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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » Notes on Rita

   
Author Topic: Notes on Rita
mikemunsil
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To ensure that this post has something to do with writing, please let me know what kind of notes you think I should be taking as we flee Rita.

The hurricane is still a Category 5 with winds exceeding 170mph. It is projected to come in right over Houston at the moment. The refineries and chemical plants are shutting down. They are reversing the southbound lanes of I-45 today so that everything flows north. If the hurricane does come in over Galveston, they are saying that we will have Category 4 hurricane winds up to 140 miles inland. That includes where I live.

I will evacuate us out to Bryan, if it isn't already too late to leave.

Bye all. I have things to do!


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Phrasingsmith
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Good luck Mike! I hope you, your family and your neighbors are safe and sound. Godspeed to you all!

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Christine
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Take care of yourself and your family...that way you can keep writing.

Heck, I don't mind if every itsy bitsy little post isn't directly about writing. I mean, this isn't a place to begin general chats but it's nice to get to know the other members here a little bit. It helps me to know where they're coming from when they give writing advice.


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maria102182
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Good luck dude. I hope to hear from you again!!!!!!!!
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mikemunsil
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We cannot get out, so we're going to stay here. People are coming off the interstate and breaking into cars for gas and supplies. There have been several assaults. We have our guard dog, Llanquihue (Yankee, for short) who is fairly ferocious, to guard us. Unfortunately he is not tall enough to be dangerous to more than an ankle. He is brave, though. He once barked at a squirrel before running.

I also have my snake, a Colt Diamondback 38 special. Let them come. I'll have a beer in one hand and a gun in the other. It will be their choice which they get. We call it "Texas Hospitality". If we're not hospitable, they end up in the hospital!


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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Keep in touch as long as you have power, Mike.

Our prayers are with you.


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punahougirl84
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Mike - our thoughts are with you. My husband was reading over my shoulder and said, hey, that guy is funny - he ought to be a writer!

But seriously, may Rita lose speed and wind, and get herself back out on the water and well away from you.

Lee


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hoptoad
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Good luck, mate.
Keep smiling (some sunshine for your boys).

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mikemunsil
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It's night-time and people are camped on the side of the freeway. They're out of gas and water and almost out of patience. It was 99 degrees today. Tomorrow will be very hot again. Our city has cordoned off all entrances. We hope that the gasoline arrives before things get bad. I'm going to see if the police will let me take all the water I've collected so far to the people on the interstate. They might not. We'll see. The state says that they are trying to get fuel tankers down I-45 to get the people moving again. I can only hope that they do. I hope that people aren't still out there camping out on the side of the interstate when the hurricane comes through. I'll take some in, of course, but I hope not to have to turn people away. Wish us well.
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wbriggs
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Best of luck, Mike, and may your weekend be dull.
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mikemunsil
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I'm not the praying sort, but Amen!
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Jaina
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I'll definitely keep you in my prayers, Mike. Here's hoping Rita is about as ferocious as your dog!
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Spaceman
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This might be a dumb question, but why is everyone trying to go north? That's where the storm is going. Why not go south or west?
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Places south and west (like Victoria--where I lived for about two years) are also being evacuated.

I believe people have been told to evacuate from cities as far south and west as Corpus Christi.


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pogozorro
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They are heading north because, despite what is predicted, hurricanes have shot off in wild directions before. Case in point, Hurricane Hugo was gunning for Florida when it unexpectedly stopped for a while and headed into the Carolinas.

While it looks like it will be heading in a northerly direction, it doesn't necessarily HAVE to.

Good luck, Mike!

[This message has been edited by pogozorro (edited September 23, 2005).]


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Paul-girtbooks
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Although we're all supposed to be aspiring writers and have good imaginations, I really have no idea what it must be like for you and your family out there, Mike, being as I come from the UK. True, I worked in Pennsylvania and lived for a time in North Carolina, but the only freak weather I ever saw was violent, but brief, rain fall, the tail end of winds which had battered the eastcoast or unusually heavy southern snow falls.

Hell, man, I don't know what else to say. Take care seems so lame. I truly hope you and your family and neighbors will be all right. Lots of luck and love to you all.


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mikemunsil
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Thanks all.

We're still waiting for Rita. I-45 has cleared up a bit and the rarely welcome sound of traffic fills my ears. The first bands of wispy clouds have arived; with any luck we won't have record-setting temperatures again today.

