The Process is the Party: Preparing for Hurricane Harvey as My Dad

This evening, Hurricane Harvey will hit land and is anticipated to develop into a Category 3 hurricane.

For residents of Texas, Louisiana and Mexico, it’s kind of freaky. For those in coastal cities such as Corpus Christi and Rockport, Texas, mandatory evacuations have been issued.

Having grown up in Houston, there have been several occasions in which we evacuated our suburban house and inched our way in snail-pace traffic toward family members who lived in other TX cities safe from the storm. I recall as we evacuated to Del Rio, Texas before the onslaught of Hurricane Ike in 2008, a little girl walking from vehicle to vehicle in the standstill traffic, asking people for water for a turtle she was clutching.

My dad always stayed behind when we evacuated, as it was his obligation as an employee of The Methodist Hospital to be “on call.” As Senior Editor, it was his responsibility to provide coverage and press releases on behalf of the hospital, and report from the epicenter of the storm in downtown Houston.

Retiring in 2016, this will be the first year my dad does not have to report downtown for work during the storm. With no press releases to prepare or writing to be done, he is in need of something to do, as well as some way to show how excited he is for this serious, yes, but also monumental event . . .

I mean, it’s been 9 years since Texas has seen a hurricane. My dad is chomping at the bit to track Hurricane Harvey, and shoot the shit about the storm with people in line behind him at Wal-Mart. He is that guy in the grocery store who is almost smirking at the empty water aisle, proud of his community for taking necessary precaution.

I’m not saying my dad is happy about impending doom or anything, but I do think he romanticizes storms because of the way it brings a community together, and also the guilt-free screwing around you get to do at home all weekend because of the unsafe driving conditions preventing you from being a productive member of society.

Essentially Hurricane Harvey, in all its realtime transformation, is my dad’s lifeblood right now. He’s even curated a hurricane playlist:

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The Evolution of Life Plans While On Vacation

Day One

Vacation, here we come! Jimmy and I are headed to Fort Collins to immerse ourselves its culture, history and modern frontier lifestyle. The plane ride was shit and my sciatica is flaring up due to our economy seating on Frontier Airlines – no leg room! 

We’re at our Airbnb! It’s a modular house with a very interesting minimalistic design. The trip was so worth it for the view from its pristine, modern windows. From a mid-century lounge chair, I watched a horse walking around in a neighboring field. 

Day Two

Jimmy and I agree that we could totally live here. I can just see us working in the burgeoning tech industry, perhaps for OtterBox. Yup – they’re headquartered right here in Fort Collins! We could casually bike to neighborhood coffee shops and work on our laptops and eat pastries. Plus, we’re only an hour from Denver and Rocky Mountain National Park. 

I already searched for jobs in Fort Collins on Indeed to check out the market. Jimmy says to just focus on enjoying vacation but he can shut up – we’re being summoned here by some higher power. It feels right! 

Day Three

After reading an entire Dwell magazine featuring prefab design (which I now know is short for prefabricated) that the Airbnb owners have, we’ve decided that in just 5 to 7 years time, we can save up enough money to buy a plot of land in Fort Collins and build a modular homestead. My mom will be retiring by then and she and Dad can come live in the guest house and take care of all the animals we plan to own. 

Jimmy says to briefly consider the cost of land, but that will come later. Right now my main focus needs to be changing my career, and saving more money for for this future life! 

Day Four

I got a snippy email from a coworker and decided that I can’t go on doing this job. It’s a shit job that pays nothing and on this salary, I will never be able to save up for a plot of land in Fort Collins. I wonder if any architecture firms back home are hiring admin positions? Maybe I can just get my foot in the door because obviously I’m going to need to know this stuff anyway if I’m going to design our prefab homestead in Fort Collins.

I went ahead and applied to three jobs while Jimmy was on the toilet. I’m getting closer to realizing this dream! 

Day Five

We cracked the windshield of our rental and realized that Fort Collins doesn’t even have tacos. And, the snow? I guess we can sort it all out. Not feeling good about returning to work. In fact I am so depressed about returning to work that I downloaded a free app called Pacifica on my phone so that I can track my moods and try to control my depression. Tomorrow, the journey ends, but that doesn’t mean my new life dream ends with it. 

Day Six

So stressed out because tomorrow I go back to work. It cost $60 to park our car in the airport’s longterm parking lot, and Frontier is a piece of shit airline. I feel as if we sunk all our savings into this escape and I need an extra day off just to recover and try to get my sciatica sorted. On the plane Jimmy asked about the whole moving-to-Fort-Collins-and-creating-a-prefab-homestead plan, and we both agreed that we should instead just save up to take another trip in 6 months. I hear Utah is beautiful, and that Zion National Park is a must see!