One week ago I posted from my sister's house because I did not have any power. Today I am posting at my office because I still do not have any power. Just to be clear...that is 11 days. The current expectation of when power will be restored is Thursday. That expectation has changed twice already- against us.
Let's start from the beginning. I will try to not be long winded, but it has been a long few weeks.
I prepared as one would think for a Hurricane when you are roughly 70 miles inland. 1 case of water, full tanks of gas in both the cars, food for a few days without getting bored of the same thing over and over, frozen gallons of water to keep the fridge and freezer similar to a cooler and batteries. My sister and brother came to stay with us on the night of the storm. In my room was me, Glenn, Ayden, Mason, Aubrey and John was in Ayden's room. I woke during the storm and could not go back to sleep. The noises were horrible. You would hear debris hitting the roof and windows and you were paralyzed. I decided to get up and go to the living room window to keep an eye on the three tall pine trees behind our back fence. My thought was if I saw them coming down on our room I could easily save everyone in time. I had to be in control. Our power went out around 2 or 3am. The eye passed and it was all quiet. Then it came roaring back and lasted much longer than the first half of the storm.
Then came the no electricity. The effects of not having electricity anywhere within a 60 mile radius is unreal. You would think without power, you could go down the street and catch a break, pick up what you need and still survive. THIS IS NOT THE CASE. Up until Wednesday night (that is 5 days post Ike) we had 1 gas station with debit abilities, 2 or 3 with cash only, no restaurants, grocery stores without any perishables, it was a ghost town in Spring/The Woodlands, TX. If you note above when I listed what I prepared for the storm, this was not something I ever thought would happen to us where we live.
My three year old son had a conversation he initiated with my Mom yesterday, and I wanted to share:
Ayden "We don't have electricity"
Oma "Oh really"
Ayden "Yes, but we have a generator. It gives us power for the TV and a fan"
Oma "What about a lamp"
Ayden "Um, yes 1 lamp"
Oma "And the fridge"
Ayden "Nope" - we had to correct him, out of sight, out of mind
On Sunday we were awakened by more rain and thunder. Glenn and I crawled out of bed at 3:30 and went to the local Home Depot. They had a generator powering part of their store. We were waiting for our own generator. We were fourth in line. They were letting three people in the store at a time. We got a 6000 W generator. Thank goodness! I also purchased a small window unit from Lowes and we just started using it on Sunday. What a life saver.
My Mom got electricity Monday after the storm and Aubrey on Tuesday. Many people ask...why not stay with someone? The dog, the fridge full of food we have saved this long, the boys, their toys, our beds, etc....
I did forget one thing during this experience: God. I forgot to ask for help coping and strength to get by. I forgot to thank Him for the things I had not lost. I forgot to ask for help and patience for the people that had more damage than us. But then I started to remember and things have gotten better, as much as they can. God does not cause the storms, but he allows them because they are all a part of his greater plan.
To Summarize our experiences:
1. Kids out of school for 6 days.
2. No power 11 days and counting.
3. One night of volunteering at the FEMA POD line and passing out food, water, and MRE's.
4. No cell reception for 4 days. Spotty at best.
5. 1,453,789 times I have tried to turn on the bathroom light when I go pee.
6. 10 nights of community dinner with the neighbors. They are awesome!
7. 4 extension cords running through our house.
8. 6 loads of laundry we have done at my mom's and Aubrey's
9. $50.00 a day in Gas to run the generator.
10. 3 times I have cried.
I hope and pray for more peace as this comes to a close in the next few days to a week. I am happy that all our businesses are up and running, and now I can go down the street and get all I need. It is just a little further down than I am used to.
Waiting For the Storm
Boys wanting to play outside
The Woodlands Mitchell Pavilion- missing a lot of the "top"
Mangled billboard near our house
The Woodlands Waterway
Old Town Spring- lots of water!
Tree down in neighborhood next to us
House after tree was removed, many prayers...
Tree on a house
The one gas station started a walk in line for the people that wanted to walk. We got gas here twice early in the am to avoid this....
**Some photos taken by a friend that lives right near by us, Bridget Green, www.4leafphoto.net