What's next for Johnny? That may seem like a strange question, but Julie and I have been thinking about it a lot. There are people all over the world who have followed Johnny's fight against leukemia, and many have been moved to action by his story. We want to keep that momentum going if at all possible, and have decided that we will start a foundation in his name to support the search for better treatments, and possibly a cure for childhood leukemia. We also have some ideas on how to help kids get through the "experience" of being sick for extended periods that we want to explore. Many have already donated to help with Johnny's medical costs, and once those expenses have been met any additional funds will be used to seed the foundation. I will post more information on as we flesh out the details.
So what's next for us? I've been down to Galveston a few times to meet with insurance adjusters, and start cleaning up a little. It's pretty depressing down there right now. It's somewhat strange to have a Red Cross van stop by the house and ask if I need a hot meal or cold water. Galveston is really only a short distance from Houston, but it is a world away regarding the damage and devistation done by Ike. My house is by no means ok, but there are many on the island who have lost everything. I consider myself lucky to still have a home. The downstairs is a total loss. Everything will have to be torn out since there was salt water up to the top of the doors. The main living area upstairs did much better, but there is more damage than we initially thought. The roof held up well, but water came in under the eaves in several places, and through most of the windows. Much of the ceiling in the boy's bedroom and kitchen will have to be torn out, along with all of the flooring in both of those rooms. There is also quite a bit of paneling under the windows that is showing water damage and will need to come out. That work will start next week.
Until we can move back in full time we will be staying with Julie's parents. They have a very nice home, and luckily have a "room mate" type floorplan where the guest bedrooms are on the opposite side of the house from the master. We have enrolled the kids in school up here, and they seem happy to be able to spend some time with their old friends. Joey has become especially popular all of a sudden, which is fun to watch.
Julie and I will probably spend next week working on the house, or at least cleaning it up, and then we are taking the kids to California for a week. We will spend a few days with my dad, and then the middle part of the week down in San Diego. We may get to see some old friends, but it will be nice to spend some time alone as a family. Maybe hit an amusement part or two, you never know. After that I will be back at work and things will slow down a bit.
At this time we're not really sure how long it will take to get back home full-time. Most of our friends are already back, and a few of the schools are starting back up on the island next week. I'm definitely home sick already, but it will take a while before the west end of the island is back up and running. Julie's parent's vacation house in JB sustained very little damage, and should be livable as soon as Jamaica Beach has water and electricity back up and running. That will give us a place to stay while working on our house, and the Battens have offered the house to us if we want to move back down before ours is ready. That's a nice option, and it will really just depend on how the kids are doing in school up here, and when Julie is ready.
Right now it's just one day at a time.