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The Evacuation

I have a couple of things to write about since I last blogged here, but the problem is that I want to write something thoughtful, and I was out of town again this past weekend.

So here is an unedited write-up of the evacuation and all the good stuff.



Late Wednesday morning I woke up, checked my email, and argued with another one of the youth group advisors about the price of the bus. We had been having this bus drama for more than a week at that point. It was ridiculous. I called the secretary at work and told her that I was going to be late because I was working at home at first, making calls and answering emails.

I turned on the TV for some background noise. The news. I flipped the channel. More news. News, news, news. The beginning of the 4-day news marathon was full of cameras positioned strategically on the highways and I could see the traffic was already piling up. I thought, wow, they are evacuating. I became transfixed.

My roommate came home at 1pm and I had still not showered or dressed, being hypnotized by the television as I was. She said they let everyone out of Baytown early so they could evacuate - for those who don't know, Baytown is where a lot of offices for a lot of different oil companies are, specifically ExxonMobile in this case. She said she had a flight for 6am Thursday. We sat and watched the news together, getting more and more nervous, until finally she just packed up her stuff and left. She said she was nervous because of the traffic, and even if she gets to the airport super early she could just sleep in her car or in the airport. She left literally 13 hours early for her flight. At this point, you just didn't know how bad the traffic was going to get, and in which direction it would be worse.

The internet cut out.

I heard a knock at the door. The girls downstairs host the internet that I use and they were letting me know that they were evacuating. They said they had a case of water I could use if I was sticking around, then they gave me the water and got the hell out of dodge. (That phrase came up so many times I couldn't count)

I called my boyfriend and told him I was freaking out. I said I wanted to go to Dallas. I said, if we don't leave now, we might not be able to get out later. He said, let's wait until Friday. He told me to start getting supplies and he would stop off on his way home from work.

I called work and found out I was off the hook in terms of teaching class that night, so I ate, showered, and left for Target. There was very little left that was usable. I took what I could and left.

On the way home there was an unexplanable back-up on the road. The light was green but we weren't moving. I managed to scoot around to see what the issue was: people were lining up at the gas stations because some of them were already out of gas. I thought, hmmm... maybe I should fill up? Nah...

My boyfriend came over and we decided that from now on we would drive only his car, since my car gets better mileage in case we had to evacuate later on. We went to the grocery store in time for a new shipment of water, but we were alerted that this was the last shipment. We took two cases, although there was no limit. We took veggies, canned beans (there were very little cans left of anything), juice, pasta, etc. I bought some shower curtains and cables to try to cover some of my furniture because I was sure the windows would blow in and everything would get soaked.

We headed back to my apartment to watch some movies and hopefully not freak out the rest of the night.


We woke up early to make one last trip to the grocery store. They were closing at 3pm so we wanted to see if there were any new shipments. We also stopped off at Walgreens and other stores in the area, seeing if we could find flashlights, radios, or anything else. Of course we waited until the last minute to do all of this so we didn't have any supplies. Luckily, we passed his neighbors as we were going back to his place later who said they would let us borrow a flashlight with brand new batteries.

When we got back to my apartment, we began preparing the place for the possibility of the windows blowing in. We pushed furniture against the wall, covered it with shower curtains, put valuables in the closet in boxes. Then I packed up the animals and we went to my boyfriend's place.

We cleared out his closet to be our shelter and I started putting things in there like flashlights, radios, animal food, and water. We taped and boarded up most of his windows and then made dinner. I suggested we start to cook some of the meat in his freezer so that if the power goes out we can still eat some of it (cooked meat lasts longer than raw when the refrigeration dies - plus, you can put cooked meat in the freezer to stay cool). So we had chicken and salad and a bottle of wine.

At midnight my boyfriend was checking the weather and traffic reports and freaked out. He decided it was a good idea to evacuate. I didn't care either way, but if we were going to get out then we had to get out immediately. In less than an hour we were packed up and on the road.


It was 2:30am by the time we were on the road. The highways were eerily empty. As we got farther from the city we began to see cars abandoned on the side of the road and I felt kind of like I was in a zombie movie. The longer we drove, the more cars we saw. We didn't hit any traffic until 41 miles out of the city, where we were going at a speed of about .1 mile every 10-15minutes.

At one point we had to take a bathroom break. The problem was that we were going so slowly we had to just pull off to the side of the road and pee in the grass. But because it was so late and I didn't want to be alone in the woods nor did I want the car to be left alone, I had to pee right next to the car as well. I've never peed in such a public arena. I opened the car door and turned off the interior lights and had my boyfriend hold up a towel to shield me on the other side. We also let Lilly pee - I took her out, shoved her in her litter box, kept her in there until I heard her scratching her litter over her pee or poop or whatever, and then put her back in her carrier.

We got to the ranch at about 5am. First, we pulled into the wrong driveway. It was this rickety old white house with two dogs lounging around out front. My cell phone had died so I was asking my boyfriend to call to make sure it was their house while he was just nonchalantly walking up to the front door. It was like in a horror movie. Luckily nobody answered the door and we quickly got back into the car and found the right ranch.

I'm kind of tired of typing this out, but just to sum it up.. the ranch was beautiful. I saw armadillos and gigantic catfish. My boyfriend's advisor's wife is a potter who had some linoleum and woodcut tools for a random reason so I was doing some work while I was there. She also gave me a book on lithography to read. They had 3 fat cats and two disobedient dogs. There was no rain and very little wind and I made flatbread on a tortilla press. The end.


At 12:16 AM, Blogger Aaron said...

that's a lovely story. i like how you repeated that there were cafish and armadillos there. armadillos are my fav animal. i havent seen one in years.

this whole rita thing seems like an anticlimactic movie, with everyone preparing for the apocalypse, which never comes. i like it that ending. katrina should've been like that.

now im sad. but i am glad you're all right. and i bet that that peeing experience was kinda memorable too, in a peeing kinda way.


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