9.22.2008

Post-Mortem

For some pictures of our area, check out Bubba's Sis. Her pics are almost identical to those I would have posted. Here's part of my "processing" of Hurricane Ike:
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It’s Wednesday. No, Tuesday. The days have started to run together. I forgot my good friend’s birthday yesterday. I called her today and she didn’t seem to hold it against me. My world is topsy-turvy after a hurricane named Ike.

We had been “keeping an eye” on it (pardon the pun) as it made its way over Haiti, Cuba and into the Gulf of Mexico. Having been through Hurricane Alicia in 1983, which had been a higher rated storm, we were not that concerned about a stupid category two. But we sighed, rolled up our shirtsleeves and followed proper etiquette – boarding up what windows we could, making pretty little “X”s with masking tape on the windows we couldn’t. We filled both tubs with water in case we lost water pressure. We bought a 700 watt inverter to power a fan or TV. We stocked up on “non perishables” (read: beans in a can), ice and bottled water. Then we “hunkered down” and waited.

Ike started to breeze in on Friday afternoon. The wind picked up and we had some gnarly gusts – some up to 30 mph. Our good friends who were going to ride out the storm with us came over and we decided to go ahead and cook dinner around 6pm. Halfway through preparing pork chops and veggies, the power flickered a few times and then finally died. I was quite disappointed, as the weather hadn’t gotten angry quite yet. I called around to some friends who lived in the area and they all had power. Yay, us.

As the sun set, the eeriness of not having electricity really set in. We had to tote flashlights with us everywhere, and no matter how many times we instinctively flipped the light switches, nothing happened. Fortunately, we still had gas and water service, so we could use the toilet and shower as much as we needed. We hooked up our inverter to power a small television/DVD player for the kids and a fan for us. Our neighbors were kind enough to lend us a battery powered TV, so we felt some connection with the outside world. Being in a house with boarded up windows and no electricity feels more like a prison than a home.

As we watched the news people on TV getting blown around by gusts of 50 mph, we tried to stay optimistic. We tried to convince ourselves that we had made the right choice to stay and not evacuate. Around 10pm, we all decided we had heard enough and we all took our respective sleeping pills and went to bed.

My cell phone rang, dragging me out of a dead sleep at 4am. It was my concerned father, asking how we were doing since we were now “in the worst of it.” As I tripped into consciousness and took my earplugs out, my heart was gripped with fear as I heard what Hurricane Ike had to say to us. There’s just no real way to describe what 80+ mph winds and torrential rain sounds like. It was like a giant monster roaring continuously, or maybe the Titanic bearing down on the house. That sound is etched in my mind, and I never want to hear it again!

I went upstairs to check on the children and was even more amazed at the sound I heard up there. It was if a ghost train was speeding by just outside the window, passengers throwing uncooked pasta at the glass. Surprisingly, the girls were sound asleep. Thank God, I thought as I wasn’t sure I could appear brave in front of them. I would be useless for comfort. I went back downstairs to find my husband placing a pan on the bedroom floor to catch the water dripping down from a poorly installed vent. The rain was coming down virtually horizontally, sending it in torrents into our attic. It was too dark to see the maelstrom outside and I was able to put my earplugs back in and go back to sleep.

A couple of hours later, I woke to see some light coming in through the blinds. Dawn had broken along with our back fence, palm tree and some of our spirits. After making sure everyone was accounted for and well, we inspected the house and grounds. Our insurance man is definitely going to get a call as soon as we get phone service, I thought, looking through the back yard to the street behind our absent fence and the apartment complex beyond that. Their car ports had been made of corrugated aluminum and had been peeled back like sardine cans. One next door neighbor had lost their back fence as well, while the other neighbor’s fence looked like nothing had happened. 

We spent the morning doing the only thing we could: sit and wait. We had to use the inverter sparingly as we were draining our car batteries and had to jump start them several times. Around noon, the weather let up and my husband got to work on a temporary fix for the fence. My friend and I got in her car to go check on another pal’s house (she had evacuated wisely to Austin) and emotion ambushed me. Looking around at everyone’s downed fences, trees and roofs, I just couldn’t pretend to be brave anymore. My friend sympathized with me as I wept, and she pointed out that even though we had been one of the lucky ones, this still was quite a trauma. You’d think with my “million-dollar education,” I would have figured that out on my own.

3 comments:

Bubba's Sis said...

I'm SO with you. This has been an ordeal that we will not soon get over. I just keep reminding myself how blessed I am. How blessed I am!

Tracey said...

I am just so glad all of you are ok. I can't even begin to imagine what that sounded like for you. Thank God children can sleep through atomic bombs...sometimes. This would be one of those sometimes.

Anonymous said...

I read your pre-hurricane report and was thinking about you guys during it, hoping you were ok. Was a bit worried the day after.

Sorry for the lack of replies on your blog! My ancient Blogger account was superseded by my Google account, when Google bought them a while back. I've just been too lazy up until now to resolve it. I'm going to hit submit now and hope it goes through...

...darn it. Still some issue porting my account. I'll post as anonymous for now. -Eric