Here we are one hour NW of Houston and we encounter another hurricane experience! The storm began its assault around 1 am on Friday and by 3:30 am, we had lost power. I swear I didn’t get any sleep all night as the wind and rain beat on the house. We had eight guests upstairs (four adults, four teens). I’m sure they heard a different cacophony of the same thing. A couple of times I thought there was a tornado nearby as I could hear a low rumble for a certain period of time. As Ike passed over our house it was a weak Cat 2 storm. Don’t let the word “weak” fool you! I can tell you exactly when the barometric pressure was the lowest as my fingers, lower arms and toes all felt like someone was squeezing the bones. I was almost in tears both times the pressure dropped.
We had various small branches down in our front yard and lots of little loose stuff all over. One of our small pine trees now leans way to the south. That was the extent of our damage but others in the neighborhood weren’t so lucky. There were trees down in fields, over fences and a couple just barely missing the nearby house and our neighbor’s tin barn is in a pile.
We had two other families out here for two nights from Sugarland. It was a bit crazy during the day of the storm with four dogs and four teenagers. The dogs were the worse. We had opened the doors for ventilation which meant ‘free-for-all for the dogs who tracked in lots of leaves. The teenagers thought it was cool to run out shoeless in the rain and wind then needed towels to dry off. Luckily, the ants didn’t start to come to the surface until well after the storm so no injuries. The kids will probably have fond memories of the time which makes me smile about it all.
One of friends stayed for a breakfast of pancakes and bacon cooked on our propane stove in the house. It took far longer than expected and every bit of it was gobbled up by ten o’clock. We cleaned up and one family left as they found through a neighbor that they had power to their home. Our other friends stayed overnight. Their power did not return until three days later.
Dave and I were without power for seven days and 14 hours. I started and finished “The Life of Andrew Jackson” (400 pages) and “The Puritan Dilemma, Story of John Winthrop” (284 pages). We decided that it was much like camping on a sailboat only with a couple more amenities. Except for oven and microwave and running water, our kitchen was quite functional. Dave and the teens had filled our three bathtubs with water and I had purchased 48 bottles of water to prepare. By the time our power came back on, we used up 3/4 of the one tub downstairs and about 30 bottles of water.
For power, we hooked up a generator that we bought from our friends who moved to Nigeria recently. What a lifesaver! We kept all the contents in both refrigerators cold as well as hooking up a TV and a box fan. As time went on, we hooked up cable and the internet before we actually got power back. We didn’t have the gas issue like most of you saw on TV. By the time we needed more gas for the generator, most neighborhood stations were up and running.
It was a long seven days! There is just so much that you want to do with the temperature hovering between 80 and 90 degrees outside and inside. After about two days we had a nice routine going, fire up the generator to run for two hours, turn on the drink cooler, watch a little local news on a snowy channel, retrieve a few things from the frig or freezer to eat, cook, wash dishes after warming up water, rinse and repeat.
You can still see the indentations from the extension cords in the carpet but otherwise, things are back to normal. The going joke from Dave was that “the power would be on a nine.” He was wrong, though, it came on a six. Dave was out of work for the entire week which was about as close as I want to be to him retiring any time soon. I was about ready to apply for any job just to have something to look forward to.
Since we’ve lived in the south, we have lived through four hurricanes. Alicia (25 years ago), Katrina, Rita and Ike. Maybe there was more, I just don’t remember them. Alicia was our first experience. We had just moved to Houston and I was eight months pregnant. Can you believe that prior to that hurricane, I had considered naming my baby Alicia? Adam was born late September, he’s turning 25 this year.
I just peeked at my roses, they have a few beautiful blooms on their branches. We mowed the yard this morning leaving a few chopped up dead leaves. I power washed the porches and carport to clear the green leaves and short twigs. (Really, the leaves looked like they had been swirled in a food processor for two short bursts, then stuck to the sides of our white pickup, windows and doors the morning after the storm.)
Looks like we’re back to normal here. Thanks to the utility workers and garbage pickup!