Wednesday, August 31, 2005

CAT Duty - 2nd Post

Declan woke up this evening around 9pm and came out to sit with Jenna and I on the couch. We took him outside to look for the moon (he calls it either moona or luna, depends :D). We came back in and let him watch television for a few minutes. I'm telling you, the Animal Planet channel is dynamite for a 2 1/2 year old. He really loves the animals. We turned the station to the news at update time and they were showing pictures of some fires burning in New Orleans and the flooding. Declan understands the concept of helping. Jenna asks him to be her helper when she picks up toys. She explained to him that the people we were seeing on television needed help, and he nodded and said, 'hep'. Jenna then told him that daddy was going to be going to down to help those people and she asked if that was okay and Declan said yes.

I know he really can't grasp why and how long I'll be gone. It's going to be hard to leave again. Last year during the Florida hurricanes when the kids were younger, I don't think they really understood I was away. I'm afraid they'll wonder why daddy has been gone for work for so long this time. Needless to say, I'm pretty bummed about having to be gone for another month.

Update: Had some additional thoughts about catastrophe duty. It's exciting to go to these places to help people. I know it's only money, but giving it to someone and telling them we're going to help replace the things they worked so hard for...well, it helps. Usually they say thanks and appreciate us coming down to help. Some people are still in shock, and some are hurt and angry and need someone to take it out on. It's a challenge handling all the carnage. You try to tell yourself to get the job done and move on, but the relentless loss and devastation can take it's toll on us also.

The difficult part is the leaving. 21 work days, call it 4 travel days. Just about a month away from home. It's so hard to be away from the family that long, especially with 2 1/2 and 1 1/2 year olds. I'll also probably miss my godson's 1st birthday. Anyway, rambling a bit here. I'll continue to try to provide some insight into what we do during the aftermath of these events.

Update II: No more whining. Our servicepeople are going away much longer and in much more dangerous places than I. /slaps self.

CAT Duty - 1st Post

Just received word we're having a teleconference at 3pm regarding hurricane deployment. I'll be finding out where and when at that time.

What follows is a rough transcript from the teleconference:

Update: Devastation with this storm is unprecedented in history. By comparison, Andrew was mostly a wind event. Katrina is a wind and water event. Deployment notices will go out within 24 hours. Hotel space has been acquired. My company has provided tractor trailer sized generators running some of the hotels. We will probably not get any closer than Jackson, MS for the time being. We have 800 policies south of I-10 that are going to all be total losses. More than 20,000 claims in Mississippi and Alabama so far.

Safety concerns: Standing water creates many potential problems. Sewage, dead bodies, dead animals. Hepatitus shots available. Arrive self sufficient with all needed gear. Buy work boots that can handle debris fields. Another threat is snakes. Go to doctor and get up to date on all needed shots.

Fill tank before less than 3/4 tank. My company had a tanker truck full of gasoline in Mississippi for adjusters that was appropriated by FEMA.

Unlike tornadoes where devastation is localized, expect total devastation in claims areas.

Adjusters will not enter Biloxi, Gulfport prior to weekend.

Via WWL: 1:19 P.M. - (AP) Mayor Ray Nagin says at least hundreds of people are dead -- maybe thousands -- in New Orleans.

NRO's Jonah Goldberg on Hollywood:

The last major Hollywood film that dealt with a terrorist threat was The Sum of
All Fears, the 2002 film that started Ben Affleck�s career on a downward
glide-path to the center square on Hollywood Squares. In the book, the bad guys
were Islamic fundamentalists. But, thanks in large part to a campaign by the
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the villains were changed to a
secret cabal of ultra-sophisticated, super-wealthy neo-Nazis. Whereas in real
life most neo-Nazis smash cans of beer against their heads while dancing in the
woods, in Hollywood�s vision they wear perfectly tailored suits and plot world
domination from the highest corridors of power.

Man, forget Escape From New York. New Orleans sounds more and more like Dawn of the Dead.

Late Tuesday, Gov. Blanco spokeswoman Denise Bottcher described a disturbing scene unfolding in uptown New Orleans, where looters were trying to break into Children's Hospital.

