Monday, June 27, 2011

Days Twenty, Twenty-one, and Twenty-two

The blessings for day twenty were that I was able to go to lunch with my old work friends from hospice.  It was great to be able to see and hang out with them after everything that has happened.  We have a car.  I have air conditioning.  Yes, it was another hot day.  Josh was able to play boardgames at his local game store.  We have received more games than we know what to do with.  I found another pair of shorts in my belongings. 

Mostly I just tried to hang out.  I have been overwhelmed with everything I have to do and I hate being alone in the house we are staying at.  It was really nice to be able to hang out with more friends.  I am incredibly blessed with the people who are in my life. 

Today I realized just how blessed we are to have a vehicle.  Yes, driving Josh around and not ever leaving his side has it’s moments of too much togetherness, but at least we have a car.  It is our own car.  Many other people do not have cars at all or are driving around in a vehicle that “survived” the storm.  These cars are incredibly mangled, but are still operable.  Similar to our minivan, these cars could drive, but did not have windows or power steering after 250+ miles an hour winds. 

The blessings for day Twenty-one include that we have a house to live in that is very quiet and I am able to feel more at home.  We do not have to entertain our host or feel obligated to go and do anything.  I was able to make breakfast for Josh and I.  Many of our DVD’s survived and have been playable.  At this point, none of them were scratched enough to not play. 

Josh and I did a lot of relaxing.  It was nice to sit around and read and try to just be.  It is Saturday so we did Saturday things when you do not have to clean your house or mow the yard.  The lack of household responsibilities right now has been a huge weight off our shoulders. 

We went and ran some errands.  I got a crappy phone to get me by until I get a new phone or my recently baptized phone comes back to life.  We played some games at the local game store and ate frozen yogurt.  Other than that we did nothing. 

I watched Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire.  The scene where Harry watches one of Professor Dumbledore’s memories made me want a Pensieve.  I want to remove some of my memories for a while so that my mind is not so cluttered.  I feel like I need a break again.  Josh asked if I wanted to go to Maine today and I think this would be a good diversion for me in July once we have a more permanent dwelling.  We still have lots of decisions that need to be made, but I am definitely going to look into this as a possibility.

Today has been three weeks since the storm.  I am really struggling to see the blessings that we had today.  There are not words to describe how I feel.  A really big blessing on day twenty- two was that I was able to see some friends that I have not seen since undergrad.  I went to church and asked about a counselor.

This morning in service the minister discussed the amount of debris that we have in Joplin.  It is estimated that the amount of train cars it will take to removal all the debris will stretch from Springfield, Missouri to Joplin Missouri.  This is about a seventy mile long distance.  There are lots of garbage trucks in Joplin; all of which are driving either empty trucks in or full trucks out.  Most of these trucks are on my street right now.  Because our house was so far south, the city has already started debris removal from the curbs near our house.  Thus it is very difficult to get to where our house used to be.  While at church, I decided to go forward and discuss with our ministerial staff how I am in need of professional counseling.  Out of everything that we need materially; I know that I am more important.

Josh wanted to go back to our house to see if he could find something that he wanted.  When we arrived, most of the stuff on our property had been moved.  Our entire drive-way was cleared as well as a lot of our side yard.  Someone removed the contents of the living room and bedroom.  It was strange to see where our house used to be.  Josh found a controller that actually turned on and I found a very interesting scene.  

This cross formerly hung in my living room.
This was a very good reminder of what I need to focus on.

Today we also met with some of my Abilene Christian University friends who came to volunteer.  We went to the only ice cream place left in Joplin and had something cold and sweet.  Even at the restaurant the tornado was evident.  It was very hot today and we all just wanted something that was sweet and cold.  We sat and talked before they needed to leave and go back to their homes.  It was really good to see these two girls that I spent so much time with four years ago.  I really miss them.

