Sunday, August 31, 2008

The high strung Vloskys: The night before the storm

Well it's almost 9:00 pm and we're as ready as we can be for Hurricane Gustav. We have moved probably 100 of my mother's pots from our common courtyard, and all of her vegetable containers and bird feeders from the back yard of her house. We have enough food and several interior rooms padded with sleeping bags and pillows just in case there is tornadic activity.

We are not a family that does well under stress. Already today I've had a significant fight with my son Daniel. He is on edge as am I, and our dog, Georgie, ate his wallet, at which point he went ballistic, and he scared poor Georgie to death. To try to assuage his anger, I bought him another wallet from (I'm sure this is very poor parenting). There was a moment when he and Brandi and Kellan were going to leave for Arkansas, but Rich convinced them to stay.

It's one of those times when your child is freaking out and overreacting about everything, and you must look at yourself and say, "he got that from me.... and it's not pretty."

The mirror that is your children is humbling.

Then there was my 87 year old mother, who wanted us to dig out her bird feeders from our shed, plus the stands (spear-like wroght-iron stands that are shoved into the ground that hold her multitudes of feeders), so that her birds could be fed up until the last minute. I told her,

"put the feed on the ground."

To which she replied, "but they won't know where it is?!"

I keep saying, "but they're birds!" "You are doing them a disservice keeping them here. They should be flying inland."

She is mostly worried about her "hummers" that she says are flitting around in our courtyard looking for their food.

You know, I always say, "people are more important than things." That is related to my current saying which is, "your family is more important than hummers."

While Rich and I went to the local bar to get take-out dinner, she left the house in her car, clipping two other vehicles on her way out (okay so I exaggerate, everyone knows that) to get more bird feed. We ordered all sorts of heart attack prone foods from George's (our local bar/eatery) to bring home to family members.

Why are we eating stuff that we ordinarily wouldn't ever touch?

I'll have to go on some sort of major diet and exercise program when this is all over and I'm glad to be alive. (I can hear my kids laughing as they read this. Of course Rich is thinking this isn't so funny).

We've already had a tornado warning (not watch) and we deliberated on whether or not to dive into our little sheltered rooms. Thankfully, it dissipated quickly.

Brandi looks so worn out (probably because her family is from N.O.and she is having flashbacks from Katrina, or maybe because she's just exhausted from being around us).

Brandi: hiding from Rich's camera (or when a 3,700 sq. ft. house feels too small)

James, on the other hand is non plussed and playing X-Box or games on his computer. It's funny how different people react differently.

James: oblivious

The t.v. is flickering out.... So, I'll sign off. We're supposed to be getting the first bands from the storm shortly, with the full-on effects by early morning.


Friday, August 29, 2008

Hurricane Gustav: Deja vu all over again

The Pete Maravich Center being staged for triage and critical care for Gustav
Photo: Leah Courville

I live in Baton Rouge, LA and work at Louisiana State University, in the School of Social Work, in their Office of Social Service Research and Development, OSSRD. My parking lot is between the back of the Huey P. Long Fieldhouse, in which our school resides and the Pete Maravich Center, which is our famed basketball arena. The director of our school (poor guy arrived here from Colorado about a year ago) and the director of our research group (at least she's from Louisiana) put out a call today for volunteers to go to the PMAC, as it is called, and unload medical supplies.

So, we filed out our back door and into the main arena and I struggled opening and assembling cots and breaking boxes for awhile. We really weren't needed. There are more than enough volunteers, for now. However, we will be needed later when and if Hurricane Gustav or Hannah develop into major storms that track right at our part of the Gulf Coast.

We have all been through this before, volunteering numerous hours at that same facility in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina. It was the staging area for the critically ill, and I worked as a geriatric social worker of sorts (my training is in gerontology). Our oldest son, then a high school student, helped triage patients and actually ran that center for awhile.

What struck me was how apprehensive and anxiety ridden I felt just being back in that building. I had...Nervous energy. I was...talking too fast. Talking too loud. Laughing inappropriately. I remember telling someone that so much was going on that I felt the top of my head was going to blow off (well, to be fair some of that was from the McCain VP pick). Suddenly, I was compelled, again, to tell everyone I met our experiences in 2005 (Extreme jerkishness alert. At the very least it was histrionic, which isn't a good trait to be exhibiting when you work with a bunch of clinical social workers).

