First and foremost, ladies and gentleman, I have finished all major edits on the book. I'm going to go through it today and make sure I didn't leave any glaring mistakes, like created a character on page 93 and then never reffered to him again. Plus I will check grammar. At any rate, the manuscript will be mailed off to The Joy Harris Agency in the next few days. They liked the first 50 pages, so fingers crossed! I hesitate to say the words, "I'm finished" because no project I'm working on is ever finished until it's published. I'm sure I'll go back and tweak it until some publishing house has nercy on me. And then they'll ask me to tweak it again. See why I love this blog? You hit one button - "publish post." Storytelling need sufficed!
Now the unpleasantness. We're evacuating because Hurricane Gustav looks like it's headed in our direction. Me and the kids are packing up our stuff and the dog, and heading out early tomorrow morning to pick up Chris where he's working in Dallas and all drive to my Uncle Chris's house in Fort Worth. I know all of these Chris's must be confusing. My godfather is Uncle Chris, the husband is Chris, and my son is Christopher. And people are already shortening it to Chris. Anyway, we'll be staying there until the storm blows over. I think the latest is that it's making landfall on Tuesday morning. We would leave later but traffic is going to be hell. No, worse than hell. Hell meets Hades meets Wal-Mart on a blue special day. And with me, three kids and the dog we might all lose our minds between here and Texas.
I'm a little worried about the house. We live in Luling, which is part of the Greater New Orleans area just outside of the city. Our levees aren't any better than the ones that broke and flooded 80% of the city for Katrina. Katrina, by the way, was three years ago today. Freaksville. My daughters still remember all the chaos that followed the storm and they're scared. They're afraid if we evacuate we might not come back because so many people didn't return from that storm.
When I was a kid evacuating was fun. There would be a hurricane scare, which none of us would take seriously because every time it looked like it was coming our way it would always end up hitting Florida or Mississippi. School would be cancelled, and me, my parents and sisters would pack up and head to Uncle Chris's place where we would then have a great time with our cousins before we drove back home. It was a vacation. Maybe that's why taking my family to my uncle's house feels so safe.
My kids are not growing up thinking that hurricanes are fun. Their first memory of a hurricane is one that drowned people, split families, and destroyed neighborhoods. The adults in their lives still talk about the effects of that storm every day. I mean, seriously, over the last three years I don't think a day goes by that I don't hear someone mention Katrina in some respect. They'll say "After the storm we..." or "Before the storm we never..." or "We're STILL not in our house yet..." It's usually called "the storm" and everybody knows what storm you're talking about.
So I'm scared and angry Fucking AGAIN! Like I haven't spent the last few months writing about how scared and angry I am about other things! Ok, now I'm just bitching. We're going to a safe place, and we've come back to a disaster before and survived so we can do it again. Now that I think about it I'm thankful that we have a place to go and the means to get there. A lot of other people aren't so lucky. My apologies to Florida and Mississippi if I sounded off hand about past hurricanes turning from New Orleans and making a beeline for you. I don't want it to hit anybody.
I'll write more once we're settled. Everybody stay safe! Watch many Mel Brooks movies to keep up good humor! I intend to.