Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Rebuilding Our Lives One Phone Call At A Time

The people in Omaha, our friends, family, and even strangers, have been very generous and helpful as we get situated. Kalypso and Gilgamesh are attending school, Sunset Hills Elementary. It's the same school that I attended 30 years ago, which is pretty weird. I've sort of come full circle for the time being. I've spent the past week calling hundreds of people. Most of these are companies that we don't want to pay money to while our house is under water. Money is pretty tight, as you might imagine, with Therese losing her job the second New Orleans flooded. She was a school teacher in the public schools, and they haven't even paid her the money she was due for working for the first two weeks of school. So we want to make sure that we aren't being charged for the newspaper in New Orleans. Anyway, that is one of a hundred little things that have taken so much time. The kids seem pretty well situated in their new school. It is hard to say how much of a negative impact this will have on them. And we've got to quit moving my daughter around and give her some stability. This is the fifth school she has attended in five years (2 in Jerusalem, 2 in New Orleans, and now 1 in Omaha). She wrote about her feelings regarding the hurricane on her blog.

Therese is taking two classes at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. These two classes will fulfill her requirements for a Masters in Education as a Reading Specialist. However, unlike most universities in the country, UNO isn't giving us free tuition. All they're willing to do is to give us in state residency, so the classes are costing something like $1200, compared to them being virtually free in New Orleans. Mr President, I know you read this blog, so please send us some of your Leave No Child Behind money, ooh, wait, I forgot the states paid for that. Anyway, enough complaining about money. It will be great to have Therese finish her Masters, and I feel this is a great use of our time in the diaspora.

I need to get some time to work. I hope that by next Monday I can start having my days free so I can write. I've got several projects to finish, especially the ATLAS for Eerdmans and a paper about women, beer, and domestic space in the Iron Age. The material I need to work on these projects is in New Orleans. My friend and colleague Mark Gstohl, who is spending his diaspora in some small town in Tennessee, said he was going to try to get to the university today and he could mail my stuff to me. His house, in the West Bank of New Orleans, is totally dry and he even has electricity, the bastard. Also, some people at the University of Nebraska at Omaha have offered me some classes to teach in the Spring Semester if I'm interested. Xavier right now is trying to find a way to open in January. I personally think that is optimistic, but I am praying that they'll make this happen. The problem is I don't think that any public schools for kids will be open, and how could parents that are faculty, especially single parents, be asked to make that trip with no place for their kids to learn.

We are going to rent a house, our insurance will pay the rent I'm told. It is very close to our kids' school. They have never lived in a place that snowed. Neither I nor Therese are looking forward to winter, though our kids say they are.

Finally, if you are a student of mine, like Roy, Whitney, or anyone, please get in touch with me soon. I would also love to hear from anyone. All of the comments on my earlier blog, and emails and phone calls that it spawned, have been great.

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Anonymous said...

Glad to see that Katrina has not dampened your sense of humor. Is Omaha a big city? You mentioned that you like to live in big cities. I am glad everyone in your family is safe. Tony Davis says hello. He was stuck on Xavier's campus during the hurricane and the flooding. He did make it out okay. He high-tailed it back to Denver(his hometown) when he was able to get out of Xavier. Your blog is great to read even though I am a former student. Keep posting cause I will keep reading.

Anonymous said...

Welcome back to the Big O, Mike. Now that you, Therese and the kids are a bit closer to Colorado, maybe you could come out and visit.
I can't believe I didn't discover your blog earlier- it's brillant! Hope you're able to make the best of your time away from N.O.
With love
your cousin-in-law, Meghen D