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A good friend of mine has written an article in the newspaper about her experiences with Hurricane Katrina. I’m going to link to a local copy of it here. It’s a very good read. As I go through it I can picture everything, I see it in my memories.

Here it is.

 A good site to visit is also her blog site. Crabby’s Kitchen.

 It’s a good article C. Congratulations for the good work.

 

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It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year already since we rode out Katrina. Our party went pretty well on Saturday. In fact we made the local newspaper. Front page of the Sunday Herald no less. Slow news day.

Article: http://www.montereyherald.com/mld/montereyherald/news/15373991.htm

And since we made the Herald, well the local news station couldn’t pass up a blurb of their own.

Video: http://www.kion46.com/mediacenter/default.aspx?videoId=4671@video.kcba.com

All because we just happened to be in the wrong place at the right time. Go figure.

Where we rode out Katrina

Well,

Saturday is fast approaching. There have been more and more “specials” on TV about Hurricane Katrina and it’s effects. Some of them little better than bald face lies and political manipulation. Yes Spike Lee, I’m referring the that piece of bullshit you call a documentary. Lying bastard. Gee, does my opinion show?

Anyhow, back to good things. The party is ON! Blue tarps will be on the roof, FEMA on the neighbors trailer, BBQ fired up and beer on ice. I’m sure people driving by will be wondering what in the world is going on. They’ll just have to stop by to fine out.

 The First Annual Katrina Survivors party. Or Katrina the Beotch, or Club Med Katrina, or “Fill in cool name here” party is rarin to Go!

On August 1st 2006 our friend Marshall Mahoney lost his battle with Cancer.

We only knew Marshall for about a year. We really met and started to get to know one another right before and after Katrina. Marshall was battling his cancer and wasn’t feeling too well when I saw Carole trying to get the shutters up on the house by herself. I, being the gentleman that I am, (no laughter please!), offered to help out. And, thus, after almost a year of being almost neighbors we met and started to become friends.

Marshall was seeing a doctor in New Orleans at the time and was supposed to start Chemo a few days after Katrina rolled in. As it turned out they evacuated to the Houston area for a bit, then came back to Mississippi and he started his Chemo over in Baton Rouge. Yes, during the nightmare following Katrina. Their house ended up with, if I’m remembering correctly, 6 trees across it. Caroles house in New Orleans, which they still owned, ended up completely flooded and destroyed, with the loss of almost all contents.

One of the most memorable things about that time was that I don’t believe I saw Marshall a single time without a glass of his favorite scotch in his hand. Both before and after Katrina. Before, well hell, he had Cancer, as he put it, I’ll worry about my liver later, and then after the storm and after chemo started, it was just, why not, I enjoy my scotch.

I cannot do justice to the loss of such a fine person, so, anyhow. Sorry to lose you Marshall, you were a hell of a guy. Our hearts and love go out to Carole, your in our thoughts often. Don’t forget us, and please keep in touch.

Well,

After 229k miles, 5 trips up the Alaskan Hiway, surviving Alaska’s -60 degree winters to 105 degree Mississippi summers, after riding out Ivan, Cindy, Katrina, Rita and a trip across (the looooong ways) Texas, the truck has finally broken down. Looks like the bottom end has given out. It’s not too much of a surprise really. I’ve been dealing with a valve seep for a while now, and a constant touch of water in the oil from somewhere. Well, it seems that a crank bearing is finally let go. She’s making a bad noise and has developed a shake to match. Not good signs.

Since the Tranny only has about 30k miles on it and the brakes and rotors only about 15k miles, and the truck is still in pretty decent shape, I have decided to give the ghost a heart transplant. I’m looking at a 310 hp long block engine. It has an RV cam, 9to1 flat top pistons, and I’ll add a performer intake manifold. All total it’ll run me about $2k plus some misc gaskets and parts. I looked into having the engine replacement done by a local shop here in Monterey. Not a chance in hell will I be willing to pay $3k-$4k in labor, plus the cost of the long block. Not a chance! Uncle Bill would come flying out of his Urn if I were to do that! So, this last Sunday I broke out the wrenches and went to work.

I’ve stripped the engine down to the point that I only have a few linkages and the transmission still attached. Liquid wrench did wonders on the exhaust manifold bolts. First time in my life I got them all off without breaking a single one. In fact the worst I’ve done so far is to forget how the electronic choke attached to the carb and broke the plastic clip. Other than that, everything has come apart just fine.

