Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Strange Sea Creatures Come Ashore

Lots of funny, weird and unusual things have happened to me over the years while working disasters but they were little things that didn’t seem big enough to write a whole blog about, so thought I’d put a few of them together.

Hurricane Isabel 2002 Chesapeake Bay
I was working along the coastline. It’s a very beautiful area but in order to get around, there are often really long, dangerous or steep bridges to cross. I recall one morning (this is not part of the story…lol), I had to go out just at daybreak and cross the Frances Scott Key bridge. It was raining and still dark. My nerves were tied in knots by the time I got across that bridge. It felt really dangerous and I still shudder when thinking about it.

I was out one day inspecting a bunch of houses that backed right up to the Chesapeake Bay. Though lots of people move into areas like this, they always take the worst damage when a hurricane hits. So this lady had a beautiful home with a small backyard and a nice swimming pool. Her back yard had a retaining wall that was built to prevent her yard from washing away into the sea.

When the 20 foot tidal surge came in, it washed many types of debris into her home and yard. That’s pretty typical along coastal areas. You’ll often find seaweed, sand and parts of other people’s houses in someone’s yard.

So we were out by the ocean checking out her retaining wall which had been damaged. And she says, “Oh by the way, something washed into our pool from the sea.”

So I looked up from my computer and said, “What?”

“There’s some kind of sea creature swimming around in our pool. How can we get rid of him?”

I thought I’d heard everything but this was new. “Um…do you have any fishing gear?”

She nodded. “Sure. We go fishing all the time.”

I shrugged. “Get yourself some bait and fishing poles and catch it. Then put it back in the sea where it belongs.”

She looked kind of frightened. “What if it’s something really dangerous?”

I sighed. “What could it be? A sting ray? It’s probably a Flounder or something like that. You could have it for dinner.”

She still didn’t seem to like the idea of fishing the creature out of her pool, but the only other option was to wait for another storm surge to come in and wash it back out of the pool. That seemed like a long shot to me.

Well crap! Turns out this story was long enough for its own blog. So see ya next time for another weird disaster story.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Puerto Rico 2004 Hurricane Jeanne

I’m climbing up a gradual incline on an old mountain road led by the homeowner. My interpreter is right beside me. He won’t let go of my hand. He’s an ex-marine and they never leave a man behind.

“It ain’t safe here, Miss Carol,” he was saying. So I nodded and stayed close.

We were deep in the Rain Forest. The homeowner was explaining how he came to be living in Ai Bonito, Puerto Rico. His uncle died and left him some land…about 20 acres. So he left an accounting job in Wisconsin and built a house right at the top of this mountain- that was where we were headed.

We trudge through heavy underbrush such as you often see in a rainforest. He stopped once and said, “I’ve got an old horse around here somewhere named Trixie, but she won’t never come when I call her. She’s stubborn as hell!”

“I got a daughter that’s like that,” I said. He turned and smiled.

“We’re about half-way now. Won’t be long.”

He lied! He lied big time. By the time we got to his crazy homemade house, we were winded and exhausted. It was at least a mile. He said, “Stand here on this porch and look out across there.”

So we climbed on this rickety old porch he’d made with his own two hands and we looked out. Below us, there was a vast green valley, with streams running through it. Beyond that were more marshy plains. But beyond that was the Caribbean Ocean. I had heard it was around there somewhere, but wasn’t sure where.

Now there it was, many miles south in the distance, but still visible to the naked eye. It was quite a stupendous sight. So the next day, I took a day trip down to Ponce, which is a big town on the Caribbean Coast just south of Ai Bonito. Turns out they were having a big sale at the Mal Del Caribe in Ponce. I got gorgeous bracelets with real gemstones, leather sandals, tropical-looking blouses, some jean shorts, underwear and of course 4 or 5 pairs of earrings. I had quite a fun relaxing day.