I'm drugging my children with food and TV. I'll make them play outside all day to exhaust them so they'll sleep tonight.

I-45 is completely shut down at Dallas, 240 miles north of us. There was a bus fire that has completely destroyed a bus filled with evacuees. Most got out. So far the backup is at 17 miles, which is much better than yesterday when backups exceeded 100 miles.

The government must have gotten fuel through overnight. The traffic is moving on the interstate near my house. When it was apparent that the tankers would not do the job, the governer asked the National Guard to fly fuel bladders into strategic locations; military logistics in their best possible use.

The squirrels are hard at work knocking down acorns. They expect to come down tonight to gather and bury them. I took my sons outside to have an acorn war with the squirrels. Gravity was on their side and we used that as an excuse to honorably flee the field of battle.

I use these episodes to tell my children what to expect today and tomorrow. They're learning as we play.


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Spaceman
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When I said west, I meant toward New Mexico. Running to Amarillo or somewhere else west and inland seems like the best direction to me.
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Kolona
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I was in North Carolina during Hurricane Fran, Mike, so I feel your unease. Prayers for you all. God's best.

P.S. Will you be changing from 'stone musings' to 'wind musings?'


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mikemunsil
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I may be changing to "Bottom Wipings" if it gets scary enough!

I took the boys down to the interstate today with water and gasoline to give to people. We gave it away really quickly. We used my cell phone to put about 5 families in touch with their relatives. It was a bit of a mistake, though, as it really scared my older son and now I've had to medicate him and keep him away from his brother. But, it still was worth doing.

There's an old lady in a wheelchair and her family stuck on the side of the road. I told her that if she wasn't out of there by noon that I would come get them.

There's about 100 other people there also. I can't take them all. My neighbors won't. I asked them. They're baptists. They're too busy praying for those people.


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Robyn_Hood
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Hey Mike,

I remember huddling in my basement watching the news when the F5 Tornado hit Edmonton more than a decade ago (Fortunately it didn't turn and head west to the town where I lived, but it was still a scarey experience). I'm praying for you and your family; hopefully this will pass by as quickly as possible with as little damage.

Be safe and talk to you soon.


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Brinestone
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Robyn, I remember that tornado! All it did to us was knock a fence on our car, but I remember the damage closer to downtown. Scary.

Mike, you are doing the right thing for these people. As for your baptist neighbors . . .


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mikemunsil
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The old lady has moved on. There's an even older couple now, who refuse to go to a shelter because it won't take their dog. I'll check on them later and take them (and their dog *sigh*) to my house if they haven't yet left.
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mikemunsil
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The older folks with the older dog apparently got their gasoline and have moved on. When I went into the two corner gas stations/convenience stores and started asking if anyone needed help the folks there were asking "What is it with you guys? We can't even stand in line without people offering us help."

I told them it was because we were secretly concerned that they were going to buy up all the beer. That cheered them up, and several even added another 6-pack to their loads.

I am pleased with my neighbors and the people who were not pleased with me. Good on them.

And when I got home my older son had to be medicated again. He can't take me being away right now, so I will stay.


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Kickle
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Take care of yourself and your family. And thanks for keeping us up to date with what's going on down there. By the way, watch out for those squirrels, around here they are known for filching beers.
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Mike, if you can find a ham radio operator after the power goes out, you can get messages out to the rest of the world.

I thought about getting a ham license once, and I'm thinking maybe I ought to get going on it now.


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Jaina
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Oh, really? Our squirrels at CSU are tame enough to offer you a beer if you know how to speak squirrel, and you like your beverages to taste heavily of acorn.

Glad to hear that things haven't fallen apart completely. Hope your son is doing better!


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mikemunsil
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Night is falling soon, and I and my boys are taking the dog for a walk. The boys are thrilled to throw a foam football into the air, and catch it as it comes back. My neighbors are out as well. We all watch the trees, and when a branch comes down from 80 feet above, we go home.

Rita will plow a furrow where Texas and Louisiana meet the sea. Here, north of Houston, Rita will trim these piney woods of weak limbs, a hurricane haircut for us all.


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NMgal
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Hey, Mike, hope you and your family are safe during the storm. I lived in Houston for a few years and grew up in south Texas (Brownsville), so I've lived through a few hurricanes and storms. May your hurricane lamps be always filled with oil and the boards over your windows sturdy.

