Posted in hurricane, random, weather

WORKING FOR A LIVING

I’ve been back at work since Friday and it’s weird, after two weeks off, to try and pick up where I left off. When I walked in Friday morning the first thing I noticed was that my computer was connected to a long, heavy duty extension cord. I could tell things had been moved, but it probably took me twenty minutes to realize that of all the desks in the room, mine had taken on some water during the hurricane.

The outlet in the wall got wet, the filing cabinet had been wet on the bottom, and everything on top of the filing cabinet and my wall calendar had been soaked. I know it could have been much worse and I am so grateful to whoever took all the wet files off my desk and spread them out so they could dry while I was gone.

The saddest file was the one full of papers printed on an inkjet. I’ve been able to make copies from nearly everything from the wet files (love those laser printers) to send out with the invoices to customers, but this one contains a report that is now all crinkly with ink that runs the full length of the page, totally unreadable, yet very pretty in an I’m a survivor sort of way. I am waiting for the engineer who wrote it to get back from wherever he is in the world to print me out another one.

I managed to cram 12 days of work into four. Not sure how, but I managed. I am already up to my eyeballs in October work. I am grateful to be busy and have a good job in today’s economy!

Most of my friends have power now, even though some can’t plug in two major appliances at a time. I saw some pictures from a friend who had a tree uproot in the driveway, pushing concrete up under her truck and then landed on her roof. So many stories, so many lives affected. Most people I know are back at work or school, and as the traffic lights start to work as they should, life feels a bit more normal.

I have seen tree trimmer trucks from New York (they have put their hometowns in black tape on the back of their trucks), New Jersey, and Michigan and electric company trucks from Oklahoma and San Antonio. I’m sure many states and towns are represented. They gather as an army in vast parking lots and drive off into the neighborhoods to clean and light up homes and yards. I wish I could thank them all individually. I guess I’ll just have to keep waving at them like a crazy woman when I drive by.

Posted in hurricane, weather

POWER PART DEUX

I was sitting at Jene’s this morning, and around 11:30 AM her power went out. I went outside to investigate and a power company truck was behind my building working on the light pole that gave us the pretty light show early this morning. About a half hour later or so, Jene’s power was back on and so was mine! The men with the random power company said that this time the power should stay on. Let’s hope!

I came back to my apartment and had a fresh spinach salad.

Tomorrow, I will go back to work and try to cram 12 days of work into about four to meet our end of month deadline. WOO HOO!

Posted in hurricane, weather

AT 3:38 AM, MY LIGHTS BEGAN TO FLICKER

I am now without power again. The transformer, which had not been replaced since Ike, became overwhelmed this morning and at 4:16, finally burned out. I moved all of my new groceries to Jene’s fridge and am wondering when I’ll see the lights on in my apartment again. The joy was shortlived, but it will come ’round again, I’m sure.

Posted in hurricane, weather

AT 9:59 AM, I SAW THE LIGHT!

At 9:59 this morning, my hall light flickered on and I heard the refrigerator whirr to life. I stared at the hall light, closed my eyes, and opened them again, fearful that I’d hallucinated the whole scene, or running up and down the hall the night before shouting, “lumos!” had actually worked.

I closed my eyes and opened them again. Yes, the hall light was on. I HAD POWER! Air conditioning, hot water, and a refrigerator that was cold! I will never take them for granted again!

I did a load of laundry, went to the grocery store (and bought milk… cheese… eggs!) and cleaned up the house. I took a hot shower and no longer have the Hair of No Voltage.

Good times.

Posted in hurricane, weather, Yahweh's fingerprints

I NEED TO STOP PLAYING WITH HOT WAX…

I Need to Stop Playing with Hot Wax, will be a chapter in my Hurricane Ike notebook. The much anticipated Monday promise of power passed without even a flicker while I sat and played with the wax in my candles because my eyes had gotten too tired to read by candlelight. I made a ball of wax and I understand a little bit more about the phrase, “the whole ball of wax.”

I have stayed close to home because I could be called into work at any given time, though at this present moment, my office is also still without power. I have read quite a few books and I have lost weight either because I have time to ride my exercise bike, or my gag reflex kicks in whenever I try to push another slice of bread laden with peanut butter down my throat.

Today I wanted a hot breakfast that didn’t involve soup or oatmeal made with water (yuck), so I ventured out to the Golden Arches for a bagel type breakfast sandwich and some coffee. While there, I saw three power company trucks and waved at them and wished them well despite the urge to run over and ask where they were headed at this particular time. 600,000 people in Houston are without power, so it’s not like I’m alone. I know of one former co-worker who lost everything on Galveston Island and seeing her sweet face in my head, knowing how many people she’s hosted in that house and how many times she said she cherished every sunset on her deck with her husband keeps most of my whining at bay.

I chatted with another former co-worker in line at the Golden Arches who lives in my neighborhood and still has no power. Her hair looked a lot better than mine, though. I almost thought she had power because she didn’t have the “Hair of No Voltage” – flat, pinned back, wet ponytail, or wild free-for-all I’ve been seeing (including in my own mirror). I need to find out what kind of shampoo she uses.

After my hot breakfast, I went to Michael’s to get more candles (they have lovely unscented ones) and a lighter (I should never use matches without adult supervision). While I was there, I noticed they had a sale on picture frames and saw an older, diminutive Hispanic woman carrying a rather large, rather beautiful frame to the cash register. This frame was so big, it was almost as tall as she was.

I commented how beautiful the frame was, and she beamed at me, telling me in very deliberate, broken English that she would put a picture of her family in it and it would hang in her living room and that she loved to be reminded of those she loved. The young woman at the register gave her the price, somewhere between $27-$28. This lady emptied her purse and counted out about $25 and change. The cashier braced herself because we both thought this sweet little lady was going to cry.