I went down to the beach to fool around that afternoon and some locals came over and warned me to leave the beach area by 4 in the afternoon. After that, the shadowy figures that rule the night come out and pretty much mess up things. It’s dangerous.

Of course, I said “Thanks, appreciate it!” but that wasn’t my first rodeo. I had worked Detroit years before. You had fast food joints with bullet proof glass and most stores and restaurants closed down for good. These street punks can be found in every city. They are too lazy to work so they do whatever necessary to separate you from your cash. I make friends with them whenever I can. They always seem to know the right people should you get into some kind of trouble. The rest of the time, I just outwit them…aint that hard really.

Well, I couldn’t approve the guy who lived on the Big Mountain for much federal help because he actually did not have much. Very little furniture. No toilet or bath or driveway or garage. Only one big room and a couple of smaller rooms sparsely furnished and dark. The wood had never been painted. No radio, TV, internet. He barely had electricity. So if you ain’t got nothing, then you ain’t got nothing to lose in a hurricane.

We started back down the one-mile trail through thick underbrush to return to my car. The guy lived alone in a remote area so he didn’t get to see many humans. He talked constantly the whole way up and back. He told us how he grew his own coffee beans and how you have to pick them at just the right time and then dry them in just the right way. He told us how he got the beans out of the shells.

He told us all about his drying process. He had screen trays and he laid the beans out in a single layer on them, then took them up on the roof and placed them there in the tropical sun for a few days to dry out. I wondered why the wild varmints didn’t come and eat the raw beans, but didn’t ask.

He seemed happy with his life there. It seemed too barren, desolate and remote for my tastes. As we headed for the car, he said something that caught my attention. He said, “This road is the only way to my house and since the hurricane washed it out, we’ve had a hard time getting up and down the road with food and supplies. It’s no longer driveable. You have to walk or take the horse.”

So I stopped dead in my tracks and said, “What did you just say?” He repeated it and my mind was buzzing with ideas. “If this is the only way in and out of your home and if the storm washed out this road, then I CAN get you some federal assistance.”

He said, “Well, all that’s true…really!”

“How far you reckon it is?”

“Probably a mile up and a mile back.”

“How much of it needs repairs?” All the time he was answering my questions, I was recording the info in his application on my computer. He needed at least ¾ mile of grading and dirt to fill in spots that had washed out. He would need a tractor to help spread the dirt and pack it down. By the time we finished, I got him several thousand dollars’ worth of equipment and supplies, plus the dirt to completely repair his road.

He seemed excited and happy. So I called him at the end of the week to see how he was doing. “Did you get your money?” I asked him.

“Yep, yep, FEMA was pretty generous.”

“Great! So now you can get your road repaired.”

“Do I have to use the money for that?”

“No! but it would be best if you did.”

“This is enough to have electricity put all throughout my house.” (He had been using long extension cords that came from a tall Electric Pole in the yard.)

I sighed. “Well, Okay, if that’s what you want to do, that’s fine. FEMA won’t say anything.”

He thanked me profusely for my help because apparently, he had never gotten several thousand dollars in the mail –EVER! I still think about that guy and wonder if he’s still living on that lonely mountain in the middle of the rain forest. I would at least go find me a wife, if I was him. Guess that stubborn horse, Trixie, was all the company he needed.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Surviving the Storm

As an ex-disaster relief worker, I know quite a bit about surviving big storms. I’ve actually worked 10 hurricanes and been in 5 hurricanes. What happens is that they bring thousands of relief workers into the area ahead of the storm in case roads are washed out and airports are closed. So that puts us in the eye of the storm but its one of those dirty jobs somebody has to do.

If we’re having a big hurricane season, then you might also have to be evacuated right along with the local population when a new storm is making landfall. That happened a few times in 2004. I was in South Florida for months. I was evacuated at different times when Jeanne and Ivan made landfall.

