Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The Last Hurricane Post

All that's left to do in the aftermath Fizzlecane Rita is to reorganize our bookcases. That can wait pretty much indefinately. I promised some pictures of Rita, but most of them, well, suck. I pulled out a few to give you a taste of what was going on.

By Thursday evening I-45 was packed and traffic was at a standstill. Lining the freeway were dozens of cars that had run out of gas or the owners were just too tired to go any farther. Houston mayor Bill White put out a call to asking the residents along the evacuation path to help the stranded motorists. I, Clark, Richard, and Richard's son Jordan filled up some water jugs, snatched up a box of popsicles, and grabbed all the gas we could and headed to the rescue.

People either had plenty of water or were completely out. Those that were out were pretty happy to see us show up with plenty of cold water. Gas was a bigger problem. Many people wanted it, but we only had 15 gallons. We had to be very picky about who we gave it too, limiting it just to families with very young or very old people. After giving away all the gas we tried siphoning more out of Clark's truck but an anti-siphon theft prevention device blocked us. This worried me some as I was planning on siphoning gas from our cars to run my Coleman duel-fuel camping stove for cooking after Rita passed. D'oh!
09-23-05_0005 Windy

The next day we set up a meeting with all our neighbors to see who still needed help, to find out who had a chainsaw or first aid training, and to make sure every household had a walkie-talkie so they could contact everyone else in case of an emergency. People who had been through hurricanes in the past shared their tips and experiences with hurricane newbies. Every family on our street for two blocks was there. After the meeting the men went up and down the street to help move heavy objects and board up windows. We live on the best street in the world!
IMG_7877 IMG_7878

A bit after the meeting a neighbor came running up to our house with the first emergency. He desperately needed cake mix!! His son was turning 9 the next day and they needed a birthday cake but all the stores were closed! Luckily Misseswether stepped in, calmed him down, and offered to bake a birthday cake. Apparently this guy didn't realize it was possible to bake a cake from scratch and couldn't understand why Misseswether could bake a cake but not give him the box of cake mix. It was pretty funny. Finally the neighbor staggered off to go lift heavy objects and Misseswether retreated to the kitchen. Unfortunately, that's when she discovered that I had packed up all her good cookbooks! She finally found a cake receipe in one of the many "junk" cookbooks I had picked up from my days as our head cook. Soon the yummy smell of cake batter filled the kitchen. The next problem arose with frosting. Misseswether had never made frosting before but kinda knew how to do it. She briefly considered calling my mom to ask how to make frosting but decided it would be too hard to explain to Mommawether why frosting was needed ten hours before a hurricane was to strike. In the end she found a receipe in another old cookbook. Once the cake was frosted Missewether carefully broke apart the few candy letters we had left over from previous birthday cakes and managed to spell out the son's name. Misseswether is awesome and the family was thunderstruck (um, maybe a bad choice of words considering the situation) when she showed up on their door holding a vanilla layer cake with buttercream frosting for them.

At that point night was falling and the storm was nearing. Luckily, it had changed paths somewhat and we knew we'd be on the "clean" side of Rita. Even though our saferoom was ready we decided just to sleep in our bed upstairs. I'm a very light sleeper so we figured if the storm got bad I'd wake up and move everyone to the saferoom (Miniwether had a nice little nest under the desk).

I slept the whole night through.

We were really lucky. Places just two miles away are still suffering blackouts, which are truely sucky when the temperature is over 100 F (I love Texas in the Fall). We learned a lot from this storm, the biggest lesson probably being "Don't Evacuate!". If you want a complete list of what I learned from Hurricane Rita check out my post over on the forum titled "What I learned from Hurricane Rita". You might also browse some of the other threads on that forum. There's a lot of useful information there. Sidenote, I go by the name "Blast" there. Please don't ask why.

Adventure! Excitement! Be Prepared!

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