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.

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