Monday, September 22, 2008

An Unvited Guest~ Hurricane Ike

Hi Friends~

As most of you know Hurricane Ike made landfall early last Saturday and destroyed Galveston Island and Boliver Peninsula.....wreaked havic in Houston and I even heard some of my friends in Kentucky & Ohio were effected. Here is our story.

After watching the news for 5 days by Thursday we knew Hurricane Ike was projected to make landfall in Galveston, which in turn meant Ike WAS coming to Houston. All day Thursday we made preparations. People were hitting the hardware stores for plywood, fueling their cars and stocking up an canned goods. Certain areas had already been issued Mandatory Evacuation notice and others ( including my area ) were encouraged to leave. As an apartment manager it is my job to keep my residents informed. I sent notices asking my residents to move all their items off of their patios and balconies....I didn't need a windchime becoming a torpedo. We were expecting Ike to be a category 3 hurricane ( and he wasn't far from it when he slammed into town. ) I've only been in one hurricane in my life and it was Alicia in 1983....I was 9 years old. I was scared of this storm but I did not want to evacuate. I watched the news all night Thursday night hoping Ike would just fall apart....he did not, he only became stronger. Friday morning, I ran to work finished packing up the office and hugged a few residents. With all the running around I had been doing my husband told me I better fill my car up before I come home. I left my office at 11:00a.m. When I got to the gas station there was a small line, nothing like what I had seen the day before, so I got in line. I didn't realize the store had closed at 10:30am, card only. Not only was I scared because I've never seen the store close early but I didn't have my credit card. So I got out of line and called my husband, he was on his way. I was next in line, when he arrived. When it was my turn I pulled up to the pump and he came running over, finally I'm getting my tank filled ( I didn't need much, 1/2 tank. ) Then 2 woman and a man pull up on the other side of the tank. A lady got out of the car on the passenger side ( which was closest to me ) and had a cigarette hanging from her mouth. OMG!! A LIT CIGARETTE AT THE GAS PUMP! I freaked and told my hubby to hurry pumping because she was smoking. I didn't say it loud or even rude but I guess she heard me because she cussed at me....She said " If you EVER call me a F-in S__T again, I'll kick your A__. WHAT THE HECK??? I then realized she was stumbling a little.....I didn't say another word; the man that was with her just shook his head....poor guy. I have never in my life gotten into an altercation at the gas station and had no intention of doing so that day....I just wanted to get home. My husband got me in my car and I sped out of there. Was I wrong for worrying about her lit cigarette? That was the weirdest thing ever.

I get home to find that my husband & daughter had already put all our plants, windchimes and garden art in the garage. So sweet. :) We just didn't have room for our patio furniture. So we pushed it up against the house. My eyes were glued to the news again so husband cooked lunch and we watched a movie. About 4:00pm we started getting some wind gusts and a friend of ours came over to board up our sliding glass door and our bedroom window. We took down the bird feeder and went into the house. It felt like a dungeon and I immediately started feeling closterphobic. I washed and blow dried my hair and sat down to stare at the news. They warned us of power outages and said we could be without power for 1-2 weeks. I knew we would probably loose power but for longer than 1 day... I so did not believe that. About 10:30pm my husband said we should try to go to sleep. SLEEP? I thought he has lost his mind, with Ike scheduled to make landfall about 1:00am, how in the world can anyone sleep at a time like this!!! My bed did look inviting so I curled up in it and turned the news on ( can you tell I was more than a little obsessed? ) At 11:30 the weather man said Ok, you are going to start feeling more affects from Ike now he's coming in quick. I looked over at my husband who appeared to have fallen asleep. UUUUGGGGHHH! 11:45pm the lights went out. It was pitch dark, the wind was howling, rain started falling and I was terrified. I grabbed my flashlight and went into the living room, the noise was worse in there, but still wasn't too bad. My daughter came in and decided she wanted some Doritos. Food? Am I the ONLY one that is freaked out, trembling, nauseated.....bleh. Ok. So I ate some chips ( and some cookies ). The wind really started kicking in and she decides she wants to SEE the storm. The eye of the storm was projected to come right over Houston about 1:00am, so my husband kept telling her that when that happens everything will be calm. So I was really looking forward to this part. We opened the storm door and peered out, the winds were strong and we could see blue lights flashing ( the transformers popping all around us. ) Then we heard a loud POP and we heard a tree had snap, we ran back inside. I was getting really scared....I ran to the bedroom and my husband was snoring....I mean SAWING LOGS!! :) I asked him if he would wake up I was scared and he said just lay down with are safe. All I could think about was the 3 big pine trees in the front yard, I just knew they were going to crash into the house. I tried to lay down with him, my daughter had made a pallot on our bedroom floor, Molly & the cats were sleeping and the bird hadn't made a noise. All night long, everytime I heard something hit our roof I flew out of bed. I even sat in the hallway for awhile. It was the longest, scariest night of my life. We were on the dirty side of the storm, the eye of the storm never came over us, we just got slammed all night. But we were safe. At 5:30a.m. my phone rang, it was my office answering service telling me she had one of my residents on the line. Due to all of us living in a flood zone, I just knew we had rising water going inside the apartments. No, that wasn't it. A resident called & said the roof came off and it was raining inside her master bedroom. She knew I couldn't come over right then, she just needed some reasurance.

This is what it looked like at about 7:30a.m out of my front door.

By about 10:30 we were able to go outside and survey damage.

