Well, here I sit in the path of destruction. Future path, that is. We will see. We are north of the predicted landfall and thus, on the “dirty side”. For all of you hurricane virgins, this just means the side of the hurricane with the most rain.
We evacuated three years ago for Rita and I will never forget that experience as long as I live. Someone, somewhere, high up in city politics probably, screwed the pooch and started yelling something to the affect of “Run! Run for your liiiiiives!”. It was just plain hysteria talking due to the totally unbelievable fiasco that happened in New Orleans. Apparently the ones in the know didn’t stop to consider that there was no way to duplicate that tragedy anywhere else but New Orleans. The city that sits below sea level and has a series of dikes and levies, (that were in poor repair), holding back the water. This information was apparently denied the person who started telling everyone to evacuate, from Galveston all the way up north of Houston to Conroe.
My FIL was alive then and so we had John, Henrietta, Marcos, Keelan, me, two dogs, two cats and oh, did I forget to say that the day before the hysteria we picked up my dear friend Susan from the airport. She was visiting me from Italy, via her parents house in Denver. Almost my first words were, “So, have you watched the news lately?” At that point we were just barely paying attention to “it” and were wondering if it was even coming this way. By the time we got home and turned on the TV things were getting all out of control by the news media. They were starting to get whipped into a frenzy and eventually, I am sure, they believed their own hype. EVERYONE was leaving. We got sucked in and piled on the freeway outa here with everyone else.
It normally takes about 7 hours to get to my parents house up just north of Ft. Worth. We arrived in 32. No, REALLY.
Quite literally, Marcos almost died on that trip. He and Henrietta were both on Hospice and doing fairly well at the time. We sat in stopped traffic in triple digit heat for hours and hours. There was no A/C because you can’t run it in that kind of traffic as the car will overheat. He dehydrated to the point that when we FINALLY found a place we could stop, waaaaay off the beaten to death path, he staggered out of the car with a good deal of help from me and walked straight over to a trash can and threw up. Henrietta’s wheelchair was strapped on top of the Trailblazer and so John just picked up her 80ish pounds and carried her in to the restroom for me. He turned his head while holding her up in front of the potty while I snatched down her pants and she pooed in the potty. I was able to hold her up while I pulled up her pants…somehow. I don’t really remember how.
You should have seen all the looks we got with him carrying her in there! That was so funny. That was the only funny thing about the entire experience. John and Susan took turns driving and I kept apologizing to her for the lack of fun her visit was being.
Susan was a dream come true to evacuate with. I wouldn’t wish what happened to us on anyone, let alone my best friend, but good Lord, she was such a help. Just dealing with the old folks, was hard enough.
Poor Marcos. We planned to leave in the dead of the night, I’m thinking it was about 1:00AM, so hopefully we wouldn’t have as much heat to deal with. At least not immediately. I told John and Henrietta that I was going to give her an Ativan, (anti-anxiety meds), so she could just go ahead and sleep once she got in the car. She agreed that she should. They were her Rx and she took one every night to help her go to sleep. So when we left I gave it to her and turned to Marcos and said, “Here, Marcos, why don’t you take one, too? It’ll help you sleep.” Famous last words. He popped it in his mouth and we set out. In about 20 minutes he started crawling out of his skin and was grabbing everything in the front seat with him. NOTHING was sacred. Gear knob, glovebox, buttons on the door, OnStar, radio, A/C, played with the seatbelt endlessly. He was like a very badly behaved toddler. I can’t tell you how many times I said, OH GAWD, I AM SOOOO SORRY I DID THAT! Needless to say, he never got another Ativan.
So I have been up since the butt-crack of dawn trying to get “ready”. We are staying here and keeping our fingers crossed. I know it is looking really bad right now, but last time, we left and the power never even went out, people. Not a single blinking clock greeted us upon our return. I think there was a medium sized dead branch in our yard. Woo-hoo.
Is this the smartest thing I’ve ever done? Probably not. Yet, neither was evacuating for Rita.