Category Archives: Mother Nature

I hate packing.

I dropped my dog off at the PetsHotel earlier.  That was an adventure.  She is sooo not good around other dogs.  And of course, there’s about a dozen dogs hanging around with their owners, either being picked up or dropped off, when I show up.  They finally came and got Mazzy and took her back to her “room” while I waited to fill out the paperwork.  I feel like such a bad mother.  They marked her as “aggressive towards other animals.”  She hasn’t been “socialized.”  Her only canine friend was a horny little pekinese my parents rescued off the side of the road.  He thought he was her boyfriend.  It was cute (mostly because he couldn’t reach her no matter how hard he tried…lol). 

Anyway.  She’ll have individual play time and a treat each day.  That sounds like a bad thing, but I know it’ll be good for her.  It better be.  It’s costing me more to board her for a week than it costs to take 5 people to 2 hockey games.  I was in tears most of the evening before dropping her off.  Even more so afterwards.  I miss my baby already.  She’s never been boarded for more than a weekend.  And this is the first night I’ve been in my house without her.  :(

So for the past 2 hours I’ve been trying to get my stuff together to leave for my trip tomorrow.  I’ve checked all the weather forecasts, done laundry, figured out how many clean pairs of underwear I’ll need (and then threw in a few more, just to be safe). 

I’m trying to limit myself to 2 pairs of shoes.  Tennis shoes being the obvious first choice considering the 2 hockey games I’ll be going to.  No, I’m not one of those puckbunnies who gets all dolled up for a game in the hopes that hot hockey player speeding down the ice is suddenly going to look up (way up in this case) and spot me and fall in love and want to make babies.

So anyway, the 2nd pair of shoes is causing problems.  I’d normally bring a brown or black pair.  Then make sure most of my clothes matched with that.  The problem is, of the 100 or so pairs of shoes I have (I’m a freak, I know), I don’t have any comfy cute black sandals or the like.  I need versatile.  Practical.  But still able to be dressed up a little.  I have some brown ones that would work, but because it might get chilly there (and most of my shirts are summery by now) I wanted to bring a light sweater or cardigan or something.  And of course, I only have black ones that fit the bill.

So do I bring the less than practical clunky black sandals and have black sweater, belt, etc to match?  Or do I bring the brown ones and clash?  Black and brown can go together, right?

Sometimes I’m such a girl it makes me sick.

Dallas World Aquarium

A little bus picked us up from the office today and drove us to the aquarium.  Yes, go ahead and get all of your “you ride the short bus” jokes out of the way.

We got there around 11am and were taken to one of the event rooms and served an incredibly good lunch.  No, we did not have sushi.  The food was excellent though.  I had no idea their catering was so fantastic. 

After lunch, we were allowed an hour and a half to roam the aquarium before we had to be back in the room for our “activity.”  I had not been to this place since almost 6 years ago.  Calling it an “aqaurium is really misleading because, while it does have quite a few of those, it also has a big rainforest type place with all kinds of other animals.  The first time I went, I thought it was nice, but nothing fancy.  And certainly not worth the cost of admission to go again. 

Since that time, they have apparently made quite a few changes and additions.  And the hour and a half to explore was nowhere near enough time, IMO.  I had gone in armed with both my digital and 35mm cameras.  I made it a point this morning to clean my lenses, make sure I had plenty of film, grabbed my polarizing filter to help with the glass glare, and put fresh batteries in the flash.  What I failed to do was realize that the actual camera battery in the 35mm had not been changed in some time.  I got there, loaded it up with film, threw it and my digital on my shoulders and went off to take buttloads of pictures. 

But…you guessed it.  Shortly after turning the 35mm on, the battery died.  And people were making fun of me for bringing TWO cameras.  Now I don’t look so silly, do I?  😛

My little midrange digital still manages to impress me (or I impress myself sometimes.  Little bit of both, perhaps).   It was my step up camera from the last one.  The plan was to use it for a year or two and then step up again to a full digital SLR.  I’m itching to get one, but have to save up the money first (not to mention pay off some debts). 

