T Nation

Lessons Learned From Rita

Well it?s been 2 weeks since the bitch came and left. Our little town survived more or less intact, as did my house. Two longleaf pines hit it, one landed on the carport, knocked a few small holes in the roof, one hit the corner of the front porch, did about $1000 in damage. Did I mention these are 60ft+ tall trees, aboout 24" across at the butt? In other words, I got damn lucky.

We’ve got power, water, DSL etc. restored here now. The next town down the highway, Jasper, still has no power to the majority of the city. Some parts of East Texas are being told you’ll have power by Thanksgiving.

Through this ordeal, and I’ll post more thoughts and details on what we went through if anyone cares to read, I’ve learned a few lessons.

  1. If you get the chance to leave, LEAVE!!! We live about 100 miles due N of Beaumont. 110 or more from the Gulf. The eye passed over our town, was still at Category 1 level when it did. When a storm is that big, 100 miles only matters if you’ve got 200 more added on to it.

  2. You can never have enough ice in the freezer or enough bottled water stacked up. FEMA says have a gallon per person per day. Plan for more than that being needed. If I lived on a coastal area, I’d buy, and have done so, 35 gallon plastic drums, one per person. As for ice, you’re own your own.

  3. Running a Stihl 026 or 290 chainsaw for an two hours is a total body workout. So is dragging brush and treetops for 8 to 10 hours and stacking it.

  4. Good chainsaws are worth the money. So are tractors.

  5. Many past issues with family and most people can be forgotten if they step up under pressure and help solve the problems. Had a cousin from LA up here with us who I’d just as soon shoot a month ago. Now we’re friends again.

  6. Family who won’t step up and help get old after about 3 days. After 5, lethal force should be a legal option.

  7. You can live without power in a house. You cannot live without running water.

  8. Volunteering to hand out ice and water and food on asphalt in 100 degree weather is worth it when someone thanks you for a bag of ice with tears in their eyes.

  9. Spike may be the greatest thing ever invented next to oral sex. I was taking two to three a day (yeah I know, I’m not supposed to) to keep going, had no bad efects, nothing wrong at all. I did notice that when you take two in the morning, you have no appetite until about 5 or 6. Then you’re starved.

  10. There is no shame in running from a hurricane. Also no shame in taking ice, water, food, etc. from FEMA to keep going. The best thing I did during Rita was go with my family to North texas, not what I wanted to do. I was able to make sure my kids felt safe, come up with a plan on how to live when we got back, and then bring back a shitload of supplies to help out when I did return.

  11. FOX, CNN, and MSNBC are a bunch of sorry bastards. I will give credit for Geraldo being in Port Arthur as the storm rolled in. I would have loved it more if we had seen one of the many Vietnameese gangs in Port Arthur take his ass out, but you can’t have it all
    All day Saturday, all you saw was footage of how Houston and Galveston had been spared, that the affected area was “sparcely populated”. And that New Orleans had been spared, PRAISE THE LORD. Never saw one bit of footage of the little towns only 20 miles from Beaumont that were ripped apart. If it wasn’t a major city, they didn’t care. Fuck you Sheppard Smith.
    I’m sure ther are people in Louisiana, Florida and Mississippi who feel the same way.

  12. In the end, homes can be rebuilt, trees planted, wires restrung. If you’ve got your family all still with you, you came out okay.

Well said. Glad you came out okay.

We got hit pretty hard too. No damage to the house that amounted to much. Being without power really does suck. Especially when it is hot, and you live out in the country. We get our water from a well. So if we wanted to take a shower, it was, load the generator up in the truck, haul it down to the well, hook it up to the pump, and then power up the well. Run back up to the house, and take a nice COLD shower.
Our area got power back in 7 days. We were lucky. I heard on the radio today that there are something like 29,000 people still without power. I feel for those people.