Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Catching up


So I hear we are in an economic crisis right now. I would have no clue as I am in an information vacuum. The only access I have to the outside world right now is through antenna that gets me the local stations that are in non stop recovery coverage. This morning there was a break in from the national affiliate to broadcast President Bush’s speech about the fact that we had a stock market 9-11 on Monday. Really? Didn’t know – too busy trying figure out how to get food and gas and praying the lights would come back on to worry about the fact the sophisticated game of banking on others to make money for you some how came crumbling to pieces. Besides, I really do not appreciate the term “stock market 9-11” as I don’t think terrorists purposely ruined people lives by taking their money on Monday, so let’s keep those witty little phrases to ourselves – those that were really close to those falling towers just don’t appreciate it, as I am sure many other feel the same way.
Sorry… I am tired and bitter right now. But I do want to try and document what happened in our Hurricane Ike experience before it all jumbles into one foggy memory. I am actually righting this in Word since I still have no access to the internet, a fact that I have to admit I am jones-ing for right now. Yesterday at work I needed to accomplish a couple of tasks that actually made my brain freeze because I didn’t have access to the internet. I am fully aware there were other ways to find the information I was looking for, but I am so used to using this tool as second nature that not having it made me have to stop and think, something I don’t do normally do – okay stop laughing…..

Wednesday was when things started getting serious – the storm was just not turning. It had shifted back north from Corpus, but not far enough to allow us to go, SO sorry Louisiana, this is your problem, again. Nope…. We would have to shoulder this one this time. I got home at my usual time which is earlier than most so I decided to head to the store. As I was wandering the store picking up water bottles and dry goods, my phone rings. It was my mother calling with the most recent coordinates of the storm – I pick up by saying – So I should put all this stuff back? And she said, Oh no…. it shifted North – it is coming right here. Crappity crap. You hear cell phones go off and whispers to other customers spreading the same news – and then people grab one or two more of whatever it was they were just grabbing off the shelf. I had forgotten the propane tanks for the grill and head back to the store and now EVERYONE is there. It takes me 45 minutes in the garden line to get 2 tanks of propane. Mike greets me at the house with “what took you so long?” and I give him the look from hell and say, “Are you kidding me? Are you KIDDING ME?!?!”

So Thursday – I spent prepping the office and getting our home care patients taken care of as best we could. We had quite a few that should have hit the road, but they just didn’t want to because “it is not coming here.” Get home late and Mike has already taken care of 90% of the stuff needed to be done at our house.

Friday – Wake up – try get as much laundry done as possible, clean up and change sheets because everyone in our family is hunkering down at our house. That is a total of 11 people – 5 kids under 8. I have the news on and I cannot believe the pictures of the waves that are crashing onto the seawall at Galveston and the storm is easily 15 hours away, still. Help my mother secure her big stuff in her yard and get her over to my house.

Karen’s family shows up at our house, we organize the supplies and start wandering outside as the breezes turn into winds – gusty ones at times. We played with the kids outside for awhile and even let them get into the pool to blow off some energy. It is around 5 o’clock and the first of many teases that night happens when our power flashes on and off – oh HELL to the NO….. we have not even seen one drop of rain and we are going to lose power this early!!! We rush inside to make dinner because what we had planned needed electricity – stove and oven – and we had air mattresses that needed to be blown up. The lights flash on and off several times through out the night. We went outside a couple of times to watch the whipping of the trees and took bets on which ones would no longer be standing in the morning. We were all going to stay downstairs so the kids were on the air mattresses in a main living area and we had put two reclining winged back chairs in my room – so between the big sofa chair already in there all 5 adults had somewhere to “rest” all night long. We were laying down watching the TV in my room when I say a huge lime green explosion outside my bedroom window and then blackness – our transformer was officially gone – 11:47 PM. No power – we had a hand held TV that we used as our info from then on.

Interesting point I will mention here – it is a good thing this storm hit PRIOR to the digital takeover because otherwise, we would not been able to watch TV at all during this time.

So – we drifted to sleep somewhere in here and got woken up by something around 2:00 AM – this was when the major Hurricane winds were here – it was dark so it was hard to see, but there were lots of limbs down and something very black at the bottom of the pool. Speaking of the pool – the winds were causing our own little flood surge – all the debris on the top of the pool was in one corner and the pool water would splash up over the top of the pool as the winds pushed the water in one direction.

I went back to sleep for awhile, and got up early. It was still raining and gusty, but the bad stuff was gone. We had cereal (to use the milk) for breakfast followed by an ice cream party at 8:30 AM – if we had waited much later there would have been ice cream soup. Mike took the melting ice cream as a challenge at ate 8 chocolate ice cream bars in one sitting…. not a proud wife moment.

We went outside to survey the damage. We lost 3 major limbs on some trees and countless other minor limbs, but no MAJOR damage – just a lot of clean up. The pool was so full of debris that Mike finally just jumped in with goggles and a rope tied to a milk crate. He would shove debris into it and we would haul it up and dump it out. The kids helped out too – they had nothing better to do and they pretended the sticks were swords.

This was a tree from one of our walks in the neighborhood:

We got power back sometime that day, only to lose it later that night. But miraculously we got it again the next day, so it was kind of a off and on tease for 2 days until we got power back completely. We did not get cable, phones or internet, but at least we had food and air conditioning. The kids were on DVD overload – they were going crazy in between killing each other in free play time, organized play around something ( like the trains) and the movie time.

By Saturday, a week after the storm hit, I am not sure if my sister was racing out the door or if I was pushing her, but the kids definitely had had enough extended family time.

So…. all in all…. we did great… the neighbors across the street didn’t have power for 10-12 days… I just tried to keep my blinds shut tight so as not to rub into their misery.

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