Anyway, back to the zoo/rainforest/aqaurium place.    I had to rush my way through to get back to our department thing so didn’t really get to spend as much time in each area as I wanted.  They had the obvious:  fish and sharks other sea creatures.  But they also had birds and snakes and flamingos and storks and jaguars and spiders and monkeys…It was a really cool place and I plan to go again soon.

Back at our department thing, I ended up winning one round of the trivia ($25 Visa card) and getting second place in the “Guess How Many POUNDS of Candy Garfield* Has Distributed Over the Last 3 Years” contest.  I guessed 1200.  The correct answer was 1500 I think.  Either way, another $25 Visa for me.  YAY!

*Garfield is a coworker who has a little table outside of his office, constantly filled with all kinds of yummy treats.

There’s a house under there?

My parents were able to go back into Beaumont on Friday.  They thought they’d be back before the weekend was out, but by Sunday, they had power.  And they already had water and gas because they live out of the city limits.  So they are staying there and getting to work cleaning up the mess.

Their houses are all okay for the most part.  No major damage, structurally atleast.

My oldest brother (I’ll call him Dilbert) flew in on Saturday night to help Dad with the (tons) of work to be done.  Since my parents’ computer is trapped in the van in a shop near Jasper somewhere, it’s a good thing Dilbert brought his laptop.  He managed to, over my parent’s ridiculously slow dialup connection (seriously…it’s like half the speed of normal dialup), email a few pictures tonight.

Supposedly, one of my dad’s rent houses is under all the mess.  Amazing.

It’s still dark outside, so why am I awake??

Seriously.  People that get up this early are insane.

My parents left around 5am.  The Beaumont Enterprise was reporting yesterday that the area would be open today only for people to come in and check their property, secure things, and gather any belongings they might need.  They are asking that people not stay, but I’m sure there will be plenty that will.  Mom and Dad were planning to go back through Jasper, roads permitting, to check on their crippled van that they had to leave behind and all the stuff they had loaded it up with. 

I’m guessing they will be back before the weekend is over.  Although, now Dad is talking like he might stay and send Mom back.  He’s thinking he can start clearing limbs or whatever else needs to be done.  He had gone over to Mississippi with a group of guys from church after Katrina to help with the cleanup there, so now he’s thinking he should be able to do the same where he lives.

Think I’ll see if I can’t get a couple more hours of sleep before work…

Hockey and a missed call

Took my parents to the game tonight against the Blues.  That was certainly a welcome break!  AND we won.   It’s preseason, I know, but still.  One more preseason game at home this Saturday and then the real deal starts next Wednesday!  Can’t wait!!!

After the game I noticed a missed call on my phone.  A call from T.  I haven’t talked to him since our big “discussion.”  And no, I never did send that email.  Never deleted it either.  I think the ball was still in my court to figure out the could we still be friends thing.

Anyway, he left a message.  Saying he was glad to hear my family was all safe and sound.  And to give him a call when I had a chance.  I would’ve called back when I saw the message, but wasn’t too keen on doing so while walking back to the car with my parents after the game.  And by the time I got home, it was too late.  Probably for the best, right?

I’ll call him back sooner or later.  Awhile back, I had offered to take him to his first hockey game next weekend.  I’m sure he’s forgotten about it. 

Now that there’s been some space to let the emotion and disappointment subside, I think we could actually do the friend thing, if we can agree on what that means.  It’s the “benefits” part I’m not sure of.  I’d hate to give that up.  I’m pathetic, I know. 

As for the good news, well, my parents have heard that one of their rent houses has a huge tree through the roof, but their other houses appear to have only minor damage.  Some shingles gone, lots of trees down, but no visible structural damage.  Granted, that’s from the street view of the houses, so the backs could be worse, but we’re thinking positively.  No word on when they will allow people back into Beaumont.  Still sounds like atleast a week.  Probably longer.

