One day at a time

My family and I haven’t lost anything.  We’ve been majorly inconvenienced, but we have a house (electricity got turned back on yesterday), we have family who have resources nearby, we have our jobs and incomes.  We are so much better off than so many people around us.

Doing just about anything is a major logistical operation, especially if the place you need to be is on the other side of the zone from where you are.  Since internet service is offline, landline and cell service is spotty for most people in the vicinity of the zone, we have to do things the old fashioned way and drive around for face to face meetings.  a lot of people are using Facebook for the primary messaging service.  I was able to post some things to FB at times when I couldn’t get any other type of connection.  We still don’t have TV or internet or phones.  Cox Communications is working to restore their damaged infrastructure, and we hope to have everything working on or around Sunday.  My sister has Dish Network, so she has TV, but her internet and phone were AT&T, and she doesn’t have that.  Cell phones–they have AT&T, we have Sprint–are getting better every day. It takes hours to do things that used to take minutes.  It normally takes about 30 minutes to drop my daughter at school and continue on to work.  Yesterday it took three hours to get to work, and today it took 90 minutes.

EDIT–There was only a week left to school, but the Moore Public Schools have cancelled classes for the rest of the year, and finals are cancelled as well.  There is a meet-up scheduled for tomorrow for those teachers and children who can make it so that everybody can get together and just be together.  I think that is a great idea.  High School graduation ceremonies will go on Saturday as previously scheduled at the convention center in OKC for all three MPS high schools.
But I’m alive and healthy, as are my entire family, and we have a place to go to.  One of my coworkers made contact from a National Guard checkpoint this morning.  He’s alive.  He’s got the clothes on his back, and he’s got his dogs.  Everything else was destroyed.

I delivered some water and batteries to some shelters and checkpoints the other day, because having done disaster relief before, I know those are the two things that relief personnel are always critically short of, and they are consumed very rapidly.  Trash bags and toilet paper are also highly prized on checkpoint duty and at shelters.  My FEMA certification is a certification to enter disaster zones on behalf of my agency, or as directed by FEMA.  Ideally, that would entail setting up and maintaining computer equipment, and satellite communications.  Since no VA facilities were damaged (and I am actually classified as a victim for the purposes of the personnel system) I haven’t been mobilized.  I’ve volunteered though, so I’ll go the moment they ask.  Other than that, and working as a local point of contact for some friends at Fort Sill who are putting together a package to deliver to the shelters, I’m trying hard to stay out of the way.  When something like this happens, once you’ve gotten over the initial threat and immediate aftermath, the best thing a civilian can do is to get out of the way and help the victims after they’ve come out to a safe place.  That means volunteering at a shelter or making a cash donation.  Cash is generally a lot easier for aid groups and charities to work with.

The American Red Cross

Safe and Well site–find your friends and family

Feed The Children

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33 replies
  1. 1
    Elizabelle says:

    great to hear from you, sooner

  2. 2
    SFAW says:

    Glad to hear you’re OK, and that things are mostly good with you.

    Thanks for the links, and good luck/best wishes to those who didn’t fare as well as you.

  3. 3
    brucifer atx says:

    hey, good luck to y’all up there! love to know what you think about your illustrious senators inhofe and coburn. it can wait. peace and best wishes!

  4. 4
    TR says:

    Hang in there, man.

  5. 5
    Calming Influence says:

    It’s hard to imagine how much will need to be done to return to some normalcy there. Lot’s of people here have expressed a willingness to help monetarily if you’re aware of anyone in urgent need of help, so just let us know. Juicer’s got your back.

  6. 6
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    For all of you who can, look to see if there is a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) in your area, and volunteer. When disasters like this hit, CERT members help the Fire, Police, and higher level government agencies in their response. Last year, when tornadoes hit here in the DFW area, CERT members did things like give people a place to get something to drink, and even handed teddy bears to children.

    Also, get your ham radio license. If you have a radio, you can communicate even if the cell phone system is overloaded.

  7. 7
    Tom Levenson says:

    Good to hear your news.

    Thoughts with you and your community.

  8. 8
    Alison says:

    Thank you for this update. Glad you’re doing well, and my heart goes out to those who aren’t. I can’t even imagine…I just hope everyone has all the support and help they need to get through this.

  9. 9

    I delivered some water and batteries to some shelters and checkpoints the other day, because having done disaster relief before, I know those are the two things that relief personnel are always critically short of, and they are consumed very rapidly.

    Perhaps this was covered in your earlier thread and I missed it. Please know that there was some interest in reimbursing you for your immediate efforts. If you have a PayPal link or some other device an interested party can throw you some coin for stuff like this, please say so. Thanks for the other links, too!

    I’m glad you and your family are okay.

    ETA: @Calming Influence, seconded.

  10. 10
    Rosalita says:

    thanks for the check-in Sooner, we’re thinking of you and all of your neighbors there.

  11. 11
    rikyrah says:

    good to see you posting. glad to hear about your family

  12. 12
    Citizen_X says:

    Good work, and again, glad to hear you and your family are OK.