While the lady behind me was commenting that I had the Hair of No Voltage and she didn’t have power either, I made eye contact with the young lady behind the counter and handed her a dollar. The little lady nearly jumped up and down, she was so thrilled. She told me thank you about a hundred times and handed me the pennies she had left despite my efforts to get her to keep it. She thanked me again as I was leaving.

She carried that wrapped frame to the car and very gingerly put it in the back seat. I got in the car and was grateful I had no power so I could be at Michael’s so this little lady who loved her family could have this beautiful picture frame.

I need to stop playing with hot wax.

Posted in hurricane, weather

MAYBE MONDAY

I keep hearing the words, “maybe Monday,” in regards to both work and power. I hope it’s sooner than later as the temperatures are supposed to rise in the area this weekend.

Most of my friends have power again and I’m happy for them. I will not take hot showers for granted again, nor clean laundry, milk or eggs. At least I figured out how to make hot coffee and have hot meals when I want them.

My biggest worry is burning down my apartment with all the candles I’m lighting at night to see with! Funny how sneezing can splinter burning candle wicks.

I’ll check in later when I either a) have power, or b) am at a friend’s where they have power. Just know all is going as best as it can and ordinary people continue to do the amazing in extraordinary circumstances… as good a reason to move to Texas as any other!

Posted in hurricane, pics, weather

THE LIGHTS AREN’T ON, BUT SOMEBODY’S HOME

A cool breeze is wafting over Houston, which is a relief considering how many are without power. I am at a friend’s house uploading pics and charging my phone. I finally have full signal for my wireless card. If there’s any speed below dialup, that’s what I’ve had to this point.

The aftermath of Hurricane Ike is surreal. Towns along the coast are gone. Nothing is left. Galveston is still uninhabitable and who knows when it will return to “normal.” Thousands had to be rescued from homes deluged by storm surge. Windows were blown out of high rises in Houston and many places are still under water. Downed trees and power lines litter streets and yards. Traffic lights have yet to work.

All in all, I count myself blessed. I still don’t have power, and other than a little bit of water damage over my door, and a couple of scratches on my hood from where the fence landed on it, my biggest loss is a refrigerator full of groceries.

I was able to spend a couple nights at a friend’s house and I came home this morning. The hospitality I’m seeing and experiencing in Houston is a great encouragement and testament that when all is said and done Texans take care of Texans regardless of whether they were born or emigrated here.

I don’t know when I will go back to work. While the building I work at has power, it still cannot draw enough power to bring all the computer systems back up. So, it’s a day to day status of when we will be able to go back. I’m in no hurry. Since I have such limited vacation time as a first year newbie there, this is my first more than four days off in a row I’ve had since June of 2007.

Here are some pics of aftermath of Ike.


7:30 AM Saturday


A tree in my courtyard.


The leaves stuck to the windows until the next deluge of rain hit!


Sonic’s sign was one of many that was blown to bits by the wind. The flags were also shredded.


The only bit of water damage I had.


The reason we are still under a curfew through the weekend. Debris like this litters the streets everywhere.


Downed lines like this are everywhere, and this one is probably one of the reasons I don’t have power. The other reason might be the fact that the transformer behind the building blew when they tried to power it up yesterday.


I didn’t take this photo, but this is the park where my crazy friends play Frisbee, very close to downtown. I think we’ll be looking for a new location for a few weeks. The tree that stands alone usually sits just beyond the end zone.

That’s it for now. I am going to wait for my stuff to charge and hope beyond hope when I walk back across the street my hall light will be on, indicating I have power. I will update more as power allows.

Posted in hurricane, weather

UPDATE

I am at a friend’s house since I still don’t have power. My internet connection is slow and intermittent, so I won’t be updating pictures for a day or so. Otherwise, things are slowly getting back to normal in Houston though we are still under a 9PM-5AM curfew and people are sitting in long lines waiting to get gas and groceries. Many of my friends do not yet have power.

I will be going to work sometime this week, not sure when. I am trying to work out a routine where I can sleep at home and power up my phone and such elsewhere. A cold front blew threw so the temps are in the low 80’s for highs and low 60’s for lows. That will help everybody still waiting for power and air conditioning.

I feel fortunate when I look at the news coverage. It all could have been so much worse for us! If no power and an empty fridge are all I have to deal with, then I am going to be fine.

Posted in hurricane, weather

FINAL UPDATE FOR TODAY

The power has been fluctuating and I know I am fortunate to still have it. I hope I don’t lose power because it could take a long while to get it back.

Tonight’s sunset was absolutely gorgeous. The clouds swirled around like a carousel and just before the sun disappeared, the clouds became a dark purple and the wind really picked up.


Jene’ called me about 40 minutes ago and the wind had died down that enough I ran across the street to get some fresh cinnamon rolls… fresh as in I had to wear oven mitts. I came back upstairs and the wind picked up again. Lots of small limbs/twigs and leaves are on the ground now.

I will go into my closet in an hour or two and take my computer with me as long as I have power. If you think about it, pray for those on the Gulf Coast tonight. Ike is being really mean!

Posted in hurricane, weather, weight loss

OH, THE INJUSTICE!


I went out for a walk around 9:15 this morning. Again, in situations like this (you know, IKE) I can get a lot of nervous energy that needs spent and I know I won’t be able to go outside much longer.

So, I thought, why not go to St. Arbuck’s for some coffee? And the above sign is what I saw. Sonic is across the street and they advertised lattes but it’s just not the same.

The good news is I’m not stress eating and I’ve walked about 2 1/2 miles in the past 30 hours, so maybe Ike will be good for weight loss?