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Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Refugee Camp

So this past Friday, I received a call from my good good good friend, John. John and I have been friends since my sophomore (his freshman) year of college. In fact, we were such good friends, that he thought that I just might like hanging out with his dorm roommate, DJ. As in DJ, my wonderful, perfect, now late husband. So needless to say, John has been with me through thick and thin. We were skiing buddies, study buddies, party buddies, church buddies, dinner buddies, volleyball buddies, biking buddies, singing buddies, he was a groomsman in my wedding, and I was an honored guest at his recent wedding...well, you get the picture. We're tight. We even made up our own language and hand gestures that only he and I understand.

ANYWAY, a month after John married his most lovely wife, Kara, they moved to Australia so that John could finish up his research for his thesis and Kara could start hers. And after a year or so of work, they made their way back to the U.S. so that John could defend his dissertation, inteview for jobs, and get started on his professional career.

So John took on a job as a professor of Urban Planning. I was very excited for him because not only was this what he's worked for for the past 10 years of his life, but he took his job about 6 hours away from where I live. 6 hours is still a bit of a drive, but it's WAY closer than Australia, so chances are that we were going to get to visit each other relatively frequently.

So on Friday, when John called me so that we could chat, we both got giddy with the anticipation of getting to visit with each other. "I'm not sure when we'll be able to drive to Houston...Kara and I just got here 2 weeks ago and we're still trying to settle in and I just started teaching last week." But we both agreed that a visit was long over due and we promised each other that either I would visit him and Kara or they would visit me before the year was over.

That was until this past Saturday morning. I was leisurly lying in bed...watching a movie...cuddling...generally not wanting to leave my bed for the rest of the day, when I get a phone call. I looked at the caller ID - John's name was on it. Now granted, I love love love my friend, John, but I was in no mood to talk to him. Besides, I had just talked to him the day before, and our phone call had ended sort of abruptly then (his landlord had stopped by and he needed to talk to her) so I figured that he was just calling to finish our conversation. I didn't answer my phone and noted to myself that I would give him a call later in the day, after some breakfast and a shower. But he kept calling and calling and calling until after the 4th call from him, I decided that I would answer my phone. This is how our conversation went:

me: "Hello?"

John: "Hey, Merry Widow! Remember how I said that Kara and I wanted to come and visit you sometime soon?"

me: "Yeah."

John: "Well, do you mind if we come over today? We have nothing to do this weekend."

me: "Are you kidding? You're totally welcome any time!"

John: "Oh good. We'll leave from here in an hour. Oh, by the way, we'll be bringing lots of stuff with us...they're making us evacuate the city."

me: "Huh? Evacuate?"

John: "Yeah. Apparentlly there's some hurricane on its way. So we figured this was a good chance to come visit you in Houston."

me: "But you don't even have a car yet. How are you gonna get here?"

John: "I'm at the car rental place right now. We just rented the LAST car in all of New Orleans...."

That's right...John took his job as a professor at the University of New Orleans. He and Kara were just settling into their home on St. Charles Avenue, located in the Garden District of New Orleans, about 3 blocks from the French Quarter.

So right now, I'm housing 2 New Orleans refugees. My mother-in-law/father-in-law (who live about 5 minutes away from me) took in 4 other New Orleans friends plus one cat. And a family friend (who lives down the street from the in-laws) took in 10 people, 2 dogs, and 3 cats.

And now it looks like H-Town is gonna open up the Astrodome for all of the Superdome refugees.

New Orleans is our fun and crazy neighbor - only a 5-6 hour drive from Houston (depending on where you live.) I'm sure that most people here have some sort of tie to the Big Easy. Needless to say, we've all been glued to the TV, trying to get any information that we can about the homes and lives of all of our friends. So far, it looks like my refugees have lost EVERYTHING.

Please keep them, and the rest of the victims in your prayers.

***Editor's Note***
Big thank you to everyone who has emailed/posted comments as to how they can help my friends. Your kindness is overwhelming. We ask that you instead send your help/prayers/positive thoughts to the victims stuck in the Astrodome, and other shelters throughout the nation. Thanks again.

posted by The Merry Widow at 2:30 PM |


Commented by Blogger Tuesday Girl:

YOu are a good friend.

September 01, 2005 9:36 AM 
Commented by Blogger mrtl:

Gah! I'm glad your friends were able to get out. So many couldn't/wouldn't.

September 01, 2005 10:15 AM 
Commented by Blogger michaela:

this whole situation is heartbreaking. i'm so glad that your friends got out and had you to turn to. prayers and well wishes your way.

September 01, 2005 10:19 AM 
Commented by Blogger Surfie:

Karma is so powerful. You lost 1 important person in your life and now saved 2 important people in your life. Amazing.

Prayers to y'all, and if you need anything at all, please ask. I'll try my best to help or find help.


September 01, 2005 12:08 PM 
Commented by Blogger PapaCool:

Opening up homes of the well-to-do to hurricane refugees is a great idea and is the best parent news MommyCool.com has heard. So many kids need a school right now.

September 01, 2005 12:26 PM 
Commented by Blogger Firefly:

You are such a good friend for opening up your home. If I lived anywhere in the the South/ Southeast, I would be doing the same. I wish there was something more I could do to help from the West Coast... My thoughts are with you and your friends.

September 02, 2005 12:59 AM 
Commented by Blogger Nessa:

do you need anything? Is there anything I could help with or donate to the people you & the 'rents are housing? Please let me know!

September 02, 2005 10:30 AM 
Commented by Anonymous Jessie Bonisteel:

Ive said it before, and Ill say it again: you rock m-wid!

September 02, 2005 6:55 PM 
Commented by Blogger Pissy Britches:

You fucking rock girl! Is there anything we can do for you or for them?

September 04, 2005 12:39 PM 

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