Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hurricane Ike Summary

Friday, Sept. 12th--Saturday, Sept 13th

I showed all of my almost-ridiculous preparations and then Friday night, we did what we could and just after Ryan got into the shower at 11:30, the power went out. No bang, pop, or other fanfare--just off. Out last warm shower and it was into bed. The wind had finally started up. I was unable to sleep, but Ryan slept like a log.

A few hours later the house was shaking so hard and things were hitting it so hard I made Ryan get up and go downstairs. I tried to get him to sleep on the 1st floor couch, but he was having none of that. So, we went to the second floor with all its windows. It was still better than the 3rd floor which was shaking. Obviously, it made more sense to sleep elsewhere, but it's where the only bed we have right now is.

I got and sent all kinds of text messages from friends, either outside of the area, or in town and awake like I was. It helped keep me sane. It was so strange that everyone was awake all over town. Well, except Rip Van Winkle, who I let sleep most of the time because things seemed under control and he never, never sleeps.

I can't remember what time it was, but when I went to check on the doors again, I noticed that the downstairs doors (front and French) were leaking. I started to panic because about 800 of my books were still downstairs next to the doors--on the floor. I didn't want to bring them upstairs in case the giant windows smashed and we had water blowing in. So, I stacked as many as I could on any surface I could and just decided to let the rest go. Yes, I really and truly thought that.The downstairs bathroom was getting wetter and wetter because the water was coming in the fan vent. It's hard to see--the toilet paper was sopping and the water is all over the toilet seat and trash can.
There was also a leak on the other side of the wall from the first floor room. I was terrified that it was coming from the French doors and under the books.
The French door on the second floor was also leaking onto the brand-new bamboo floors. I spent the night laying down towels and replacing them when they got wet. Hoping that they wouldn't get damaged.

Something I hadn't expected was how long it was. It was still going at 5. And 6. And 7. The video I took at 7:30 was still pretty bad, but nothing compared to what it had been. Not. Even. Close.

When the sun came up, we started surveying the damage. We were lucky outside--lots of branches down and half our neighbor's tree in our yard and driveway.
Our jasmine in the fence did surprisingly well. That's all crap from the neighbor's trees and bamboo.
First floor French doors. Turns out, the seals on the windows weren't enough for the equivalent of a fire hose against the house for 6 hours.
Inside: tools, "guacamole plantation" (avocado and lime trees), books piled to the right.
Turns out there was a leak coming from upstairs--probably the same issue as on the first floor. There are some other spots on the other side of the ceiling. On top of my books. I'm glad I couldn't see it until the next morning or I would have been hysterical. I know they're just books. But.
The front door leaked also:
2nd floor French door:

Then we took the dog for a walk...

Sheet metal from the roof of a metal shop around the corner.
Park by our house. There was another enormous tree in the center of the park that fell down.
Blocking the street a few blocks away.
Memorial Drive under Shepherd
Someone's roof on power lines near Greenway Plaza
River Oaks Shopping Center
Buffalo Bayou--where we do hill training. Well, that's the top of the hill.
Power lines down near our house
In Ryan's old neighborhood. Can you imagine a tree that big falling that close to your house? How loud would that have been?
That night was miserable. We just laid in bed and sweated. And the dog panted. Too much. We were really worried. We talked about driving to Austin the next day for a little a/c and company.

Sunday, Sept. 14th

Raining. Again. It started around 5 and continued for hours. As if we needed more rain. See our culverts full of water again
We packed up the car and tried to make it to the highway anyway around 9. We passed some help on the way out.
Um, the road goes under that bridge. Under. So, we went back home.
Checking out the neighborhood on the way home
Maybe stuff like this is why our power was out
Another picture of the building near us. They lost the windows and the roof of the yellow part of the building.
The end of our street always fills up when it rains heavily.

We came back and just left the car packed. We cleaned out the driveway with the other two houses that share it with us. We were quite the sight with our I-don't-have-a-real yard tools. Ryan had a rake and wide push broom. One neighbor had a shovel and a bucket. Good times. But we got the work done and had a pretty good time of it talking about how we'd all fared. When we were done it was almost noon so we tried to leave again. This time we were successful. I-10 was still closed because it was full of water (up to the overpasses), but we took Old Katy road to over by IKEA. The rest of the way was fairly smooth. Traffic was heavier than normal and gas stations were out until we were almost halfway there.

Tim & Julie & Stella greeted us with a hot shower, use of their washing machine for those eleventy billion stinky towels, clean sheets and well, their lovely selves. We had a great time hanging out and we went out for Mexican food at the fabulous restaurant. Definitely better than the soup and trail mix we had here.