A couple of college friend’s came into Joplin to volunteer.  There is still so much to be done and an insufficient amount of people to do the job.  My friends did not work at my house but at other houses since there are so many.  I do not want anyone at my house.  You have seen the pictures and they do not encompass how unsafe it is at my house.  To further complicate the issue of debris, there is also a deadly fungus that is infecting and killing people who are working in the devastation zone.  There is mold and other unhealthy particles in the air that cause breathing problems.  I have turned down many of my friends and church family who have offered to go and help.  At this point there is nothing to get that I have not already searched for and I need to come to terms with the loss.  This is something I am working on. 

Josh and I hung out at the house and wrote some thank you notes.  We have lots to be thankful for and I wanted to make sure that people know that we appreciate what they have done for us.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Day Eighteen and Nineteen

The biggest blessing of day eighteen was that we moved back into Joplin today.  It was short and sweet.  One of the easiest moves I have ever done.  Total it took about ten minutes to move all our stuff into the new house.  I got to hang out with a friend and hold her baby for the afternoon.  Josh went back to work for the first time since the storm.  I got all our laundry done.  I was able to watch some television today and tried to get used to creating a “new normal”.

We got all our stuff packed up and moved to the new house that we are staying at.  A friend has a house that she is not living in very often and wanted us to stay there for a little while.  She works all over and is not home often.  She said we can stay until our apartment is ready which is about a month away.  I am going to be able to cook and unpack some of our stuff while we are there.  It has been incredibly frustrating to be looking for clothes and not be able to find anything.   I do not mean my favorite shirt.  I mean underwear, matching clothes, pants.  When I have been looking for pants, I would only find shirts.  I have worn a lot of dresses because of this. 

Josh went back to work today.  It was weird.  I have never been a wife that needs to be with her husband all the time.  Josh and I regularly hear that it is neat that we spend time away from each other.  I think it is very healthy.  However, I am struggling with being alone.  I feel a sense of panic when I watch television or do regular things.  This is all related to stress and trauma.  I have seriously considered going to a counselor to discuss these issues.  I obviously have not done so yet; another thing to put on my list of things to do. 

We went out to eat again after Josh fixed our hosts computer.  We then went to see a couple of friends and then went back to the house.  We got to sleep in the same bed.  Our new dwelling has a full sized bed.  It really is not that bad considering we have not slept together in almost three weeks.  I am so happy. 

Day Nineteen blessings  include how we have wonderful friends.  One of these friends brought me a purse to use for a while.  I only had one left after the storm and I needed something a little bigger.  We are back in town.  Josh is working.  I do not have to work.  After some discussion with the new job about social work licensure, talking with Josh, and talking with a friend who works at the company, I decided it would be best to not go to the interview.  It was a really good decision for right now and they encouraged me to apply later when things settle down.  I went grocery shopping.  I cooked spaghetti and Josh and I ate it at the house!  I have the best husband ever.

I spent time today mostly for myself.  I am trying to get back to normal.  We are in a place now that I can cook, which means that I got to go grocery shopping.  I also had some spa time.  I got a manicure, but it was just not the same.  My normal salon was also blown away in the tornado.  They have relocated to a beauty college in Webb City, but I just wanted a place to which I was already accustomed. 

I am at a place now where I just want to be able to stop.  I do not mean sit and be still, I mean that everything would just stop and I could go back to the way things were.  I want a “time out”, a momentum shift, a change in pitching, a pause button, etc.  I think you get the idea.  I am tired of being in a place that I am not used to and not ever knowing where things are.  None of the things are mine and I just want to be back in my own place with my own things and smelling my own home.  I have really struggled with this today. 

I had a little break down; alright, truth be told, I went crazy on Josh.  I am not perfect and I am allowed my moments of weakness in this great mess I am in.  It all started when I dropped my iPhone in the toilet.  Yes, two dunks in one week.  I am very concerned that it won’t survive this second drip.  The toilet at the house we are staying at is different than mine and my phone caught on the lip of the toilet as I was standing up and slid into the bowl.  I pulled it out and screamed.  Josh came in and tried to help, which just irritated me.  I wanted everything to stop.  We put it back in the blanket of rice to let it sit.  Then I went to get something out of the pantry and saw a giant spider.  I went to get Josh and when he came to look for it, he did not find it.  This freaked me out and I just started blubbering.  There is no reason for it.  This is when I went crazy.  Josh, in his most loving way, let me be crazy for the moment.  He listened to me as I cried and just encouraged me that we need to be in this together.  I love this man so much.  I know that I would not be able to get through this situation without him by my side.  He has taken care of so much and I know that I would be completely lost on what to do without him.  He has been invaluable to me. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Day Sixteen and Seventeen

Blessings for the sixteenth day include that Josh and I know how the city of Joplin wants us to proceed with our house, sort of.  We packed up our stuff in the barn to be ready to move when the time comes.  I was able to find several things that I was looking for like underwear.  It really is amazing how finding small things is sometimes all it takes to make your day better.  My iPhone came back to life!!!

