Friday, September 26, 2008

Life After Ike

Well, life after Ike has resumed and has been kind of normal...kind of.

I'm going to work and coming home and all of that usual stuff, but I still have no cable or internet at my house. I'm sad to admit (well maybe not that sad) that me without cable tv or internet equals very bored. But, at least I'm at home.

About 25% of the city is still out of power, including about half of my neighborhood, and driving around at night with no street lights is a really strange feeling. We've been under a curfew of 12am-6am, which means all restaurants, bars, clubs, music venues, etc. have been closing before then. The "gay neighborhood" still has no power, so I haven't really ventured down that way.

The grocery stores are just now getting restocked, and as of Monday or so, most of the gas stations have gas and keep it long enough to avoid waiting in line. Even schools started back up this week.

But, over 50% of the traffic lights in the city are still out, and I've never seen traffic be so bad in my life. Drive times for some people have gone from a reasonable 30-45 minutes to an insane 1.5-2.5 hours just to get to and from work.

I still haven't had my insurance adjuster come by, and the pile of wet carpet is still on the curb in front of my house. The city says it could be next summer before they are able to find the manpower to remove all of the curbside debris (on a side note--maybe I should rent a trailer and start charging people to remove their stuff).

My bedroom is still a bare, and very dusty, concrete floor, and my living room is still littered with bed frame pieces, a dresser, and other misplaced bedroom furniture. They'll both be like that for a while, but I'm sure I'm going to love my new and improved room.

All in all, we're safe, and my house is still standing. It could definitely be worse, and I'm sure these minor inconveniences will be over soon.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I'm Back, Alive, and Well

Well, I'm back and other than cutting my toe on some broken glass last night while cleaning out my refrigerator, I'm just fine (who knew cuts on your feet could bleed so much, though?).

Anyway, I am happy to say that J, our puppy Parker, and I are just fine, as are the rest of my friends and family. However, I am a bit sad to report that the ground floor of my house flooded and there are several leaks in our ceiling. I was a bit upset because my house is pretty new, and I really expected it to be able to withstand the storm, but it was a hurricane after all, and I don't have any major damage, so I'm thankful for that. And now I get to remodel the master bedroom (that's me trying to stay positive)!

Hopefully this week I'll be able to post some pictures of my house and some of the surrounding areas. I just got power back last night, but I still don't have cable or Internet. Once I do I'll try to get some pictures up for you to take a look at. It really is an unbelievable thing to drive around and see a major city completely dark with trees, debris, and even some buildings down everywhere. I can't even imagine what areas on the coast like Galveston must look like in person.

Before the hurricane started, my step-dad emailed me to remind me to do some last-minute preparations and then ended by telling me that I was going to see "the most extreme weather of my life" and reminding me to make sure my camera's battery was charged. He wasn't kidding.

Two friends stayed with J and me at our place, and we spent most of the early evening/night talking, watching the news, drinking margaritas, etc. Kind of like a mini hurricane party. We even went outside several times to watch the trees sway as the wind picked up. It was pretty windy by night fall, but that was about it. By 3am or so the hurricane was in full tilt. Every window in the house sounded like it was going to explode at any second from the wind. On the second and 3rd floors you could literally feel my house swaying, and the creeks, groans, and whistles coming from every corner made me wonder if the house was even going to stay put.

As the hurricane moved past us, the winds changed direction and were pounding right at the french doors leading from my bedroom to the patio. The doors were shaking so hard that it honestly sounded like someone was trying to break them down. I got out of bed at least 3 times to look and see if the windows had broken behind the blinds because the noise was so loud.

At some point in the early morning J got out of bed too and stepped down onto wet carpet. At first we thought it was just a small spot, but it was clear pretty quickly that it was the whole floor, so we immediately started moving furniture and pulling out carpet. We had the room emptied and the carpet out into the street by 10am or so, while the last winds and rain of the hurricane were still hanging on.

After less than a day of no power and a house that now looked like a bomb went off because of displaced furniture and leftover dishes from the night before, we found a house with some electricity and went there for the night, only to have another storm blow through over night to make the largest hole in my ceiling even bigger. An hour or so after getting back home, we high-tailed it to Austin, where I stayed the night. J and our friends are still there, but they're coming back tonight.

The city is under a nighttime curfew through Monday, and last night the restaurant we ate at (one of the very few that was open) were only serving fajitas and beer. The city is slowly getting back to normal, and my house will too--new and improved (I hope).

So, that's the update and the story. Moral of the story is that I'm now boycotting hurricanes; or at the very least evacuating next time--I'm not too proud to admit that the experience was just a bit scarier than I had anticipated.

Thanks to everyone for their prayers and kind words. I'll update later as I have time with pictures and even maybe some commentary about the city/nation's response. You know I can't pass that opportunity up.

Take care everyone.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Shelter In Place

I don't know what it's like where you guys are from, but it's basically pandimonium here in Houston. I'm talking lines for gas 20 cars long, people fighting over bags of ice, etc. I'm sure you've heard (well it's all we hear on tv here at least), but we're currently right in the path of hurricane Ike. So far Houston it supposed to get hit with a category 2 hurricane, and the city is basically losing its mind.

I evacuated a few years back for hurricane Rita, and we decided to stay put this time. I don't know why, but I actually want to be in my house to keep an eye on it or something. Plus, even though I'm from Houston, I've never actually been in a real hurricane, so I'm a bit interested to know what it's going to be like.

The mayor has asked residents of Houston to "shelter in place," which basically means stay home, rather than evacuate. The city is worried that the catastrophe that was the Rita evacuation will happen all over again, but now I'm a bit concerned that he's encouraged 4 million people not to leave when a really destructive storm is about to hit. The PR from that could potentially be really bad.

I'm going to do my best to take pictures and what not. I think I'll be fine until I lose electricity, but after that I might lose my mind. 95 degree weather with no A/C for how ever many days could really be brutal. I'm not looking forward to that, let me tell you.

Well, wish me luck everyone. If all continues as planned, I will probably have some very interesting stories coming out of this. See you in a few days!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Happy Birthday J!

J has turned the big 3-0 today, which means he is now officially old. Thankfully, I am not so old yet, but we're all very excited for J.

Now he can drink legally or join the army or buy cigarettes...oh wait, I think those milestones have already passed. Well never mind then, but you guys should go over to J's blog to wish him a happy birthday!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Hi, Welcome!

Hi, Welcome! This is a catch-phrase that a friend of mine has started saying recently in the most ridiculous high pitched voice he can. The phenomenon has now invaded my entire friend group and is spreading like wild fire. Feel free to use it yourself, but be careful, you won't be able to stop.

It's an impression of a co-worker of his at The Gap that apparently says it whenever anyone enters the store. I've yet to experience this, but J and I have demanded that my friend call us next time she is working on a weekend so we can go and hear this one for ourselves.

Here's a quick weekend round-up--The friends and I evacuated New Orleans at around 10am or so Saturday morning. We were there for our annual Labor Day trip four Southern Decadence, but Hurricane Gustav had other ideas. We had a good time on Friday, but my favorite two days (the free concert on Saturday and Sing-Along-Sundays on Sunday) were cancelled, and I have been more or less in a bad mood ever since. We're hopefully going back for Halloween to make up for it. Fingers crossed.