They have a dog and a cat. Tilly loves their dog, Lucy, even though there was a moment when Lucy was almost completely in Tilly's mouth. Um, hon, not appropriate behavior for a guest. Punky didn't even attempt to engage, just sitting in the yard like this for a long time, watching.
Look at the cute family! We all went to Target and tried pumpkin Hershey's Kisses and decided that they are not so great.
Monday, Sept. 15th:

Stella cares for her baby (cat) after rescuing him/her from my always well-behaved never snatches toys from children dog.
We stayed until right after lunchtime and then drove home. All the highway signs in Austin said don't go to Houston, gas shortages. Well, we filled up in Austin and went back anyway.

Things were mostly unchanged when we got back. I took pictures of the rest of the damage that we got.

Window at the top of the stairs:

Ceiling in the 3rd floor closet:
Thankfully, it was much, much cooler. We played more Scrabble and went to bed early. It was much easier since it was about 15 degrees cooler and much less humid.

Tuesday, Sept. 16th:
We woke up early and took cold showers. Brrrrr. Those things suck. Then we sat around and played Mille Bornes. About 5 games in a row.

We went to the track to do our speed work and then went to Berry Hill, which was open. Cold drinks! Something other than soup or tuna and that we didn't have to clean with cold water! Hurrah!

We listened to the radio, including the finale of Big Brother. At 10:00, we heard a few clicking sounds and the power came on. Accompanied by the unmistakeable boom of a transformer blowing. People where outside whooping. Ryan ran around double-checking that big power-drawing items were turned off and I ran outside to see who had power. The people across the street from us were on, but the people on either side on this side of the street didn't have it. Ugh.

We fell asleep on sheets that we washed before the storm and were hoarding until the first night we were clean. After a HOT shower.


A few of my favorite things:
Ryan ordered a few extra bulbs for the lantern--there's the compact fluorescent and a few LEDs. And the radio was awesome--it had the AM/FM/weather/TV bands so I could listen to the TV station the whole time. It totally helped keep us informed during and after the storm.

Things I want next time:
  • Fresh baby wipes for "washing" when the power's out. The dried out ones didn't help much
  • mayonnaise packets for making tuna, although pickle relish works in a pinch
  • get Tilly's hair cut beforehand
I really think that's about it. It sucked royally, but we did okay. We were lucky in terms of damage and now we have power. I'm going next door tomorrow to see how we can help--lend the lanterns, share fridge and freezer space... The outages maps show our area as one where people should be up by Monday if they're not up now. That's 4-5 more days.


Moses said...

Thanks for documenting in your unique style. Good to see a "city view" since I've been up in the country for the entire thing. Up here is was truely like one tree per yard fell or snapped. Luckly 99% fell parallel to home not at the homes. We were without uilities for only 1 1/2 days. Being a teacher is not a bad gig right now!

zydeco fish said...

Wow. I hope you don't have to go through that again. BTW, I am not sure that Ike is a valid Scrabble word :-)

shoeaddict said...

I feel ya!
I"m glad you got power back so fast. I'm also glad that you didn't have any structural damage. You were well prepared but it was good, not ridiculous (or whatever verbage you used).

Kate said...

Moses, glad things went relatively well for you. Yes, nice to have the time off, yes? I have about 200 essays to proofread, although this wasn't exactly the way I was hoping for some extra time.

ZF, thanks. Me, too. And you're too kind--that's definitely not a valid Scrabble word, but it was too hot for Ryan to argue with me. I said it was the special Natural Disaster Scrabble Rules.

Shoeaddict, I am so glad and feeling a little guilty that we have power and others don't. Many others. And thanks, the preparations were good. The only things we didn't have were minor and we don't have the $$ or space to store a generator.

Kate said...

P.S. Moses-- we were talking about how amazing it is that more houses didn't get taken out by all the trees down. Driving around, you would think it would be a parade of blue tarped roofs, but there are only a few. Not that I'd wish that on anyone, but that just seems so unlikely.

shoeaddict said...

Reading the comments and I had to comment because we were just talking about this- my parish filled with the blue tarps on the roofs. EVERYBODY has a blue tarp.

Kate said...

Shoeaddict--that's what I totally would have expected here. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad there aren't many and anyone who has one probably feels like there are a lot. But, an example: we drove past a huge oak tree that was just bent about 10 feet from the ground, with the top 40? feet pointing away from a huge apartment complex rather than on top of it.

Chraycee said...

Glad to hear that you all made it through. Scary stuff. So glad not to have to deal with hurricanes.

Susan said...

Kate, oh my, what a chronicle of a dramatic and uninvited adventure! I'm so glad you, Ryan, and Tilly are okay. I guess "Bob the builder" has a few extra projects, huh? Love, Mama