It seems like it has been years since this all started.  There is so much to be done and we have come so far, but it is still impressive how much more has to be done.  Josh and I went through and organized all our stuff again.  We cleaned out everything that is in the barn that is ours and we cleaned out many of the tubs we were able to salvage.  There is still so much debris on everything.  The smell is still very pungent and everything is dirty. 

We went to the mall to find some shorts for me.  I have decided to be really picky about what I get.  I want things to fit and be something I like; not just something that I can wear for now.  I went and got some shoes from a distribution center at the mall.  I needed some shoes for later this week and all I have are strappy sandals.  I did not find any shorts, but I got to shop for a little while which was nice.

Josh and I went to the Joplin City Meeting were they were supposed to discuss the plans for Joplin and debris removal.  Josh has never been interested in attending a city meeting, but the tornado made him be more invested.  It was amazing how many people came to the meeting.  The entire building was full and people were standing in the back.  We sat through the entire meeting to hear them repeat the paperwork they handed out at the beginning.  They did not provide us with any further information and did the Best Little Whorehouse in Texas “Sidestep” on issues that were related to debris clean-up.  It was frustrating. 

There were approximately 7000 families displaced by the storm and of these it is estimated that 50% did not have insurance.  So the city has to fund 3500 families’ home demolitions.  Currently the city is only willing to address loose debris that is around homes.  The city wanted us to sign a “Right to Entry” form that absolves them of any liability of property damage.  The problem is that if Josh and I sign this paper, then we will have to also sign over any insurance money that we have for debris removal.  This is all understandable, except that we have three walls still standing and a basement.  The city will not address their plans for demolition or basement fill in.  So we will have to blindly sign over our debris removal money and there is no guarantee that the city will do all the work.  We were encouraged to hire an excavator to complete the job since we have insurance that will cover the cost of demolition. 

I have to brag about my wonderful husband.  He got up and asked questions at the meeting and was so eloquent.  We spoke with an attorney afterwards and she said that he asked the exact questions she was going to.  He is so amazing.  I cannot describe how proud I am to be his wife.

Our biggest concern is that 7000 homes were impacted and this does not include the commercial buildings.  So we will have to compete with all these other people to hire a company to complete this job.  I also want our money to stay local so that Joplin will benefit from this situation.  These are all incredibly difficult tasks to complete considering the magnitude of the situation. 

We left this meeting some what confused and frustrated and went back to the house.  After the meeting we talked for a while about how to proceed.  Josh called his boss about an excavator and posted on Facebook to find referrals.  He heard back from his boss and he will call the company in the morning.  We ultimately decided to go ahead and higher someone.  As long as they are under the amount allotted by our insurance company, we really do not care.  I just want the house gone.

The major blessing for day seventeen was that we were able to higher an excavator who wants to start working next week!  This was wonderful news since we talked with several who gave us a two month waiting period before they could give us a quote.  The company is registered with the Better Business Bureau and is fully licensed, bonded, and insured.  They are not from Joplin, but are from a nearby community that works with Joplin regularly.  It made me feel a little better to know that the money will at least stay in Missouri.  There are lots of companies from other states here now that are trying to help expedite the process, but will take the money back to their community to spend it.  This will not benefit Joplin long term.  Other blessings include that Josh and I have windows on our car and air conditioning at the house we are staying at.  It is again very hot out and car windows are very difficult to get in the area.  Had my car been at home, I am not sure that it would have survived and it definitely would not have windows if it had.  We are ready to move tomorrow to our new location.  I have sorted through all our clothes and found more summer clothing.  I have been running low on shorts, but I found two more pairs.  Yay for shorts!  I have a job interview on Thursday of this week for a position I applied for before I graduated.  I am excited about it, but at the same time I am incredibly apprehensive. 

