Saturday, June 21, 2008

Of Poo and Men

Well, spent pretty much the whole work day washing poo water off things (can I just call it "poowater"?)
I took photos to post on the blog, but I forgot my camera at Sher's house. Oh well.

We had GOOD food for lunch and I must say that really helps the attitude. My sister went to something called the "Pizza Ranch" and got chicken and sides. You wouldn't expect good chicken from the Pizza Ranch, and yet it was. Also, we were hungry so that helps.

Many people were here to help. 2 cousins from the Cedar Rapids area (their house was fine). They told Sherry they were going to help someone today and it might as well be a relative. My brother came with his industrial strength power washer. He says it will cut the steel of a steel-toed boot right in half. I believe him. He takes it in the basement and power washes all the walls, ceiling and floor. This is the second trip with that washer. They have an industrial fan from him blowing air into the basement to help dry it. A cousin from Elkader came with some bigwig from work (Caterpillar just bought out the local business. It's not entirely clear who is the cousin or this Tony guy he brought). Tony used the household power washer (it will not even cut a tennis shoe in half) for about 4 hours straight to wash everything possible...heater co vers, vent covers, grills and parts off appliances. There is poowater everywhere on sooooo many things eventhough pretty much everything was out of the house.
Of course my sister, me, Fred and Sher were there too. We washed things inside, directed labor, and on and on. Pam's beau is being the group's wife (running errands, getting snacks, and making a nice place for us all to shower and have a rest in the evenings).

After supper Sher and I went to my old high school. FEMA and everyone else has a table set up so you can sign up for benefits and get advice on clean up. Sher got a food-card with 200+$ on it. This will help! They are getting Red Cross meals, but you need water, snacks, and other food for the workers.

The Red Cross truck comes around at least twice a day and hands out lunches or suppers depending on the time. They have water, sunscreen, snackpacks, and other things. This is helpful because people don't have to take time to cook or do dishes. And it is hard to keep a sanitary area in the flood zone so hard to cook. Fred and Sher's camper is lovely, but the electric isn't quite working and the kitchen is tiny. Good for breakfast, but cooking for a big crew would be too time consuming. So we get the Red Cross meals. The truck blows its horn and a guy shouts through a loud speaker: Hot Meals Hot Meals. We all come running like it's the icecream truck. People chat while waiting. He just asks how many meals you need and if you need water. If there are extras to hand out that day, he hands those out. They are putting together hundreds of meals each day at a church somewhere in town. God Bless 'em! They aren't fancy but they are fine. Hamburgers or chicken sandwiches. Sometimes spaghetti or something. The timing varies but seriously. I'm impressed they can do ANYTHING in the smaller towns as swamped as they must be in the bigger towns.

A FEMA contractor has already been to the house to assess damage. The plumber and electrician have been by to approve getting the water and electric turned on (a flush toilet REALLY makes a difference in one's life...before the water came on they had to run to the gas station a few times a day and the guys peed in the bushes). The power in the basement is still off...what with the power washing.

Anyway, I've showered. Sher is showering now. Then we are having a Wii curling tourny!
Wii is a video game that is simple and fun. Curling is that canadian ice bowling thing. Google it. I'm too tired to make a nice hyperlink for you.

Thanks for the calls and e-mails. I told Sher that you all were concerned. She says Thanks. If you were here she'd make you some jell-o.


Angela said...

Hi Jill and Wagner Clan,

I feel compelled to comment so you know someone is reading your blog. Boy, can't people be amazing in their kindness and generosity of spirit. I know it's a cliche, but why does it take a 9-11 or a flood or a tornado for us to treat each other with compassion when we can't sometimes be bothered to do so on a daily basis. So happy people are rallying around you.

Funny Elkader connection -- my brother and his wife bought a building there to establish their business (Heritage Printing -- not a plug, just specfic detail). Their building wasn't in the flood, but Steve was up there working and some guy came up to him. He said that his daughter was supposed to get married on Saturday (this was Thursday) and he was desperate. I guess the hall for the reception was flooded and there just was nowhere to have the reception. He asked Steve if he could pay him to "rent" the lawn for the day and put up some kind of tent. Steve (and this is why I LOVE MY BROTHER AND IOWA AND I DON'T CARE IF PEOPLE THINK WE ARE A BUNCH OF HICKS. WE'RE GOOD PEOPLE HICKS!) told the guy that it was supposed to rain over the weekend, and he asked the guy if he just wanted to use the building. It's empty (they haven't moved in yet), has a lot of long counter space (good for setting out food), bathrooms, sink, etc. And he gave the guy the keys. Came back Monday and everything was all tidy and neat (though my Mom did find a rosebud in a corner somewhere :-)

I just love that people can put cynicism and mistrust behind them and be human beings now and again. Good to know you are surrounded by them right now, Jill. Angela

Fly Right said...

Ditto on Ang's sentiments about Iowans. We rock! And that story about her brother almost made me cry. The Red Cross is awesome for putting out chow wagons! My cousin, Brooke, in Muscatine, took a new job with their Red Cross (as director, I believe) right before the flooding started. Talk about baptism by fire. . .

TCN said...

Hey there... how about a new posting on your Wii curling tournament? Who-where-scores-winner-fun commentary etc.?

If you build it, we will publicize it. :)


Jill said...

The curling tourny was just amongst the family. I did very very badly. Don't think we'll be organizing further tourny's but thanks for the comment and we're all reading your blog now.

Jill said...

To all the poodles...
Ange: That is SO COOL your brother did that! I'm totally into his paper now.

Laurie: Hope your friend is coping well!