Sunday, June 26, 2011

The flood continues

More on the Missouri River Flood and the internal feelings of a homeless author....

I live in a cloud... Some days are great, and I feel motivated and as if nothing is happening. The days it rains, however, are the hardest....

If you've never been ripped from your home (OK, the word ripped is slightly dramatic, but I want to keep you interested)...where was I?

Yes, If you've never been ripped from your home, it's hard to relate to how you feel being a nomad. Though we have a house to stay in, it's not ours. I can't paint the drab walls a bright pink (not that I ever would, but even if I wanted to, it would not be in my best interest). I can't hang pictures. I'm afraid to mess up the place since we'll be gone soon. I can't have my pets here. I'm nervous to cook as then I have to clean the stove... (not that I cook anyway, but if I wanted to.)

In August we head to the apartments which are closer. (I told myself I'd never live in an apartment again).  The apartment is a little smaller, so I have to widdle (is that a word, I like it so I dont care) through what we have here to fit it in. But at least we'll have a pool.

The worst is still missing the pets....
Since I don't have our server, I'm missing some pics, so here is Sherlock when he was cute. Oh, he's still cute, but there is something about a puppy.

I also miss the cats...

My motivation is teetered. I know I need to get focused. Fair season is around the corner. and I get to see all my amazing Usborne Books customers. My book is coming out. I have manuscripts in lots of different stages of dress, none ready to emerge into the light...

This being positive thing is hard when it really matters... but I am working on it.

  • I have my family
  • I have my health
  • My home is not ruined (and really is only in danger for basement water)
  • My parents now have a swimming pool in their basement.
  • We only have 2 to 6 months before we can go home....
  • I have my important materialistic items
  • I have amazing friends
It's a new week! Time to get back on the track. Choo-choo!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A pretty bad poem about the flood...

It appeared to be a regular day, but the emails kept coming. Soon it was on the news, and we were all told in different ways that we may have to leave, running.

We all had to pack, quickly. We pulled up our carpets and filled up our vans. Off we went to no-man land.

The river has taken over, and we are helpless, so it seems. It feels at times as if we have all lost our dreams.

Friends, those I know and those I don't, we are all bound together by the power of hope. Many of us are homeless, and we all live in fear. Let's all come together and wipe away a tear.

We sit and wait, and watch the clock. We can't escape. It's on the TV, Internet, radio, and to everyone we talk.

Friends and strangers came to our doors.

Then of course others came looking for tours.

You are not alone. We are all in this together.
We will rebuild against the odds of the weather.

In a year or two, this will all be a distant memory. We will groan, or laugh, but we are alive. The future is near, I promise, you'll see.

I've learned so much about what is truly important in life, little lessons I would not know if I didn't have this trife.

This to shall pass. In the meantime, hug your neighbor. Thank a stranger. And kiss your children.

But know how lucky we are. For we have each other.

Monday, June 20, 2011

My First Reading!!!

At Usborne Books and More Convention in Paradise (Tulsa, OK), I got to see my book, "It's Almost Time" for the first time!!!!!

I sat down at lunch and Karen looks at me, "Your book looks great!"
"What, you saw my book? Where?"
"It's on the table, with the new books."

I made her hold my hand as I walked out to see it. There it was! My heart was thumping, I was a little jittery... the book is PERFECT!!! Illustrator Sarah Chalek is AMAZING. She really helped bring my story to life.

My editor, Kira Lynn, really knows how to make a story pop in a book. I love how she put Sarah and I together (even though Sarah and I didn't talk until after the illustrations were done.) Kira is a wonderful editor and should win awards for her vision!

See! I wrote that! It's got my name on it!

Everyone there was soo supportive and excited for me! Since the actual copies of the book are on a "slow boat from China" we didn't have copies for everyone. Two other Kane Miller authors were also there: "What Does the President Look Like?" By Jane Hampton Cook and "Rope 'Em" by Stacy Nyikos.

I did read it aloud  at the "Usborne Achievers" Friday night dinner among many of my friends and fellow team members. It was my FIRST public reading!!!!
Photo by Sarah Tucker

My friend Theresa Z held the book for me! I wore my shirt with clocks on it that I bought in the boys section of JcPenny's when I was school shopping for Alex. Both my boys and I each got one. I thought it would be fun for events. (I know, I'm a little cuckoo!)

