One week ago…

We were saying “goodbye” to Jeff in New Orleans, as he headed off to PlayFair (a campus scavenger hunt) and our thoughts turned towards dinner (which wound up being pizza). And I was grumbling about being rained on by the remnants of Tropical Storm Faye.

Today, we had lunch with Jeff — pizza, of course — and while we were eating, Tulane announced that they hoped to reopen the dorms next Sunday, courtesy of Hurricane Gustav.

Sunday morning thoughts

I’m not sure that “obsessively” is the right word for how I’ve been following the news from New Orleans over the last couple of days, but it comes pretty close. I’ve got the Weather Underground‘s Gustav for iPhone and in tabs on my iPhone; I keep checking the Tulane Emergency page and the president’s blog (though I wish they had feeds!); and I just found the Gustav Information Center.

Jeff is safe at home, for which I am grateful. We even took advantage of his being home to go to ComedySportz last night, where they put on a great show (with absolutely no hurricane or political content); he ran into some of his Castro Valley friends from CSz Camp, much to his surprise and pleasure. But I hope he can go see a show at ComedySportz New Orleans soon.

He’s back!

One of the things that Tulane demands of its students is an evacuation plan. Since we live a goodly distance from there, our original plan was for him to use their arrangement with Jackson State University, expecting it would only be for a couple of days.

But when the word came down yesterday that classes would end at noon today and wouldn’t resume until Thursday, it seemed that forcing Jeff to camp out in the gym for at least five nights wasn’t right, so I disconnected from a rather chaotic conference call (as they say, it’s an ill wind that blows no good) to concentrate on making flight arrangements. I quickly figured out that we were going to pay full fare, and decided to use Southwest because Jeff already has a raft of frequent flyer credits with them (not enough for a free trip, though). Since I knew he had classes until noon, I picked a 3pm flight.

And then I thought about it a bit more and thought he might be able to miss his last class today, so I tried to call his instructor (and here I thought I wasn’t going to be a helicopter parent). The phone was answered “Room 313” — his instructor wasn’t there, but other grad students were, and their advice was not to worry about the class. So I called Southwest and moved him to a 2pm flight.

After lunch, I finally connected with Jeff (he’d been in class while I was making the arrangements). He was happy to come home instead of going to Jackson State, but he asked if I could get him on an even earlier flight — he was willing to blow off Spanish as well as Statistics. So I got back on the phone with Southwest and made the change (by this point, I was glad that I was dealing with them and not, say, United — no extra fees for talking to a human, nor for changing flights).

Tulane had set up free shuttles to the airport, but, unsurprisingly, the 6am shuttle (first of the day) was full, so he couldn’t get on. Equally unsurprisingly, there were taxis nearby who were more than willing to take students to the airport — and plenty of students to share them. So he took a taxi (good decision) and was through security before 7am, and in San Jose by 3 (despite some confusion in Las Vegas).

And when he checked his mail, he found that his Statistics class had been cancelled, and that his Spanish teacher was not going to count today as an official absence. Somehow, I was not surprised. Nor was he.

Now we wait to see if he can, indeed, return on Wednesday as planned — some of the models show Gustav as slowing down, which might delay things. I hope not, though — if the storm moves quickly, it’s likely to be less intense, which is a Good Thing all around.

Happy third anniversary of Katrina. Stay safe.

We have separation!

This morning, we made a return trip to Bed Bath and Beyond and Target to pick up stuff we forgot yesterday, then drove to Tulane (without too much confusion) in time to meet Jeff for the “Newcomb-Tulane College Orientation”, which conflicted with the Hillel brunch. We did both, though I’m not sure we got full value out of either — we sat way in the back of the McAlister Auditorium for the orientation, so we heard everything at least three times due to echoes (or not at all, due to the person behind us complaining that he couldn’t hear), and by the time we got to the brunch, it was crowded and the food was running low, but what they had was welcome, and Jeff signed up for the Holiday Meal Plan, and we all got T-shirts.

New Orleans Hillel T-shirt

And, of course, we had to contend with the remains of Tropical Storm Fay; fortunately, all we got was rain and some wind — but it was enough wind to turn my Thanks! umbrella inside out a few times.

After brunch, we walked up to the parking garage and moved the car somewhat closer to Jeff’s dorm, then dashed over there with our goodies. I tried, and failed, to get his printer to work, while Jeff and Diane unpacked the rest of his stuff. Then we hugged “good-bye” and all walked over to the Student Union (LBC) for dessert. I tore myself away and went to the last program item, a Q&A with the deans and assistant deans, where I learned a few things but nothing earth-shattering. Then I went back to the LBC lobby to say good-bye for real, as Jeff dashed away for PlayFair (a scavenger hunt).

Diane and I spent a while figuring out where to go for dinner, eventually choosing to follow a recommendation in the Hullabaloo and visiting Reginelli’s for pizza, wine, and chocolate truffle cake — tasty and inexpensive. Then we returned to the hotel; when there was a break in the rain, we hiked over to the French Quarter and somehow found ourselves at Cafe Du Monde, where we were required to have beignets and cafe au lait. Tasty and inexpensive.

And now we’re back in the hotel, not expecting the phone to ring, nor the email to beep. It feels weird.