When it rains in Texas, sometimes it floods. Navigating the flooded areas was a daunting task, as I learned, after leaving work in the wee hours of the morning.
While driving around trying to find an underpass that wasn’t flooded or blocked by stalled vehicles, I kept thinking…will I make it home? I wondered where the homeless people that usually live in these underpasses had moved to? My phone rings. It’s my coworkers on three-way telling me that they finally was able to leave the building and were making it home or to a nearest relative’s house for shelter. I missed my family back home in NY more than ever.
I kept driving on the Interstate 10 heading west and looking at each exit for flashing police lights or taillights indicating/warning of flood levels that others thought they could simply drive through but were wrong. I suddenly missed not worrying about my car running out of gas because I could quickly get off at the nearest exit and fuel up. I surely didn’t want to get stuck in deep unforgiving waters like so many abandoned cars and vans I saw in the middle of the streets on the feeder road. Man, talk about being cautious, that was definitely ME and gratitude set in.
My husband, and two of my son’s called checking up on me during this 4 hour drive, which normally takes me 30 minutes. Their pictures kept me company, as I kept looping around Interstate 10. Finally! An exit with no flashing tail lights! That meant “permissible” – only to find out down the road,the bayou overflowed onto the street making it impossible to get through and more stalled cars with water up to their windows- their owners standing on the side of the road barely escaping with their lives and warning others. When there’s a flood or disaster, people get pretty friendly in these parts- ’cause we’re all in the same boat, trying to make it safely home.
I didn’t give up trying to make it home to my loved ones. Following my intuition, I wouldn’t dare attempt to go into areas where I couldn’t see how deep the water was. Living in Houston, TX for the last 15 years, and surviving three major hurricanes and a frost that uprooted trees and had their broken limbs denting up vehicles-this was the first time I had been one of “those people” DRIVING in and around flooded areas. I was the one that until now- watched the disasters from the comfort of my home and never had to go out in it. Never judge others, cause you never know when it might be you.
Then I thought about my GPS and no sooner did I think of this, my second oldest son, who was also traveling home from work, calls and said he was using his GPS to avoid the flooded streets. Technology does have its advantages, doesn’t it!
I hear my favorite ringtone over the music on the radio, and look away from the road for just a second to locate my phone- it’s my husband, I smile and answer it. In the sweetest tone I’ve heard, he says, “Honey, what’s your status?” I pull over this time and tell him the only exit I haven’t tried yet is Mason Rd. which is three exits past my normal route and further out of the way. He tells me to get some rest and let the rain subside before heading out again. I waited for about 15 minutes, and sure enough, the rains slow down and I begin my adventure once again.
This time, I got a little further down the road and I’m starting to feel relieved. I make it to the end of Mason and turn right onto Clay Rd. Turn right again into the first gas station (Exxon Mobil), because by now, I’m at a quarter tank. I’m not sure how much longer this journey will be but I’m closer than ever to being home- so I fill her up and head onto the road again.
Here is what I experienced on the last leg of my 4-hour trip home from work:
I’m officially traumatized, but thankful for the experience. When it rains…sometimes it floods.
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Wishing you peace and prosperity,