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This weekend was supposed to be relaxing. I was taking Friday off to use up annual leave before loosing it, and Martha left Thursday to attend a convention in Minn. Thursday was going fine, as I counted the hours to 5 and the start of my holiday. Then at 3:00 I discover that a chemical warehouse in northwest Bryan caught fire mid-day, and chemical laden smoke was billowing into the air. At 3:30 I discover that everyplace north of University Drive was under a mandatory evacuation order. That included ALL of Bryan, Tx. Guess who lives in Bryan Texas? I rushed home, prepared to crash through any roadblocks (hard to stop Ford F-150 pickups the way I drive them) to pack a few things. Oh, and the cats. We have three cats. Three cats that my wife usually handles when they need to be coerced into pet carriers adn taken to the vet. The wife that is now in Minn. We also only have 2 carriers, and did I mention 3 cats?

In record time, I packed a few things for myself, and more for the cats (it's like having children. Have to pack their food, bowls, and litter and litterbox). I called a friend who lives in south College Station, well in the clear, to let her know I was coming. Then it was time to pack the cats. Harry, the Cat of the Baskervilles, in spite of sending vet assistants out of the room in tears, was no problem. I'd put a small dog harness on him with a leash, and I could let him ride in the cab with me. Bella, on the other hand, cute sweet Bella, was determined not to be evacuated. Even through a closed bathroom door, and acting as quietly as a, er, cat burgler, I failed to get the carriers down without setting off her alarm. Zoom, she was under the bed. The big heavy Cargo king bed. I moved the bed out from the wall, so I could chase her around it, but she'd just dive under the bed. I tried leaving the bathroom door open so she might dash in there, and then I could close her up in it and grab her, but no avail. She saw the carriers and ran out so fast the Flash looked lackadaisical. After an hour I gave up. No way I could get her alone. I grabbed Tasha next, and took 3 tries to get her in the carrier, enticing her with a mouse each time so she'd get close enough so I could grab her. Martha called in the process, to tell me she arrived safely, only to learn about the evacuation and the doubtful status of getting Bella. With her advice to put the carrier on end and drop Tasha in butt first, I succeeded.

So off the three of us went, Tasha in the carrier in the back of the pickup, and Harry on leash wanting to ride in my lab and look out the window. We made it to Megan's and unloaded the cats into the guest room, giving them water, food, and setting up the litter box. Updates throughout the evening finally let me know that the evacuation area has been greatly reduced in size after air quality tests, and I could safely go home. So after fortifying myself with some very good meatloaf, I went to load the cats. Remember Bella's insistance not to come out and be boxed up? Well Tasha learned that trick. She refused to come out from behind the bed. A heavy bed sitting on drawers, kind of a captains bed. We couldn't move it, and even with help, we couldn't get Tasha out. Finally, at 11, tired, I decided to leave her there overnight to calm down and I took Harry home. He's old, cranky, and sometimes attacks the other cats, so I couldn't leave him with Tasha.

Bella is hale and hearty at home when we arrive, and I'm pooped. I get to bed after putting out fresh food for her, and tried to sleep, but I kept waking throughout the night, stressed over the cats. The good news that as I was finally getting read to get up, Bella had forgiven me and was on the bed wanting to be petted and scratched.

Megan called me at noon so I could meet her at her place. I was prepared to spend a couple of hours in the room with Tasha to let her finally come out so I could grab her (properly equiped with heavy leather swashing gauntlets). To my surprise she bounded out to be with me. I had forgotten that she had never been alone before, without even the other cats for company. Poor thing was very lonely, and wanted to rub and moan all around me. I played with her a bit, to reassure her, then made my grab. She fought going into the carrier, latching onto the bed sheet, which almost went with us, but she relented at the last minute and released her grip and went into the carrier. Moaning all the way home, she was obviously happy and relieved to get back to familiar surroundings. Since then, she's been quite attached to me. I'm obviously forgiven for the escapade, as she demands her reinforcement that she's not alone now. I almost fell asleep last night with her laying on my chest and nuzzling between my arm and the couch.

So, exciting time, wasn't it? Except that's not the whole story. You see, I get an email from my boss at work on Friday about 2:30. The atrium in our building flooded so bad you could go kayaking in it. Guess who's office is in the basement beneath the atrium? Fortunately, someone checked it just in time to see the ceiling tile over my desk getting ready to break through, which would have soaked and destroyed everything on my desk including my computer. They were able to get a large plastic barrel under the tile. When i arrived at 3:00, I found the barrel with the pieces of tile in it, and a steady drip of water. Desk and computer dry :) I checked upstairs, and my boss said the last time he was down there it was a steady stream, not a drip. So comforting to know. It looks like an irrigation pipe for watering in the atrium burst someplace. Checking again today found my office dry but smelling some. It's going to be fun next week in there.

So, cats all alive, office not destroyed, and so far, as of saturday night, finally some time for much needed relaxation. Tomorrow I can sleep in, watch CBS Sunday morning, and start cleaning the place and urging the hookers to leave before Martha gets back.

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Troyce

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