*Surviving Hurricane Rita*
By: MoonMist
28 September 2005

Live from Woodville, TX, where we have no power and complete devastation! Strange how the computer phone lines are still operative, even though they're routed through Beaumont, which is trashed as bad, or worse, than here.

Talk about learning survivalism! My husband is not a survivalist, and yet, because we live in the country, we find that we're sitting in a better position than a whole lot of other folks. We have a generator, gas, water, food, etc.

The worst thing about this situation at present is the intense heat. We've been having record temperatures with heat indices up to 110. This has gotten to more people than anything else; many of them are leaving for other parts, even if it's just to stay in a motel room.

My property is pretty much trashed, but the house is okay - only a few shingles off. No flooding here, but all the major shade trees are gone. There was no loss of livestock, either, which is amazing when you see what they've been through.

The storm came in Friday night/Saturday morning; FEMA got here on Monday, handing out water, MREs, and 2 gallons of gas per family. Since I'm way out in the country, it's not worth the effort to drive the 10 miles into town for the gas; we've managed to get hold of a couple of 55 gallon drums and we drove 2 1/2 hours each way to fill them and get supplies last night.

The thing that strikes me most about this situation is that the ethical issues that we've talked about on the message boards are very real. Some friends found out that we have a generator, and wanted to borrow it! It happened to be too large to transport, but even if it wasn't, that would be a tough call. The reason it matters in these circumstances (THIS disaster) is that there will be an end to this, and I hate thinking that I might not have friends that I had when the whole thing started. It's a good thing that these friends don't know just what we're able to hook up with the generator - just about everything, though not all at the same time.

Another issue is the psychological aspect of going through something like this. The long night of the storm was terrifying, and now whenever I hear the slightest wind or an unexpected thud of any kind I jump. Even now, five days later, I don't take it for granted that I can go to bed and not have to worry that any storm is either coming at me or pounding the house. I never want to hear a chainsaw or a generator again!

A note about the night of the storm - as frightening as it was, it would have been worse had we not had a battery-operated radio to keep us "grounded." Although the news was not always what we wanted to hear, the fact that we had some contact with the outside world, if only one-way, was a tremendous help.

There were a few items we didn't think to stock, but nothing of paramount importance. It would have been nice if, from the get-go, we had paper plates and plastic cups, but really that's inconsequential to the things we do have.

Another thing we've learned is that cleanup is only necessary to the degree to assess damage - beyond that, it can be downright dangerous. My husband stepped on a piece of fencing that punctured his foot, and had to go 150 miles to get a tetanus shot - not exactly what we needed to try to deal with right now. The heat makes cleaning up further foolish, but also of course there's more chance of getting injured. I've had it drilled home that the best thing you can do is take care of yourself - it's scary knowing that there's no medical help available.

Need to go gas up the generator - I'll check the Rubicon boards on and off.

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