Monday, September 26, 2005

ONE GOOD RITA! Coming so close on the havoc wrecked by Katrina this storm was really painful. Our evacuee centers were winding down having all but about thirty people placed in care centers, temporary quarters, and some in homes of their own and sending their children to sign up for school when news came of the people coming from Texas. This one good Rita is my daughter, Marita (nickname Rita - and has she got razzed about it : -)). She has been an LPN for twenty years then when her husband died two years ago, she got all her ducks in a row, took more than a year, and moved back home to go back to school and get her RN. The school gave them ID slips and said anyone wanting to do at least 4 hours volunteer work would get a few extra points. No one even asked how many, they all took them and headed for Little Rock.

When Marita handed the first woman she came to her slip the woman gave her a frown and said if you're only going to be here one day we can't use you! Two women beyond her were waving wildly and shouting Here! Come HERE! She went. (One of the group she went to help told Marita the woman she saw first was 'from Michigan and don't know no better!') Don't write me about the good people in Michigan, I know some of them too.

About dark I get worried about where all the family is and Marita doesn't have a cell phone but she came in a little after that and told us the work and help was going well and everyone was getting whatever they needed and money was given to those who had managed to get a room or something for themselves. On the lighter side, we soon learned how to recognize the refugees from the storm - not by Texas or La. license plates or by pillows and quilts and baby seats in the back. The real tip-off is the several rolls of toilet tissue! : - )

We haven't seen much on the news about the insurance companies in La. and Miss. or TX. I guess there was so much else to cover and so many didn't have flood insurance in New Orleans it was just another minor detail behind getting people out safely. Having worked in the insurance business for seventeen years though I know the CAT teams are down there doing what they can to see what is covered and how they can help their insureds.

The female insurance claim adjuster in my ONCE BURNED novel is based on the independent claim offices who courted our business in times like this. That office is where I learned to hate the phone. My favorite place on our five rural acres is the yard swing where I can't hear it ring! We, the Little Rock Claim office) were favored(?) with lots of visits from our Regional Office (Miss) and the first thing all those otherwise intelligent execs did was call everyone they knew in the state, leave no message what they wanted, told no one where they were going or when they would be back, THEN LEFT! Who wouldn't hate the phones?

That's also where I learned to pick a lock. Someone who never claimed credit for the idea decreed we should keep the supply room locked, gave each unit head a key and ignored the fact you could never find one of them. I asked the unofficial incharage fellow once for his key to the supply room. He said sure, and handed me a letter opener! He showed me how to use it so I had no more problems with that.

I loved my job, the people I worked with, and now I'm enjoying writing in my retirement. Who knows, I might even come to like PHONES! Break's over!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Time for a small break again. Along with keeping up with the progress being made in New Orleans and sister states as well as ours, the evacuees here in Arkansas are all beng housed, fed, and given the health care they need. (Along with some heartfelt hugs and welcomes : - )) About thirty thousand so far have decided to stay in Arkansas at least for a year or so and a good percentage are already in their own houses and enrolling their children in school. Food and supplies continue to come in because they're still needed. The Air Force Base in nearby Jacksonville has the runways and space to deploy the big planes coming in from Egypt, Europe, and other places and our native hearts are getting as much joy and benefit as the people torn from their homes. Looking in the mirror, I think probably my next blog will be on paint and upkeep - ha! (and how much it grows birthday to birthday : - )). Break's over.