Things are getting back to normal for most people. The power has been spotty, but it's holding right now. I had stopped jumping at noises finally, and then the tornado sirens went off today. It was the first time they had sounded since the April 27th outbreak. I had been sure that I'd vomit or panic the next time I heard them, but I did neither. I did those stupid childbirth breathing exercises that they always think will help but don't. I kept it together and all was fine. I know that I can handle things now. I won't freak every time they sound. There will likely never be a day like that again in my lifetime, and that fact now seems real.
The emergency responses have been better than I thought they'd be. FEMA is everywhere. I don't know if they learned a lot from Katrina or whether they were unfairly maligned in the press, but I suspect the former. They've offered far more benefits to people than I thought anyone would. They've done everything from hand out food vouchers to pony up money for home repairs. They've put up electronic signs all over town with their phone number and email address to help people get whatever they need from them. I'm truly impressed by them. Local churches have also really stepped up, offering anyone who needs it everything from bottled water to pet food. Several are offering free cleanup of your yard and even free home repairs.
As for the Red Cross, the only thing, and I do mean the only thing that I've heard of them doing for any man, woman or child around here is to hand out a banana to someone I know who lost his home. That's it. Here's a banana- goodbye. They didn't even put together shelters here. Meanwhile, they're all over the place soliciting money. They are even selling stuff outside of stores. They are no better than looters. I won't even qualify that. If the Red Cross wants to sue me, please leave a message in the comments section and I will provide you with my name and address that you can forward to your team of high-priced lawyers. Bring it. I'll bet there are a lot of ugly little truths that they wouldn't like to be heard in a venue as public as a courtroom.
Meanwhile, I've come to understand that Maine isn't just cold- it is bizarrely, unnaturally cold and they have some kind of giant storms there that would be almost as scary as the stuff here. So, Maine's out. I'm looking at Oregon right now. They get some volcano fallout, but that's actually kind of cool. The other choice is Vermont. It seems OK in Vermont. I could get a bunch of tattoos and dye my hair awesome colors and be an Oregonian or get a bunch of cows and make ice cream in Vermont. Either one is fine by me..