Thursday, September 22, 2005

Lovely Rita

Recipe for Drink the Hurricane:

2 ounces amber rum

1/4 cup passion fruit juice 

1 teaspoon superfine sugar

1/2 teaspoon grenadine

Juice of 1/2 lime

Cherries and orange slice to garnish

Ice cubes

In a cocktail shaker mix the first three ingredients to dissolve the sugar, stir in the grenadine and lime juice, add ice, shake and strain.

Recipe for Rita the Hurricane

1 spouse
1 surly teenager
2 cats
1 large hurricane, category 4-5
1 landfall projected at Houston

In the house find and pack important papers and move stuff away from windows. Pack some clothes. Pack cats in pet carriers. Load papers clothes and cats into Ford Explorer. Load laptop computers and back-up hard drive into Honda Accord. After flipping a coin, load surly teenager into either Explorer or Accord. (Tails, you lose!) Drive to Austin at the leisurely pace of 10 mph. Arrive at 3am, unpack contents, and pour into bed. Sleep until noon.

Reporting from Austin in the foremath* of Hurricane Rita I can tell you that to really appreciate the ability to travel from A to B at 70 miles per hour, you have to spend a few hours traveling from A to B at 10 miles per hour.

Interstate 10, normally a kill or be killed sort of highway where one can easily get passed by a pick-up truck doing in excess of 100 miles per hour…towing a trailer full of motorcycles… slowed to a standstill as nearly a million people moved out of Houston. The procession was orderly but slow. Occasionally, a half-wit would cut across the median or try to drive on the shoulder to get ahead, but for the most part people were resigned to creeping along at our sedate pace. Record high temperatures and humidity made for a sweltering night and numbers of cars were pulled over to the side of the road, overheated. Wrecks were frequent as the traffic would occasionally pulse to a speed of 30-40 mph, and then slow suddenly to a standstill and the unobservant would find themselves crashing into the car in front of them.

Ambulances came up behind us in convoy transporting the ill to hospitals out of harms way. A few nitwits tried to follow the ambulance convoys and, hopefully, those morons were dealt with appropriately down the road.

Surprisingly, most people continued to head west towards San Antonio when we got to the turn off to Austin. Once we got on Highway 71 traffic cleared and we drove to Austin at a normal speed, for Texas, of 75 mph and only wiped out a couple of armadillos along the way. Although we arrived in Austin at 3am, the roads were busy; filled with drunks and evacuees, I suspect. We navigated our way through the University of Texas campus, and to our daughter’s condo on the west side.

Once “home” and settled the cats behaved predictably. Nobbs, the Dustbin King, wandered around for a few minutes, found a soft spot and went to sleep. Sandy, the Worrier, slinked from room to room and finally found a place under a bed. He’s still there.

Word from Home

Reporting from Sugar Land, J told us that estimates for driving to Austin had risen to 15 hours. J, having decided to “ride the storm out” made a trip to the supermarket to pick up a few items to tide them over until Sunday.

The shelves were bare. People were behaving somewhat less than civil and with all checkout lines open, a rare event in itself, it still took over 90 minutes to get out of the store.

The neighborhood is quiet. A few residents have boarded their windows, but the local hardware stores ran out of lumber on Monday.

J reports that they’re just sitting around waiting for the winds to pick up on Friday afternoon.

Word from Austin

H reports that gas stations are running low on fuel possibly because of the influx of people from Houston who are preparing for the return journey. In the supermarket the shelves were bare of water, canned meat and cereal.

H exclaimed, “Why are people buying up all this stuff here in Austin? We’re 150 miles from the storm. They’re buying everything cannable.”

“They’re buying everything cannibal,” I heard.

“Gee, I thought they’d wait a week before going cannibal.”

*they always write "aftermath" so I figured...


Flaurella said...

Been reading and enjoying your blog for about a month now. Good luck to you and all Texans with the wrath of Rita. Hope everything goes easy on y'all.

Hope you can keep us posted on the area. Hang tight.

kilowatthour said...

i'm glad to hear you're all safe and sound in austin. have fun drinking the hurricane...

Anonymous said...

I'm sure if there's anyone able and willing to make, well, "long pig" palatable, it's you.

MF said...

We have a Ford Explorer, too. I feel so close to you now, knowing how we've both suffered so.

I'm glad to hear you've evacuated. That Rita seems like she's got a pretty bad temper.

:::humming now::: In a cap she looked much older...

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear you are safe in Austin. Our friends from Houston have been trying to get here to Ft. Worth for hours...the traffic has only gotten worse. He is stuck in a truck with a puking and peeing cat...We will definetly have a Hurricane waiting for him when he arrives.

Be safe and thanks for the post that you are ok.

Anonymous said...

Repeat after me,
"There's no such thing as a global warming"

No, texans do not use the biggest cars out of anywhere else.

'The poorer countries was told to upgrade their equipment to prevent such disasters (on tsunami), but we can't evacuate in 3 full days.'

Michelle said...

No water or gas here in Dallas either. Calm down people!