Josh started the day by calling all the excavators he could find in the phone book.  He got a hold of two and left messages for all the others; only two others returned his call.  This is typical of the situation.  I never got any calls back regarding the rentals I called about last week.  It is very disappointing. 

We drove into town to get our mail and talk with friends.  We ate lunch out, again.  When talking with our friends, we got the name of realtor who is purchasing property to develop.  Josh and I are very interested in this since we do not want to rebuild.  We called and left a message with them.

We met with an excavator at our house and he gave us a bid that is completely acceptable.  The company said that this was do-able and that he could get to us next week.  He does not want to move his machinery very far since it is expensive and we are only two blocks from his current job.  God has watched over us so much during this process.

While at our house, I realized that I hate going back.  Every time it makes me cry.  It also really smells now.  The fridges and freezers smell awful now and there is nothing that can be done about it.  The city has started to remove all the debris that is right next to the street.  This is the first step in the process.  Hopefully, this will not take forever. 

We ate and went to a friend’s house to hang out.  We talked about our day and then watched some comedy on Netflix.  It is weird to laugh.  Things are just not the same.

Day Fourteen...and Fifteen

The blessings on day fourteen were that we were able to get out of town for a little while.  I was able to see all my clothes that were pulled out of the house.  My mother-in-law washed and cleaned all my shoes that survived.  She said, “I may not have washed your feet, but I have come close.” I thought it was incredibly thoughtful of her to do that.  I got to sit by the pool and sun bathe.  We did not have to eat out.  We got to sleep in the same bed after two weeks of bunk beds.

We went to Tulsa to get the rest of our stuff.  After the storm, Josh’s parents took a load of our laundry with them to do for us as we had lots of clothes pulled out of the house.  Some of it was not salvageable, but some was.  It all needed to be laundered because it stunk badly not to mention the amount of debris that was mixed with clothing.  There is nothing to compare the smell of tornado to. 

While I was hanging out at the pool, I threw my iPhone into the pool.  I could not believe I did that and to be honest I am not sure how it happened.  We were all hanging out and I went in side to do something.  When I came out, I picked up my book and my phone fell.  I still am not sure where it came from.  My mother-in-law pulled it out and I immediately toweled it off and tried to take the Otter Box off.  As I was doing this, I think I let water in and it started spasming.  We threw it into some uncooked rice and let it sit over night.  When I looked at it later that night, it was lighting up and doing strange things.  I was really worried.

We went to hang out with one of Josh’s college friends while in Tulsa.  She is moving to India and has some stuff for us to have once we have a more permanent place.  We talked about the tornado and her children.  She always has the funniest stories to tell.  It was really great to laugh.  Then we went back to Josh’s parent’s house to sleep in a queen sized bed.  It was nice to say goodnight without me standing on my tip toes to get a goodnight kiss.

The blessings for day fifteen were that I have lots of winter clothes.  We again went to church.  I went swimming again.  Josh and I were able to talk about housing and many other topics that are very pertinent currently.  Josh and I have wonderful family.  We have finished our insurance list of personal property minus some family items that need pricing.  We were able to back to Joplin somewhat more refreshed and less stressed.  All of our world possessions are in the same place.

Josh and I went to church this morning at his parent’s church.  It was good to go back to a Church of Christ church for one Sunday.  After attending Abilene Christian University, I miss the acapella worship every now and then.  I thought that being in another city would allow us to have a slight break from focusing on the tornado, but even in Tulsa the service mentioned Joplin several times.  It was kind of weird.  I know Tulsa is not that far away, but the media attention is mostly off Joplin and it seems that the focus has shifted to other major news events even though Joplin is still greatly suffering.  The amount of volunteers in Joplin is still strong, but in just one week the volunteers have decreased by half according to church emails and other sources

After church, we went back to Josh’s parent’s home and we ate lunch.  Then Josh and I took a nap.  I know that when a person experiences trauma, their physical needs change.  This is very true.  Josh and I are still not eating properly or drinking enough water.  We are also not sleeping enough.  I cannot say how much we have slept, but I am sure that it is not enough.  We slept for three hours.  It is amazing how the simple things in life, like a nap, can make a person's day.  After this, I went swimming and then we packed up. 

