"Your words have no power to alter the truth. Your perception does not affect any reality but your own... it is your words and deeds that cast your reflection. "

~Luna Jade, musician

Monday, August 20, 2007

More memories of Carrollwood Village Drive

I remember one here was particularly bad. Im thinking it was during the third year at the school. I was still doing alot of typing because of new classes but some of the work wasnt so bad because I still had some stuff from the first year that we could use. This was the year we were driving the Pontiac Grand Am and the year we had to run from a hurricane. We'd gotten used to hurricane season...alotta wind and alotta rain most times. Some flooding at best but that was par for the course because New Orleans is below sealevel so any good soaking rain will flood the roads. Most that had hit up to this point had been Cat 2 or lower...mostly lower. You got used to going to the store and just stocking up on the off chance you lost power (and most times you did for about a day). No big whoop. This one, however, spent a bit more time in the Gulf and built itself up bigtime. Southern momma said she was packing and leaving town. She'd already talked to a friend (who'd worked at the school the first couple years I was there so I knew her too) and Jim and I were welcome to come as well. This was good because I didnt want to sit through anything stronger than what we'd already been through. Besides if we were with others, he was less likely to be obnoxious and find a way to blame me for something (you can bet he would have...somehow). We packed up a bag and nailed down what we could in the apartment. I stripped the bed (which was still in the livingroom at this point) because it wouldnt be needed, unplugged the word processor and put it up on the counter, put the cat food and water pans on a board on top of the bed so the cats could get up incase there was flooding in the apartment (we were on first floor). All books and such put up on tables and the electronics unplugged. Unfortunately, we werent going to be able to bring the cats but there was space on top of the cupboards for them to get up and out of the way if it did flood. It would need to be ALOT of water to do that though. It was going to be bad, but wasnt supposed to be anything like Katrina was recently.

We left and headed to southern momma's as we were all going to leave together. It was the day before it was scheduled to make landfall. I remember everyone in town having the same idea as the traffic was horrendous. It took our little caravan of 3 cars 3 hours to make it what would have normally taken only 30 minutes to drive. So southern momma got us to pull over. We all got out and discussed it. While we were trying to decide what would be best, we watched the traffic crawl by slower than a snail. The traffic was so slow that the back of a van opened up on the road and a kid got out, grabbed his bike from the back of said van and pedalled off....he was going faster than the vehicles and was out of sight in seconds flat. This pretty much made our decision for us. We loaded our cars and turned around headed back for southern momma's place. We werent going to get out of there that night and at least her place was shelter. If we'd stayed out, it was possible we'd be caught in the mess. We got back to her place and settled in for the night. Her daughter in law and the dil's son were in the downstairs bedroom, Jim and I in the livingroom and southern mom n daddy upstairs.

Southern momma couldnt sleep all night and spent most of the time napping and praying. She awoke with a start around 2am or so with the distinct impression we had to leave NOW. I heard her come down the stairs and turned over....I heard her at the dil's bedroom saying "Im taking the baby and leaving in 10 minutes...if you want to go get up right now." I rolled over and asked as she went back upstairs what was up. She said it got worse and that she'd seen that now was the time to go.... our path would be clear sailing. I shook Jim and told him we had to get up and go now. He looked at me like I was nuts....so I told him that either he gets up or I was taking the bag and going with them period. We were all ready to go by the time "momma" came down the stairs...in exactly 10 minutes. I'd like to say it was clear sailing...well it was but we had some problems. The Grand Am was leaking oil like a sieve and we kept having to stop. "Momma" finally said...talk to the people in that shope...see if we can leave it and lets go". So we abandoned the car in a small store's lot and went. Made great time after that.

We arrived at the mutual friend's in time for breakfast. The friend's husband was a pastor in his own church and they were living in the large apartment over the church. The livingroom was huge and plenty of room for the 7 of us refugees to spread out bedding to sleep. We ended up there for 2 nights. It was rather strange watching the storm on the news. I'd never seen such flooding and was really glad we werent there. The lot of us were going to stay another night but when "momma" called our boss (who was hunkered down with his family in Houston) he said no, school would be open the next day as the roads were clear in the area of the school. *grumble* So we all packed and left. We stopped off at that one little store to pick up our car which was leaking worse than before. Every mile and a half we had to stop and add oil. It got to be a pain in the ass. "Momma" ended up sending her DIL on home so she could get her kid to bed and "momma" n "poppa" followed us home. We got back to her townhouse and got settled in. I started up the washing machine and got several loads done that evening before bed (I didnt get to sleep until 2am). While I was doing that Coach G called and asked how we all were and if anything was damaged when the tree across the street came down. HUH?? "Momma" went out and noticed that yes indeed the tree on the corner across the street had been cut down. According to Coach G, it fell right in "momma's" driveway and if it had been another 2-3 foot taller it would have landed right in her bedroom windows (right where the head of the bed was located...). As it was it landed in her driveway where all three cars had been parked. "Momma" said if she'd been smart we would have left our lemon because her insurance would have paid for a new one if it had gotten smashed as she was insured to the hilt. Damn.

We ended up staying several weeks with her until we could get the car fixed as it was truly undrivable the way it was. She'd bring us home Friday nights after school with enough groceries to get us through the weekend so we could care for the cats and clean up the place some. Everytime we went back to the apartment, it was a wreck. Misti (the oldest female) had gotten so ticked off at us that she climbed up on the counters and did her business on my word processor so pretty much it was shot. I didnt even bother cleaning it up, just pitched it in the garbage. We'd have to vacuum, and wipe up. One of the cats was severely sick during this time but we couldnt figure out who. We'd come home to blood splatter everywhere...on the walls, the bed, the rug....but when we stayed there Friday and Saturday nights....no one showed any signs of being ill. We originally thought that there had been a fight but none of the cats showed signs of wounds. We had no money to take them all to a vet and no way to get them all there.... *sigh*


ChicagoLady said...

Sounds like you were fortunate to "bug out" when you did. Sure makes me glad I don't live anywhere in the path of hurricanes.

LadyStyx said...

Thing is, at least with a hurricane you have some warning. Not so with tornados, flash floods or stuff like that.