Oy, but it’s interesting out there….

Houston has descended into a sort of controlled chaos. Traffic was absolutely terrible, today, especially on the surface streets around the freeways. I had to be very creative (and pray that the police weren’t looking) several times, in order to avoid major traffic snarls around the Southwest Freeway.

So it’s official. My family and I are staying put through the storm. Personally, I think we’re insane, but.. what can you do, y’know? I have no control over their decisions.

Anywho, I spent today out and about with my mother, attempting to ready the household for hurricane Rita. We went on the official water trek, starting at around nine am. We first headed to SAMS Club at I-10 and Hwy 6. The place wasn’t too crowded, but they had no water. They also have no clue when they’ll expect it in. While at SAMS, we laid in supplies, food, and managed to get the last six 1.5 gallon tubs they had. Those will most definately be used for water. After throwing all of that into the back of the pick-up, we headed back down Hwy 6 towards home and stopped by Academy. We managed to get the last three “lantern” batteries (large rectangular batteries for those big square flashlights) in the store. They were, unfortunately, out of Coleman fuel. Great.

After Academy, we headed down Hwy 6, checking dollar stores and grocery stores for water. Noone had any. HEB had JUST sold their last four gallons (they were rationing it, this morning, at four gallons per customer). We turned around at Bellaire and headed back to the Wal*Mart at Westpark. If I thought the grocery stores were bad, Wal*Mart was absolutely awful. My mother headed in while I moved the boxes from the bed of the truck into the cab (didn’t want it to get stolen). I grabbed one of the handicapped electric carts (I broke my toe quite badly this morning and was finding it difficult to walk without screaming), and headed into the store. I immediately had to wait for almost five minutes in order to make it past the front entrance… the line of people was simply that long.

Once in the store, I managed to find and meet up with my mother (after taking nearly ten minutes to get across the store) and discovered that she had managed to find two coleman propane bottles (if neccesary, we can use a small propane camp stove. The big stove we have is designed for Coleman fuel (much like unleaded gasoline)) and three 14-gallon trash cans. Her idea is a good one. Between the nine gallons of water we have from the containers we picked up at SAMS, the 42 gallons from the trash cans should provide three people enough water to drink, cook, clean, and even flush with (well, if we flush once, daily) for a good week and a half, or so. If it gets bad, we’ll be past the bad weather and can decide it’s time to visit North Texas for a few days, anyway. heh.

We’re doing laundary, tonight and tomorrow, in case we decide at the last minute to get out of dodge (or it starts flooding and we’ve got to vamoose). Personally, I’m planning on going to sleep sometime in the next hour, or so. Tomorrow will be a VERY long day, and we’ll have to spend quite a bit of time making sure things won’t go flying around the yard. I know of at least one tree that needs to be trimmed (thankfully only one branch on that tree has to go), we’ve got to move everything off the patio and into the garage, and we have to dig out our camp stove from the depths of our pack-rat empire.

It’s going to be an interesting ride, folks. While I’m no longer jumping around like a crazed fan-boy; I am still a little starry-eyed over the whole experience. I expect to come crashing back to reality as soon as I realize that stepping outside for a quick cigarette is suddenly out of the question for a good twelve hours. I’m updating my personal blog (fyreplace.com) with information on storm statements, track information, and preparedness info. I’m leaving all of that, here, to the folks who have been through this, before. I’ll be updating the Houston MetBlog with personal info, stories from the ‘cane, and my general experiences throughout all of this. In short, I’ll – hopefully – be keeping you amused in the midst of all of the chaos.

Wish me luck, folks. I may be in northern Ft. Bend County, but it’s still going to be a VERY bumpy ride.

5 Comments so far

  1. GraceD (unregistered) on September 22nd, 2005 @ 1:30 am

    Dear Houston Friends,

    I am wondering if you could help me. We started a very effective and successful blog for Hurricane Katrina relief, The Hurricane Katrina Direct Relief! blog http://gracedavis.typepad.com/katrinablog

    The blog provides information for donors who wish to help victims with supply shipments sent directly to the shelters. We also posted volunteer opportunities for those who wanted to help in the disaster zone.

    We’re going to do the same for Hurricane Rita and what we need are ‘boots-on-the- ground’ volunteers to email the blog keepers information on:

    **What exactly the shelters need. Our boots-on-the-ground volunteers contacted the shelters and identified urgent needs for the evacuees:
    Example- http://gracedavis.typepad.com/katrinablog/2005/09/bath_supplies_m.html

    **Where the volunteers are needed and contact information of the volunteer coordinator:
    Example – http://gracedavis.typepad.com/katrinablog/2005/09/volunteer_kathy.html

    Boots-on-the-ground volunteers should be locals close in proximity to the affected area and be willing to visit and call the shelters and fire departments, etc. on a regular basis. We currently work with three moms in Mississippi who make the rounds and email us with their reports, which are then posted to the Katrina relief blog.

    Can anyone help us with this? Would you know of anyone who could? If you do, please contact me at the email address for this comment.

    Good luck everyone. Please, take care of yourselves.


  2. Tom in DC (unregistered) on September 22nd, 2005 @ 7:50 am

    Godspeed, Fyre. Anything DC can do to help, we stand ready to do.


  3. EDgAr H. (unregistered) on September 22nd, 2005 @ 9:02 am

    Best of luck to all of you out there !!


  4. Craig (unregistered) on September 22nd, 2005 @ 10:45 am

    As a displaced New Orleanian (now temporarily in Dallas), a few words of advice…

    Do not stay in or near Galveston.

    Take a copy of every significant bill you have. Call these people and advise them of what’s happening.

    Your cell phones will be too crowded to use consistently. But text messaging WILL work.

    Given the path of the storm, I’d suggest now is a good time to visit Brownsville. Or maybe take that trip to Uvalde and Alpine you’ve been putting off. Going north is gonna suck big-time, given all the traffic.

    If you can, double your projected gasoline budget.

    Get neighbor phone/text numbers. They will be a lifeline if you’re gone a while.

    Good luck to all of you. I can guarantee an adventure.


  5. Eric (unregistered) on February 15th, 2006 @ 10:56 pm

    Crazier still is the fact that that was probably a spam comment, yet with no URL.

    Hehe, I love happenings like that.

    (and if it wasn’t a spam comment, who the hell pays 75 grand for a car? Then again, if you can afford it, pimp it up, I guess. (Me? I’m happy in my 1997 Dodge Ram with the broken dash. I’d like to have better than 11.5 mpg, though. heh.))



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