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26 September 2005

Where Do I Even Begin?


F

irst and foremost I have to say I am tickled to be sitting here writing this blog today. Just a short few days ago I wasn't sure where I would be, hour to hour. I decided on Wednesday morning to flee the city. Stupid me thought 610 to I-10 West towards San Antonio would be my best route. I gathered everything I could, put furniture up on my bed, table on the sofa, chairs on the dining room table, every free space in my place was occupied with something.

I headed out with less than a half tank of gas. I knew I passed 5 or 6 gas stations before I got on the freeway... I didn't think they would be closed and out of gas, but they were. Undaunted, I continued... I got onto 610, no problem, no problem that is until I got to the Galleria area.... dead stop. I still wasn't worried. An hour later when I hadn't gone 50 feet, I was a little concerned... an hour after that I had gone a total of a mile. It was around this time that I thought I MIGHT be headed for trouble! At this point I was in the 3rd lane over away from the exiting lanes. I just knew I was gonna piss people off when I started going to the right to get into the exit lanes, but I figured they would really be pissed if I ran out of gas right in front of them. After 15 minutes trying, I managed to get off 610. I sat waiting for the light to change and wondered what to do. I turned around and went home. I was going to wait out the storm there. Unpacked the car, put furniture back in its' place, and went to sleep.

I watched TV with all the traffic reports... thousands of cars stranded and millions of people trying to get out of the city. This was going to be bad I thought. Thursday morning came and I figured maybe I should try again... after all, the millions of people left the day before... Right? Wrong. It was worse, actually I think the cars I left on 610 were still there... I gave up again and went home. I kept thinking, what the hell am I going to do? Inbetween these two adventures I was getting calls from friends and family all over the country, worried about me. I told them I was fine and nothing was going to happen. I was convinced the hurricane gods would protect me. Actually, I was trying to convince myself.

Friday morning came and goofy me decided one more try. I went a different route with I-10 and San Antonio still in my mind. Before I knew it I was on I-10 sailing along at 60 MPH. Wow! This was great, I guess everyone that was going to get out got out. Tooling along the highway, I turned the radio on... singing, tapping my feet to the beat... not a care in the world.

Until I got 20 miles out of Houston.

Where the hell did all these people come from??? There were hundreds thousands of cars and people all over the place. Did I make a wrong turn and end up in the parking lot of Giants Stadium? A dejected looking guy was sitting on the side of the road. I got out of my car and walked over and asked the dumbest question I ever thought. "What's the holdup?" He looked at me and probably thought, "Now that's the dumbest question I ever heard." Anyway, he told me the cars were backed up for 30 miles, and he's been sitting there for over an hour and that's all he knew. Well, that's all I need to hear. I made a U-Turn on the median grass and headed back to Houston. I kept telling myself that God wanted me to stay in Houston for some reason and it was His fault I couldn't leave.

Back home I once again put everything back in its' place and decided I wasn't moving it anymore. My intentions were to stay up and greet Rita... I promptly fell asleep at 10PM...

I woke up with a start about 2AM... Rita had arrived... Rain and wind... rain and wind... I knelt up in my bed and pulled the blinds up on the windows behind and above the headboard. I tried to open the window but couldn't. What the hell is wrong with this thing I kept thinking... then I unlocked it and viola! the window opened. Laugh. Yes, Rita had arrived.... I ran to the front living room and looked out the blinds... wind, rain... trees blowing all over... Turned the TV on to the local news. I just knew at any minute that Braes Bayou was going to overflow and flood my complex. The Bayou runs alongside the apartment complex.

It would storm for a half hour, then die down for awhile... repeat, repeat, repeat. This lasted until about 7AM I think. Then she went as fast as she came.

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