The rest of the day has been spent fielding emails from family and friends, and friends of friends who need a place to stay as they evacuate from Florida and SE Louisiana. Mom and I shopped last night for hurricane food (non perishables, or canned and dry things). Rich bought the last of the water available at some Super K Mart in Northern Louisiana yesterday on his way back from a forestry association meeting. I might be getting some bug, so I called my doctor for meds, just in case I couldn't get a hold of a medical practitioner in the next 4 days. LSU is now closed until Wednesday. My son, his girlfriend and my grandson are evacuating from 40 miles to our east,

"bring the Wii," we said.

My 87 year old mother just ran out the door to get her hair done, as her beautician won't be into work tomorrow for her regularly scheduled wash and blow dry (why hasn't she learned how to do her own hair in all these years? What girl doesn't know how to do their own hair? And why does she need her hair done before a hurricane?)..

Rich is fixated on the lawn and vacuuming the house (vacuuming the house?)...

I need to go and buy some booze, and clear out our pantry under our stair well (we'll use it as a one of our tornado shelters).

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The "Post it Note": or "Things Do NOT always Come out (Okay) in the Wash"

Do you see my Post-it-Note? It says "Let me hang--no dryer"

As another hurricane approaches us here in South Louisiana (Hurricane Gustav) I can’t help but ponder the ‘Post-it-Note’.

I for one LOVE the 'Post-it-Note'.

The ‘Post-it-Note’ might be one of the greatest inventions known to modern wo-man. I use, the yellow 2X2 ones, vociferously. Why are the standard ones, or the generic ones, if you will, the color yellow? I do not know. But, they are my 'Post-it-Note' of choice and are of great use to me.

At least I think they are....

Take my use of the 'Post-it-Note' to notify my family that they SHOULD NOT, SHOULD NOT, put various articles of my clothing in the dryer (too delicate you see, and/as I spend too much money on them).

It’s not like I expect my dear family members to hang my clothes on the hangers I provide (dangling enticingly on the little knobs in our washroom). It’s just that I expect the person who happens to wander by the washing machine to refrain from putting my clothes in the dryer, and to call out to me (“hark, mother (or wife) come and care for your clothes!”)

However, inevitably there is a “miscommunication” (one of our favorite words in this household) and my clothes are down-sized. See the picture above (I loved those pants from my favorite clothier: J Jill).

And I wonder what I did wrong?

I write my 'Post-it-Notes' in red and purple permanent markers (I TRY to leave nothing to chance) and I put them on the washing machine itself….

But, somehow my pants or other clothes end up too small for me. (To be truthful, I have a weight problem, but at least in this instance I am not the reason my clothes do not fit).

In one sense I’m lucky. I have wonderful family members, who all happen to be men, by the way who think it is their job to clean the clothes (among other things). They are: Very ‘take charge types,’ and little bit OCD…

But, I ask you fellow-women, “what would you rather have?:” Manly family members that help around the house and shrink a pant or two,” OR “men who don’t help, but you never have to worry about wasted money on (too expensive) clothes that shrink?”

I think you’d rather have great guys and a few ruined clothes….

(PEOPLE are more important than THINGS, PEOPLE are more important than THINGS, PEOPLE are more important than THINGS……)

Monday, August 25, 2008

A New Day of Writing

Welcome to my first day of blogging on my own blog. My name is Denese and I am a Louisiana transplant, which is why my url is DLouisianaT (Denese Louisiana Transplant). This move has defined my life! It's funny how the most difficult situations in life can define who you are. Or maybe they only define you if you overcome them, or if you morph into them?

I am originally from the West (Oregon, California and Washington, heavy on the Oregon) and considered myself a Westerner until recently, when I realized that I am actually something else or someone else. Maybe I'm a SouWesterner (actually, that sounds more like a wind or someone from the Southwest), or a Wesoutherner (doesn't have a good ring to it) or maybe a
NWCajun (which makes total sense to me but probably not to anyone else).

At any rate, I don't belong in Portland anymore, although I'm still not quite a South Louisianan.

As much as I write you would think I would be thrilled about starting my own blog. But, it's like registering on facebook... What if no one wants to be your friend? What if no one comes? What if no one reads? What if no one listens? Is being a tiny little voice talking in cyberspace enough? I don't know.

I do know that if I don't write I can't improve. So, here's to improvement! I can hear the clink clink of champagne glasses (or, maybe if you're me, red wine glasses, preferably filled with a great Cab or my new favorite, a Malbec). Oh my, does this define me as someone who drinks too much? Well, you know that red wine has resveratrol in it, which is a super anti-aging elixir. Really!

Did I mention that I love to write? :-)

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