Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Alive and kickin'

And finally back with power! Who knew how much I could possibly appreciate electricity? I guess living 5 days without it really helps us appreciate it all the more, though. So we made it through our first hurricane! Hopefully our last for a very long time. What a crazy adventure. Luckily, we didn't suffer any damage personally other than having the power knocked out. But we have seen an awful lot of trees down, fences blown over, shingles all over the place, and just all around wreckage.

We went for a walk around our apartment complex on Friday evening as we were waiting for the storm to hit, and took some pictures of the sky.
It was kind of ominous-looking as we were out there and felt the mild wind pick up as the clouds were rolling in.

We stayed up through the evening, watching the news and all the updates about Galveston as Ike approached. Our power flickered in and out a few times through the evening. We started getting hit by rain and heavier wind around 11pm to midnight, but not really bad yet. I finally fell asleep around 1 in the morning, but Dan stayed up until the power went out around 2:30 am. I woke up around 6am to a pitch black apartment surrounded by heavy-duty wind and rain--that was probably the worst of the storm going over us.
The darkness really brings an appreciation, probably only slight I'm sure, to some of the darkness and storms we read about in 3rd Nephi, though, as I was listening to it all and couldn't go back to sleep for the next hour. I turned on Dan's cell phone radio and laid in bed listening to some of the storm updates for a little while til I fell asleep again.
It rained all through Saturday until about 3:30 or 4 pm when it finally let up. We took our umbrellas and went for a walk in the rain in the late morning and saw some of the damage to our apartment complex, and then also around the block to the neighboring subdivisions. The exit to our apartment complex was flooded, stranding us with our small Oldsmobile that we didn't dare drive out through the high water.
By 4 or 5 pm, we were walking through the neighboring subdivision and our kind friend from our ward let us use her cell phone that had service (score one for Verizon! Our T-Mobile took a while to get back) to call Mom and Dad in Utah, and Dan's parents in Kansas. Then after a dinner of cold spaghetti--had to try and clean out the fridge before everything went bad--we went over to some other friends' house to spend the evening with a couple families. Something about having people around really helped the dark, candlelit evening feel cozy. We all were joined with a common bond of lack of electricity and waiting. And Anna absolutely adored playing with all the kids! I don't think they appreciated her efforts in helping "play" Jenga with them, though...she knocked over their tower a few times.

Sunday morning, our home teacher lent us his cell phone (ours still weren't working) so that Dan could attempt to reach his boss and figure out what to do about his trip. Much to my relief, Bush Intercontinental Airport was closed all through Sunday anyway, so he couldn't have made it to Atlanta for his trip this week. I did NOT want to be left alone in Houston if he had been able to fly. Church for Sunday had been canceled prior to the storm hitting, so we spent the day trying to help neighbors and take stock of our own resources. Then our kind home teacher lent us his cell phone once more to keep over night and through the next day so that we could have some contact with the outside world.

I've been so impressed with the kindness and service that people are giving through everything. Members of the ward are all checking up on each other and helping everyone. I've met more neighbors in the last few days than I have in over a year of living here. Strangers are out offering food, ice, and water to others, and are cleaning up neighbor's yards and working together. I love how everyone here has this common bond that brings them all together to help restore life to normal. Even just a small gesture like a wave and smile as someone drives by shows how we all are connected as we're pulling through.

Today our power came back on around noon. Dan went back to work today, but Anna and I did some heavy duty happy shrieking, dancing, and jumping up and down. I'm so thrilled to have lights, phone, air conditioning, and everything back. And I'm feeling very lucky that it is back because there are still so many people that don't have power yet. I think the last update I heard today was out of 2.24 million customers, Centerpoint Energy had over 900,000 back in power (only 100,000 didn't lose it at all), but there are still over a million people waiting to get it back.

So now I'm catching up on almost a week's worth of laundry, vacuuming a horribly dirty carpet from all the debris we tracked in the last 5 days, and cleaning out our fridge and freezer. Luckily, we were able to salvage some of our meat from the freezer, but we did have to throw away a good portion of our refrigerator items. But it feels good to have a connection to the world again!


Justin and Jessica said...

We were worried about you guys for a while there. I"m glad you're okay and that everything is back up and running.

Sarah said...

I was just about to email your parents to see if they had any update about you guys! Glad to see that you are fine and the power is back on. Thanks for sharing your hurricane experiences!

MELISSA said...

5 days? Wow, that makes for quite a story. Glad you spirits seem to have been good and that you saw it as an adventure. Sure makes you appreciate the things we normally take for granted. Glad you guys are safe!

Brandon and Natalie said...

I am so glad you survived the hurricane. We have been wondering about you guys. How wonderful to get your electricity back!