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mikemunsil
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Thanks. We'll be fine. My wife is also from Brownsville.
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mikemunsil
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We're fine. There'll be a lot of raking to do. Time for fun!

Dreamdust for Yankee-boy

I took Llanquihue out for a walk in the lull between storm bands. Blonde dog the size and hairiness of a really bad wig and large blonde man with wild hair and pathetic mustache and goatee, wearing a red plaid bathrobe and sandals. We made a good picture, and I was expecting the press to show up.

Llanquihue (Yankee for short, and he's very short so we mostly just call him Yankee) looked up at me pleadingly from near ground level. "Go ahead, Yank." I told him. "It's your destiny."

He tried; he really tried. But he's a small dog with a bladder the size of a peanut and there were a LOT of branches on the ground. He got a yard, maybe even a meter or so before giving up.

On the way home I took pity on Yankee and covered his eyes as I carried him. He was whining. It was painful to see a little dog's greatest dream turn to ashes in his mouth.

I didn't tell him that more rain was coming and that his effort would be washed away. He is just one more victim in a sea of downed branches.

The press never made their way to us. I can sense their frustration from here. The next wave of wind is coming through. It is time to hunker down again.

Yankee is quiet now.

http://www.munsil.net/images/yankee.jpg

[This message has been edited by mikemunsil (edited September 24, 2005).]


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Elan
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Yankee looks like Carol Channing.

I'm glad you weathered the storm and I hope the clean-up goes quickly.

My sister lived in Ft. Lauderdale during Hurricane Andrew, and while she was on the outer edges of it, she saw what it did to Dade County. Man, move north. Those of us who live here in the Pacific Northwest only have to worry about volcanos. And THEY stay put in one place. You can avoid 'em! Of course, the Oregon coast gets gusts of 100 mph winds from time to time. It's why the trees on the coast grow horizontally.

All this wild nature makes you feel kinda puny and small.


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djvdakota
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Dear Mike,

Here I stay away from Hatrack a couple of days, and look what happens! Flip! Sometimes I feel that if I Hatracked every day nothing would ever go wrong.

I'm very happy to know that you and your family (and your little dog, too) are OK. And that you acted as courageously and nobly as I might have expected.

Take care


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mikemunsil
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We got lucky.

It was a good exercise for the boys. Good for them to see that other people need help some times, and that it is ok for us to give it. I think some people never saw their parents give aid, and thus don't believe that it is something *appropriate* for them to do.


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punahougirl84
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It's ok to get lucky - good for the luck to exist for a good samaritan.

Yankee is adorable!!!

As for moving - Hawaii is pretty safe too. Our volcano moves, but VERY SLOWLY ;-) We only had two hurricanes there my entire life (almost 40 years) - on the leeward side of Oahu, our house lost power for 3 hours and that was it. Course the housing there is kinda pricey.

I'm pretty happy where we are in Maryland, but we still have water bottles in the basement from Hurricane Isabel that threatened us two years ago. Good wishes are with you and everyone dealing with the wrath of Mother Nature.


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pixydust
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So glad you and your boys made it through unscathed, Mike. Wonderful!
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Spaceman
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You might think Phoenix is safe...far from the ocean, almost never a tornado, we might feel the ground wiggle if LA has the big one, and the volcanos are all dormant. But, I drove along a column of smoke from one of our many fires this summer that stretched 150 miles. There is nowhere on earth that is completely safe.

Mike: Glad you came through in good shape.


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Ahavah
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Mike, I'm glad you and your family are safe.
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Jaina
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Good to hear that everything came through all right. Now comes the fun part: cleaning up. Yuck.
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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And the traffic jams as everyone comes back home to Houston.
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mikemunsil
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returns are being staged as best they can, but it depends mostly on geting the word out to everyone who left.

the state is sending fuel convoys out from the refineries to gas stations throughout the city. we still have no gasoline as i gave most of ours away. i'm just hoping that i can get some in time to go get my wife at the airport on Monday. she's been stuck in Mexico since Friday.


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mikemunsil
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Success! There are two gas stations open to serve a local population about 160,000 and I managed to get in and fill up.

So now I can pick up my wife at the airport. Whew! Wouldn't want to piss her off. She's 5'2" of pure female fighting fury.


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