a kid. How we thought that our grandpa had a special button on his lawn chair that would set another firework off. We would say “Do it again, Boppie!” and another firework would explode in the community fireworks display. I also remember a time when I was about 4 or 5 and Uncle Jolly was home for the 4th. He put me up on his shoulders in the dark and I remember being terrified because it was so HIGH. Uncle Jolly is 6’9″. Also, in the small town where I was raised, they would put a carnival right in the middle of the downtown. The carnival and the parade were so looked forward to and FUN!
The first time we came to Oklahoma for the 4th of July was right after Geoff was born. I remember being terrified as David’s nieces, nephews and cousins – some VERY young – were running around setting off fireworks. I was so sure we were going to see flying bodyparts at any time. I had to go back in the house.
In yesterday’s paper, there was an article encouraging people to go to community sponsored fireworks displays as fireworks injuries in Oklahoma are rising every year.
Last night, I couldn’t sleep. Every time I would doze off, someone would set off a ton of fireworks in the alley. I prayed that God would place his hedge of protection around our house so that no random firework would set it on fire. Walking the dog this a.m. proves that the people who are shooting off the fireworks are irresponsible as the streets/sidewalks are littered with debris that the revelers couldn’t even bother to throw away.
I simply cannot understand why anyone would willingly burn up their money like that. Why not just light a match to the dollar bills? I’m sure it’s less threatening to eyes and fingers than accidentally lighting and M-80 in your hand.
There is one sure fire way for me to cry and that is to be frustrated. Since David left for California, I have endured loads of frustration when it comes to taking care of the yard. We bought a brand new lawn mower so that I wouldn’t run into any problems while mowing the lawn. Well, every week, it was something else. It would take forever to start (i.e. I would throw my arm out pulling the cord or burn my thumb), it would just stop for no apparent reason never to start again (well, until Don came and tried it. Then it started on the first try @@) and finally, sounding like the blade dropped off and quit working. I looked underneath and the blade is still connected so I’m still puzzling that. The other source of lawn frustration is the weed wacker which is electric and refuses to stay plugged in. Either to the other end of the extension cord or to the house. Some times I suspect it just doesn’t want to go cuz it wants to see me travel 25 or more miles to check the connections ending up crying in the middle of the yard. My neighbors think I’m wacked, I’m sure. Well, I hired someone to mow the grass so at least that frustration is off my plate. Maybe the weed wacker will start behaving now.
But…it would seem that we purchased another piece of frustration yesterday. An MP3 player. I want to be able to listen to books and music while I’mwalking and like the idea of such a small device that can strap to my wrist and hold hours of entertainment. Bonus round: our library has free books available for download. How fun! Not. Can’t get it to work. I have left it in David’s capable hands even though every fiber in me wants to cry at the frustration of it all. I’m glad we took it out of the package before he left for the Academy. I am not too big of a technodope and I could have figured out how to make it work, if it only would, but this additional frustration I would never have been able to fix alone.
Just finished “Wolves in Chic Clothing” by Carrie Karayov and Jill Kargman who also wrote “The Right Address”. It was another good one. Cute, easy to read. It was a perfect way to pass a HOT Oklahoma Saturday. I had wanted to read this book for a long time and wasn’t disappointed. Can’t wait for the next one frome these two.
Now I will start reading background material for my humorous speech contest on August 29th. the title of my speech will be “High Maintenance” and I intend to WIN!
Most people who know me know how I love to read almost better than just about anything else. When David is out of town, I can easily do a book a day. Of course that doesn’t give me much time for anything else (like cleaning or mowing) but I do love it.
Just finished a really great, funny book, Bitter is The New Black by Jen Lancaster. This is a hilarious account of a time when she and her husband were unemployed. She, a marketing professional, he a telecom guy. Sound familiar?
I wasn’t able to put this book down. The parallels between our lives and the lives of Jen and Fletch were wild and told in such a funny way. So like our own lives, I had to read portions outloud to David who got as big of a kick out it as I did. I’d suggest he read it but I’m sure it’s too “chicky” for him.
I highly recommend this book. Although I like to highly recommend a lot of books I read, this one will be a favorite for a long time.