I know today is a day for reflecting on patriotism and all that so many have sacrificed for our country, but for some reason I’m just not thinking much about that today. In fact, it was only a few minutes ago that I realized the date.
Something has been far overshadowing this event around here, to the point that it hasn’t even been mentioned on the news today. What’s that, you ask? His name is Ike.
Aha. Now you know my super-secret undisclosed location. As if I hadn’t already given you enough hints…
Anyway, Ike is all you hear from everyone right now. The entire area is preparing to either get the heck out of dodge or hunker down to ride through the worst he can send us. M and I have been struggling with the decision of what to do and are still hesitant to make either choice.
You see, three years ago when another major hurricane had us in her sights, we did what the rest of the city (and the refugees from New Orleans) chose to do–we took off. The drive out wasn’t too awful, just slow for the first little while. We managed to spend the first night a bit farther inland with M’s brother and then sat in traffic for another couple of hours the next morning as we left for M’s parents’ place in the middle of nowhere west Texas. Really, our trip went exceedingly well compared to the horror stories I heard from others.
It was the trip back that was horrific. I was six months (or so) pregnant with PJ. Everybody else had chosen the same time to head back into town, and most of them took the same route. The main freeway was a parking lot for over 200 miles. The cops had closed off almost every entrance or exit, so once you were on, you were stuck. If you ran out of gas, tough luck. Gotta pee? Hope you like the side of the road.
We got lucky and made it off one exit so M could be sick. The cops closed it while we were sitting on the side of the road just a few yards up. Every entrance from there on was closed as well. We were stuck on the access road, which was probably a blessing because it was moving.
The problem was that, like you’d expect from a pregnant woman, I had to pee. I was also prone to bladder infections and really didn’t need to be holding my pee for long, but there was no way I was peeing on the side of the road. We couldn’t find one stupid gas station or anything where we could stop and pee. It was probably four hours before we found a place that was open.
Less than two weeks later, PJ was born. You know the story about how he was early, blah blah blah. Did the stress of the awful evacuation contribute? Did I get a bladder infection that led to pre-term labor? I’ll never know, but I have to wonder if the stupid hurricane (that ended up missing us, by the way) has some relationship to PJ’s early birth. Regardless, the two are connected in my mind.
As a result, I’m hesitant to put myself and my family through that kind of stress again. We live pretty far inland and are not even being advised to think about evacuating. The area school districts are still having school tomorrow, when the hurricane is scheduled to hit. None of the area businesses are closing down, which also means that M will still have to work and won’t be able to evacuate with us if we choose to do so.
All of that also helps to convince me that perhaps the wiser choice this time is to stay put. We’ll do what we can to prepare and then pray for peace with our decision. It makes more sense to me than having me leave by myself with two fussy kids and a whiny dog to go sit on the freeways for endless hours while worrying about my husband who is stuck at home riding out a hurricane. At least we’ll all be together riding out the hurricane. Besides, I’ll be one of those “native” residents of coastal areas who brags about the time they rode out Hurricane Ike.
Of course, our plans are subject to change at any moment. Should the schools close and M’s work advise evacuation (and give him tomorrow off), we’ll pack up and leave. So if you don’t hear from me over the next few days, we’ve either lost power or are stuck on a freeway somewhere in Texas. I’ll let you know how things go the first chance I get. Oh, and if you’re the praying type, send a few prayers down here, will you?