Thursday: 22 September 2005
8:37 AM. I woke up around 7 AM today to go downstairs, turn on the TV, and listen to a live press conference from the Mayor of Houston. I just drank a cup of tea while watching more TV for the past hour and a half. Somewhere in there I called Jordan to see how her escape was going. Her family, with three people, three cats, and a dog in the "aircraft carrier", was going to New Braunfels. They were stuck on 59, having left at 5 this morning. For today, I'll continue posting throughout the day, instead of the long post I just completed for yesterday. I've got to go take a shower, get ready, and finish packing in case of an emergency evacuation. There's so much to do and it seems, not enough time.
10:11 AM. Took a shower (water pressure was low), got ready, didn't finish packing yet. My parents and I are hurricane-proofing the attic with plastic and newspaper and trays to collect water. Of course, if the roof blows off, that's all a moot point anyways. We're not sure if or when we'll lose power or water; the uncertainty is the worst. We just finished two things in the attic: one was the waterproofing, and the other was hoisting an A/C pipe up that had fallen down. It didn't break, but ended up with a joint in it that was less than forty-five degrees: an easy place to rupture. We spent about thirty hot, sweaty, almost-falling-through-the-ceiling minutes up there tacking and propping it up to a ninety-degree angle, which is quite a bit safer. We just learned that our good friend Rita took another turn for the better (for us at least). Earlier this morning it shifted upwards so that instead of swathing south of Houston, it's now going above Houston. Just now, it shifted again to even above Galveston Bay. Good news for us, bad news for Beaumont.
I had to cut the pomegranates off the tree outside. They're bigger than golf-balls, and could easily become missiles in anything above 75 mph winds. Which reminds me, the winds in Rita went down from 175 mph yesterday to about 167 mph just now. Maybe we'll catch a break and it'll go down even further. Maybe not.
12:12 AM. Quite a few things to write about, just from the last couple hours. I keep on hearing sirens passing by my house, which is right next to highway 6, a hurricane evacuation route. I'm not sure if they're cops or ambulances. My dad and I have been outside for most of the past two hours, bringing our plethora of plants inside and putting them in the kitchen and the foyer. That, or placing the big ones near the garage so we can move them inside the garage tomorrow. I overheard the TV talking about airport delays. Apparently you can't buy tickets anymore, and many flights are delayed up to four hours, not to mention the masses of people trying to get through security.
My dad found a small cache of sealed water bottles in the garage; quite welcome from filling up our own. My friend Monica from Norway finally got on AIM to wish us good luck.
The item that strikes me the most right now is the weather. It's still perfectly clear, just as it was yesterday, but there is absolutely no wind whatsoever; the air is uncannily still. Must be the proverbial calm before the storm. We're going to eat lunch now, finally, and then get back to hurricane-proofing the house.
2:23 PM. We just finished lunch and watching some more taped episodes of 24. Not much else to do here at this time but wait and watch the internet and TV. My parents and I are about to go down the street to help a neighbor board up his windows. Rita's winds have decreased somewhat, but not that much. She's still easily the size of Florida. I'm bringing my camera, so pictures are forthcoming.