Today is my first day back to work since Friday but it feels like I have been gone for weeks.
On Friday afternoon, we packed up the car and hit the road for a long holiday weekend trip to Louisiana to visit with Trey’s family. We have not been back to Crowley (his hometown) since Christmas, so we were WAY past due for a visit.
Here in Dallas, we were aware of Hurricane Gustav. However on Friday, we were not too concerned about its projected landfall on Tuesday. That was four whole days away! We thought that maybe we would have to leave Monday morning instead of Monday night. Unfortunately, we were not prepared for the mass evacuation orders for the entire South Louisiana region!
While driving on the interstate in Louisiana Friday night, groups of 10 ambulances at a time were driving in the opposite direction. Apparently the hospitals or nursing homes were moving patients away from the impending storm. I thought that was a little early to be leaving, and it was erie to watch all ten pass with their lights flashing on top but not hear their sirens.
Saturday morning we had to check with the state police to see if the surrounding area was under a mandatory evacuation order before we drove down to the camp. The sun was shining as we spent the day visiting and eating with family. The television remained on the local news station as we watched Gustav build to a category 4 storm. Then we heard the press conference that announced plans for contraflow. Beginning at 4 AM on Sunday, the interstate would have all four lanes open to drive north and away from the storm. Stores were closing, bottled water was sold out, gas stations were packed with cars or already closed, stores and homes had their windows boarded up. We knew we needed to make a decision soon.
Sunday morning, we got up and packed the car again for the long trip home. Traffic was constant but not unbearable. The rest stops, gas stations and fast food restaurants were overflowing with cars. Almost 9 hours later, we were home. I calculated 16 hours of travel time in just two short days.
Although they may still be without power, all of Trey’s family is safe and I have not heard of any significant damage. When I lived in Louisiana about 6 years ago, I had to board-up my house for Hurricane Lily. The police came to my door to announce a mandatory evacuation at 9:00 PM at night. I remember the fear and uneasiness about leaving my home to flee from the storm and I never wanted to experience that again. About 6 months later, I moved to Dallas. We are blessed that we were returning home and not fleeing from our home this time.
On a lighter note, Sophia is going on her pink potty now and she wears panties instead of pull-ups during the day! I am so proud that she can ask to go to the potty now, although it does make trips to the grocery store, the mall, to a restaurant, or LONG CAR TRIPS a little more hectic. On Sunday, she would ask to go potty about every 1 to 1 ½ hours. Crowded restrooms were standard at every exit - so we put her potty in the back of the Yukon, pulled in to a gas station, opened the hatch and let her sit on the potty right in the car. She was so happy to have her own potty each time!