Tuesday, September 16, 2008

How much do I hate being a refugee?

Holy crap, Internet, did your hear what happened to my city?

Sheesh. Amazing thanks to Teej for her updates. She has so much talent that when I read my own tale of woe, I laughed out loud.

So, to pick up where Teej left off, we got out of town early Sunday morning. What with the curfew on the city and all, we figured we'd get out while the getting was good. We threw some stuff in a bag and hit the road by about 8:30 a.m. Note to self: next time you flee, take the extra 20 minutes to make a list and pack like a normal person, instead of a lunatic. We have no bathing suits, no shabbas clothes, no toys, no books -- this is not the way you want to be a refugee. You want to be the prepared refugee who can go swimming and stay for shabbas.

I will admit that I was totally hoping to turn to my husband midway through the trip and tell him that I got us housing from the people in the Internet, but alas, those of you who so dearly wanted to help live very, very far away. Or are not kosher. But we still love you!

Anyway, a real-life friend arranged housing for us. And not that we are ungrateful refugees, but these people had no small children and very white carpet. And we just felt like maybe that carpet would not be so white if we stayed there too long, so after the first night, we looked into a hotel and found one.

And not that we are ungrateful refugees or anything, but the hotel reeked of cigarette smoke and was yukky. So we found a different one.

And not that we are ungrateful refugees or anything, but this hotel also reeks of cigarette smoke, AND they charge $10/day for Internet access, so we're bailing on this city and hitting the road tomorrow.

We kind of suck at being refugees.

We have had a great time here, though. Yesterday, we went to the zoo, and we could have had a homeowners' association meeting, we ran into so many of our neighbors there. Then we had dinner with the sister of a friend from home, and that was lovely. And at the end of the meal, she mentioned that she had just put together some care packages for the displaced kids from Houston, and our kids FIT THAT DESCRIPTION. So she gave us crayons and coloring books and I cried because, HOLY HELL, WE REALLY ARE REFUGEES.

Today we went to the Children's Museum and apparently just missed seeing the rest of Houston because we went early and they went late. We had ice cream for lunch and lunch for dessert (I'm telling you, we're really roughing it), and then we hit Target where, if you can believe it, they are NO LONGER SELLING BATHING SUITS, but we did buy each of our displaced children one toy or book, and we came to the hotel. I was really excited to get to the hotel, because it is Fancy and Upscale and Free with our SPG points. But apparently that does not actually mean anything anymore, because like I said, this room stinks. We asked about moving rooms, but there are no available non-smoking, connecting rooms.

An aside, after calling nearly every hotel in San Antonio, what the hell is up with not guaranteeing connecting rooms? Do most parents just dump their children in a room to fend for themselves? I don't get it.

Anyway, at that point I called my insurance company, and they told me that just because I had no power, that didn't make my home uninhabitable, and they weren't going to cover our expenses. Bastards. No, really. Seriously, I know I have friends who are toughing it out in Houston, but I don't know how. We couldn't do it. And not just because of the Internet withdrawal. How the hell do you manage with children when you can't FEED THEM?

We went out to dinner (again, roughing it) and came home and I sat down to Find a Hotel in San Antonio.

It was not easy, but I snagged a Penthouse Suite at a Marriot Residence Inn that is a smoke-free facility for two nights. We have friends working on shabbas accomodations in San Antonio for us, should we need them. And we probably will.

God willing, we'll be able to go home Saturday night or Sunday morning, but who knows? There is still no power in my neighborhood, although there is water now. Gas is scarce, as is milk. I have no idea how my friends are managing. I guess they're just tougher than I am.

I'm hoping this little adventure won't bankrupt us, but again, this should be the worst of our problems. Well, that and missing all the season and series premieres on television.

Seriously, though, thank you to all of you for your thoughts and good wishes.


Lisa b said...

what an epic. I know it sucks, but you make it seem so exciting.

dee said...

Oh WG, I'm so sorry for all of your troubles. We went through a similar situation with back to back hurricanes Frances and Jeanne in 2004 (within 3 weeks of each other). No power, no A/C, downed limbs up the wazoo, you name it.

For now, I know how it is to embrace a new 'normal' and try to get through each day. You can do it, you will do it, and with the grace and aplomb with which you normally get through life.

And, hey, since I'm in south Florida, do you need me to get/send you any bathing suits or anything else? Just say the word (and the sizes, etc.)...anything to help out a friend in need.