Friday, September 19, 2008

Hurrican Ike Timeline

Hello folks! Our family is safe and is doing well. Thank for your prayers. They have meant the world to us. The past three days are a blur to me so please bear with me as I try to relay to you what life has been like for us down here in the Houston area. We live just West of Houston but still got a massive amount of bad weather. Here is the timeline I’ve managed to keep track of…

Thursday, September 11th, ~ Gregg came home from work sometime around 2 PM. His office closed up shop and everyone went to their homes to prepare for Hurricane Ike. We hit the local HEB and joined the masses that were already there. We filled our cart to the hilt with water and every non-perishable food item we could think of and find. It didn’t take long for us to reach our budgeted amount and we stopped.

Jugs were filled with water and placed in the freezer in hopes that they’d freeze before Ike hit. We also placed individual water bottles in the freezer thinking that they could be used to keep items cooled in the ice chest without buying actual ice. The remaining water bottles were placed in the fridge.

Friday Morning, September 12th ~ We spent the day cleaning, cleaning and more cleaning. I confess, I’m not made of Mrs. June Cleaver stuff and therefore am not the best homemaker but I try. Still, my level of cleanliness is not what it needs to be when you prepare for a hurricane. We did laundry galore because we were concerned we’d be without power for a while. Also, both tubs were given a through scrubbing and then filled with water in order to make sure we would have enough water for basic necessities, such as washing up and flushing a toilet. We had more than enough bottled water to get us through a few days and so that wasn’t a concern.

Friday, 3:00 PM ~ Gregg took Violet to the playground. We’re hoping that she will run off some of that energy and calm down.

Friday, 7:00 PM ~ The calm before the storm is eerie. The sky was breathtaking. Stunning really. I hope you enjoy the photos I managed to take.
The winds are starting to gust. The poor tree in front of our patio is getting a workout. Wind is blowing it to where it’s nearly horizontal at times. Thankfully, the tree is fairly young and should withstand the winds. We wonder though weather it’ll have any leaves left on it once this is all over.

Galveston is getting a beating. I pray that everyone left the island because this is going to get ugly. The water is already beating upon the Galveston Seawall. The waves crashing against it are amazing. We’ve seen reporters standing in front of the Seawall and the waves, when they crash upon it, are three to four times taller than the reporters standing in front of it.

Kemah’s Boardwalk is also taking a beating. We would frequent Kemah quite frequently when we lived closer to the area. It has some wonderful little shops and amazing restaurants. There has already been flooding in some areas. There is a giant Ferris wheel on the Boardwalk and I wonder if it’ll still be there when Ike leaves. Clear Lake, where we lived nearly a year ago, is also getting slammed. I’m worried about our old neighbors and our old place. We don’t live there anymore but I’ll always love it as we called it home for nearly 11 years.

Violet has been climbing the walls. My nerves are shot and I’m looking forward to opening a bottle of wine we bought while at the store yesterday. I’m exhausted from staying up most of the night last night watching the unending news reports on Ike. Then, after all the work we’ve done today you’d think I’d collapse wherever I’d land but that’s not gonna happen. I won’t settle down until the winds do.

Friday, 10:00 PM ~ Amazingly enough we still have power. We’re crossing our fingers and praying that we won’t lose it. But, as my Mom said, “It’s just a matter of time before you lose power.” I hope she’s wrong but I know she’s right.

Saturday, September 13th 2:00 AM ~ Ike has made landfall. The images we’ve seen so far are heartbreaking. Galveston has so much damage and the storm hasn’t even passed through yet. We are getting slammed with wind here in Katy. There are no words to adequately describe what the wind sounds like but it is powerful. It’s frightening sometimes, especially when it whips through the breezeway of our apartment complex. The sounds remind me of something you’d hear on a horror film. Amazingly enough we still have power but it’s not going to stay that way for much longer. There are over two million people who are without power now.

The wind is slapping a small tree against our bedroom window. We’ve moved our mattress and are now camping out on the floor in our living room. I don’t know how Gregg manages to sleep but I’m thankful he is. I know that once daylight comes I’m going to crash. In the meantime, I’m keeping watch over my little family, ready to do things if I need to.

Saturday, 4:30 AM ~ We lost power. The electricity flickered on and off for the past two hours. It finally went out and hasn’t returned. We’ve now joined the masses of people who are without power. I wonder when it’ll come back on. Days, weeks? We’ll just have to wait and see. I’m already thinking of the drive to Little Rock and what we’ll take if we make the trip.

Violet woke up shortly after we lost power. Without her fans running in her room she was able to hear the winds outside. I snapped a glow-light stick and let her hold on to it. I am thanking God for His giving me the idea for this. The glow-light is a real source of comfort for our little girl. I told her it was a magic wand and that nothing can bother her while she has it. I’m making a note to buy a few more of these “magical” items to keep on stock for when we lose power again.

The rain is coming down in sheets and the wind is pushing it. I checked our front door and am so glad I did. Rain is being blown in our door. I put down several towels to soak up whatever makes it in. This will be all that I need to do thankfully.

