You’ll have to trust me that the significance of this is much greater to myself and my family than I expect it to be anyone reading. (Well, maybe for my friend Josh, who hosted my family last night. He’s heard way more than a dude should hear about another dude’s lack of clean underwear.)
Silliness aside, I managed to tether my Droid to my work netbook and attain enough signal to click “send” successfully. Or, I think I will. I managed to get this page to load anyway. 🙂 Here’s a quick update on what your donations have done. I’ll do my best to get some photos and possibly video tomorrow. I’m just hoping for text success today!
* Donna went to the store and purchased our family all new coats. We decided coats, snow pants, gloves, hats, etc. were things that made sense to purchase new. While we have been given a few coats for the kids to wear in the short term, they suffered from varying degrees of not-quite-fitting. They also were significantly different in actual insulating abilities. Again, it’s not that we weren’t grateful to cover the kid’s bodies — it’s just that purchasing such things made sense to us. (I only elaborate because while you haven’t asked for a play by play, it seems you all have some vested interest in such things. Pun shamelessly intended)
* Many people have asked if we have insurance. In fact, we do, and we’re so thankful. Since we have insurance, I honestly felt bad accepting such gracious gifts from people. As it turns out, the insurance wheels turn amazingly slow, however. While everyone has been wonderful, agent wise, the truth is these things take TIME. More so than I ever imagined. So you have all provided us with flexibility and comfort in a very rough time. Again, my gratitude is indescribable.
* I’m not good at asking for help. Those of you that know me personally probably know that. Thank you so much for not giving me an option. My family deserves the attention, and my inability to “make it all better” is humbling. You are helping in more ways than cash and gifts might seem. You’re showing my family you care about them — and that is huge.
* I’ve been asked vi email, IM, SMS, Yammer, Facebook, Twitter, Phone, Voicemail, (I’d say smoke signals, but that seems in poor taste), etc. about a few specific things:
1) Our girl’s sizes. I don’t know. I know that’s lame, but I don’t. I could say “uh, girl” — but that doesn’t actually help as much as I’d like it to. Fortunately, there are many people in our immediate vicinity that do know their sizes. Our girls were inundated with clothes, which we are very thankful for, and quite honestly we don’t have room for anything else right now. That’s not to say we won’t have that particular need in the near future, but right now we’re doing well clothing-wise. Once Donna gets online she will probably have more details.
2) Stuff for the family. This one is the hardest for me. I’m not saying that to be falsely humble, it’s just that since we’re alive, together, and warm — the rest seems selfish or arrogant to hope for. However, I see my children suffering emotionally. I can’t fix it. I desperately feel the need to fix it, but I can’t. So I will share things that I think will make a difference in their happiness. No, “stuff” won’t fix it, but I think there may be a value in pleasant distractions. I assure you my children (as Donna and myself) are treating everyone’s grace with as much humility as is possible. I have a few small things in mind, but as there is a huge coordinated effort in play already, I’ll try to make it so that we don’t end up with 374 sock monkeys from ThinkGeek. (That’s actually one of the Christmas presents our youngest misses the most. She’s such a geek in training!)
3) Stuff for Donna. You’d like my wife. Really. She’s an incredibly cool person. While there are a few things I’m trying to get set up for her, (Kindle & Laptop were destroyed), apart from reading materials and her Bible — she has few desires. Donna is the queen of “cool pen” collecting, so if you happen to have or know of some really cool pens, know that her collection is gone. (It’s not really a collection, but I tease her about it because she had so many pens)
4) Stuff for Me. I know I come across as the guy with a million toys, but honestly, there’s not much I need. I will probably spend some of the donated money to purchase some specialty equipment for creating videos. My Wacom tablet was destroyed, along with my desktop machine I used for doing such things. I’ve also accepted the offer of a laptop after much debate. See, I do have the use of a netbook, but it turns out the little beastie is rather hard to use as a main machine. Maybe I’m getting old. 🙂
* My address is currently in flux. I fully expect we’ll be at our current location for the next 2-6 months, but the address is a bit of a sticky wicket. The rental house itself is too close to the post office in town, so it can’t have mail delivered directly to it. However, today was Martin Luther King Jr. day, so the post office was closed. Basically we have no mailing address. The street address (for UPS/FedEx) has changed over the past few years, and no one is quite sure what the name of the street is. I know this first hand, as I was on the phone for over an hour with the cable company trying to figure out how I could get Internet service installed. If you have a desire to send my family something, there are a couple surefire ways to get them to us. Carlie, my boss over at Linux Journal, has offered to be a clearinghouse for such things. Just drop her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details. I will post my PO Box as soon as I get it, but right now it just doesn’t exist yet.
* The House. It’s in bad shape. I plan to get some footage tomorrow, and hopefully upload to show you all. While not official, most of the people I spoke with today expect the house will be a total loss. Since it’s completely standing, and shows no outward signs of damage — that’s odd to hear, but I’ll have more details tomorrow. I will say it’s deeply disturbing to go into the house. It’s almost like stepping into a horrid, dark, putrid alternate reality.
Ok, I didn’t mean to yammer on so long. This is just the first opportunity I’ve had to do a brain dump, and wanted to take advantage of it. More soon, and thank you all for the support you’ve given us. I’m still not sure what we did to deserve such treatment, but I’m certainly grateful we did. This has been rough couple days, and you’ve ALL smoothed over the rough parts a bit.