Friday, September 23, 2005

Friday morning in Houston

Well, I guess I should give an update on me and mine as Rita approaches. I hesitated to do so as I really didn't think anyone would be cruising the blogs at such a time. Note to self...that's really stupid! Of course the bloggers are still up and cruising!

I guess I'll go back to Wednesday morning to start. First of all, Jan is a GM at an assisted living community in Cy-fair and has been non-stop since word of the storm hit the news. Her company evacuated several facilities from Zones A and B. Jan has been a bit frustrated as her corporate offices, who have 'taken charge', are not should I say this? thoughtful in making decisions as those 'closer to the ground' (i.e. the managers at the properties). I told her it's just a fact in any organization (IMHO) that the higher up you go, the less efficient things become. (again, IMHO) I think that was the whole problem in New Orleans. There was poor leadership and inaction at the lowest levels of government (city AND state) and whenever you just defer to the federal government, the highest level of government, for planning and emergency management, it's just not going to be as efficient. Anyway, I digress. So, Jan has been working pretty much non-stop since Tuesday. She was home Tuesday and Wednesday night but has been at her property since then. Many of her employees did not show up, despite Jan's securing gasoline for them. She even told them they could bring their families to the property to stay while the employees worked. They have a kid's area set up. But she is down to less than a bare minimum staff to care for the residents. However, my wife is a special individual and somehow, some way always gets done what has to be done. She loves her staff and employees so much and it really shows in the job that she does.

As for me and the kids, we planned to go to Ft. Worth to stay with my sister and her kids. Hermann Memorial has been great in understanding that some employees need to take care of their families and they let me off Wed and Thurs night. My mom and dad were going to go with us so we planned on leaving Wednesday night. About an hour before we planned on leaving (10 pm), Mom told Dad how long we were going to be on the road in traffic. I think we estimated 10-12 hours or possibly more. Dad said he wasn't going to go. Mind you at that time, the storm was heading straight for Galveston. So, it ended up just being me and the kids. I got a little sleep and headed out around 3:30 am. Jan had spoken to a friend that got out earlier in the day and got a shortcut from her. The route was through NW Houston, onto the beltway feeder and over to 249. From there we could go through Tomball, Magnolia and then backroads over to 45 at about Centerville. She had not problem getting there and after Magnolia was travelling 50-70 mph. GREAT!!! So, we took off. 249 was flying most of the way out and I'm thinking, 'Aren't I smart?' Then we hit the traffic. We went 20 miles total from my house in about 5 hours (keep in mind that 12 of those miles were smooth traveling out past Cypresswood to where 249 ends. The rest of the way was creeping along. As Steve said in a comment on Jon's blog, EXCRUCIATING!!! I decided (early enough into the trip, thank goodness) that this was not going to work. I had a prescient vision of running out of gas, nowhere for the kids to go to the bathroom, just misery. Turns out that this came true for so many people. So we turned back and came home.

So here we are, hunkerin' down. We have plenty of food and water. Not doing too well on batteries But I do have a lantern with 2 or 3 butane canisters so I'm ok on light. My MP3 player receives FM radio so if I want to use that, I will. Channel 11 simulcasts on several FM radio stations. There is also a live WebCast for our out-of-towners to watch through the storm. Man, I wish I had one of those big battery backups for my computer. I'm going to fill the bathtub with water to flush the toilet (if needed). We have plenty water with backup at my parents' home just a few of miles away.

We are a little anxious here. Actully, I am. The kids are just kids and oblivious to anything but the current moment. They've almost eaten all of the chips and junk food that we bought in preparation for the storm. Hopefully, they'll just store thos calories and be able to use them later. :) I hope everyone stays safe. I'll be bloggin this evening as long as the power stays on.


Jen said...

Just passin' by the blogs, and read yours. Hope and pray your family is safe through the storm, and thankfully Rita's decided to be less furious as she previously was. Better to hunker down at home than to try and hunker down in your car on some clogged highway. said...


I sure hope Dalton can bang out a few bars of George Strait on the nice-looking guitar!

When you talk about smooth sounds, I think about George!

It is good to know that you're safe and back at home, ready to ride this one out.

And many thanks to folks like your wife that are willing to sacrifice and go over and above to do what is necessary to help people in need.


equarles said...

Don't know you, but stay safe. I'll say a prayer for you and your family.