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2017-09-03 - 8:54 p.m.

Since my last update, my house continued to have power outages for increasingly longer periods of time. When the rain finally stopped, the heat started coming back so we mapped out a dry route of passable roads and we took off. We decided to go north, towards Dallas, and enjoy some air conditioning, restaurants, movies, and open businesses.

We didn't have any reservations anywhere. We chose to just fly by the seat of our pants and stop at whatever hotel struck our fancy. That turned out to be the Holiday Inn Express at a smallish town in Texas, about an hour from Dallas. We noticed the gas stations were either out of gas or there were long lines at the pumps so we decided to not go into Dallas where we had discovered the gas shortage was worse. As soon as we walked into the hotel, I told the hotel clerk that we were hurricane refugees. I was just being playful, but the clerk asked me where we were coming from and told me we would get a discount because of the hurricane. I was happy to hear it, cause who doesn't love a discount? Then he said that since we were in the affected area, we would not be charged tax! Woohoo! Good stuff! I told him "We are fine! We just need some electricity and restaurant service!" So then the clerk gave me a paper for filing for FEMA assistance. I thanked him and put the paper in my purse, but I have no reason to file for any help. I didn't want to harsh his humanitarian groove, so I didn't say anything. Before giving us our room keys, he told us to wait one second and then he disappeared around the corner and came back with a big goodie bag. He said some church groups and hotel employees had rounded up snacks and things and made these goodie bags for people from the hurricane.

I didn't want to take the bag, but I was already way in and could not say no. So I thanked him for it and my daughter, who is quite a character herself, was wearing the most somber expression I've ever seen that was not actually at a funeral in progress. We walked out to the car to start unloading our stuff and as soon as we passed through the doorway she said "We are going to burn in Hell."

We felt so damn guilty about that goodie bag! I mean, there are people who lost their home. People died. People had no food and no place to go and here we were just looking for some comfort in an air conditioned place with lights and restaurants. I did say that, right off the top, and we were legitimately from the affected area and we did evacuate directly because of the storm, but the damn goodie bag just made me feel guilty. So I confessed that we were not deserving of this kindness. The clerk told us it was OK and we were exactly the intended recipients of the goodie bag. So that was nice.

I sort of over-promised my side job that I would work tonight and get some catch up work done, so I have to actually do some tonight. I would rather watch the shows I recorded on my DVR, but I must code like the wind.

Our vacation was no Estes Park, but it was still good to be with my kiddo and not work for a week. And all this goodness is amped up because I am so very grateful that my house took no damage and I have the full value of it to sell so I can get the heck out of dodge and go inland where hurricanes are not a thing!!! I'm definitely moving to the Ozarks. More on this next time.

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