I have lots of winter clothes now, but very little summer clothes.  That means that I will have to go shopping.  Darn.  I am still not sure what survived or did not because I still need to go through all our clothing.  We separated our winter clothing from our summer clothing.  We do not need winter clothing when it is 90 degrees. 

We went back to Joplin.  We got back to the house and talked to our hosts for a while.  Josh and I are planning on moving this week and wanted to make sure that they knew our plans.  We watched a movie and then went to bed, again in bunk beds.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Day Twelve and Thirteen (I am combining to catch up)

Day Twelve blessings were that Josh and I have air conditioning.  We were able to find an apartment.  We got to talk about a lot of things that we needed to discuss during the drive to and from Springfield, Missouri.  We have great friends.  We have the finances to go out to eat, buy gas, purchase things we need, and not worry about what to do next in terms of money.

Day Twelve was very much like day eleven except being in a different city.  Josh and I drove to Springfield to find alternative housing and so I could get my stuff from my job.  I have explained before that I was previously employed as a contract social worker for an agency in Springfield.  I left my notary supplies there as I thought I was going to continue to work there over the summer.  After the storm, I decided it would be better for me to not work.  While there, my coworkers gave me some money.  I was so humbled.  This is a not for profit agency and they gave me money to help with the new costs we are experiencing.  We went to lunch and then drove around looking at apartment complexes and talking with thier staff.  We found a potential place in Republic, Missouri that is approximately one hour away from Josh’s work.  It is more expensive than we want, but could be furnished.  We realized that if we are going to stay in Joplin for the next few months, then we need to be closer to Joplin than Springfield.  There is still so much to do and to be an hour away would make everything more difficult.

We went back to Joplin to have dinner and to get mail from our friends.  We then went to the house and tried to decompress after the day.

Day Thirteen blessings included finding an apartment that is furnished and is within twenty minutes of Josh’s work.  We returned our library books without losing any to the storm.  The weather has been beautiful. Lots of sun and no rain, but it is hot.  We went for a walk.  We have a car that is ours.  Josh has a wonderful job.  We have great friends and family. 

Day Thirteen, we have found an apartment that is furnished!!!  The family that we are living with has purchased a new house and will be moving soon.  The family is trying to move into the new house and once they move the family will do a lot of reorganizing.  Long story short, we will move into the above garage apartment.  I have never been more excited about moving into a 900 square foot apartment. 

We learned that the Federal government is going to pay ninety percent of the demolition cost and the city is soliciting the State of Missouri to pay the other ten percent.  What a blessing.  This has been one thing that Josh and I have been agonizing over since this started. 

We returned all our library books that we checked out for our Miami vacation.  I know this is a small thing, but it means one less responsibility we have. 

I was able to talk with my family, which has been very helpful over the past week.  I have enjoyed letting them know how we have progressed and the celebrations we have over the little things.  I continue to talk with friends on Facebook that I have not spoken to in a very long time.  Some from elementary school have contacted me to lend support and encouragement.  Each person helps spur me on.  Thank you all.

After we returned the library books, we went and watched a movie at the house to relax.  Josh fell asleep, no surprise.  It occurred to me today that we have not really stopped since May 22nd.  It feels like the days just run together and there has been no sluggish progression of time.  Time just goes quickly all the time because there is so much to do.  Josh mentioned that he wanted to go back to work on Tuesday of next week and this sent me into a panic.  I can think of so much that needs to be done and he wants to go back to work.  I am not mentally able to go to work right now!  The thought frightens me.  I am usually a person that enjoys working and facing each challenge, but I am not the same person right now that I am normally.  I am taking each day as it comes and nothing more right now.  Continue to pray for us as we continue this journey.

