Friday, August 31, 2012

The Importance of Peace and Showers

How many people can say they rode out the SAME hurricane three times?

Well...actually...more than I would think.

People like those crazy folks on The Weather Channel, or crazy storm chasers...

And now I can add myself to this list.

My crew and I rode out Hurricane Irene in Tampa over the weekend...

We were then sent to Pensacola, Florida on Tuesday evening, which was a 7-hour drive for us...we pretty much drove through the hurricane, arriving at a motel at the un-godly hour of 3:30 am in the morning.

Waking up, we then drove to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, where we rode out the Hurricane AGAIN...

What's it like?

Lots and lots of gusting winds...lots and lots of rain - the hard, pounding kind...lots and lots of flooding and road closures and giant puddles that you have to wade through to get where you want to get...and lots and lots of tornado warnings. Miserable, actually.

Especially when spent in an American Red Cross staff shelter - which is set up when there aren't enough motel rooms for everyone....That's what I've been in since Wednesday, since arriving in Hattiesburg - and there's no internet, no AT&T service, and NO SHOWERS!!! Okay. That last part isn't exactly true. To be honest...there are TWO showers....however...there were also 261 people in the shelter.

You do the math.

Of those 261 people in the shelter, approximately 82% of them snore.

I didn't exactly do a true scientific study, but that's my best guestimate, anyway.

That's what my evenings have been like. As for my days, I've spent them at the Hattiesburg, MS American Red Cross Headquarters...working 12-hour days. With no strong need for sheltering, I managed to get myself reassigned to "Logistics" - which is a fancy word for "Stuff."

All that "stuff" that's used at a cots, blankets, towels, food, etc... all that "stuff" that's used at office supplies, telephones, laptops, etc...all that "stuff" that's given to people affected in the tarps, clean-up kits, meals, water, etc...

...that stuff?

I get to order it. Or go shopping on the internet for it.

Really? Online shopping??!!


I'm getting stuff for the entire state of Mississippi...we've got ARC crews in Biloxi, Ocean Springs, Pascagoula, Gulfport - and they are depending on ME to get their much-needed stuff. I am a happy girl.

Today, a "big shot" arrived at Headquarters that I worked closely with in Joplin, Missouri...and when he heard about the conditions at the staff shelter, he miraculously was able to procure a motel room for me tonight...and here I sit.

Alone. I don't have 260 neighbors in cots...

And no snoring. It is perfectly quiet right now, and I am in heaven.

And my own shower. And the water is hot.




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