Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Floods, Funerals, Fleeing a Hurricane

...and other pestilence.  Last Monday and Tuesday, it rained 11 inches here in Charlotte, thanks to Tropical Storm Fay (or what was left of her).  Is the drought over? you may ask.  Apparently not, we still can't water our (brown and disgusting-looking) lawn.  The lake is up to full pond, but we're still in a drought.

We were packing to leave for Baton Rouge on Thursday -- as my dad's memorial service was scheduled for August 30.  I was rooting around in the basement for, who knows what? or maybe I was doing laundry.  A strange odor overcame me, and my first thought was, Dang it, Melanie has brought some food down here and it's spoiled, I'm going to wear her behind out ... wait a minute.  What's this?  Why is the carpet wet?  Why is there about 1/2" of water ... WHAT?  (Well, I didn't really say What? I said something that rhymes with Spit or something along those lines).  David is off in South Charlotte picking up the RV that we've rented for the trip.  I don't want to add to his troubles, but I call him anyway.  I call my friend Mona, who used to work construction and is capable of renovating/repairing houses with one hand tied behind her back.  I'm such a girl ... and she got right down to ripping up carpet, and even brought a box fan.  We got it all up and propped up with 2 by 4's ... with fans blowing every which a way.

So we're a little late getting on the road.  Like 3 or 4 hours later than we had hoped.  We picked up Colin at WCU and got as far as Tuscaloosa, AL at 2:30 in the morning.  We shacked up in a motel, and finally rolled into Baton Rouge late the next afternoon.  My mom is hysterical over the memorial service plans and her washing machine has died, and of course it's the little things that set her off (and as I later discovered me, too).  She starts yelling at me (for whatever reason) and I finally decide at that moment that I'm going to have my nervous breakdown about losing my dad, etc. and I just let the tears do their thing.  I mean, I did cry the week that he died, especially coming home, and the morning he died.  But this was a flood of magnificent proportions.  I needed to wear a hat with a big black veil.  We had company over for dinner that night and I was a pruny red mess.  Oh well, I guess they understood.  Just being in the house and knowing that he was gone, it just hit me.

The service was very nice.  I read my dad's poem, The King's Ring ... supposedly I had a mike at the lectern, but I projected anyway.  Good thing ... my sister told me later that my mike wasn't on, and that the deacon, Tim, was right behind me trying to turn it on and I never noticed him.  I was able to hold it together, no tears ... Debi had to read a passage from Ecclesiastes, and she wavered a little, but it was all good.

David had bought tickets to the LSU-Appalachian State football game, the afternoon of my dad's service.  He was so excited to take his kids to a game in Tiger Stadium -- an experience not to be forgotten.  So to add to the bad news (floods, etc) it was announced that the game was moved up to 10:00 a.m., from 4:00 p.m. because there was this hurricane brewing in the Gulf ... dad's service was at 11:00 a.m., so he kissed those tickets (and the money he spent for them) goodbye.  They did go over to the campus after the game and were able to mill around with the crowd leaving the game, so they almost got a taste of LSU football.  (They routed App. State, by the way).

Oh, did I mention the hurricane?  They started mandatory evacuations of New Orleans and the southern parishes on Saturday ... and started contraflow (both sides of the interstate traveling North) late Saturday night.  We knew we were in for an adventure.  The scope of which we had no clue.  Suffice it to say that our usual 12 hour trip to Charlotte took about 32 hours, (with a 6 hour stop north of Atlanta at 4 in the morning, which was the first place we could find a motel with available rooms!)  Oh, and the detour to Cullowhee to take Colin back to college. 

There were signs everywhere saying "Gustav evacuees!  Shelter ... next exit!" and car after car with Louisiana plates.  Even when we stopped in Gainesville, GA, the motel was filled with Louisiana plates.  It was awful.  We did maneuver that "hog" of an RV along some back roads in Mississippi to avoid the "parking lot" that was I-55.  And finding a gas station that had gasoline was another challenge.  We felt a little selfish trying to fill up the RV ... when evacuees around us needed to fill up their cars so they could keep going.

Met with the insurance agent today about the basement.  It's pretty well dried up but still smells pretty mildew-y.  Oh, and I'm supposed to havesurgery to remove my right ovary* either this Friday or the 19th of September, don't know which yet.  Will the hilarity ever end?

*if you're really interested, I have a hemmorhagic cyst that has been making my life so much fun lately.  It needs to go.