Hurricane Frances hit first. Then 3 weeks to the day later, hurricane Jeanne hit the same exact city on the eastern coastline…a little town called Jensen Beach. I was staying at the Parkview Motel in Jensen Beach for months. They got some damage from the first hurricane but survived the second one okay. I like to think God stepped in and saved that hotel so I’d have a place to stay…ha ha! Because it was honestly RIGHT in the Eye of both hurricanes and they were big ones…made landfall right in the Category 3 or 4 range.

Anyway, I always post lots of disaster survival stuff on my blogs and Facebook. The thing is that people rarely listen…it’s like they think the advice is for someone else, so here it is again and it’s for YOU:


Every spring here in North Texas, we have major storms that cause major flooding and a few people always drown from driving into standing water. What a stupid way to die!!!

Good Lord!! If you’ve decided to relinquish your life, then do so to save someone else’s … Like give away all your organs or save a child from an oncoming bus. But don’t just drown for NO REASON cause that would be freakin’ ignorant…okay, I’m done with that rant!

Survival Tips
-Plenty of clean drinking water-You can live for several weeks without food, but you must have water every few days
-Canned goods, packaged foods. I love MRE’s. You can buy them online.

-Have a plan. This depends on where you live and whether your city is more prone to earthquakes, tornadoes, wildfires or hurricanes. Think about what you’d do if something happened. Make your family discuss this. Take notes about good places where you could evacuate to. A million people had to be evacuated during Katrina. Most of them had no place to go. They became Hurricane Gypsies. Please see my poem below written in New Orleans in November of 2005.

The last thing is to use your good old God-given common sense! This is such a basic thing that you’d think you wouldn’t have to remind people, but you do! Last spring, we had really severe flooding and about 30 people drowned during a 3 week period.

This one woman sticks out in my mind. She was a young, pretty Christian mother with 2 kids. They were staying in one of those lake houses along the Guadalupe River. During the night, a flash flood came. This is very common and you should avoid rivers in south Texas during spring unless you’re there to canoe or kayak.

Anyway, the flood waters washed the house where they were staying off its foundation and into the river. Instead of searching for a way to save herself and her 2 kids, the woman sat down and texted her sister and said good-bye. All 3 drowned that night.

These days, people seem more interested in filming whatever’s happening, texting or facebooking…instead of saving themselves. Your first priority has to be to get to safety. Later, you can take pics, text and Facebook everyone. Use your skills and any resources at your disposal to save yourself and/or family.

Usually, if you can stay focused and not panic, you can survive. I’m not especially smart, strong or skilled but I’ve survived a good many disasters in my lifetime. Us humans, we seem to have lost that innate ability to survive. We often relinquish our lives for reasons that make no sense. Don’t die that way! Make sure your death has meaning.


Souls at unrest
For their grandmother’s chair
A blanket they’ve had since childhood
A picture the eight-year old drew.

Searching for photos
Of picnics and barbecues
Of Weddings and births.

Searching for papers
Meaningful things.

Rummaging thru debris...
Nasty, muddy relics,
The stench of death
Still lingering
In what was once a home.

Hurting, angry souls
Crying out to no one.
Souls whose dreams
Are filled with turbulence.

Lost souls
With no home
No place to lay their heads at night.

People with only memories now
Of a wonderful life they once enjoyed
And nothing more.

All that remains
Are gnawing fears of tomorrow,
Agonizing thoughts of what will be.

Lonely, lost vagabonds
In search of a place to call home…
The Hurricane Gypsies.

"Written for all those who survived and for those who didn't."

Carolyn L. Sorrell – Copyright October 2005 – New Orleans – All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Hurricane Katrina and the Snakes

When it came time to go to New Orleans for the Hurricane Katrina disaster, even seasoned pros quit their jobs and refused to go. Most were like, “Hell no, I ain’t going to New Orleans! There’s no law and order, people are shooting each other in the streets. You could get raped and murdered in about a minute, plus there’s talk of a cholera epidemic. No amount of money is worth risking my life.”

