sunset the night of the storm... the calm before the storm!
Sunday September 14
Ike hit yesterday morning around 2 am in Galveston. Being about 100 miles north of Houston, we had a lot of wind through the early hours but nothing overly worrisome. In fact, we all went to bed! Our power was on, our phones worked and there was a sense that we might sneak by without incident. Not so-
At 5am, I awoke with a start to hear the wind bowling outside my bedroom window with a fervor and a deep moan that I've never heard before. It was still dark outside, so I couldn't tell much about what was happening. That, to me, is the scariest. Storms in the dark. I got up, made coffee and flipped between CNN and The Weather Channel. Right at 6am, before daybreak, we lost our electricity. By now, the winds were sustained at more than 40 mph with much stronger gusts coming pretty frequently. Big D headed to the barn to check the horses and the dogs. Strangely enough, the rain had still not arrived.
after the worst had passed, these mares played in celebration
I was thankful to have zeroed in on KBTX out of Bryan/College Station on the radio to listen to our regional news. CNN and The Weather Channel were focusing solely on Houston and Galveston despite the fact that the Hurrican had already pased them and was now sitting on top of us! Thankfully KBTX gave us hours and hours of continuous coverage and kept us informed.
Around 8 am, the winds became so strong that I got very scared. I moved everyone into our central hallway of the house, closing it off at both ends (has locked doors). Little D played Nintendo as I listened to the winds shake our house. The dog and cat both lay extremely still and calm as if we were all just trying to listen. Thats when the rain finally started.
We stayed camped in the hallway for most of the day. The house was sweating, not having the air-conditioning on with soaring humidity made our tile floors sweat. That was the only real problem showing itself- the floors were as slippery as ice.
We were hit with massive winds- sustained at 80mph (category 1 Hurricane) with gusts over 100 mph. Truthfully, it rained hard but not as much as they had anticipated for us. They had warned of 12" of rain and massive flooding. I doubt we got 1/4 of that amount of rain.
When we reported the power outage, we were told that it could be two weeks before we get our electricity restored. Oh no! I certainly don't have provisions for 2 weeks worth of this, especially with Big D who eats when he's nervous! I'm hoping that its an exaggeration- my fingers are crossed!
Thankfully our cellphones worked just fine up until today (Sunday). I was able to tell everyone that we were safe and sound. David's phone was still able to send and receive email and I hope he still can. As of last night, my phone no longer has service.
The biggest casualty to our operation that we've seen so far, was the loss of a 100+ year old tree in our yard at the barn road.
It came down and closed us in so as soon as the worst passed, David was out cutting it apart to open up the road in case we have to get out- fast. We found the reason that the tree came down- it was hollow! Termites had eaten the whole inside of the tree and african bees had set up housekeeping. Big D was unafraid of the swarming bees, and as he smoked them out, he uncovered layer upon layer of honeycomb throughout the hollow trunk. They were oozing, absolutely exploding with honey. That man just sat down amidst the buzzing bees and devoured honey with his hands... a true Winnie the Pooh. We had a BBQ after the skies cleared and feasted on chicken and corn on the cob. Delicious!
Up early and using the generator to make coffee! Can't survive without it. Spent most of the day reading books and coloring with Little D. We ventured to the barn and passed the fallen tree to check out our barn kitties and animals. All fine. Played tennis on the pavement.
Made a tomato sauce on the grill, and boiled pasta water and wound up having a lovely candelight pasta dinner. After dishes were done by candelight, there's not much to do but go to bed! DAY 3
I ventured to town to cash a check at the bank. Madville is a ghost town. Everything, and I mean everything, is closed. The bank happened to be opened, just a conference table and a lady sitting there with cash. Big D was planning to buy a second generator but wound up not doing so. We've been working overtime with our generator so far, trying to keep food cold for two families and an occasional check of the news (thank God for Dish Network!) the trusty generator!
Since there is no gas to be found, we're not working cattle by 4-wheeler like usual. Instead, the workers are on horse-back this morning and what a sight to behold! Beautiful! Something about the silence, the nature, and now having to revert to old ways of doing things has been very calming to me. There's beauty in simple life, there really is. Let me tell you, its a lot more serence and cleansing for the soul to slow down and live by the sun and not hear the constant shrill of cell phones, computers, and everything else.
Well this morning a certain cowboy ran out of underwear! So I set about a makeshift wash station and clothesline to dry. I would choose to line dry EVERYTHING if I could, I love the smell of clothes off the line, don't you? Anyways, once I started with the 'un-mentionables', it came out that he needed jeans and shirts too. At this rate, its going to be a LONG DAY. Big D headed to Bryan awhile ago to (hopefully) buy gas, propane, and food. I hope they have some. Everyone from Galveston north is without power, gas, and has little option but to sit and wait, or venture to central Texas towns like Bryan and San Antonio. We're thriving in the face of adversity, which I think is a strong testament to our character. Its just been 4 days and to think it might be weeks still before we have power restored? Mind-boggling-
Right now we're all doing fine, but its starting to get harder. There is not a lot of damage to be seen around us so everyone is ready for things to get back to normal. We don't know how long that will take for us, let alone the residents of Houston or Galveston. The devastation there is incomprehensible. After all of the media coverage from Hurricane Katrina, I thought I had become numb to it all. Not so- I have just sobbed and sobbed when watching the news (at night by generator) and the destruction... Thank God we didn't lose our homes, our animals are safe/secure and we are together. Power is a luxury that I admit, I can't live without, but I know it could have been a lot worse for us.
For several months now we have been researching our options for alternative energy. We watch millions of transport trucks move windmills back and forth in front of us on the interstate. With all the land here, wind power is definitely an option for us and one we are considering. This hurricane and our dependence on electricity has solidified my committment to supplement our power alternatively. LATER THAT DAY
I just called Entergy to get an update and power should be restored by the 22nd. Might be as long as the 29th. YOWZA- Going to have to come up with some projects to get us through another week and maybe 2, without power...
I just added this b/c our backyard view is such an unusual sight to most; the kid playing tennis in his penguin jammies, the cows grazing in our backyard... our version of 'normal' !
We had steak and rice for dinner last night on the grill- man, we're eating better during these stressful times than usual! One thing so primitive I've noticed about my Caveman Husband is his appetite. During stressful situations, he makes sure to have PLENTY of food. Something instinctual- its funny!
OMG- the power is back on! 9am on Day 5. Thank God for small miracles!!!!