Fly Away Home
A memoir about the ups and downs in life and the back and forth travels of a multicultural family.


This is a preview to the chapter DON’T MESS WITH TExAS from the book Fly Away Home by Maggie Myklebust.
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We were barely settled in when the weather service started tracking a Hurricane in the Gulf, named Katrina. All wrapped up in our new lives, we didn’t pay too much attention to it until 29 August, when all the television stations were interrupted with full coverage of the hurricane as it hit Louisiana and devastated an area from Morgan City, Louisiana to Mobile Alabama. More than 770,00 people were displaced and 300,00 homes destroyed or badly damaged. One thousand, eight hundred and thirty three people died, most of them in New Orleans, when the levees failed and water flooded 80% of the city. Hurricane Karina was one of the worst natural disasters in American history.

Less than a month later another hurricane was brewing in the Gulf, this one was called Rita and this time we listened. Early predictions had the storm heading our way and as they began evacuating the Gulf Coast areas, we decided to leave as well. I booked tickets to West Virginia and three days before the storm hit we set off for George Bush Intercontinental Airport. It was normally no longer than a thirty-five minute drive to the airport, but this time it took five hours in the heavy traffic. We arrived at the airport, which was in total chaos, and learned our flight had been canceled because the flight crew never showed up. Luckily we were able to exchange our tickets and go to New Jersey instead. We got out just in time as the following day all the highways around Houston were in gridlock as hundreds of thousands tried to evacuate. We returned home two days after the storm, and a few leaves floating in the swimming pool was the only sign I saw of Rita. Houston had escaped with little damage.

Throughout our two busy years in Houston I carried a personal problem with me everyday and was caught up in a vortex of misery because of it. I had to put on a brave face, take care of my family and entertain company while dealing with my unfortunate situation. It wasn’t always easy but being a migraine sufferer I’ve learned how to endure what I can’t change. My monthly migraines didn’t always land on days when I could conveniently lie in bed and wait for them to pass. Sometimes they came when we were on vacation, or on the day of an event I couldn’t cancel. I once muddled through an entire day at Disney Land in agony. I’ve also had guests for Christmas and attended weddings, birthdays and meetings, all while trying to squash out the unbearable pain of a migraine in a drug induced state. The will that pulls me through these times is the same will that pulled me through the misfortune I suffered in Texas.

Before we left Norway I had laser eye surgery to correct my nearsightedness. It was like a miracle, I’d worn glasses, later contact lenses, since the fourth grade and after a quick Lasik procedure I had perfect 20/20 vision. The joy of this success grew into a stage of self-improvement, hence the yoga. Due to our new found, throwaway budget I decided to make another improvement as well. I’d read somewhere that the mercury in old fillings could be a contributing factor in health issues. I had a mouth full of big old fillings and they were starting to crack and give me problems. I decided to have them removed and since I now had the time and the money, there was no excuse.

I found a dentist conveniently located near our house and made an appointment. The office was state of the art, the staff pleasant and the dentist most professional, all of which made me feel safe. I explained I wanted to remove all my old fillings and replace them with either white restorations or crowns. She took x-rays and pictures of all my teeth and then explained how I would be a good candidate for cosmetic dentistry. She showed me a close up picture of my smile and pointed out how my front teeth were indeed crooked. Where my teeth came together in the front they leaned slightly inwards, which caused them to lean out on the other side, in front of the teeth beside them. Always conscious of my smile because of the scar on my lip, I begged for braces as a teenager. Back then the dentist said that even though my teeth were slightly crooked it didn’t affect my bite and therefore, I didn’t need braces. With a mirror now placed in my hand the dentist went on to explain that while my molars would need crowns, my front teeth could be corrected with veneers. This is a thin layer of porcelain, which is cemented to the prepared front surface of the tooth, to improve aesthetics. She promised me a perfect smile with a mouth full of straight white teeth.

I talked it over with Harry, and never being one to deny me anything he said it was my decision but quickly added, “Don’t do it for me, I like your smile just the way it is.”
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"Maggie is living the American dream until it becomes a nightmare. She escapes and returns to her Norwegian roots, where..."

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