Since we didn't have books to sign, I did get to sign posters! They are soo cute and say "It's Time to Read."  I went to set up and was going to go back in and listen to Jane speak, but I had someone who wanted my autograph! Yes! They wanted me to sign a poster for them. So I said "sure." Then I had two more people who stopped by. And then I got a line, and couldn't get away. LOL. I texted Theresa to come help me. I wasn't sure what I was doing, but I did OK.

Photo borrowed from Nancy Ann Wartman. I'm the one in the middle.
See! Line!

It was a great experience and I had so much fun. I even got to see a picture of my book on the big screen when Kira introduced the Fall line. She talked a bit about the importance of the illustrator, and I agree that with my book, the illustrator was key.

I can't wait until it comes out so I can begin sharing it, and teaching kids about writing!

Special thanks to my kids, Todd, Kira, Theresa, my parents, Sarah, and Ashley!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Day, I lost count.....

Tonight we went to a Bar Mitzvah. For those of you who don't know what that is, it's when a Jewish boy turns 13 and celebrates with the Jewish community and friends and family by being called to the Torah. I'll tell you, after all that has been happening, it was wonderful to get out, see friends, smile, dance, and laugh.

Yesterday we were allowed to go into our homes. We actually were supposed to go in on Thursday, but there was a swirl by the levee, so they had to fix it before we could go in.

The day began with me dropping Alex off at camp. I then went to Bomgaars to pick up some more supplies. I drove into the Dunes, expecting a huge line, but got right in. I drove through the Meadows, which is not how we normally get to our home. The line started to form at the stop sign, we then turned towards the park, and onto the main Meadows road. We saw many MP in uniform, checking our ID's. Of course the press was taking pictures as well. They then scanned our ID's we had gotten, and sent me in.

I drove over the bridge they built over the levee. It was muddy, and kind of eerie. Once you got over it, military vehicles were parked all around the circle. The place was patrolled by the Border and customs officials.

My parents had 4 feet of water in their basement. We are lucky, our pumps are running, but no water. We got the small pumps going with the generators while we waited for the contractor to come out. It was a mess, tiring, exhausting.... I drove through the check point 4 or 5 times that day getting things, picking up people.... I did not cry.

I really had no desire to go out tonight, but wanted to support our friends in their son's celebration. It reminded me that you need to continue to live and have fun. Life can NOT stop because things are not going your way. If you stop living, you are dying inside. Even if you don't feel like, it's great to be around those who care.

So those of my friends who are going through a rough time, call your friends, even if you don't want to, and have some fun! Sure, reality is still around the corner, but it will help.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Devastation is what you make it....

I am homeless. My house may be damaged. I am without my dog and cats. My life is in upheaval....

I am with my family, and creating a new temporary home. I have two bathrooms and am safe. A house can be repaired. My pets are alive. No one is hurt. The end will come sooner then later...

After attending convention and hearing amazing speakers, including Heather Cobb, a young cancer survivor, and Cheli Porter, who experienced a loss so tragic I can't even type it without bursting into tears... my biggest nightmare, to lose my children.... And after driving past Joplin, and after knowing that others live in their own bad dreams..... Mine is not so bad.

Life is really what you make it. Everything happens to grow us stronger, to make us reconnect with the things that are most important.

I have my first book coming out! I will write soon about my first autograph session, even if it was just really cool posters, but there is so much that is good. I almost didn't go to convention because of a detour. I was sad, tired exhausted, mentally unstable, and didn't want to leave in case something happened. But nothing would change, and there was no reason to stay.

I'm so glad I went. I was meant to be there. The speakers all spoke to me.

Anyway, off to bed, but keeping my eye on the new flooring I'm going to get when this all blows over!



Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I can't think of a title...

First, I want to thank all my friends. You are all amazing and I love you.

Not having easy Internet is probably the worst part of this ordeal. :-D I’m so lucky to have my family all together, though I really miss sleeping with my dog, Sherlock.

Exhaustion finally kicked in and I fell asleep for hours yesterday. We needed new tires on my car, as I have Usborne Books Convention and they were do. Well, today, I managed to get a flat…. Yes, I have broken a record on shortest time with  new tires. Thank goodness they were guaranteed.

