Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sunday, March 22nd

Greetings from N'awlins Looosiana! Karen, Kathy, Mel and Beth are staying up late to send you this message. We rolled into town about 10 pm after an exciting day of travel, by car, train, train, plane, wheelchair, plane, wheelchair, bus, vans and car. After hijacking a wheelchair in Chicago, we ran for our connecting flight. Thankfully one was waiting for us in New Orleans and Kathy had one "hot" ride to baggage claim with Beth sprinting to keep up. After haggling over car rental for 1 1/2 hours ("we can't do that...we can't do that either...") we managed to circle the Superdome (Sean was happy, Norm was drooling) a few times before finding our way to the wrong side of the volunteer house. After what appeared to be a Chinese Fire Drill to the neighborhood, we managed to find the gated parking lot. We were met by Missy & Wendy, who gave us a welcoming tour of our new home...BUNKS! It is just like being at camp - there are even cockroaches. We were all in bed by 1 am-ish. I don't know that we all slept but we were in bed. The guys are in one area and the girls in another - separated by sheets. There is a large kitchen with a gas stove that Melanie's husband, Ted, would love. Then we travelled thru "Tool Alley" which Karen's husband, Howard, would drool over, to see the dining room, TV room, showers and sleeping areas. There is one other team of 21 here from Minnesota (yah!). It is warm, sunny and breezy. (see? God does love us!)

This morning we all straggled out of bed to enjoy some of Beth's delicious DARK coffee. Of course Melanie was a little coffee-pot-challenged this morning but we won't go into coffee running all over the counters or anything like that. After a breakfast of leftover airplane snacks, (because last nite we could not have handled going to a grocery store) we headed to the trolley to take us to Bourbon St and the French Quarter. The bleach aroma was very pungent after morning's street and sidewalk wash-down. In other words, this author and Allison found it rather disgusting (OOOO!) We had a wonderful southern lunch on an outdoor balcony. Lots of po' boys were consumed as well as Jumbalaya, crawdads, crayfish, hush puppies, catfish and softshell crab. We then hiked on down Bourbon St. and spent some fun hours in the French Qtr. We also went to Cafe du Monde and had fresh beignets and cafe au lait. The restaurants here are very leisurely aka veeery sloooow. We returned home and Karen, Beth and Mel headed off to the grocery store with very specific driving directions to Safeway on Ellen St. from Sean and Andy. Unfortunately Ellen was not to be found. (the street-not Kingstad) After stopping in at the Home Depot for directions, we head on over to Casey Jones and bought our source of nourishment for tonite's dinner. (mmm mmm good...) We left in the grocery store in great spirit anticipating the squeals of joy as we arrived with bags of food. Unfortunately, we being the three we are, forgot we had gone over the Mississippi River and got completely lost. We started calling cell phones and finally got a familiar voice. Between Sean typing on his blackberry and giving directions on Kathy's phone while Steve went online to check mapquest, we were re-oriented and ready to travel those 6 short miles back. 45 minutes later, using the recently purchased Thomas Guide, we circled the Superdome yet again. We pulled over while Melanie read map pages in the dark with Karen holding 5 dozen eggs in her lap saying, "don't stop quickly!". We found our way home much to the relief of our team family. We whipped up some tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches and feasted with delight. Being the treehuggers we are, we used real dishes instead of paper. After dinner, we found out the dishwashers don't work so hands were warmed in the soapy suds. Everyone pitched in and we were done quickly. Thanks, team!

Now it is after curfew and we have to go to bed. Tomorrow we find out how incompetent we really are - I mean, we find out where and what our work project is. Steve and Sean are our official "Tool Guys" and will be gathering up our supplies and off we go!

AWOL over & out!