From my home in the country, I spoke to more than a few disaster relief workers and they all said about the same thing. It was a tough decision for me. I was a single woman living in a lovely home in the country. There’s probably not a more opposite situation than moving from a quiet home in the country to New Orleans right after Katrina. But I had a mortgage to pay and no husband to help out with it so my bottom line was the money. Disaster work pays good.

I packed my things and drove to Houston, Texas, the home of our very first field office. FEMA had decided that Houston was the closest big city where they could set up their disaster operations but still be out of harm’s way. They do make some effort to keep workers out of danger. Houston was overflowing with disaster refugees and workers who had come from all over America and Canada to help out with the relief efforts.

The media was there too. They always get the best or only hotels rooms available. Once you arrive, you’re supposed to go directly to a field office and check in. Next you get a briefing and all your equipment. This situation was much different than other disasters though. New Orleans and most of the Gulf Coast was flooded in about 15 to 20 feet of the nastiest water you ever saw. When those levees broke, the whole area went underwater within a few hours.

All the people and animals there who had survived the powerful hurricane were now threatened with drowning. The Superdome was still filled with thousands who were tired, angry, hungry and scared. That story has been told hundreds of times now but my sources say that Americans never were told the real truth about what went on there. In some countries overseas they saw and heard a much different tale than the one we were given here in the states.

Thousands of disasters workers sat around their hotel rooms for 10 days waiting on the flood waters to recede. We saw the same frightening pictures everyone else was seeing and many of us were doubting our decisions to work this one. I returned to my home in Greenville, Texas and set up a home office there.

FEMA was already getting thousands of applications for assistance but since we couldn’t travel to the area, they were trying to figure out other ways we could get assistance to the victims and these alternatives included initial emergency payments of several hundred dollars. With the government though, there is always a lot of paperwork to be done before you can get any type of assistance. I contacted my applicants and told them what types of documents they needed to fax me and then worked their applications from a home office.

Sadly, that didn’t last long. After about 10 days, we began to hear that the flooding was going down and that the military and National Guard was formulating a plan to allow homeowners and workers into certain areas. Within two weeks of Katrina’s landfall, I found myself in the city of New Orleans. I’ll never forget sitting there on the Twin Bridges that lead into the city from Baton Rouge. On both sides of the highway there were all sorts of debris lying at various angles in the bayous and in Lake Ponchatrain.

I’d move the car up a few feet and then wait a few more minutes and then move a few more feet. It was hot and muggy there with huge mosquitos and the car would overheat quickly. Out the car window on the right, there was a train car lying on its side. Out the driver’s window, there were several coffins floating by. Down the highway another mile, there was a semi-trailer lying upside down on the right in a water-filled ditch and on the other side of the road in the lake, there was part of someone’s home.

That was only the beginning of what turned out to be a two-month long nightmare where I spent each day talking to homeowners who had lost everything and hearing the most sorrow-filled stories of what Katrina had stolen from them. Along with that, they would usually say that many of their family members and everyone they knew also lost everything because they too, had lived within her path.

The days were long and hot and the nights were spent on an army cot in a makeshift dorm two hours north of New Orleans fashioned for us disaster workers by FEMA. There were lines everywhere. I never liked waiting in long lines. In fact, I hate it! You had to sit in a long line to get gas for your car. There was a long line at any open restaurants, stores or cafes north of New Orleans. At our government compound, there were lines to eat, to use the fax machines….just about everything you wanted to do, you had to stand in line first.

When they finally brought the shower trailers in for us, we were all so relieved. Those first few days at the compound, we had to be bused to a local rec center for showers. Then they brought in about six 18 wheelers that had been fully equipped with shower stalls. The trouble was that there was no air at all in them. It could be 120 degrees inside those trailers at times. You’d go in there hot and sweaty from a long day of crawling over muddy, wet couches and take your shower but be sweaty again before ever leaving the trailer.

