Saturday, January 28, 2006

It's time for some changes.
On Friday, Markus and Jennifer flew up to D.C. with Ellie and the two cats. From there, Markus carried on to Germany to visit family before traveling to Qatar (due there Feb. 1st). Jennifer and Co. stayed in D.C. to visit Jennifer's mom. Ellie is having a blast with her Mimi! The kitties will stay behind in Virginia with the Mimi until we can get settled in Qatar and have them shipped over...or until we find a good home for them here (whichever comes first).
On Monday, January 30, Jennifer and her dad will go see Dr. Jordan Berlin at Vanderbilt for a second opinion. Dr. Berlin was personally recommended and has an amazing pedigree (google him if you don't believe me), so we are very excited that he has agreed to see Dad on short notice. We are very concerned with the current state of Barry's (Jennifer's dad's) health. He has lost a lot of weight (and is continuing to lose weight) and experiences a lot of pain. His current doctor is not nearly proactive enough about these things (especially the pain), so we are hoping Dr. Berlin will give us a new perspective and hopefully a new game plan. Our wonderful family friend, Mary, will be coming along on the trip as well. She will be a great help to Barry during the traveling bit, and she and Ellie will have lots of fun while Jennifer and Barry see the doctor.
Today is Markus's birthday! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MARKUS! We hope you have lots of fun with your family! We love and miss you!!!!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Markus got fed at The Shed on his last day in Mississippi.
Ellie wanted some too.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Ellie meets Uncle Bob.
Who knew facial hair was so fascinating?

Monday, January 09, 2006

black Houdini cat escapes to roof and surveys neighborhood

Thursday, January 05, 2006

We realize that we have been posting relatively little until things are said and done. Unfortunatley, this defeats the purpose of trying to keep everyone updated on our comings-and-goings, which is the point of this blog, so...
This week has been a big one. Markus remained in New Orleans to be in our apartment as the movers packed us up for Qatar. This process took two (very long) days, and then today, a cleaning service came to tidy up. The house is clean, the door is locked, and it is our home no longer. After four post-Katrina months of having a New Orleans apartment we don't live in, we are no longer resident New Orleanians. Heavy sigh. We will miss it. New Orleans was always non-functional and often very third-world, but it's personality grows on you and we have a deep affection for it after our four years there. Alas.
Ellie and Jennifer have been in Houston tying up various loose ends. Although Markus still has work here until around January 20th (and will return here in a few days), Ellie and I are heading out tomorrow...going back to New Orleans and then back to Ocean Springs where Jennifer's dad is. His house was damaged by flood during Katrina (Ocean Springs is next door to Biloxi on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi). In the days that followed, he ripped out all the carpeting and insulation...but that's where the work stopped because he was diagnosed with cancer. Surgery followed, and now chemo...and the house is still a disaster. The foundation subsided in multiple places, the roof leaks despite the FEMA tarp, and the floors are nothing but bare plywood boards (between which one can see down to the ground). Insurance also provided for new drywall in the downstairs to eliminate possible mold, which hasn't become apparent but may well be growing inside. In the midst of all this, Jennifer's dad is going through chemotherapy and having the usual associated troubles with his health on a daily basis. We're very concerned about his environment on top of his health concerns, so Jennifer and Ellie are going to stay there for a while to help out. Jennifer plans to get the house repairs organized and started as soon as possible. An added bonus is her ability to keep an eye on her dad's meds and meals most days. Ellie, darling trooper that she is, will come along for the ride.
A very hard part will be a short-term separation of our family. Markus has to wrap up his work in Houston in the next few weeks, and he is expected in Qatar on February 1st. If our current plans work out, Jennifer and Ellie will only carry on to Qatar in a few months' time. We try not to think about this (too stressful and sad!). Anyway, the reason we're doing it is a very good reason, so that's what we cling to and we take the rest one day at a time.
And it all begins tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

It's amazing how things work out.
Two days ago, the moving company began packing our things in New Orleans, and I was so frustrated at the prospect of leaving things behind to save on volume. Two major items were our couch and lounge chair plus ottoman. They are bulky and we had talked of replacing them in the past, but being told by the movers that they wouldn't fit in the container for Qatar made me genuinely irritated.
Today, one of the packers (who is a very nice man) shared with Markus some photos of his house, post-Katrina. Water had covered his roof. When the flood receded, the structure was still standing and most of their belongings were still inside...but everything was irretrievably damaged. They lost everything they owned.
Markus gave him our couch and chair. A source of frustration and strain turned a thing of beauty.
In the words of Tiny Tim, "God bless us, everyone."

Monday, January 02, 2006

From our family to yours, we hope you had a wonderful holiday season!
May 2006 bring you happiness and peace!

Holy moly!
On Christmas, Jennifer received a digital SLR from her favorite Santa's helper! Let the photo madness begin!
(As you can see by the short sleeves, Christmas Day was a balmy 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Welcome to the South, y'all)