The winds of Rita from the outer bands of the storm were teasing Morgan City early in the afternoon. I gassed up my car while waiting for Mark to come in. I was truly a nervous wreck. Katrina had changed a lot of things, and apparently, I was also changed. We'd had no rain in the almost month since the storm had hit, and the thoughts of wind, rain, darkness, thunder, lightning, and a possible hit by another hurricane were not doing anything for my mental state. I was in an extremely frenzied state, made worse by everyone telling me to leave. When I think back to that point, which was about 3 months ago, I am still uncomfortable. We've had some rains since then, and it is very unsettling. Luckily, it's only rained maybe 2 or 3 more times.
I told my parents that the outer bands were hitting us, and my father said that that was probably not true. But when I got out the car to fill it up, a big gust came through and caught the door, ripping it from my hands as I went to shut it, and slammed it into my arm. I had a bruise for about a week. I grimaced, I guess, when that happened, because an old man made a beeline for me. He evidently thought I grimaced because I didn't know how to pump my own gas. He came to demonstrate where to put my card, to tell it I want a reciept, how to put the nozzle in the car, how to select my gas...all after I politely declined his assistance by telling him, with a twinge of pain behind my heart, that my father owns a service station, and that I could handle it. He even called me sweetheart or something else patronizing. He stayed there explaining it all to me until I was done, then left. Sigh.
I drove to my in-laws' in sporadic rains, feeling better about the car, but worse about the weather. Around 7 that evening, Mark made it back to Morgan City, and we settled in for what was, to me, a very long evening.
While she was no picnic, Rita was not as bad as she could have been. She spared Houston, which made us happy. My grandmother's assisted living center originally evacuated to a hotel in Alexandria, but when the do-not-return orders were issued, they moved to other ALC's in their chain. My 86-year-old grandmother with Alzheimer's ended up in Houston. As Rita loomed, my family worried. My mother called Houston, only to find out that they had decided that they had enough staff prepared to stay, and that they would. Rita looked to be as bad, if not worse, than Katrina. The thousands of evacuees who ended up in Houston had to evacuate for a second time. A JCC kid I've known since she was 4, who will be 15 in March, called my cell phone panicking, because she was in Houston and was packing up to leave again. I tried to comfort her, but could not, I am afraid, because I had enough on my mind. They ended up in Dallas until after the storm, if I'm not mistaken, then moved back.
So anyway, we were all Very Concerned about my grandmother. We would not have time to make that 6 hour drive to get her, plus do it again on the way back, to ensure her safety. In addition, none of the family could provide for her needs, especially if
Instead of slamming
That night, as the storm raged on (WHY do they only strike at night????), I had even more trouble sleeping than usual. As I mentioned earlier, sleeping was, and, occasionally, still is, an issue for me. I did not get much that night. The sounds of the fence breaking, the wind slapping the house, the rain beating down, and things slamming into the house, were a bit much for me. I had vowed I would never stay for a storm again, and there I was. But where could I have gone?
The next morning, as things slowed down, we watched as the
I was supposed to go to
For having nothing, we sure had a lot to bring to
It took Mark to take the cats and the things he was bringing back to his RV that night, plus a trunk-load, plus me and a trunkload and a back-seat-load, plus Mr. Loy and the plastic “furniture” they were lending us, to get everything to
Just as we were leaving, my cell phone rang. It was the insurance adjuster for my car. For having a good driving record and low mileage, I got some additional money. Four years ago, my father paid $4,000 for my used Toyota Corolla. I had a $500 deductible, but got $200 for contents. So before the deductible, they were going to give me $4,100 for it. Something went our way! We technically turned a profit on an 11-year-old second-hand car!
We made it back to
Geoff moved into his apartment in March or so. He left because he wanted to. I left because I was married. So while they figured I wouldn’t come back, there was a possibility that he could some day. So his room sat empty, except for a TV and the exercise bike…a sad attempt at an exercise room. They left the TV for us and put the bike back in the garage. We unloaded the cars, then Mark had to go back to
He and Calie stopped by later. They helped me sort through our belongings. Geoff’s old mirror still hung on the wall, so we put the two plastic carts under it like a dresser. I took the shoe cart and put it in the closet. We stacked some things along the walls and in the corners. Geoff found my dad’s little workbench in the garage and put the TV on it, then got the old Nintendo out of our parents’ room and hooked it up. My dad bought an “elevated air mattress,” which was double the thickness of a standard one, and we inflated it and put sheets on it. My mom washed Geoff’s old comforter and we threw it on top. Then, I made a nightstand by stacking the photo albums and the huge Tupperware bin of the smaller albums and loose pictures next to the bed. I hung the clothes up, and set up the litter box, some food, and some water for the cats, then let them explore. Poor little things.
I don’t think I discussed Lily’s cold. A week or so after we were in
That first night sleeping on an air mattress in Geoff’s old room was strange. It was nice having dinner with my parents. It was nice being with my own family for a change. But things were so very different. The most obvious, of course, being that I was living in Geoff’s room, with clothes I didn’t recognize, on fake furniture, in a house that no longer held carpet. We have to walk with something on our feet, because the foam backing on the carpet would not all come up, but it flakes off when you walk on it. When the weather started to change, it was going to be very cold to walk on. We have to be careful, because the carpet tacks along the walls and in the doorways where the carpets either changed or became tile floors are still there. Plus, several little things had changed. Minor things, like my mom changing the kitchen drawers and cabinets a little. And big things, like Geoff being gone. I was now only an hour away from Mark instead of two, but I still would only see him if he had a couple of days off. Entercom’s return to
Stay tuned for Part 10: Moving week begins