Monday, September 22, 2008

Post Ike Post

It has been 9 days since Hurricane Ike blew through our city and we are just about getting back to normal. Of greatest importance: we did not sustain any damage to our house or yard! We lost power during the storm at 3:00am on Saturday, September 13th. We didn't get it back until 3:06pm on Friday, September 19th. Those 6 days were some of the longest of my life. There were two major blessings that week however: One was that a cool front blanketed Houston for that entire week and we had lows in the upper 50s some nights. The other was that we never lost water or sewer. Still, it was a challenge living without any electricity for that time. We were constantly searching for bags of ice and trying to save what little we could in coolers. All of our news came from the radio and we could not see how badly Galveston and parts of Houston were hit like the rest of the nation did. Information on school closings was sporadic. Boiling water on the grill was a major pain in the ass. And NO COFFEE. (Not entirely true, because dear neighbors and friends who got power before we did came by each morning with fresh pots. Some days I drank about 8 cups of coffee due to everyone's generosity.)

But like I said, our household is just about back to normal now. The girls have one day more off of school tomorrow, but head back on Wednesday. They will have missed 8 days total due to the storm and we are waiting to find out how many of those days will have to be made up. Thank you everyone for all of your prayers and good wishes for us. Keep Houston in your thoughts because many people are still without power and the clean up and recovery will be a long term effort.

Here are some of the images we captured to record the memory of Ike:

The sunset on Friday, September 12th, about 10 hours before the storm hit.

During the peak of the hurricane, about 6:00am. That's the largest palm tree in our backyard.

This is about 7:30am....our backyard trees and neighbor's trees.

The next several pictures we took during our first walk through Gleannloch Farms on Saturday after the storm.

As you can see, Gleannloch had a lot of fences and trees down. There was debris everywhere.

These next two pictures were taken on Spring Cypress as you turn right out of Gleannloch Farms. This was the day the storm hit. You can see the power lines down in the first photo.

These next pictures are of our friend's (the Shaws) neighborhood, Memorial Creek. There are many large pines in their neighborhood, and as you'll see, they sustained lots of damage.

This is the root ball of the tree that feel across the Shaw's driveway. It missed their cars by a about yard.

Our girls and Jenna Shaw standing on the trunk that fell across their driveway. (Check out the house across the street.)

The Shaw's neighbor's had 5 trees fall. If you look to the right of Jack in that picture, you will see their two cars were crushed by the tree trunks.

This scene was typical. Trees down everywhere.

Check out the size of that tree that fell across the street! Thankfully, it missed the house entirely.

This is the Shaw's neighbor's yard again, about 3 days later. I hope you can read that. They spray painted "Yard of the Month" on one of the trunks. You have to have a sense of humor in a situation like this....otherwise you'll just start crying. You can see their cars better in this picture.

Our best friend and only news source for a week: the transistor radio!

Good-bye contents of the refrigerator/freezer.

This is my pouty face after getting rid of almost everything. We were able to save a few condiments in coolers during the week, but we probably pitched half of what you see there.

Squeeze cheese: The official snack food of Hurricane Ike!!

I think this was Tuesday. We got together with neighbors and friends at our house and played poker and drank beer. This was still during daylight hours, but we played in the dark by the light of a battery-operated lantern during most of the evening.

The parade of coolers in the kitchen. Keeping these filled with ice all week was a challenge.

Games... we played lots of games! The kids actually had a lot of fun all week playing board games with friends, and together as a family.

Those are the highlights of our week that I captured on film. I think I said it in my last post, but we will always remember Ike. It was surreal. But good things came out of it too, like you see above. We are so busy with our tv's, ipods, and computers that we don't often unplug and just hang out together enjoying each other's company. This really forced us to do that and to not take each other for granted. At least for 6 days it did.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Hurricane Ike

I could have titled this post something clever like " Y(Ike)s!" or "Take a Hike Ike", but it is 6pm in Houston and Ike is bearing down on Galveston with 81 mile per hour winds. This from a storm that is not projected to actually make landfall until around midnight tonight. We are starting to get wind gusts in northwest Houston right now. Somehow a cute, clever title doesn't seem befitting of a storm of this power. We are prepared however. We have made a shelter space in our master bedroom closet, stocked up on food and water, and the Expedition has a full tank of gas. Now we just wait. I was talking to Jack and I said I think that is the scariest thing about hurricanes. There is SO much forewarning. We sit and watch the news and updates for hours. There is nothing to do at this point but let your imagination run wild. (Well, and have a beer, which I am currently doing.) I know we will be fine. We will have wind (sustained winds for our zip code are 79 mph) and we will have rain, and I am sure it will be a little (a lot?) scary. Then it will pass. We will emerge with our neighbors, survey the damage if any, and get to work moving on. But right now, this is really a surreal feeling. I don't know how to describe it other than it is an EVENT in your life. My neighbor "remembers Alicia." I will likely remember "Ike". Here are some images from pre-Ike:

Our corner Walgreens.

This is a screen shot from a local newscast. Our friends, the Scogins, live in Clearlake and are under a mandatory evacuation. They arrived safely in San Antonio last night.

This is the gas station in front of our Kroger grocery store. The cars were lined up in the streets waiting to get gas. I wanted to get a shot of the empty grocery store shelves inside Kroger, but when I went at noon today, they were turning away customers at the door saying they were closing up because there was nothing on the shelves.

OK, Jack did the "provision" shopping, so I take no responsibility for the lack of nutrients in our pantry. Did you know that Wal-Mart actually tracks inventory during hurricanes and the top two sellers are 1) beer and 2) poptarts? When I was at Kroger yesterday morning, I can tell you I saw lots of water and LOTS of cases of beer. Gotta love the South, where a hurricane is an excuse to party!

OK, I am out for now. I hope to get some pictures during the early stages of the storm and some pictures post-Ike as well, which I will post. We may be without power for a time, but I will post them as soon as I can. Thank you, thank you, thank you friends and family who have called and emailed us already! Know we are safe and we will be in touch again soon.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Quilting again!

With my days now longer (thanks public school system!), I have had a chance to do some more quilting. I finished this quilt top in just a couple of days using a jellyroll in Daydreams fabrics by Deb Strain. I really love the browns paired with the blues, pinks and greens. It matches nothing in my house, but that's besides the point! I am not sure what I will do with it. I am sure it will sit in the pile of finished quilt tops that need to be machine quilted someday.

Gracie quickly called dibs on it, finished or not.