Thursday, September 4, 2008
Going home -- the continuing saga of Hurricane Gustav
We were debating when was the best time to start the trek back to New Orleans from our Hurricane Gustav Evacuation to Florida. Linda learned her parents were heading back to Mandeville because of the conditions in Alexandria, La where they had holed up from the storm, only to find it followed them. They told tales of tornadoes and a hotel without power. So on the road we were, leaving Perdido Key to the pelicans and other regulars who were showing back up.
We decided to try to meet them at their house to make sure things were okay. They weren't. The place looked normal and there was no damage, but there was also no power. That was not going to be tolerable for anyone for long in that stifling "after-the-hurricane" heat. Linda's dad is 87 and on oxygen so we needed better conditions.
We borrowed a generator from a friend, opened old wooden windows that hadn't be raised in years. Then we hooked up a big fan and try to blow air through the house. It worked somewhat, and got some that "closed-up-house" feeling out.
Her brother Danny showed up with a small window air conditioning unit a few minutes later and as darkness was stealing the light, the new appliance was shoved in the window and a cool, but not cold breeze poured out of it.
We decided we couldn't leave them alone. The unit could barely keep one room cool, so we all bunkered down in the living room (Linda, me, her parents, her mom's friend Ruth and Linda's sister Karen) on sofas, recliners, mattresses and what-have-you. We draped sheets over the open doorways to keep the cool contained.
All went well till this morning when Linda's dad got up to use the restroom. On the way back he slipped in the hall and split his head open. Off to the hospital with him we went. Probably a concussion.
It makes you realize how we depend on all the comforts that keep our society going. It also reinforces that warning that cities after hurricanes are filled with hidden dangers.
Hopefully power will be back up soon.
Gustav, goodby and good riddance.