Bottcher said the director of the hospital fears for the safety of the staff and the 100 kids inside the hospital. The director said the hospital is locked, but that the looters were trying to break in and had gathered outside the facility.

The director has sought help from the police, but, due to rising flood waters, police have not been able to respond.

Bottcher said Blanco has been told of the situation and has informed the National Guard. However, Bottcher said, the National Guard has also been unable to respond.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

New Orleans is beginning to sound like something out of Escape From New York. Thankfully we do not write any business there.

Info you never wanted to know about New Orleans and hurricanes.

Monday, August 29, 2005

If you have a moment, check out Steve's Specialty Foods. Steve is my cousin and makes some fantastic sauces and rubs for all your meaty needs.

I forgot to post a few shots from our fantasy football draft on Saturday. My team, Soylent Green (is people!) looks strong. This means my top players will probably get injured before the season begins.

Well crap. For my birthday I received the deployment order for the hurricane. Hooray for me...Jenna's picking up my birthday dinner, so she doesn't know yet. I just got the call. I joked with her earlier that with my luck, I wouldn't be sent to New Orleans, but to some dry county in Bumf--k, Mississippi.

Call me Nostradamus. It sounds like I'm being sent to a site TBD in Mississippi. I find out for sure if I go tomorrow.

I can always tell when a storm isn't quite as bad as advertised when the news loops the same footage of a sign whipping around within 10 minutes.

Update: Same shot of a Lowes with a small section of metal roofing blown off.

Update II: Heh. Live video of one piece of vinyl siding blown away!

Well, just woke up and checked the news. It looks like, once again, this was a much hyped storm that didn't quite pan out. The highest wind reading where Katrina came ashore at Grand Isle was 77mph! Not quite the 175mph they were hyping last night.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

This is from Cat duty from last year's hurricanes. Once again into the breach?

Well, odds are I'll be sent down for the hurricane sometime this week. I was put on alert on Friday, but I'm holding out hope I won't have to go.

Update: There's a lively conversation going on over at Polipundit. Brendan Loy has all the science at his site.

I found a few of Jenna's photos and scanned them in also. The one to the far left was taken in 1977 when she was about a year old. The other photo was taken at a father-daughter dance. Floyd's hairline is the same as it was all those years ago, just grey, and not quite as much curl...

Hell's Satans on our mopeds in Mexico. We rented these and cruised around the resort compound in Playa del Carmen. Gary likes to point out they made us wear helmets, but each helment had a warning sticker that read 'novelty item only'.

Gary and I, also in Mexico.

Me at a friend's wedding reception. Hey, the Red Wings were in the Stanley Cup finals.

My brother Gary from New Years' a few years back. No explanation necessary.

Well, I've been playing with the scanner again. I found some more really great photos. One of the main themes I've found throughout all of the pictures is that my wife is a total babe. I found and scanned some modeling photos she took a few years
back and have included a few others I ran across. The photo at the upper right was taken in Mexico in 2002. As you can see, I must have said something very funny, because Jenna looks to be hanging on my every word. The shot at the lower right is a picture of both my babes from last Halloween.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Last shots for the night.

Here are two 'ambience' photos of the evening.

Here are two pics of my favorite balloon at the festival.

The race begins and Reagan picks a winner!
(Reagan has a 'Tommy Boy' moment)

We headed down to Metamora this evening to catch the balloon launches. The setup is really neat. They allow everyone to get close to the balloons as they're being readied for launch. The kids loved it.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Michael Yon : Online Magazine: Gates of Fire

I had a meeting in Battle Creek yesterday. Our office there is a few blocks from Kellogg's so I stopped by and snapped this photo.

As for the meeting, I really prefer a teleconference over 5 hours of driving for a 2 hour confab.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Wow! The first donation has rolled in at $25! As promised here are a couple photos highlighting my fasion sense.

Here's a shot of Gary beating me up. By the look of those pants, I deserved it.

This looks like a shot from the Sleeping Bear dunes. I can't figure out where else we'd all be hanging over the edge looking at something. I'm pretty sure I'm the one in the short red shorts. What an outfit. Red shorts with gold trim, green and yellow striped tube socks to my knees, and what appears to be a Franco Harris Steelers' jersey. Move over Ralph Lauren!