I got deployed to the Gulf coast in Chalmette, St. Bernard’s Parish. This was one of the hardest hit areas and the danger was greatly enhanced by the fact that there had been a massive oil spill from Murphy Oil. The entire city was ruined. There was one to two feet of toxic mud covering everything. The EPA was there measuring the toxicity daily. I ran into a woman from the EPA one day while working and pulled her over. We were in a residential neighborhood, surrounded by every type of rotting debris.

“Hey, how’s it going?” I said greeting the woman.

“Are you with FEMA?” she asked, looking down at the badge around my neck.” I nodded. “This is a tough one, isn’t it?” She smiled but I could see a grimace behind her smile and knew she was probably suffering through the same horrible conditions as the rest of us.

“How’s the air, soil and water quality?”

“Not too bad…really.”

I could tell she was lying. Everyone I spoke to said that Chalmette had 300,000 times over the limit of poisons like benzene and cyanide in the air, soil and water.

“There are thousands of snakes here,” I told her. “Have you run into any?”

She ducked her head so I wouldn’t see the fear in her eyes. “A few. Where did they come from?”

I figured she must have traveled from up north somewhere. “There were wetlands along the coast here. The storm washed all those marsh grasses into Chalmette and the snakes were in those grasses.”

“All this brown hay-looking stuff is actually marsh grass?” She definitely wasn’t from the south.

“Yep, afraid so. It makes quite a sight, doesn’t it? A foot or two of toxic mud covered with a foot or two of dead marsh grasses. It’s challenging to get up to the houses to inspect them.”

“Do you ever go inside any of them?”

“Occasionally,” I said, covering my eyes from the intense Louisiana sun. “All the structures are unsound so we don’t have to go inside but I’ve been in a few of them. They’re all filled with snakes.”

“Yikes! I’d stay out of these houses if it was me. Do you know what kind of snakes they are? Are they poisonous?”

“Afraid so…these are cottonmouth water moccasins.”

She stepped back and straightened her stance. “Oh my gosh! Won’t those kill you?”

I grinned. “Only if they bite you. I grew up on a farm in East Texas and we had cotton-mouthed water moccasins in our stock tank.”

“So they don’t bother you?”

“Oh yeah, they bother me plenty, but I stay out of their way.”

She sighed. “Man, I’ll be glad when this one is over.”

“Me too. Believe it or not, I’m praying for a nice little hurricane in Miami so I can get transferred out of this hell-hole.”

She laughed. “Well, good luck with that.” She gazed down the street at the broken houses, crushed autos and huge piles of debris that had come from God knows where. “Guess I should get back to work. It was nice talking to you.”

“Same here,” I told her, waving good-bye.

She drove away and I traveled down the road a few blocks to meet with my next applicant. It turned out to be an Asian couple in their thirties driving a white mini-van. They both pretended to speak much better English than they actually spoke and I could tell they hadn’t been in the U.S. very long.

I greeted them and then said, “Let’s just do our paperwork out here at the back of your van, if that’s okay.”

They both nodded and I went over all the legal documents they had to sign and explained what they meant and ask them both to sign. Then I checked their ID’s, looked at their insurance policies and made a bunch of notes about the house and the things they were telling me about their losses.

Finally, the woman looks at me and says, “You go in, yes? You go in and see.”

I glanced up from entering information into my computer. “No ma’am. That structure isn’t safe to go inside. It sat under water for 10 days. The construction is compromised.”

“You go in and see, yes?”

I sighed. “No ma’am. I don’t need to go inside. It looks exactly like every other house in New Orleans.”

She got a bit more persistent. Taking me by the hand, she started pulling me toward the house. “You go in and see now.”

I was shaking my head the whole way but followed her up close to the front door. The entrance was covered in toxic mud, marsh grasses full of snakes and peppered with chairs, couches, tables, parts of a fence, somebody’s computer monitor and other assorted soggy, broken, stinking furniture.

“We go inside. You see,” she said for the fifth or sixth time.

