Saturday, September 20, 2008

ridin the storm out

welcome to the other side of the storm.

ike was a trip

leaves started blowing off the trees early, around 7:30 or so. it was really cool; there was a swirl of clouds around the house with this view from my front porch.
and black, scary clouds swirling from the back of the circle behind my house. (pic didn't come out on that... sorry.)

i've heard some people lost power as early as 8 o'clock, but ours played possum surging off, then back on for several hours until finally at midnight we heard the loud groan and clunk of the transformer just give up on the whole idea.. .. and we were in the dark. i had a battery-powered television, but wanted to reserve battery life. so we went to bed.
i slept pretty soundly until the wind woke me up around 2am.

the really serious business of ike started around 2:30. the craziest thing i'll remember about the experience was the sound of the wind. i had a chair on the front porch where i sat and watched the trees whip around in the wind and the rain. then i'd go inside for a while to listen for breaking windows, drips and also to check the girls. who were frothed up in a panic from my bed.

more than a few times i got a tight chest when i opened the door and walked in the house because it sounded like someone was in my backyard yelling (like WOOOO HOOOO or YEEEEE AHHHH) and--like a dumbass--every single time, i would go running back there, thinking some looter was roaming in my yard acting like an idiot only to figure out it was the wind. it sounded human. that was freaky.

also freaky was the darkness. the house was dark, but not like usual when the lights are out, because ALL the lights around me, street lights, neighbor's bedroom lights, everything was out. and i was continually suprised by the deepness of the darkness. i ended up hanging the strap of my flashlight from my wrist, because if i set it down anywhere, it disappeared and i was left groping around for it like a blind woman.

once the storm was in full swing, i kind of set up a command station at the kitchen counter.
by 3:30am i had a small circle of texting buddies which included my dad and my brother-by-choice, t-vak. i'd flip on the TV every 20 min or so and send out "eye-location" texts and also any big news i could find... jp morgan chase buildng hit bad.desk chairs flying out brokn windws....i think brennans is burning down :( ...eye over galvstn now.about 40m wide.goodlord....
i crashed at 4:30am. between the 2 shots of vodka and the fact that i'd slept maybe 2 hours in the last 24, all the sudden i felt like dorothy in a field of poppies. couldn't hold my eyes open.

my cell rang at 7:30am. ex-mother-in-law calling to get gossip check on the girls. with just a modicum of composure, i would have let it ring. but dumbass me answered. by some natural disaster-induced miracle, we had a few words conversation then i slept in the now noticable sticky non-airconditioned bed until about 9:00am. we got on some shorts and headed out to survey the damages
neighbors were out in the streets. two doors down had a lost a tree in the front. i had two fences down (no big whoop) and other than that no damage at all. the street was green with leaves as if it had snowed big green flakes.
by mid-afternoon, it was obvious that God had covered us up during the storm. neighbors had trees uprooted a street away from us.
a house just around the corner lost half their shingles.
we were more than 60 miles inland. the coastline is a destruction zone. these pics are from of the boliver pennisula about 72 hrs after ike paid them an ugly visit

Power was restored at our house by 3pm Saturday. as i write about 40% of sugar land, including many friends in this neighborhood, are still without power. we have friends in the woodlands, spring and conroe that aren't expected to get power before next wednesday.

this was my first hurricane as a single mom and i'm pretty proud of myself. i was a little over prepared--we didn't sleep in the closet bunker and the piles of towels i had ready on window sills ended up being put on the entry floor to catch leafy, muddy flip flops, as i had a steady parade of friends and neighbors who still sat in the dark. it was awesome to be able to hand them my stock-pile of ice and batteries, let alone television and air conditioning. my girls are still out of school and it's yet to be seen how (or if) they'll make up the time lost. lord knows there's no getting back the sanity i've lost with them underfoot and at my office all week.

i'm glad to be on the other side. a little wiser, a little sleepier, but a lot more grateful for the little things like a cool breeze from the vents, a light on in the darkness and a secure roof over my family.

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