Well, I was sent this photo of my nieces, Hadley (left) and Shelby. Apparently they think I look like Big Boy. I just don't see the resemblance..../sigh.

Well, no donations yet, but it's only been a day. I'm going to try to keep from begging, so this is just a reminder. If you like what you see here, hit the Amazon tip jar over on the right side of the page.

I said I'd post embarrassing photos of myself for every $25 I receive. Well, I haven't hit that yet, so I'll post a good one of my brother Gary.

Here's another photo found from the old album. It looks like my dad is helping grandma with a snow thrower. My uncle Gary and cousins are looking on. This was probably taken around 1980 I'd guess. Now, I don't want to say my family drank alot, but as you can see, the kids did need to have their names on their shirts...

Monday, August 22, 2005

Like the Loch Ness monster, a boat slips quietly away across Lake Leelanau. The time is... daytime. The year, 1982? Could this be the long lost proof of the Fennelly men sailing away in the rental boat that mysteriously sunk in the depths of those hallowed waters? This story really gets going if you can hum 'The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald' when you read it. Lake Leelanau RV Park and Resort lost (well, banned if you listen to their side of the story) many a customer that day. Sure they were drinking. Sure there were too many men in the eleven foot boat. But, dammit, it was the quickest way across the lake and to the bar. Fare thee well, brave sailors!

Sunday, August 21, 2005

I've set up an Amazon Pay Box over on the right side of the blog. I'm hoping to collect enough
money to buy a Slingbox. It's one of the neatest pieces of technology I've ever seen. It can be hooked up to your television, Tivo, satellite, etc. and it can send the signal to your pc anywhere in the world you can get a wi-fi signal. It costs about $250, and I cannot afford it. Anyway, if you click on the box and make a donation, I'll post embarrassing photos of myself for every $25 I receive.

For a taste of what you can expect, see the two photos to the right. Much like Al Bundy, I was a high school sports star (in my own mind). Now I'm an insurance adjuster. I'm not sure what happened, but it is what it is. And just like Al Bundy trying to get home to watch Hondo, I really want a Slingbox.

I'm so pathetic, I couldn't find a high school photo,
so I took a picture of an artist's rendition of what I looked like at the time.

And the transformation to the present.
Won't you help?

Update: I suppose I could also appeal for donations to help keep Lapeer Living running, but it doesn't cost anything (but my time), and I like doing it. I have actually made money from the ads you see running in the right column. For the eight months Lapeer Living has existed, I've generated 76 cents of ad revenue. I don't think Google sends a check until you hit ten bucks. So, I'm on pace to cash my first check in like, 2020.

Okay, the last of the reminiscing for a while. Here's are two shots of my grandpas and me in 1972. My dad's father passed away when I was five years old, and I don't have very many memories of him. I always think about listening to Tigers games on the radio in their garage at their old house in Redford.

This is my mom's father. He passed away more recently. It doesn't seem like he's been gone for long, but it has to be close to 8 years now. I remember getting the call like it was yesterday. I lived in Birmingham at the time, and the Barenaked Ladies song 'One Week' was playing when I was driving over to pick Jenna up. It's wierd what you remember when things like that happen. I've always felt a little sad that they never had a chance to meet our kids. I know they would have loved them.

Hah. This scanning thing is fun. Photos that should be stuck away forever can come back to life on the internet. Here's a shot of my mom at Cody High in Detroit circa 1968.

Update: I just noticed the photo says NOV * 70, so I may be wrong on the year this was taken.

How about my grandparents (dad's side) and me in 1972.

I've been playing around with my scanner and I pulled some old photos out of an album to see how they would take to being digitized. I'll post a few of the neater ones. The first one here is my father and his siblings taken in 1948. He's the little one on the middle. The second one is a photo taken at the beach. My grandmother is in the background. I'm not sure who the woman up front is. I think this one was taken around 1950.

We had a great time at the lake today. Declan caught two more fish. This time, however, they were only rock bass, so no 16" monsters. Reagan swam half the day, and ate the other half. Declan took a plunge down some cement steps. He's okay, but has a few scratches. Not a bad day to enjoy the weather.

We're headed out to the lake today. Hopefully I'll be as lucky as Declan when he caught his huge fish.