I’m amazed by all the highly educated people that I work with that are shocked that I would do an engine swap myself. My Uncle Bill, with his 9th grade education, could do this half asleep. I’ll be darned if I won’t at least give it a go. He taught me a lot. One of those things was some common sense. It doesn’t take a degree in physics to swap out an engine. It takes patience, thought, determination, not being afraid to get your hands dirty, and sometimes a blood sacrifice. But it’s definitely doable. It’s funny. I keep hearing his voice from my past. A gentle mutter of “God Damn Kids” as he shakes his head at the latest screw up my cousin Paul and I have caused. Usually involving girls, cars, motorcycles, stupidity, or a combination of all of them. (-:

Well. Current status is. Engine has been stripped and is ready to be removed from the truck. I need to rent a cherry picker from the local rent all place so that I can get it pulled. I’m awaiting a fat check from my 401k to cover the expense, once that gets here I’ll be ordering in the new engine. This will give me time to get the engine compartment nice and clean, check the tranny to make sure it’s still okay. Maybe replace the front seal, it’s leaking from the engine shake. That and do some other touch up’s on the truck while I’m waiting.

Well, that’s the current status. I’d put up pictures of the process if my camera weren’t broken. So you’ll just have to picture the process in your head for now.

Well, Kirk and I went diving for the first time since getting our Dive certifications. We decided to hook up with one of the people from our dive class who was going to dive with a bunch of friends from Stanford. So, we hooked up this morning and went out and dove Breakerwater Cove with the Sea Lions. Yep, with the sealions. We had a long swim out along the coast guard pier, which had several hundred Cormarants, and several dozen sea lions. When the Cormorants migrate in they drive most of the sea lions off of the pier and down the coast. Most of the rocks and pier is white from their crap. Oh well. It is kind of startling to see a bird swim past you when your 20 ft under the water. So, I guess I don’t have all bad to say about them.

While diving today, about 40ft down we had maybe 7-8 sea lions swim around near us. It was pretty neat to see. They are amazingly agile in the water. The visibility was pretty good once you got down a ways. Maybe 30 ft or so visibility. Water was in the mid 50’s. I was wearing a 7mm farmer john style wetsuit, so had 14mm on the body. I fiind it a touch too constrictive and clausterphobic. It sure keeps a person warm though. I did decide on my second dive to try my 4mm surfing wetsuit. It fits better and is not nearly so constricting. And what do you know. I was cooler, but warm enough to enjoy myself, and I didn’t even really notice the coolness unless I was thinking about it. So, from now on I’ll probably just use it instead.
I did have a slight problem on the first dive. Being a diabetic diver can be interesting. As an insulin dependant, type 1 diabetic on a pump, I have to take some precautions while diving. Well, I didn’t take enough precautions, I got lucky. I started my day with a bagel for breakfast giving myself a bolus of about 75% of what I normally would have with a blood sugar, bs, of 180. When it came time to dive my b/s was 233. Which is about where I wanted it. Roughly 200 or so. Got dressed, chatted with the other divers, then ended up swiming out along the surface for about 20 minutes or so. Loooong swim out. Dropped down to about 40 ft and was having fun for the first ten minutes or so, then started to feel a little odd. Wasn’t sure if it was the cold water, tight wetsuit, or what. So I kind of drifted and took it easy for a minute. Nope, somethin wasn’t right. Tagged my dive buddy and let him know I was headed up to the surface. Once I got to the top I knew my b/s’s had dropped. And like a bloody IDIOT I didn’t have any forms of sugar on me. It was in the jeep, a 20 minute swim back. IDIOT! Kirk bobbed to the surface and I told him I had to head back. Sorry. He went back down to inform the rest of the crew and I started the swim back. 10 minutes or so later I’m not even a 1/3 back and the exercise isn’t doing anything for my b/s’s but make em drop more. I finally gave up. Told Kirk I was climbing up the “Do not climb on” rocks and walking back in before I was really in deep crap. So I dropped out of my BC (Bouyancy Compensator) and handed it off to him. Crawled over the kelp and up the rocks.

By the time I got back to the Jeep my bs was 60. Not dangerous yet but NOT good either. If I hit about 40 I’m hurtin and not thinking too straight, low 30’s and I’m in deep crap and have almost no higher brain functions working. Anything lower and it’s 911 time cause I’m doing the funky chicken. Well, considering I started the dive at 233 and an hour later I was at 60 means I was dropping roughly 2.5-3 points a minute on average, and most of that drop was probably in the last 30 minutes. So I was about 8 minutes of swimming away from being in some deep crap and about 12 minutes away from 911 time, and was a good 10-15 minutes of swim time from the shore the way I was feeling. So, now I carry TWO three musketeer bars in my BC. One in each pocket. It’s not the best fix, but it’s better than being an IDIOT and dying.

