I started a new project while Mark and I spent almost a week in Tulsa, OK waiting for our turn to return home to Houston:
I found this great yarn store Loops at Utica Square in downtown Tulsa. I picked up the yarn and needles there and have started work on my new scarf. It took me about 10 tries to get used to the slipperiness of the needles and the nubbiness of the yarn. But now I’m doing great and hope to finish it pretty quickly.
As you can see from the picture at left, some one else likes my new project too!
Hurricane Rita: Part I
Read Mark's Evacuation Notes.
I was so grateful to pull into our driveway, walk into the house and turn on the lights after being a part of the great Houston exodus last week. I always thought that if I ever had to choose what to take and what to leave behind it would be a difficult decision. It wasn’t. I took a few days’ worth of clothes, a small box with all our financial records and a small bag of fabric, felt, scissors, thread and my pincushion. I did debate bringing the sewing machine but as many of you may know we took the Mini Cooper S so that was out of the question.
When we decided to leave Houston, the category 4 storm was headed just south of Galvestion and Houston would have taken a huge hit from the terrible winds on the right side of Rita. Fortunately, we still lived far enough inland that there was no great threat of storm surge but there was a possibility of flooding plus 110 mph winds and lots of rain. We put huge bowls of food, water, etc. upstairs for the cats – in the hall bathroom where there are no windows. We got to bed at 12:30 am and set the alarm to wake us up at 2:30 am. After packing the car and meeting up with Mark’s father, mother, brother and his family we were on the road by 3:30 am. We’d hoped to top off the gas tank because it was only ¾ full but there was no gas to be found.
We took I-10 to Beaumont, TX where we turned north up Hwy 96 towards Jasper, TX. It took us eight hours to make the 88-mile trip to Beaumont – an anxiety-ridden journey as I listened to weather reports telling me that the storm’s new path was fixed on our current location. At this rate we wouldn’t arrive at our final destination of Tulsa, OK until well after the storm hit land, a good 36 hours away.
I called my sister in Minnesota at 7:15 that morning to pray for us. There was no gas in any of the cities along I-10 and traffic was crawling. When I called her I found out that their neighborhood had been hit by a tornado just that previous evening and they had lost 2 ½ trees. Their backdoor neighbor’s house had a tree in the middle of their living room. She prayed and that helped to calm me down a little. She also called all of our family for me to let them know our status. Almost four hours later we reached Beaumont and were able to get gas – I cried.
At Beaumont Mark’s family had had enough of the traffic and they all turned back towards Houston because of the change in the storm’s course. Mark was determined to push on – his strength and determination amazed me. In the next 8 hours we traveled to Jasper, TX, which is normally a 1 to 2 hour drive. At one point we only traveled 4 miles in 4 hours! In Jasper we tried to get more gas. We waited in a relatively short line but when the woman in car in front of us reached the pump she walked into the station, walked back out and pulled away. I thought, “uh-oh.”
Mark pulled up to the pump and I walked into the store and overheard an older man asking the owner to please let him try to get some gas. The owner was there with his wife and son so I looked at his wife and asked if I could please try too? They said okay and I gave Mark the thumbs up to start pumping. He started but didn’t indicate whether anything was coming out and he couldn’t understand me when I hollered, “Is it working?” I walked over to him and he looked confused because he said that it was working just fine. One person walked by from another pump as the station turned it’s lights out and said that it might look like it was working but that it was probably just pumping out air. When the meter finally stopped, indicating that our tank was full, I told Mark to check the gas gauge in the car. It said that it was full. I walked back into the station to pay and the owner apologized to me – I think he didn’t believe that we had gotten any gas. As we drove away Mark told me that the other customers were getting angry at the station owner because none of the their pumps were working and ours was – I cried.
Update: Since Mark wrote a great synopsis of our trip, if you haven't read it yet shoud should. I think I'm done talking about it for now. :)