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Location:near Houston, Gulf Coast, United States

Conservatively liberal, moderately well-educated, and highly opinionated...

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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

A Parental Balancing Act

Wow. Rita is picking up strength at an astonishing rate. A Cat 4 already???? She’s still 2 ½ days away!

Now we start the parental dance with our children – walking the fine line between discussions grounded in reality and reassurance that no matter how it plays out, it won’t look like New Orleans after Katrina.

It won’t be easy to do. This part of the country was fully engulfed by the last storm’s aftermath. Our schools are packed with children who either evacuated, or were rescued – children who have lost everything. Families all over the area have donated time, clothing, money, put together fund raisers, hosted others… there is complete understanding here of what a major hurricane can do. Knowing that we won’t be swept away in our location does not minimize the terrible destruction that is likely to smash our friends and family at lower elevations.

So far, my child seems to have internalized the reassurance I’ve given ever since Rita was TD18, innocent and far from us. Like other parents, I’ll be listening for the tell-tale signs of anxiety in the next couple of days.

I still believe we’ll be fine here. I fully expect wind damage, but at 142’ above sea level, circumstances are much different in Katy than in Houston (much less New Orleans or the Mississippi coast). Our streets flood with torrential rain – but they all do. Storm drains can only handle so much water per minute. They’ll eventually drain.

Better yet, officials in Texas are organized and moving rapidly, and the federal administration (read: Bush) is unlikely to forget a lesson so recently taught. Unfortunately, I've seen nothing in the recent FEMA or Red Cross actions that indicate improvement in process.

The best news, though, is it’s only Wednesday. Lots of time yet for Rita to take a less fearsome track, or weaken. Fingers crossed…