Hurricane Rita may have turned into a non-event for my part of Houston from a meteorological standpont, but it certainly created many events in every other regard.
Evacuation, Cypress: We left town, terrified of the Cat 5 hurricane apparently bearing down directly to the West of us. At 8:45 AM on Thursday, September 22, we set out on a back road, thinking we would avoid the traffic by sneaking around it. Hah! Eleven hours later, we had traveled about 50 miles, to Brenham, Texas. Thanks to my sister-in-law, Judi, who works for Omni hotels, when a room cancellation left an unexpected opening at the Omni West Park in Dallas, we got a room for that night. We got there at about 1:30 AM Friday. It was grueling. The best way to illustrate the experience is to explain that we traveled from Omaha, Nebraska back to Cypress in the same 17 hours that it took us to travel from Cypress to Dallas on evacuation day!
Destination, Kansas City: Because we got in to Dallas so late, we slept in a little and didn't get on the road until 1:00 PM. That made getting to Omaha difficult, so we arranged to go to Julia's parents house in Parkville, Missouri for the night Friday. Steve and Ellen offered us gracious hospitality and a lovely Saturday morning brunch. Considering that we had never met before, their kindness was even more welcome. Now we have officially met both parental sides of Julia's family, so at least we won't be meeting at the church when Nick and Julia get married.
Destination, Omaha: We got to Omaha in time for my niece Jeni's little boy Mitchell's second birthday party. I haven't been a room so full of infants in years! (The grandmother urges are just driving me nutz ... ) Jeni anhd her husband Jeff are nice young people and Mitchell is so smart it is amazing. At two, he speaks in complete sentences and with an understanding that is far beyond normal two-year-old development. I have had three of my own - who I thought were pretty darn smart - and Mitchell is still a wonder. He loved Victoria and the two of them laughed and giggled up a storm both times we visited their house. My brother Mark and sister-in-law Judi were so nice to us and made us completely welcome. It stopped being an evacuation and turned into a lovely family visit for a couple of days.
Consternation, Cats: Our cats hated every minute of the evacuation and ensuing travel. I can not describe how unhappy they were. We had gotten tranquilizers for them, but those did not seem to work well, so we stopped using them and bought gardening gloves for our own protection instead. We rearranged the cars so I had all of our goods and Michael had a little cat spa in the back of his vehicle .... although the cats didn't find it too appealing. They did survive and recognized home as soon as we got back. They have been surprizingly friendly towards us since arriving back at the ranch.
Reconfiguration, Calendar: Everything is turned upside down. Appointments missed, events canceled and rescheduled. MY PLAY'S OPENING CHANGED TO OCTOBER 7. It's going to take a lot of time to get everything back on track.
We survived evacuating Hurricane Rita. That's enough.