Saturday, 9:00 AM ~ Pepper, our cat, fell in one of our tubs. Poor kitty, she was not expecting to find a tub full of water when she jumped on the tub’s side. She wasn’t completely soaked somehow; just her belly and legs were wet. But her ego sure did take a dousing. Pepper has been hiding under the couch ever since her little dip in the tub.

Power is still out. I’d be amazed if we get it back on anytime soon but I’m still praying. It’s hot and the humidity only makes it feel hotter than it is.
We’ve gotten some water from our neighbor’s place upstairs. It’s not much but we still need to report it. There is a line of water that is maybe an inch wide and four feet long above our patio door and window. That is the extent of any damage that we have. Gregg was smart and parked the car between two SUVs in the parking lot and it is just fine. We are extremely fortunate.

Saturday, 12:00 PM ~ I am absolutely AMAZED! Power was restored! Thank you Lord!!!

Saturday, 1:30 PM ~ I ventured outside and went to a gas station. We don’t have phone service right now and so I called our families to let them know we’re okay. I could hear the relief in their voices when they answered the phone. Hurricanes are difficult to ride out but they are torture for those who watch it on the news and are wondering how their loved ones are doing.

The roads have some debris but are relatively clean for what we’ve just been through. The gas stations that are open are overwhelmed with people gassing up their cars. Lines of cars are spilling out into the streets. The other place with a line out to the street is a local coffee shack, Java Joes. I wonder if people even know how to make their own coffee anymore?

We have several small trees that were blown down, uprooted, or broken on the grounds of the apartment complex. The maintence crews will have their hands full when they come back to work. As much as I long to be in a home of my own, I’m thankful we’re not having to do any clean-up right now.

Saturday, 5:00 PM (ish) ~ We lost power. Sigh. Just as Dorothy chants “There’s no place like home” in the Wizard of Oz, I start chanting… Please come back on. Please come back on. Please come back on. I went out again and called my parents. I found out that my family who lives in Lufkin and Pasadena, Texas are without power. Ike had a far reach.

Saturday, 7:00 PM (ish) ~ Power is restored! And no, I don’t think it’s a result of my wishful chant. We’re just very, very lucky.

Due to reports of water contamination we are boiling our water. We’re not sure how far the contamination reaches so we aren’t taking any chances. I spoke with a Constable while I was out earlier and he said it was safest to boil any water that we need for the following reasons… to consume, use for brushing our teeth and for washing and rinsing the dishes with. Boiling enough water for doing the dishes with is very time consuming.

Sunday, September 14th ~ Happy Birthday Gregg! What a way to spend your birthday, huh? You are an incredible man and Violet and I are blessed to be your family. We love you!

Sunday, 5:00 PM ~ The family and I went out for an excursion. After being cooped up in the house for two days we were starting to climb the walls and get on one another’s nerves. Fresh air was needed. The gas stations still have lines but seem to be faring better than they were yesterday. The reports of gas price gauging is not the case in our area, we saw several stations selling gas for $3.33 and up.

The grocery store we went to was picked over. There was hardly any fruit or meat left. There were no eggs, dairy, sandwich meats, or bread. Most of the soups, spaghetti sauces, and canned vegetables were gone as well. I snagged a couple of boxes of Tuna Helper to use with some of our tuna; Gregg will take the rest to work for his lunches. I was also fortunate enough to get two bottles of spaghetti. I anticipate the shelves being restocked in the morning but you never know. We’re going back as soon as we can drag ourselves out of bed. We need real food in the house, not junk food.

I was pleased to see that the store was putting out bags of ice. A lot of people don’t have electricity and therefore are relying on it to keep their perishables cold. This item is like gold right now in the Houston/Galveston areas. Stores can’t make it fast enough as people yank it up as soon as it’s put out.

Gregg’s office is going to be closed on Monday. Several windows were blown out on the building on the opposite side of where he works. Hopefully everything inside the building is safe and secure. His office is filled with a lot of important documents and land plots that are worth a ton of money. I know Gregg is not the only one who is concerned about water damage and thanking God that their windows were safe. Thankfully, Gregg has a job to return to in the next few days there are thousands who aren’t so lucky.

Hurricane Ike packed a powerful punch. Most people were prepared and those who were asked to evacuate did. There were the few who were determined to ride the storm out despite the mandatory evacuation notice. Which I don’t understand that term, here’s why; if it’s mandatory then that is supposed to mean that you HAVE to do something, right? We’ll obviously, in terms of an evacuation, mandatory is “if you feel like doing it”. Crazy, huh?

Well, it’s been a long few days. I’ve done my best to let you in on what life has been like here. We’re exhausted. If only there was a way to sleep for a few days. It may be a few days before I post here again. My brain is in need of some rest and relaxation. Until my next post, be safe and take care.

1 comment:

Jen said...

I am so glad you guys are okay. That photo is incredible!!