I pulled my hand away and stood my ground. “Ma’am, under no circumstances am I going inside that house. It isn’t safe, plus it’s filled with snakes.”

She ignored my warning and starting climbing over debris to get to the door. Reaching down, she took hold of a chair to push it out of her way. Out crawled a big ole cotton-mouthed water moccasin.

I sighed and shook my head. “Ma’am, there’s a snake there,” I calmly told her.

She turns around to face me, smiles and says, “You go in. You see.”

I pointed at the snake which was well on its way to crawling out from under the chair. “There’s a snake there, ma’am.”

Right up behind me came her husband. He shouted something in Chinese and the woman looked down, saw the snake and started jumping all around. She jumped, leaped and hopped all over the place, through the mud and over a soggy couch before finally landing out in the middle of the yard covered in mud.

I watched the whole thing and it seemed to unfold in slow motion. Her husband quickly ran to her side to see if she was okay and she was, but I stood there laughing as hard as I could. I knew it was wrong but just couldn’t stop myself. I must have laughed a good 3 or 4 minutes. The lady did not see any humor at all in what had just happened but I couldn’t help myself. It was the funniest thing I’d seen since coming to New Orleans.

I had already seen and heard an unbelievable amount of harsh reality and devastating truth, so these few moments of laughter seemed to bring a little healing to my soul. I was thankful the woman wasn’t injured because there were no hospitals to be found within a 100-mile radius. As the days and weeks drug by, I thought of that incident many times and laughed every single time. There were way too many long, weary days and nights without enough sleep or food. There were many times when you honestly didn’t feel you could place one foot in front of another and make it one more step.

On October 24th of 2005, Hurricane Wilma made landfall in Southern Florida and I immediately asked to be transferred there. My transfer came through around the first week of November and I spent a lovely Thanksgiving working in the gorgeous West Palm Beach area.

Carolyn L. Sorrell - © Copyright July 2012 – All Rights Reserved

Friday, January 8, 2016

Hurricane Ike & the GPS

There are still thousands of utility workers out here restoring power, phones, etc. A steady stream of trucks runs up and down the freeway day and night. Some carrying commercial generators, others carrying food and water…insurance adjusters, FEMA, Red Cross.

I've been assigned to a rural area of Beaumont…one of those lonely, country areas where they have to pipe sunlight in. It's a long ways between appointments sometimes. There are still hundreds of electric and phone wires draped across the roads. I cringe each time I have to drive over one.

It's easy to get lost out here too. MS Streets and Trips can't find these addresses. All my friends said, "Carol, buy you one of those GPS's and you won't get lost anymore!"

So I found one on sale at Office Depot the other day and bought it. It's kind of cool! I unboxed it, read the instructions, turned it on and it began to talk to me. There are several different voices you can choose and each has a name. There are female voices, Bonnie, Rita, Clare. And there are male voices…Jeff, Robert and Ted.

I chose Ted because he had a soothing voice and my days are usually frantic from start to finish. I programmed in my first address on Sunday and waited while Ted mapped our route. Finally Ted says, "Take the next right and go straight." So I did.

He told me every turn to make warning me 800 yards ahead of time before each turn. After we had safely made it to 2 appointments, I picked up the GPS, stroked it and said, "Ted, I have a feeling me and you are gonna have a very sweet long term relationship."

Ted says, "Go 400 yards and take the next right." I love it when he talks like that to me.

We had to go out to Old Sour Lake Rd at noon. There's nothing but fields and horses out there. Why do people live in desolate places like that? Ted got us lost. He told me to turn left on N. China Rd and go straight and I did and we wound up in some guy's pasture.

I picked up the GPS device and said, "Ted, that was embarrassing. Don't let that happen again. Okay?"

So Ted says, "Go 600 yards and take the next right." So I did. And we got back on the highway.

Everything went fine until our 2 O'clock appointment, a destroyed mobile home out on Westville Lane which is not on most maps. Ted told me to turn left on Meeker Rd but I'd already been out there for other inspections so I knew we should turn right.