Life is moving on, yesterday Alex got braces. Today I went to What Women Want and organized my books.  I also went in for a hair cut. It got cut, very short. It’s cute, but will take a little getting used to. I trust Linda, who has done my hair since I was 2.

I’ve learned to appreciate what I had. Our goal is to scale back on all the stuff we have (except for books, I can’t get rid of books, they are the essence of life!) But we have so much other stuff that isn’t necessary.

Tip of the day, contacting someone during a tragedy:  While we were packing, my amazing friends called to check on me. I didn’t have time to talk. My best advice is if someone is in a tragedy, either drop an email or text to let them know you love them, or call and keep it to 30 seconds. If they can talk, they’ll let you know ( like if you caught me in the car between loads and I just sucked down a Coke), but I felt rude to my loved ones saying: “Unless you are coming to help and need directions, I can’t talk right now.” But I was in the middle of saving my house.  Same applies to during the mourning period. Call, but don’t expect a long conversation. It’s tiring to give the same story over and over.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Flood update... we got "kicked" out.

We are now in our new temporary home. It’s not too bad. We are lucky to have housing. Many of our friends have left town to move in with family or are staying in dorms. The pets are doing well. Sherlock is hanging out at the pool at my cousins. And the cats are getting lots of love from their temporary family. It’s nice being next door to my parents. My mom is very emotional, and it’s hard.
We got the "knock" on Friday, and were told to get out by Midnight. We could have stayed, but once you drove out you could not get back in. We were out of there by 10:30. I just couldn't do anymore. That is my home, and I wanted more time to sandbag and protect it. Now it's in God's hand.
I’m not angry, I’m just sad. But as my husband says, home is where your family is and as long as we are together, that’s all that matters.

Billy said to my mom that as long as we are together, that is all that matters and the rest is just stuff. He’s pretty wise for a 7 year old. This from a child who 2 years ago thought it was the end of the world when a baby bird fell out of his nest.

I’m pretty exhausted. I have very little sleep. Today I got a Tetanus shot, so I think that may be wearing on me too.

The boys room is set up though, and they are actually happy. To be a child again…

I’ll work to update, but Internet is hard to come by right now.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

I woke up and....

Due to my situation, I am not rereading my stuff. If it makes no sense, sorry.  :-)

It's a war zone. They keep locking everyone out of the Dunes, including residents. You can leave, but can't get back in until after hours. 6 today. I think I have someone bringing a work truck. We have about 4 more loads, but we keep finding more.

There is a mix of activity. Some people managed to get their whole homes moved. Others have a ton of friends or family nearby. I've had a few friends helping, and thank god for them. I feel bad asking people I don't know to help because there are still people out here with no one who can use them.  Some put everything up on the 2nd floor and said whatever.

If you are around and can volunteer, check out Siouxland Flooding on Facebook.

Some one can come pick you up, but you have to walk to the apartments. No worse then Saturday in the Park, and all flat.

It's so overwhelming. We have 5 piles:

1.) Take to our new home
2.) Storage
3.) Putting on the 2nd floor, and bagging... mainly games, plastic things, and things we won't be devastated if we lose.
4.) Donation... had this picked up yesterday. I do have another load, but it may just be gambled until after the flood.
5.) Trash.... lots of trash.... Our house needed a good cleaning, I just wish I could have done it one room at a time.

The cats have a home. Another Direct Sales Guru, Lisa from Pampered Chef is taking them. We've moved the cats 3 times now... We were going to try and keep them with us, but they wouldn't allow pets. Then I asked Pet Palace, and she was going to take them, but she's now in the flood zone. Then we called Dakota City, and were good, and now they may be in danger....

Sherlock is going to my cousin. It will be good for them, they are both bachelor's.

We keep finding stuff! Right now, if we have to evac ASAP, we won't overly cry. Still want to rip up carpet and take off stuff in the basement if we can, and the rooms are gross from all the hidden dust.
We have some furniture left, and made the decision on would we be devastated if we have to get new furniture.

Next step is to find someone to pull out the furnace, though it's 15 years old.... though the AC is only 5. Water heater is on debate....

I wish this upon no one. We are blessed to have warning.

I'll try to update later, but need to get back to packing! My office, wow! I've tossed so much. I think now I'm just going to pour directly into boxes. I don't care anymore!