Anyhow. After some sugar tabs and two candy bars later I wandered back out the Pier and down the rocks to where Kirk was bobbing with my BC. That’s the thing about being a diabetic. One minute your withing minutes of doing an ambulance trip and 10 minutes later your fine. Well, while bobbing there waiting for me Kirk almost peed himself he got so startled. Seems a Sea Lion got a hankering to mess with him and his pretty neon yellow fins. Snuck up underneath him, grabbed a fin, and pulled down. I picture the scene from Jaws where the swimmer suddenly dunks down like a bobber, well, that was Kirk. Scared the tar out of him for a second till he saw the sea lion pop up and check him out. I guess he was thinking about the scene from Jaws too, at least for that first few seconds. hehe…

Well we finished off our air there and saw a few more sea lions, star fish, flat fish, anemones, etc. Oh ya, there are, what appear to be, underwater craters in the area. They are about 2-3 ft across and about 1ft or so deep. A bunch of em there. Just like the surface of the moon, or bomb craters. No idea what made em. I’ll be trying to find out. Strange phenomena. Well, since the site was getting pretty busy, the open water dive classes dive there, we decided to go dive Otter Cove, right down from my house. We had heard it was pretty nice. They lied. It was awesome!

Getting into and out of the water was ugly, a lot of surge, lots of rocks and kelp, and rolling waves. However, once you got out a hundred yards or so. Wow! The sea grass was alive around us. Lot’s of rocks with canyons between. Everything was covered in sea grass, kelp, soft corals, you name it. Fish all over the place. Once we got out a ways we dropped into this sandy area about 25-30 feet down that was like in a dream. Tall towers of kelp going up to the surface where they covered the surface like a green roof. It was like being in a cathedral. The fish weren’t afraid of us and would get withing a few feet if not closer. It was an amazing dive. Kirk had a camera with him. So we’re hoping some of the pictures turned out. I would love to be able to share some of the views we had from that dive. FYI. I finished that dive with a blood sugar of 110. Darn near perfect.

Well, enough of me blithering on about the dives we did today. I can’t bore everyone too much yet. There are more and more and more dives coming up in the future. (-:

Well. It’s coming upon us fast. The first anniversary of Katrina. Since it’s going to be on a wednesday this year we have decided, like Crabby, to have a party on Saturday the 26th of August. A party you may wonder, why the heck a party? Well, mainly because we survived the damn thing and plan on thumbing our noses at mother nature. Maybe I’ll get smashingly drunk, stand down by the water edge and yell, “That’s it?!? That’s all you got??? You wuss!” Then I’ll run scampering back to the house before the tidal wave, or lightening , or some other disaster takes me out. (-:

Side note: So far the family and I have survide the 6.3 earthquake in Seattle, the 7.9 earthquake in Alaska, trees falling on our house, the 500,000 acre wildfire behind our house in Alaska, and then hurricanes Ivan, Cindy, Dennis, Katrina, and Rita. The only one of which to nail us was Katrina of course, the others just clipped us. But, as you can see, we’re not afraid of mother nature. Maybe we should be, but so far she just likes to keep us on our toes.

Anyhow, what better way to remember the damage and horror but to thumb our noses in the air and have a rip roaring party and drink, yes drink, good ole southern style Hurricanes until we’re too drunk to drive the blender. We’re planning to have the West Coast version of the “Katrina was a big ole Beotch party”. Although I’ll need to come up with a new name. I’ve stolen that one from Crabby herself, until I can come up with my own.

I’m already planning to have a blue tarp on the roof, a couple of blow up palm trees laid over in the yard, I’m putting a big ole FEMA sign on the neighbors Airstream trailer, I know, they weren’t airstreams, but, remember this is California. I’ll try to grab my other neighbors boat to tie up to the front porch. We’ll have bottled water, MRE’s, and the few FEMA Heater Meals I still have left. I’m sure the locals here will be wondering what the heck I”m doing, too bad for them. This party is for me and mine. If others want to come along for the ride, well then, let’s drink. We lived it, were gonna party it! We were lucky, so very lucky, and I figure we should celebrate that.

Well. I’m looking for names. I’m open to ideas. “The Blue Tarp Regalia?” “Mother Nature can be a real Mother party?” “Wow, that was bad. Let’s drink.” “Katrina? Katrina who? Hic..” I need a good catchy name for the get together. So help me out with some naming ideas. I need to make the invites pretty soon. Also, if your in the Pacific Grove, CA area on the 26th swing by. I’ll have burgers, dogs, and lots of alcohol ready and waiting. Just look for the house all decked out in modern disaster design.

Also, If you weren’t there and don’t like the idea of me having a party, and yes, I’ve had a few people (very few thank god) express displeasure over the idea of me throwing a party. If your one of em, Shut the hell up. You have no idea of what your talking about, you couch sitting, tv watching, backseat driving, sniveling waste of good air, foolish turd sucking maggot. Not that I have an opinion or anything. (-:

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