Day Eleven

Blessings for today were that I was able to cook!!!  I love to cook and this morning I made biscuits and gravy for the “family”.  We drove around to locate housing.  Josh and I have the financial resources to drive around to look at housing.  Gas is only $3.52 per gallon.  We were able to discuss car options for Josh.  Josh has never gotten to pick out a car because he always got whatever car was available and working at the time.  I want him to choose his car.  We hung out with friends for the evening.

Today we went to find housing.  Josh and I went all over the area and I called approximately 40 people about rentals.  There were none.  Not very surprising considering the amount of displaced families.  We learned that there are approximately 7000 families displaced and half of these families do not have insurance.  This was an incredibly depressing piece of information.  I cannot imagine going through this experience without insurance.  It frightens me to just think about it.

We were able to speak with our church about housing today.  They have a vast amount of people volunteering their homes for our support.  We were given the opportunity to stay in Nevada, Missouri; Pittsburg, Kansas; and Springfield, Missouri.  None of these locations are incredibly close, but are options should we need them.

We went to hangout with our friends in Carthage.  It really is a blessing to just sit and talk to people after being displaced.  Many of our friends have felt like they are not contributing, but they are.  To be able to have a meal with someone is really a blessing by itself.  We really appreciate the friends who have come to be with us.  I love it!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Day Ten

Blessings from today included that Josh and I were able to cash our checks from the insurance company.  Our mortgage is paid off!!  We spoke with attorneys and we do not have to rebuild unless we want to.  We were able to register for FEMA.  We had dinner with friends.  I spoke with family.  We were able to deter identify theft one more time.  We were able to obtain an address to use!

Josh and I drove into Joplin with large checks in hand to put into our savings accounts.  It was a very strange experience.  We calculated the amount of our checks and the grand total is almost three times Josh’s annual gross income.  Again, this is very overwhelming. 

Today I sat on the other side of the table.  I was the person seeking services and it was really interesting.  We arrived at the Multi Agency Resource Center, MARC, to fill out and apply for federal aid.  In order to do this we must show proof of residence.  This was not difficult as we both had our driver’s licenses.  Had we been home we may not have been able to produce this.  We were shuffled through the different interviews in order for the Red Cross to identify our immediate needs.  Then we were led to the section that allowed us to connect with the appropriate agencies that we directly needed.  The three agencies that we accessed where Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Post Office, and the Missouri Bar Association.  The Missouri Bar Association was most helpful as they were able to give us guidance on how to proceed with our property.  FEMA informed us on how to proceed with federal aid and will continue to meet with us to make sure that we have our needs met.  The Post Office let us change our address right there and so we did not have to wait in the incredibly long line at the post office.  This entire process made me feel like a sheep being herded from place to place.  Thankfully Josh and I have the personal resources to be able to work outside this system, but others in Joplin do not. 

We then went to our local game store.  The proprietors have graciously allowed us to use their address to receive mail.  We have been waiting for our rent check to come in so that we can deposit it, another large check.  On the way to the game store, Josh realized that he needed to get any personal documents out of the minivan since it will be towed soon.  We drove by and now the area really smells.  The refrigerators are all rotting and the smell of tornado still lingers in the air.  Josh got the documents and we drove away.  I did not even get out of the car. 

After running errands, we went back to the house.  We ate dinner as a “family” and then hung out.  Again, it was nice to just be able to sit back and relax.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Day Nine

Blessings for the day were that Josh and I took a break.  This allowed us to put things into perspective. 

Today Josh and I did nothing towards the house.  We took a break.  We celebrated Memorial Day at the house by swimming, playing games, and seeing friends.  I ate so much that now, as I type this, my stomach is upset because I ate too much.  Tomorrow business begins.  We plan on getting many errands completed and trying to find another place to live.  It is still very overwhelming.  Josh and I planned on moving eventually, but nothing was ever decided.  We wanted to make an informed decision after I was done with graduate school and potentially licensed.  This plan has been totally scratched.  We are totally open to anything that comes.  I am unemployed and Josh is able to go anywhere within his company, within reason.  We are not saying we are moving, but we are also not ruling out the possibility.

