Sunday, September 7, 2008


As hurricane Gustav was bearing down on the Gulf Coast last week and all eyes were on New Orleans, I could not help but feel remorseful for all those people facing the possibility of yet another natural disaster the likes of Katrina. I absolutely love New Orleans for it's history, it's traditions, and it's culture. There is no place on earth like it. So as the fate of this great American treasure was the center of water cooler discussions around the world, I was surprised to hear a few people say that they should never have tried to rebuild after Katrina. It is to those cynics that I pose the question, "Have you never raised toddlers?".

Every day my house is destroyed by Hurricane Jack and tropical storm Ella. And every day we rebuild it. The weather starts to turn every morning at 7:00. Through the baby monitor, we can hear Tropical Storm Ella groaning and mumbling herself to life, softly at first and then gaining momentum like thunder rolling in the distance. Then comes the squeak of the bed springs as she bounces full force, unable to contain the energy amassing inside of her. She must be unleashed! Meanwhile, Hurricane Jack is deceptively calm. He has been downgraded to a tropical depression overnight. Our meteorologists warn us, however, that we should still keep a close eye on him as he could easily regain strength over the warm waters of the Gulf.

There is a calm before the storm as they down their morning milk. I believe they use this time to plot their paths of destruction. As soon as the last drop of milk has disappeared, Ella makes landfall at the bookcase. The tearing of pages and maiming of covers is merciless. Books fly in every direction. Some are thrust into your hand to read while others are thrust into your groin for no good reason. Crayons appear out of nowhere and vandalism leaves ugly scars upon perfectly good literature. I pray that she never discovers fire.

Jack has now been re-classified as a category five and is dumping several inches of milk all over the love seat. The ottoman (which acts as a floodgate when wedged between the love seat and the entertainment center) was only designed to withstand a category three. Now both storms are loose and a state of emergency is declared. Magazines, pajama bottoms, water bottles, toys of all shapes and sizes, cell phones, coffee cups, diapers, remote controls, shoes, teddy bears, blankets, books, and golf balls dot the landscape for as far as the eye can see.

During nap time, we survey the damage and start to clean up the aftermath. The psychological effects on the survivors may not be known for quite a while. But we have no time to think about that. Like those citizens of New Orleans who refuse to give up, we too shall rebuild. But unlike them, we are forced to do it in the eye of the storm, for after nap time, we will feel the wrath of Hurricane Jack and Tropical Storm Ella once again.

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