  13. 13
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    One of the things (and Sooner touches on this repeatedly) is that even if you were not in the path of the funnel, your life is nevertheless made more complicated by it. Aside from the destruction and death, the normal rhythms of life are affected. Conveniences we don’t give a second thought about normally are gone, and suddenly, things are more difficult for you. It will take a long time for Moore to heal from the wound inflicted on it by a random act of nature, and this should give all of us pause. I live in an earthquake prone zone, and we have bottles and bottles of water stored up just in case something might happen.

  14. 14
    Another Halocene Human says:

    Wow, Sooner, I can’t really imagine what you all are going through. If you need anything, please ask. I think the toughest part is when the adrenaline wears off and you have to accept what has happened and what all you’ve lost and how long the come back is going to be. I hope that FEMA comes through for y’all. These kids’ lives are going to be profoundly changed. Love and peace, Sooner.

  15. 15

    It’s good to hear from you again. Thanks for the links — donating what I can.

  16. 16
    Kristine says:

    Glad to hear from you, and that you and yours are in decent shape.

  17. 17
    Mnemosyne says:

    Thanks for posting and letting us know that you and yours are doing okay. I have to wait until payday to make my Red Cross contribution, but I can get the Giant Evil Corporation to match it.

  18. 18
    feebog says:

    Thanks for posting. Glad you and yours are all safe. Keep us updated as you get back to “normal”.

  19. 19
    raven says:

    Can you point us to a pet rescue operation that could use some dough. I dropped some on the red cross but I always feel like the pet rescue gets two birds with one stone.

    Here’s what I could dig up:

  20. 20
    Syrbal says:

    I am so glad to hear you are alright; also got news of another old online pal in Moore and was very relieved. Tomorrow is payday and I will get in touch with the Red Cross.

  21. 21
    Shakezula says:

    Cash, blood. I can do that.

    Take care.

  22. 22
    PurpleGirl says:

    Thank you for the update. Words fail me, but I’m glad you and your family are all right.

  23. 23
    raven says:

    @raven: Looks like the Bella Foundation site is down, I went ahead with a donation to the Central OK Humane Society and put Tornado Relief in the notes box.

  24. 24
    rdldot says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: So true. I lost electricity for two weeks at my house (it is all electrice, so no stove or hot water) after Hurricane Ike. Roof damage and a fallen tree were my only other problems, which was nothing compared to not having electricity. You would not believe how much time is used up in that situation every day, just preparing meals, getting clean without a shower, and finding water and/or fuel, if you are lucky enough to have a generator.

  25. 25
    quannlace says:

    “That means volunteering at a shelter or making a cash donation. Cash is generally a lot easier for aid groups and charities to work with.”

    Gonna try and scrape up some cash for that.

    (Ugh, does anybody else remember the Romney camp collecting can goods and used clothing supposedly for Hurricane Sandy victims? The Red Cross was politely horrified)

  26. 26
    Frivolous says:

    Glad to read you’re mostly okay, Soonergrunt. Very sorry for all the people you know who lost property and/or lives.

  27. 27
    sacrablue says:

    @raven: I did see on tv this morning that the local Home Depot in Moore was using some of its space for people to locate missing pets that have been found by first responders and good samaritans.

  28. 28
    LT says:

    Glad you and yours are okay Sonnergrunt – and thanks much for the inside view. And thanks for you help of those folks.

  29. 29
    Elie says:


    I second that. I will also contribute to the Red Cross link you supplied

  30. 30
    Elie says:


    thanks for this — I so worry about our little friends. I know how it feels to worry about my Buddy and I would just die to have him un accounted for in a major disaster….

    All the pieces of what make us human and a community must be reinforced and supported above all else… food, shelter and emotional sustanance — you have to turn to what you LOVE to survive these things…

    My heart just breaks looking at the little ones lost. I know what their families — particularly their Moms and Dads and sibs are feeling — the weight of it — There is no pain like losing someone near and dear — and for moms and dads, losing any babies is almost beyond — even as the whole overwhelming situation adds to your confusion and pain.

    The spiritual and esthetic are the connection to comfort — of course, formal religious beliefs, but also the non religious beliefs about the power of love and the importance of standing by each other through the darkness — of holding out and grasping hands and holding tight. Then also music, poetry, prayers and the deeper ways we have of connecting to each other about transitions and love.

    Yes, these people will survive… but how much better they can hold onto memories where people not only in their local community, but NATIONAL community reach out to them with strong hands and shoulders and open hearts/ How much better for all of us to be able to “be there” for our borthers and sisters in Oklahoma

  31. 31
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Sooner, when things get back to normal, or whatever passes for normal, I hope you will have time to go back through the BJ posts of the past few days — no matter the subject line — to see all the comments that have been variations on “Has anyone heard from Soonergrunt?” “Worried about sooner, nothing on his Twitter feed.” “Sooner Grunt, if you’re out there and see this, please just let us know you’re okay and what we can do to help.” It has been mind-blowing to see once again the love and concern and community that John Cole & Co. have created and nurtured here. Great relief and rejoicings that you and yours are all okay, more so that you have thought of and tended to others. Sorry if I sound a little maudlin.

  32. 32
    AndoChronic says:

    I know your work is appreciated by those folks and speaking as a tornado victim, thank you.

  33. 33
    AndoChronic says:

    @AndoChronic: P.S. Not this particular tornado,… two years ago.

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