Thursday, September 18, 2008

post Ike #4


Today was filled with ups and downs. We woke to more hard work but a bright sign from a friend. Another BIC Employee lives in Slidell Louisiana. He had survived Katrina and its aftermath. He and his wife have rebuilt and reworked their home. Their son lives in Houston. He and his wife had their power restored on Tuesday morning bright and early. This young father and his father thought of our family. After some fun phone maneuvering we decided to meet him half way. That was very kind of him considering how hard it is to get gas. We found out that another friend had waited in line for gas from 5:30 am and did not get any gas until 9:45 am. The station opened at 6:00 and there were just that many people in line waiting.

Anyway the Amato family was sharing their generator with us. I can not even begin to say how thankful we were for their generosity. They also gave us a gas can full of gas and a cooler full of frozen water bottles and huge bag of frozen ice.

Pooker was overwhelmed by waking up to a 4th day with no communication with the outside world, her friends in college, and just with the news we get from the paper. It is pretty grim. One highlight of the day was when the garbage was picked up.

J and I went up to see if the local stores were up and running. The good news is they were. We were able to make phone calls, the reception was better. I always feel better after talking with Mimi. So after seeing life outside our subdivision, talking to my mommy, and getting a Starbucks I was good. (Or so I thought).

The coffee wasn’t great as they did not have any dairy. My Mocha was made with soy and I didn’t like the taste. We got some frozen non dairy drinks for the kiddos and headed home. J then took the older three with him to get the generator. They needed to see what I saw. Moogie and Sugar went with a friend to help her grandma clean up. They were not far, still in the neighborhood. I was glad to see them willing to help some more. We needed to work on our back yard but they needed to be out and about more.

The littles and I did what we could but the jobs were just so big. Our hearts grew happy when dad arrived at home with take out Chinese food and fountain sodas. It didn’t last long but a little taste our old life went far to help us feel a little normal. Bagel made me take pictures to show everyone of her friend Jake the fly and the rest of his family.

Until the garbage got picked up the fly situation was getting bad. Goobers enjoyed making it her mission to smack everyone she could find. This became funny when Bagel followed her around to pick up each dead fly. She wanted them all to be able to attend the funeral of Jake.

The generator is a great tool the issue is deciding how to best use it. Last night we started to cool of the fridge but then changed our minds. We had nothing to put in it and from what we had heard the stores around us were up and running but that they did not have much. The stores did not have any dairy products and the shelves and can goods were pretty thin. There is still no milk but we will be fine. Our little man still has some bottles and I bought some formula just in case. Our milk is in the deep freeze with ice all around it. We are sure it is still good.

Anyway our vote was to try to run the Washing Machine for at least the load that was wet and stinky. It worked just fine but we ran out of water. What??? A neighbor drove by with the bad news. The generator pumping our water had blown. No more running water. How the heck can we do this without running water. For the first time J and I became completely scared.

We decided first to take care of our neighbors. We started knocking on doors. As we told each one, we informed them that if we could get an electrician that could fix it we might be back up but it didn’t look good. It was so hard seeing the sadness on each of their faces. This was the last straw but what should we do, where should we go and how do we get there without gas in the cars or gas stations to open to pump gas?

Dad had agreed to take the family to the T house for dinner. They had recently stocked their freezer with all kinds of goodies. The B family joined us except for the mom and newborn. Some of the T family’s next door neighbors were there as well. On the drive over to the T home we were all so dejected. How are we going to handle all this? Ugh! No water just seamed like too much to bear at the same time we don’t want to leave. This is our home and we like it here.

We rolled the car window down as we passed some friends. They made us feel better with the good news that we did have an electrician looking at the generator. Some of us returned to our block to inform our neighbors not to leave yet that there was some hope. This time around the block I talked with the family on our street that did not have their home. This house had five trees hit it. She and her husband are fine no problems at all. She is so sad. She raised her children in this house. The bought it 35 years ago. I cried with her for a few minutes and then went back to the party.

All those kiddos got to jump and play and enjoy themselves. Mr. T had cooked up a storm and everything tasted great. He even ended the night breaking out some glow sticks. After the food and tables were put away he cut the tops off a few glow sticks and we were all glowing with colors everywhere. It was so pretty, well almost as pretty as the night sky.

I can see why they say the sky is bigger in Texas and with no lights around we got to take it in. We feel asleep being thankful for hope we had heard that even though we didn’t have power the very front of our neighborhood had power.


Today we woke up and I had no idea of the time. My phone was dead and was in need of a charge. I went to the restroom and without thinking flushed and it worked, praise God. I washed my hands with great joy and brushed my teeth. J woke to my cheers of delight that we once again had water.

I am not so cheerful as we have washed 8 loads off the generator and strung them up to dry. It has been tiring work. At least we can do it. I hung the laundry as the others worked on the yard. We ran out of bags so we borrowed more from the neighbor. The kiddos and J and I have bagged over 100 so far and still counting.

Actually there is not counting the piles are too big. Let’s just say that it is way more than the last time when Rita hit us. Ike has been much more work but the temperatures have been nice. Pickle wanted to know if he had missed Christmas. It just doesn’t get this cool until December.

As our spirits are wearing thin others are going out of their way to help. One neighbor had left last night and gone to stay with their son close by, he didn’t have power but he did have running water. This adorable couple arrived home this morning with hot donuts for everyone. That sure went far to make this T family feel loved.

Then just as we began to feel the stress of another day of things not in place we received a package from a co-worker of J’s. Miss Allyse had lived in Houston before J and now she is in Florida. She understands what it is like so she sent some treats. You can not believe how loved it made us feel to open a box that had been overnighted and was full of spray cheese, crackers, pop tarts, Pringles, candy, puzzles and games and so much more.

It was the perfect way to end this VERY LONG first post after Hurricane Ike changed our lives. It isn’t about what we don’t have but about what we do. J and I have so many loving friends and family members that life could not be better , it just couldn’t. I can’t believe that he gives us “all this and heaven.”

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