Red, red wine, you make me feel so fine.

We decided to go ahead with the Housewarming on Saturday.  Already had all the food and drinks bought, and it was a nice distraction from the events of the last several days.  I wasn’t sure, with it being an afternoon event and mostly coworkers in attendance, whether or not it was appropriate to serve wine.  But just in case, I picked up a few of the BIG bottles from the store.  In an attempt to mix it up and have some variety, I had some chardonnay, a merlot, and something I had never heard of:  white merlot.  I also had plenty of soft drinks and bottled water available. 

Several of my coworkers called that morning to check in on whether or not my family ever made it here.  And most I think assumed the party was cancelled or atleast postponed.  I told them we were still having it.  It was better than being glued to the news all day. 

Since I expected a smaller turnout due to all of this, I called up a few of my friends and told them to come over, too, if they wanted.  They are accustomed to drinking (a lot) for parties at my house, but knew the crowd that was attending so it would be a little more “civilized.”

Initially, people were opting for water and snacks and stuff.  Most people were just stopping by to see the house and stuff and couldn’t stay too long.  When the first of my friends arrived, I offered her a drink, knowing that she’d go for a glass of wine.  It had been such a rollercoaster the last few days, so I really wanted a drink.  So yay!  I can open the first bottle and have a drink without being the lone drinker.  Another friend, more wine. 

So there I am, with more guests trickling in, my parents here (who, btw, do NOT drink.  AT ALL.), and me trying to give tours of my house without sounding like a rambling drunk.  Granted, I wasn’t drunk.  Just feeling good.  People I work with probably think I’m a lush now. 

Within an hour, 3 of us had emptied the first giant bottle and decided to give the white merlot a try.  I’ve never been a big fan of red wine.  Most are too heavy for me.  I like a lot of the whites though (does that make me a racist wine drinker??).  All I can say is I WILL be buying more of this stuff.  It was soooo good and light and fruity. 

After most everyone else had gone, the friends and brother and I sat outside and three of us finished off the THIRD bottle.  Yes, I was drunk at that point.  And my brother, Duckie, mentioned Mom & Dad making snide remarks about how chatty I was.

But you know what?  I didn’t care.  I had been an emotional wreck and stressed and had little to no sleep in days and it was nice to just forget all of that and enjoy the company of friends, one that I hadn’t seen in ages even!  I feel so adult (at almost 31…how sad is that?) for finally drinking in front of my parents.  Although, I’m not exactly going to break out the Wild Turkey in front of them or anything.  They would be appalled.  Atleast wine seems like a feminine drink, not that of an alcoholic (their big fear, having grown up with them). 

I slept like a baby that night.

RIP, Mamie.

I don’t even have what it takes to write down everything I’m feeling right now.  Here’s the tip of the iceberg. 

My parents made it safely here around 3am Friday morning.  What should have been a 5-hour drive took 18 hours.

My brother, Red Baron, driving their motorhome with sis-in-law’s grandmothers on board and towing their jeep, his wife and kids in their other car, and her parents following in their car were not able to follow the roads my parents took.  They were diverted again and again betwenn 146 and 69 and essentially forced to stay right in the path of the storm on little country roads.  Which is complete and utter BULLSHIT. 

After more than 24 hours on the road, the furthest they were able to get was Lufkin.  Barely 100 miles north of Beaumont.    And were out of gas in 2 of the 3 vehicles.  And there was no gas to be found within 70 miles.  So they were forced to ride out the 100 mph winds in their motorhome.

We got a call from them at 7am today, before the hurricane had even reached them.  My sis-in-law’s grandmother, who was in bad health to begin with, had passed away.  I guess the stop and go travelling to NOWHERE was just too much for her.  The paramedics had just picked up her body.  And they still had the storm to deal with. 

We got word from them later this afternoon, after what they think was the worst of the weather, and they had found a pavillion to park under and seemed to have done ok.

We heard my sis-in-law’s parent’s house had lost most of the shingles off the roof and had a lot of fallen trees, but no structrual damage.

