Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ike Ike Baby

Last week Houstonians and everyone else along the coast watched the approach of Ike and his cones of uncertainty. The path shifted from Houston, to Brownsville, and slowly creeped back towards the northern Texas Coast by Thursday. We all left work early to start stocking up on things, hoping that it was all for not. The hardcore Texans kept saying that we were overreacting and it wouldn't be more than a 'gust of wind' by the time it hit.

Thursday night everyone went out because of the day off of work on Friday...bars were packed and I even went to see Delta Spirit and Dr. Dog at Walter's on Washington, which was a terrific show. When they sang, "The Ark", it was especially eerie because we all knew what was coming. There was a glimpse of hope before I went to bed that night showing Ike as a Cat One at landfall...but four hours later while I was getting ready for my 12 mile run, Ike was forecasted back to a Cat 2 and maybe a 3.

Friday we gathered at Francis' for a hurricane party and to watch the feeder bands roll in. Water was rising in New Orleans and the power was out at my parents' home they had to evac to downtown NOLA for some comfort. Francis and crew cooked up an amazing pre-hurricane meal...since we knew that we would be out of power for a while...complete with champagne, champagne of beers (High Life...that is), wine, pizza, duck, fried rice, guacamole, and an "Ike" was like a high-falootin' buffet! After the feast, I headed back to my place to get ready to 'hunker down'.

Speaking of 'hunkering'...I decided that it would be a good idea if every time someone said "hunker down" to drink. After champagne and hurricanes...and LOTS of mentioning of the h-word...I apparently passed out on my sofa around midnight. I woke up at 3am (on my sofa and wondering "WTF?") to loud whistling coming from the windows and front door....and no power, or water. I stayed up to watch the 100+mph winds blow through Houston...and I realized that I had never been through the eye of a storm before and that I would NEVER do it again.

The next day, once the wind had ceased around noon, the Daily Grind opened for business. Unbelievable! They were running off of a generator, providing hot coffee, good comfort food, and television to the weather weary. We ordered a couple of coffees and plates of whatever the chef decided to whip up, while chatting with others about the force of the winds and damage they had seen. It was so comforting...thank you Daily Grind, you saved my life :)

Dinner for the next couple of days consisted of grilled sandwiches, soup and Veuve champagne. I had been saving the bottle for about a year for a special occasion...this definitely was it!

Eventually Onion Creek opened back up, Memorial Park cleared the downed trees (which is pretty sad by the way) and I was able to go for a run, my power came back on, the bayous overflowed and receded, and now we are all trying to return to our blissful state of normalcy. Many friends are still without power and it is always amazing to see how people step up to take care of their loved ones in times like these. It shows that in the midst of chaos, there is a silver lining. Every report I have received from friends and family have been positive...minor damage, no power...but everyone is safe and has a home to return to. Thank goodness!

Other things to make you smile: Interstate traffic is non-existent for the time being, hot coffee and cold drinks, being forced to do nothing for a couple of days and slow down enough to spend time with friends, talking to random strangers about the storm and giving words of support, this beautiful weather that we have been seeing since Sunday...

Things will be back to normal before we know it! Until then, let me know if you need anything...

Here are some helpful post-Ike links:

Places that are open:

Important phone numbers:

Gas Stations (stay patient and keep your cool...we are all going through the same thing):

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