We had fun hanging out at the pool and enjoying the heat.  I relaxed and read a book while Josh got to play board games.  It was a nice little breather.  We will start working again in the morning as we still have a lot that needs to be done. 

Friday, June 3, 2011

Day Eight—It has been a week.

There were many blessings today.  We went to church and met a college friend.  She has been reading this blog and we were able to meet up.  She read a previous day's blog where I mentioned that Joplin has few tubs available for displaced individuals like myself.  We need these Rubbermaid tubs so that we are eventually able to move.  She brought eight of these totes.  It was such a blessing.  She and her spouse were also volunteering at our church for the weekend as it is Memorial Day Weekend.  Another blessing is that Josh and I were able to go to church.  We were able to see my in-laws again.  I have the most wonderful husband ever.  We went and hung out with friends for the day.  We ate dinner as a “family” at the house we are staying.  We played games with the children at the house.  I said goodbye to our house.  I also spoke with many of my family members today.

One week ago today, Josh and I were in sunny Miami when the tornado struck Joplin.  We are getting ready for church and I pray that it is just what we need.  I have never before been more excited and apprehensive to go to church.  I am tired of the exposure.  We keep leaving rooms when news comes on because we do not want to see it.  There is good information on the news and signs of hope in our community.  A story was about one person who is already rebuilding.  I thought that was neat.

We went to church this morning in order to be renewed.  It was great!  We met and spoke with many of our friends and church family and we were prayed over by these family members.  Ninety families in our church have no homes due to the storm and there were approximately two hundred and thirty families from our church in the disaster zone.  Today they announced that the official death toll is now 139 and counting.  There are still 42 missing and will soon, I am sure, be presumed dead.  Again I was grateful that we were not home. 

We went back to the house one last time.  I know I said that we were not going to return before, but I wanted to go back for one last shot at finding a family heirloom.  We searched and did not find it, but did find several pieces of jewelry that I had.  I also got sun burned.  After we left, I immediately wanted to go back and continue searching.  I know that this is just something that will happen.  This time I wanted clothes.  Mind you, the clothes that I wanted to go get have been in the rain for seven days now, sun for three, as well as exposed to other elements.  I really just want the city to bull doze it and then I will have no reason to return.  I have my moments of acceptance and then insanity not long afterward. 

I looked for a furnished apartment on the Internet in a nearby area.  It is very difficult to find a rental right now due to the amount of people searching for a home.  There are approximately 5200 people looking for a place to stay and there is not enough housing to accommodate the  amount of people in need.  Josh and I are not ready right now to buy a different home and we are not in the right frame of mind to make a major decision right now.  There are also too many unknowns right now.  We do not know if we will have to rebuilding, who will clear our lot, and many more logistical questions. 

Josh and I returned to the house and we were invited to the family Sunday Dinner followed by a movie.  Our hosts cook a big family dinner every week and it is a time to get together and see each other once a week.  We ate an amazing Taco Feast and watched “I am Number Four”.  It was really nice to have a sense of normalcy amongst the chaos.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Day Seven

The Blessings for today are that I was able to take a nap while Josh drove us to the house we are staying at.  I was able to visit with a friend for most of the afternoon and talk about baby stuff with her.  She has a child, not me.  Josh was able to move his flea market booth today in only one trip and condense his booth space from two to one.  He was able to collect his extra toys to donate to our church for children who lost their toys.  We found almost all of our DVD’s and we were able to salvage many of them.  We will still have to see if any of them will play.  An old friend from college contacted me as she and her husband came up from Fort Worth to help.  They read the blog from Day Two about how Rubbermaid Tubs are difficult to come by and they brought us 8 tubs.  We are getting them tomorrow.  We got our checks from our insurance agent today. 

Today has been a really hard day.  Josh and I need a break.  It was the first day in a long line of days that we truly feel displaced.  I miss the quiet of my house.  I miss being able to not talk to people when I am in the middle of something.  Please do not hear that I do not appreciate the calls and messages; I do.  I am just starting to feel the strain of being temporarily homeless.  I hesitate to use this word because we are not homeless; we are just our homeless.

I just do not know what else to say other than pray for Josh and I to be strong and lean on God.  He is the only thing that will get us through this.