Saturday, March 11, 2006

Photos from the Covered Bridge

Saturday afternoon, the Alberts family brothers, sisters, cousins and in-laws got together at the Covered Bridge in Zumbrota.

Click here for some pictures.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Our family's happenings

Katie and friends at the St. Louis Arch

We talked to Katie for quite awhile on her friend's cell phone last night. (If you didn't see my previous e-mail, Katie is in New Orleans on a school trip, cleaning out homes damaged by Hurricane Katrina) It's quite an experience she's having.

The first house they cleaned out was pretty easy. The man had moved out and there wasn't any furniture or anything. Since then, they've been at a home where the woman who lived there had to leave without warning and everything is as it was when she left, like 6-month old food in the fridge. Then some weird things like the washer had moved onto the dryer in the flood. She was the keeper of the neighborhood cats and so they found 8 dead cats and one rabbit that they needed to clean out of the house besides all the other damaged stuff. Ick. They're taking the homes down to the studs. They wear latex gloves under their leather gloves, Tyvek suits over their clothes and masks, bandanas. On breaks, she says they douse themselves with Purex to sterilize.

They went to Bourbon Street on Mon and Tues night. She said there hasn't been a lot of free time. She's eaten jambalaya and gumbo. Last night a few of them moved to a school/church nearby because of storms. She said it was comfortable and they'll probably stay there tonight, too. I guess the wind in the tents is pretty loud. Katie (on the right in white shirt) on Bourbon Street

On Tuesday, the visited the 9th Ward, where most of the damage happened. She said they just bulldoze those homes. Each home has things written in spray paint - the name of the search crew, the number of bodies found. (The house she's working on had "3 cats" written on it, so maybe there were live cats when the search crew went through the first time). In the 9th Ward she saw a house on top of a car, a roof from one house on a house it didn't belong to, a wedding dress, a Little Tykes toy, a takeout box with French fries still in it. There's a dusk to dawn curfew in that area. I guess the police find a few bodies a week still and there was one found about 50 feet from where they were that day. I think they saw the police there. It's been pretty sobering. She said she's put into perspective things like death and possessions.
She's been sleeping and eating well. Just one night she had to process some of the emotion and was up reading her Bible and praying to sort through things.

While they were working yesterday, a neighbor came over and said thank you to them for coming. She says she is gaining defined biceps now from the shoveling. They hope to finish the home today. Tomorrow they will head to St. Louis again and then home by early evening on Sunday -- 12 people in a 12-passenger van (cozy). I think she's earned her half a credit for school this week. She named the week AP Reach. Reach is the work camp she goes to in the summer to repair homes. AP is Advanced Placement classes she takes in high school for college. In other words, good old hard work.

Sara continues to enjoy her class. They will come up with a suspect today and wrap things up. (Again, from a previous e-mail, Sara is taking a class called CSI Bloomington, solving a "crime," making facial composites, typing "blood" spatters. They visited a crime lab in St. Paul on Wednesday). It's been a nice week to have no homework as she often spends hours on homework at night usually. Sara working with fingerprints in the CSI-Bloomington lab.

Alena is well into volleyball and doing well. She's a setter, meaning she does a lot of her play at the net and tipping the ball over. They've started to jell as a team. She's going to finish her science fair project this weekend. She's tested the kids in her school to see if they are auditory, visual or kinesthetic learners and will sum up the data to present it in her project.