My father left Susan and Mark’s house on Sunday morning to check on our town and homes. After he left, we lost another of our cats. Que, another oldster, hadn’t been able to survive the punishment of the traffic gridlock. His health failed over the next days before he died. But we only lost two, and others lost much more, including human family members, so we counted our blessings.
My mother and I stayed with them until Monday night, but left the barn cats there, as well as the horses. We brought the dog and the house cats home first. The neighborhood had some trees knocked down, but we only had to spend one night without power in San Leon.
After clearing some of the tree damage in order to be able to drive the trailer back to the barn, (a week later) my mother and I returned for the barn cats on the following Monday night. They all came running to me when they heard my voice at the rabbit cages. They weren’t thrilled about the kennel cages again, but most went in without a fuss, including the tomcats. One or two of the rescue Siamese cats were a pain, and had to be noosed again to be caught. Without the heat or the traffic, they all endured the two to three hour trip much more easily. My sister Karen drove up from her Florida trip at the moment when we were unloading barn cats, so we all unloaded and got them all out and free again. Karen and I returned to Susan’s to bring the horses home on that Wednesday night.
I’m so grateful our neighborhood was undamaged, and the other animals and all the people were fine and safe, but I’ve never wanted to be in a traffic jam again. The last time I got into one, I started to get anxious. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, anyone? I know I don’t have driving phobia for real, but traffic jams still make me uncomfortable, and my old love of long road trips has evaporated.
With my horrid saga in mind, now you know why I get angry when the media starts trying to scare us into running from hurricanes (most of which are still tropical storms nowhere near us when they start their crap up). When Tropical Storm Edouard was “bearing down upon us” (that’s how the news media put it) everyone just grumbled and went about their business. My family, friends, and I actually went out to lunch at a nearby Mexican restaurant that day for a “It’s not a dang Hurricane” party.
Rita was supposed to be a catagory 5, or so the media hyped it. It got downgraded to a catagory 3 by the time it hit. The city officials were supposed to have fuel trucks along the evacuation route – I never saw even one. Their contraflow plan was a miserable failure. On Saturday, September 24th, the news started reporting that the city officials had a scheduled plan for when people could return home, by regions. No one paid attention to them. They had failed us – why should we obey them now?
These days, the city officials have a new plan, which would have saved a lot of lives if it had been in place for Rita. The plan is that those who live within three miles of the water is to evacuate first. Evacuation by regions according to danger, and no one in Houston proper or above should leave at all unless a catagory 5 is imminent on our doorstep. It remains to be seen if this will work, or if people who have been terrified by the media will listen to that reasonable plan at all.
For me and mine, it would have to be seriously impending danger to get us to leave just to end up in traffic gridlock again, and I know many others feel the same. The problem is, will people take a real threat seriously, after the media has cried “wolf” so often? I hope we never have to find out.
Sadly, the best idea would be to actually have a practice evacuation, because no one ever realizes the problems involved until they actually try to accomplish something like this. Honorable mention of other fools: the idiot businesses that hold their employees until the last possible minute so that by the time they CAN evacuate, it’s practically too late to even try it.