We lost our little fig tree...

This isn't a river, it's my street. We would have flooded if we had 2 days of rain like they expected.

Our 3 pine trees were still there a little bruised and broken....but still there.

Let's go in the back yard, I could not wait to get the plywood off so I could
Look what we saw.....all the birds.....waiting to be fed. We were so happy to see them.

Our pear tree crashed ( the squirrel feeder was saved though. )

See my neighbors tree in my yard, we have a small fence repair but that's it. Oh, my gate flew off but it was fixed later on the same day. We have to protect our animals.

Once our street drained I had to go to work....I didn't take alot of pictures of the area because I knew I needed my camera for my job and not knowing when we would have power I had to conserve a little.

When we pulled in the property this is what we saw.....

I had 28 damaged apartments total, but no injuries. We were truly blessed. This is all fixable.

When I got home about 4 hours later, all our trees were already chopped up and sitting on the curb. My husband said a man; an ANGEL, he's never seen before was going down the street chopping trees with his chainsaw. My husband offered him money, he wouldn't take it....offered him bottled water and wouldn't take it. The man said he just wanted to help...this brought tears to even my husband's eyes.

See how clean it is? The man was sent from heaven, I just know it. It's only about 6:00pm Saturday. The hummingbirds were back, too. :)

Our 2 year old red maple survived, she's just leaning a bit. We'll fix her up.

All day Sunday we worked with our neighbors and cleaned up our entire street. By Tuesday morning we still didn't have power, so I had to do some laundry the old fashioned way. The rope was already there because we are trying to straighten out our maple tree. :)

Luckily, Tuesday night my our friend came over and said we could go do a load of laundry. By Wednesday we were running low on food so my daughter & I stood in line @ the grocery store to get some ramin noodles, raviolis and ice. It wasn't too long of a wait, the store didn't have power so the employees were assisting customers with flashlights. Our power was restored late Thursday afternoon ( we were told it would be after the weekend so we were real excited. ) We had been sleeping out on the patio every night. So many people still don't have power, my Dad being one of them. But he's like all of us, he doesn't want to leave his home unattended. Others were not as fortunate as we were and I 'm keeping them in my prayers.

Ike is definately something I will never forget.

Take care~
Hugs, J.


Picket said...

Wow girl....That was scarey...I am so glad you are all safe and had no major damage..what a humbling thing that kind man did about cutting up the trees! There is alot of kind and wonderful people still in this world...I am like you at times like that..I cannot sleep and I am usually up walking the floors and praying! Take care and I hope you have a great week!

onlymehere said...

I'm so glad that you came through this as well as you did, and your apartments too. This had to be terrifying. I love to watch the rain but only when it's a gentle rain or a thundershower. Those winds must have been intense and I can't even imagine the noise of it that you heard all night. You truly were blessed my friend!

Somewhere In Time- Christie (yardsalequeen) said...

Hey Jessica, girl I know you will never forget Ike, It sounded scary. I am so glad that you all are safe and sound. I know that there's still so much work to still be done. I believe that man that came along to help with the downed trees, was an angel too. I love how you worded it.God was watching over everyone, I know he was. I am glad to see you posting, and I hope you have a good week!

Mary / Mariah said...

I am so glad you came through all that safe and sound . I know how fearsome it can get . You were blessed to have some one to cut you trees . That was so kind of him . I and I'm sure many others prayed for you .
So glad you posted this and your pictures I could almost see it as if I was there . Thanks for shareing .

onlymehere said...

I'm glad I could give you a laugh after the weekend you've had! I have to hear this wisdom tooth story!! It must be a wonderful one if you still carry part of it in your wallet! You've done more than me on water cleanup and I didn't have anything like Ike that flooded my laundry room. Our problem is that the workmen don't want to do such a small job so the costs are running way over what the insurance gave us and it's really, REALLY hard to get the workmen to come out and do it. Right now we're waiting on the plumber. This has not been fun. TTFN!

Tootsie said...

You are so brave and your spirit is so strong. I am glad your phone was working that day or I would have had to come and hunt you down. We were worried about you being scared or worse. I am thankful that you are all okay and that you seem to have become even stronger and sweeter in spite of this awful storm.
You know what bugs me...that they name these storms after human names...I met a girl named Katrina yesterday and decided before she even spoke that she was bad news! Turns out she is a very nice girl, but still....what will happen if I meet an Ike....I didn't care about anyone personally in Katrina....Ike hurt a few of my best girls! lol....
luv you girl
I wish my candle had made it there could have used it!

Buffie said...

I'm so glad you popped in, I didn't know you had a blog! You're going on my blog list immediately!
The birds all lined up WAS funny! The weird thing is that there were NO birds for days after the storm, it was so quiet except for chain saws! The only pigeons I've seen since the storm are the two I took photos of, can't say I miss them at all! LOL! But finally all the pretty birds, especially humming birds are back was one of the scariest storms I've been throuh, even Alicia...I was twenty three with two small babies. Mike had to go to work, he worked for HL&P and it was manditory for him to be there. The babaies and I road that one out at my mom and dad's. I swear though that Ike was worse with the gusts that we got!!! Our neighborhood looked like a war zone. It's still depressing to see all the trees that were downed. One thing we did do before the storm was to get rid of the two pine trees in our front yard. I was afraid that IF we had a hurricane they certainly would have been on top of our house!
Anyway I'm rambling away here so I'll be back soon! Hugs, Buffie