Hurricane Ike– Our Unwelcome Visitor

by lora on September 18, 2008

There are so many thoughts running through my head in regard to the last week that I hardly know where to begin. I guess the obvious place to start is with last week. On Monday the 8th I was so very excited when they said that Ike was heading toward the south Texas coast, between Brownsville & Corpus Christi. Not that I wish a hurricane on anyone, but I figured the cattle and cactus wouldn’t be as adversely affected as a city of over 2 million would. But, Ike had different plans.

Wednesday was Sarah’s birthday. It was already complicated by the fact that all of the other girls were having asthma problems, and at the last minute we changed the plans. Our original plans were for us all to go out to eat and go to the Galleria, but at about 4 we changed them. Instead, Gene and I took Sarah to Red Lobster and Katy Mills Mall. She was quite excited about going to Red Lobster, and very pleased that she got her much desired shrimp. While at the mall she had us look at Circuit City and FYE for the Swan Princess, which we didn’t find. All day the girls had been asking me what we were going to do about Ike, and my firm reply was I would not discuss it until 10pm. I wasn’t able to stick to that plan completely, as Brenda, Gene’s boss’s wife, was trying to make evacuation reservations for us in Waco and they kept trading phone calls. On our way home we knew we would have to evacuate but really didn’t have any firm plans. After we finished our party at home, Brenda called to tell us there wasn’t a hotel room to be had in Waco, which we were pretty sure would be the case. Plan B was to head to north Louisiana to Gene’s mom’s house.

Even though we were going to be evacuating there were many things we needed to do to prepare for the hurricane. At 11pm Lindsay and I decided we needed to head to Wal-Mart to get supplies for our trip, and to stock up on things we needed to have at home when we returned. Wal-Mart was a zoo! No other word to describe it… okay… chaotic, crowded, pandemonium, frenzy all describe it pretty accurately as well. The lines were about 8 -10 deep, with everyone stocking up on water, ready-to-eat foods, snacks, and any other necessity they could think of. Earlier Wed night when I had to run into Sam’s to pick up medicine one woman had in her buggy: 2 packages of Chex mix packs, 3 cases of Bud Light, and a case of vodka. I’m thinking she was going to be making hurricanes, not preparing for one. I digress, back to Wal-Mart. I did pretty well, and was able to get what I needed, though it did take a while. We arrived at the store at 11pm and didn’t leave until 12:30am. The shelves were already beginning to get bare and I knew it would be a while before they were re-stocked again. ( I just didn’t know how long… more on that later)

As Thursday morning rolled around, our evacuation preparations began. All of our clothes were clean, because I had been preparing for the eventuality of evacuating, so all we had to do was pick out our clothes. Once again we were having to make tough decisions about what we had to leave behind. With the path the eye was on at this point, the eye was going to be passing 30 miles west of us, putting us on the dirty side of the storm. That would mean our mobile home had a good chance of being severely damaged or destroyed. It was very hard to leave things such as family pictures, a guitar, a mando, and a violin behind. There were special treasures we all had to part with knowing they might be there when we return. Going through this process is very hard; to leave your whole life behind and never knowing if you will see it again is emotionally draining. I think about the Jews who were told by the Nazi’s that they were being relocated and to pack what they could in one bag. Of course, we know the end of that story. But I did wonder what thoughts went through their minds as they hurriedly made their decisions of what to take and what to leave. These are choices most people never have to make. Our homes bring us great security, and comfort. They are our refuge, and the thought of losing that is unnerving.

We spent the night packing up the van and all piled in at 5am. Lindsay, Hannah & I hadn’t closed our eyes all night, and Caroline and Rachel had only had short naps. When we left the house, we expected the worst, much like we experienced with Rita. I have a photo album up with pictures from the first part of our trip; hope you enjoy them.

BTW, the pictures on the Rita link don’t work.  I lost them somewhere along the way.

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