Monday, September 15, 2008

Ike-us Interrupt-us

I typed this yesterday but then couldn't get a good enough datacard connection to get online!

Several years ago, my husband asked if I would like to go catping. My response: “Not sure. How big is the RV?”

So “roughing it” after Ike is tedious, to say the least. It is now Sunday, September 14 and almost 9 pm. I’ve been surviving the lack of power and lack of water and lack of everything else with the comfort of my laptop and cell phone. My mini-van is nicely equipped with a power outlet so we pull out into the driveway a couple of hours a day, run the engine, enjoy the a/c, and watch TV. I also plug in my laptop and data card and share “air” time with my daughter. For any Apollo 13 fans it is our Lunar Module.

Not today. Cell service has got weaker and weaker and I now can’t connect. I thought I’d make some notes for when that changes.

I think Centerpoint restored power to a whopping hundred thousand people over the last twelve hours. Only 1.9 million to go! Of course, a couple of major transmission lines are down and many rows of light poles are tilted at alarming angles. Trucks are running around all over the place and the “up” folks are creeping in closer. I think they are doing the best they can but we are never satisfied! The temperatures have dropped and supposedly the humidity will go down tomorrow which will help out. The house is smelly so we tore up the areas of wet carpet in the four rooms affected. The hole in the roof is at the very top and even the man-lift we rented to put up plywood (and couldn’t return because the store closed early) couldn’t reach it. The rain is supposed to be over but we still have a couple of buckets in the front hallway.

Today we drove forty or so miles to Rosenberg. We’d been told we could find gas, water, and ice there. We found gas in Needville (or about halfway) and the lines were manageable. A huge stream of traffic came the other way, RV’s and livestock trailers with people coming home.
Things in Rosenberg were civilized. There were a couple of restaurants open and McDonald’s boasted a “hurricane” menu of burgers and nuggets. We even found cash on our fourth ATM stop, we still had plenty but wanted to stockpile. Bottled water was fairly plentiful and we got about fifty gallons.

The area we traveled was littered with twisted metal, downed signs and traffic lights, and tarp-covered roofs. Power was non-existent for the first fifteen miles, then spotty, then mostly on. People pulled into powerless but open gas stations and just hung around and chatted. Humanity is so social!

Of course, everyone is complaining. Where is the ice and the water and the MRE’s and the gas? Well – I’m sure it will be here. Less than two days has passed since the worst of the hurricane left our area and help could congregate. I don’t think anyone anticipated so many people being without power.

I’m so tired of living “rough” but it only shows how spoiled I am. I applaud the stores that are opening so we can go in and buy baby wipes, chips, peanuts, and warm cans of soda. The folks behind the counter are working via calculator and it is cash-only, but they were a welcome sight and we didn’t encounter any gouging. We got a lot of batteries, flashlights, water, food, and candles before this started. Not enough. Especially not enough water because our 4-H chicks go through six or seven gallons a day. Having run out of usable rainwater they are now on bottled so I hope they appreciate it! We learned a lot when we evacuated for Rita but that missed our house. So many things we will do differently next time there is a chance we may lose power.

Seems like the various agencies are finding out the things they could do better too.

I am thankful that I thought to do every scrap of laundry on Friday although spotted a couple of packed but open laundromats in Rosenberg.

Grateful we have nothing we can’t recover from.

Not looking forward to another dark night.

Greatly anticipating the time when we get power or find a motel room and I can shower again!

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