Tuesday, September 13, 2005


It's been quite a 36 hours

Written late Monday night, moved to the top by request.

Here's a bit of a personal update.

Yesterday, I watched my beloved Saints play a great game against a very tough Carolina team, but eventually the good guys prevailed. It was wonderful to watch at a neighborhood bar in Chicago, I made a number of friends who bought me drinks and supported me in my shouting at the tv and merriment throughout. It was one of the most normal feelings that I've had in weeks to be able to watch the Saints play, even if I was at an Irish bar in Chicago. I'm sure that many of you share similar experiences, but everytime I tell people that I'm from New Orleans, I get such an outpouring of sympathy for our situation, and then I almost always get a story about a great experience that they had in our fair city. This gives me much hope for the future.

Afterwards, we had a great dinner prepared by the future in-laws, with my future Sister and Brother in law, Grandmother in law, and Aunt and Cousin in law. It's nice to have so much family support here.

Today, we got up and had lots of work to do. My daily 10AM conference call brought good and bad news, mostly we spent our time talking about a difficult situation that one of our clients is facing. Afterwards, however, we discussed my possibly making a trip to New Orleans to help recover some information and to establish our virtual office strategy now that Armstrong International is open again. A few hours later, I have an E-Ticket in hand and will be back in my fair city on Wednesday. Hopefully I'll be able to run by my apartment and check it out, grab some essentials, and then get into our office downtown to grab some documents and other important information. From there, it's across to the Northshore where I will spend the rest of the week, and then the weekend down the Bayou with my folks.

After all of that, we headed down to the Hurricane Katrina Disaster center in Chicago. It was an amazing conglomeration of assistance from the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, FEMA, and dozens of other services in the Chicagoland area. The Red Cross gave us a debit card that could be used for clothes, food, etc. that will be a big help. If you are an evacuee and have a Red Cross location near you, I'd seriously recommend that you go and register. After that the Salvation Army gave us some vouchers that could be used for clothing at their thrift stores, and a voucher for groceries. Beyond that, there was a place for people who hadn't registered with FEMA to do so, and a number of other city services that could help people with housing, enrolling kids in schools, changing address with the Post Office, giving out library cards, bus passes, and all sorts of other assistance. It was truly incredible. And the volunteers, they were so wonderful as well! Everybody was so caring, wanting to do whatever they could to help us feel at home. It was a heartwarming experience.

As we left, we got a phone call saying that we should head to the hospital, as my Fiance's sister was about to give birth. We headed that way, and at 6PM tonight, my fiance's sister gave birth to a beautiful, healthy girl. It was an amazing experience to be there, not so much to see the new baby being born. I've seen babies before, and to tell you the truth this one looked a lot like I know a baby to look, just a bit smaller. What was wonderful about the entire experience was watching how happy the new Parents, Aunt, and Grandparents all were. Seeing them all crying as they experienced something that they had all hoped for for such a long time now was truly moving, and life-changing for even me, whose largest contribution to the evening was a box of cookies that I bought earlier in the day.

Edit: We just checked online and our FEMA disaster assistance emergency housing money has been deposited into our account. Yet another positive.

Anyhow, here I sit, 36 hours later, knowing that my life won't be the same as it was just 36 hours before. It's a feeling I've had a few times during this journey, but this time it feels much more hopeful, much more like there's more happening around us that we could ever possibly be aware of, and that we should be aware and enjoy those moments while we can.

Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

Jude, best of luck when you go. I'm sure nobody can be totally prepared for what you'll find. I'll keep you in my prayers.

-Christy S.
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