Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Hurricane Ike

My first real hurricane in Houston and I am ready to throw in the towel. I'd move, but really, my friends in Ohio lost power due to Ike, so it's not like I can really escape it, ya know?

The storm was supposed to start blasting downtown around 5 or 6PM on Friday and last through the night and the next day. Tommy and I got the bright idea to go ahead and do our 15 mile run on Friday morning so we would feel okay with drinking ourselves into oblivion that evening. We ran, walked the dog a mile or two, got some doughnuts, tried to nap, packed up the house and headed to Francis' for the Hurricane Party of the century.

The party at Frank's was a blast. We ate, we drank (some would say too much) and played Rock Band. Luckily, we had the right minds to calibrate the system before we got too was magnificent. Francis has a great view of downtown from his third floor and the guys (I was totally already passed out - I didn't even brush my teeth!) watched as the power went out downtown. The storm raged through the night...but it was wierd, you couldn't really hear it downstairs. Up on the second floor though, it was really scary.

We could see that Frank's neighbors tree had crushed their garage, and narrowly missed the house. The wind was loud, the rain was sideways and we had no power. I fell down the stairs not once, but twice. The guys worked hard to fix the leaks in Franks house and we started up the generator to keep food cool.

Once the storm died down, Tommy and drove the .25 miles to our house to survey the damage. There was a lot of impassable roads, but we made it there in one piece. It turns out that our street drains pretty standing water at all. Lots of tree limbs, but no water.

Our house had no damage - the yard was pretty messed up - but no damage to the house at all. Thank goodness. Our poor neighbors, who were robbed a few weeks prior, lost their roof, so it rained in their living room for most of the storm. Pretty terrible. Giant trees blocked roadways, the water was ridiculously high in the bayous and there was a lot of really bad structural damage.

We stopped at Christian's Tailgate (a local bar in Midtown) for a drink...there was no power or water, so it was a cash bar and you needed a flash light to find the bathroom and once you finally found it, you regretted it. Lack of running water makes flushing a challenge. But once again, the party was fun. It's amazing how people can come together in times of adversity. The line for the bar was very controlled, someone pulled their car up close and turned on some music and someone brought in a BBQ pit to make food. All in all, it was good time.

Tommy and I finally decided that we would drive to Dallas to escape the blistering heat at our un-airconditioned house, so we packed up the essentials and got on the road. We made it to Dallas by midnight, where my parents let us shower and fall into bed. We were exhausted and filthy.

We spent the weekend relaxing, but had to come back on Monday for Tommy to work. The town was still in disarray and we were still without power. Luckily, we have some of the most amazing friends in the world who were willing to put us (and our giant mutt) up for a few nights - THANK YOU Thomas and Janelle. We were without power for 11 days and it was hard. Those 11 days taught me how to drink like a fish and never get hungover. How it was possible is totally beyond me. I drank more in those 11 days than I did my entire freshman year combined. I now understand (and respect) why homeless people are always wasted. You HAVE to be drunk to be okay with being homeless.

Anyways, all in all, it was hard and I don't want to do it again, but I have some great memories from the days spent at Francis' in dungeon, on the air mattress in Thomas's loft and on the couch at Janelle's house...nevermind the many afternoons spent at West Alabama Ice House. I know that living in Houston I will probably have to deal with it again, but next time I will have a house with windows that I can open, a generator and a window unit. I'll be set.

This picture is a house down the street from us. It looks very cute from the front, but you can't tell that it's been totally cut in half.

This picture was taken on Nov. 15, almost 2 months after the hurricane. The tree is STILL stuck in the house.

Same house, from the other end of the tree. Those are the roots sticking out of the ground. The tree was so big it actually hit the house next door as well, but didn't do quite as much damage.

This is of Chase Tower downtown. The roads were closed off for at least week because of all the glass surrounding the downtown buildings.

This is what our neighborhood looked like a few days after the storm. The rain had drained away, but so many roads were blocked with downed trees and power took FOREVER to get anywhere.

This is of Seaside Beach in Galveston looking out at the Causeway. As you probably guessed, this area is usually not completed submerged.

And now for the picture that everyone has seen, but you can't have a Hurricane Ike blog and not mention... I just want to say that I need to get that guy to build my next house.

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