We still have no idea what kind of shape my parents and brother’s houses and rent houses are in. 

And they are being told to NOT return home until told they can do so….which is supposedly atleast 72 hours.  It’s the waiting and not knowing that is so bad.  We’ve seen pictures of areas around Beaumont that are under water and buildings with all the windows blown out and stuff.  But like Mom says, atleast, for the most part, all of our family is safe.  And the damage is less than expected.  Thank heavens for the downgrade. 

And it’s Red Baron’s birthday tomorrow.  Sigh.

Slow Going

My parents got on the road out of Beaumont around 9am.  The last time I talked to them, about 9:30pm, they had only gotten about 100 miles…in TWELVE HOURS!   They had Mom’s van loaded up with everything they could fit in it.  Dad was following behind her in another car.  And then the transmission went out in the van, so they had to leave it in Jasper and are riding together now.

My middle brother, Red Baron, and his family, in caravan consisting of a motorhome towing a jeep and two more vehicles, where a few hours behind them.  Apparently they had been diverted twice in a 6-hour time period and had managed to get to West Hardin by around 6pm.  That’s about 20 miles, tops.  That’s insane! 

I have no idea where my brother’s family is now and am just hoping they didn’t turn around out of frustration and head back home.  Latest news says Beaumont is directly in the path of this thing now. 

Hopefully the traffic will start moving soon.  I hate to think of all those people being stranded on the roadways when Rita hits.  And I’d feel much better if my family could get here between now and then!

Another female hurricane.

They’re bitches, I tell you.

My parents were already planning to come visit this weekend, but now, with the threat of Rita drawing near, and the recommended evacuation of the Gulf Coast cities, their travel plans have changed somewhat.  Now, rather than flying (perks of having a pilot for a son), they will have to drive.  And apparently traffic headed north is a nightmare.  I talked to Mom & Dad earlier and they said all roads leading north looked like a parking lot. 

Mom joked about leaving at midnight, but I haven’t heard from them so don’t know if they did that or not.  I guess if someone walks in my door in the next couple of hours, I’ll know.

The really pathetic thing is, had we not just seen the wrath of Katrina, I doubt anyone would be making as much of a big deal out of Hurricane Rita.  Sounds like a party drink if you ask me.  But this girl is packing a hell of a punch!
 

From CNN.com: 

“Hurricane Rita’s winds were at 175 mph early today as it spun closer to the Texas coast — where it is projected to make landfall early Saturday — and as thousands of residents began streaming from the Gulf Coast. The storm, which now is history’s third most intense, “could be worse than Katrina,” which devastated southeast Louisiana and coastal Mississippi a little over three weeks ago, said Max Mayfield, director of the National Hurricane Center.”

Yikes.  Yeah, get the hell out of Dodge.  Or atleast southeast Texas.  

I think I can…I think I can…

Two more days of work to survive. I feel like the little engine that could. Chugging along to get to that 3-day weekend! Almost there…and just when I feel completely overwhelmed, all I have to do is turn on the tv to put things into perspective.

I cannot even begin to fathom what the people of Louisiana, Mississippi, and beyond are going through. They’ve lost their homes, their clothes, their belongings, their cars, everything. People that are stranded on their roofs, in attics, on balconies. People wading through water almost as deep as they are tall in some places. All trying to find somewhere safe.

It is impossible to imagine what must be going through their minds. Just seeing the images on television and the internet has had me in tears for much of the past few days.The entire population of New Orleans is being evacuated. Apparently over 80% of the city is now underwater. The makeshift shelter of the Superdome is no longer an option. They are getting people out however they can, in an effort to relocate the survivors to the Astrodome in Houston.

I found out my company matches gifts to approved charitable organizations. It’s a bunch of paperwork to make it happen, but will be worth it to essentially have my donation amount to the Red Cross doubled. It’s such a simple thing to do, but I feel better knowing I’m doing something to be of help.