"Ted, I'm sorry but you're wrong on this one."

Ted says, "Turn around! Turn around!"

I said, “No Ted…really…you need to learn to admit when you're wrong."

But he was insistent so I just ignored him and went on out to Westville Lane and inspected the destroyed mobile home.

After that one, I programmed in my next address and we headed down the road toward Highway 90. When we got near the highway, Ted says, "Go 600 yards and turn left."

I says, "Ted, don't you mean 'right'? We go right down here."

But he was insistent. "Go 400 yards and turn left."

"Ted, really man, that's gonna take us out to Sour Lake and we don't wanna go there today."

"Go 200 yards and turn left."

I picked up the GPS device. "Ted, I can't tolerate lying. I can put up with anything but lying. So don't lie to me again or it's over between us." Then I turned right.

"Turn around. Turn around," Ted says.

"Ted, don't make me throw you in Sour Lake. Cuz I will, you know. I threw my cell phone in the Atlantic Ocean during the 2004 hurricane season and I'll dang sure throw you in Sour Lake if you keep lying to me."

Finally he got quiet and I took us on to our next appointment. The last one we did on Sunday was out on Captain Kidd Way. They gave us a wrong address to begin with and then when we got there, it was a beautiful house in the middle of nowhere. Some guy had bought some land and thought about developing a community there but quit after only one house was built.

The whole place was grown up in tall weeds with mosquitoes as big as horse flies. This woman followed me around the whole time and whined about how her ex-husband had done her wrong. Under my breath I mumbled things like, "Grow a backbone and stop putting up with his crap, lady!" and "Sheez lady! Do I honestly look like I care that much?" and finally, "Oh God! Please help me get away from this whiny woman!"

I was eaten up with mosquitoes by the time I was able to leave there. I was supposed to drive to Dayton Texas and meet Ryan. He's a sweet retired fire fighter from Rhode Island that I met and trained when we were out in San Diego last year for the wildfire disaster.

He still calls me a lot and asks me things like, "Carol, if I've got 2 walls still standing, can I call a house 'destroyed'?"

I was out of 90-69's and Ryan said he had just been to the field office in Houston and gotten a bunch. So I told him that I'd buy him dinner if he'd meet me and give me a few so I wouldn't have to drive all the way to Houston.

I wanted to take highway 90 because it's closer than I-10, but Ted thought we should take I-10 so we did. "I think this is the long way around, Ted, but whatever," I told him driving down the on-ramp.

Sure enough I-10 took us a full 30 minutes out of our way. Ryan was running late too so it didn't matter but I took Hwy 90 home in spite of Ted constantly nagging me to "Turn around! Turn around!"

On Monday, I began the day by picking up the GPS device and saying, "Ted, I really like you and I enjoy your company. But you've gotta be more careful. I hate getting lost. It costs us time and money. So let's not drive to any more vacant fields, okay?"

Ted said, "Go straight and turn right in 400 yards."

I guess that's his way of apologizing. You know how men are.

We did fine until our 1 O'clock appointment. We had to go see Ethyl Walton. She lives out on Turner Road in one of those crappy mobile home parks.

Ted said, "In 600 yards, take the ramp and get on the highway."

So I said, "Ted, that's the long way around. Let's go out Hwy 105 instead. Okay?"

But he was insistent. "In 400 yards, take the ramp and get on the highway."

I wasn't giving in so easy this time. "Ted, I told you this morning that I was done putting up with crap from you. I've got rent to pay in two places this week. We can't afford to get lost today."

Apparently Ted doesn't know how high gasoline prices are nowadays. "Take the on ramp to I-10 now!" he says.

"Whatever, Ted," I replied. But in the back of my mind, I was searching for an exit that would take me down to the Gulf of Mexico so I could throw Ted's lying ass in the ocean.

Copyright ã Carolyn L. Sorrell - September 2008 – All Rights Reserved