Thursday, September 18, 2008

Things I don't like about Texas...

Hurricane Ike and Fire Ants....
Hey everyone. We are alive and well. Ike came and went and we got to see every bit of him. In fact, we saw more of him than we would have liked, but truly feel we were blessed throughout. Here are a few videos we took. They aren't great, and they don't show a lot of the impact because the eye of the storm came over us at around 4 am and we were sleeping then (sort of)! Anyway, take a look.

I'd like to somehow record our thoughts during the Hurricane. Mostly for our record but it may give you a look into things you don't necessarily get on TV. As soon as word hit that it was headed our way, Pandemonium sets into the city. It consumes your thoughts. It's understandable why the church pushes so much for us to be prepared. It would have been nice to know it was coming and not even have to take a trip to the store because you know you have what you need. But it's difficult because instantly we have to consider the worst case scenario with the reality of the situation. WalMart instantly becomes a feeding frenzy for the craziness. Within 48 hours of the storm we were certain Houston was going to be a direct hit. A bottle of water couldn't be found in the city. Tuna Fish and other canned goods were flying of the shelves. Luckily, we were mostly prepared for the situation. We did get a little extra water and a few extra diapers and snacks just to make sure our kids would be content.

We did a few other things to make sure we were prepared. We filled our tubs with water, and made sure we all slept down stairs (in case the roof blew off). I don't really think you can describe what it feels or sounds like to sit in a home surrounded by 100 miles/hour winds. My heart raced for several hours straight. With every gust you'd think, "is this going to be the one where my roof goes, or should I have boarded up my windows like my neighbors did."

Or girls slept through the night. At sometime during the night the power went out so we woke up to darkness. Knowing the majority of the city was without power it now becomes a waiting game to see when the power comes on. Still today 1.5 million people are withough power. But hey, living without a little power is nothing compared to what others were going through, so we were OK. I'll admit, it was hot. 100% humidity and 92 degrees makes for a toasty home. It was a long day, but it was fun to have no where to go and nothing to do besides be with each other.

Sometime during the next night it began to rain, actually, it began to pour. It rained right on through til morning. Our neighbor came and told us that the streets were flooded and we looked down and saw about 3 inches in our streets. At about noon our Elders Quorum president knocked on our door to check on us and you could tell he just walked through waist high water. I asked where he'd been and he told me that's what he had to walk through to come and see us. The only entrance to our subdivision (and most of neighborhood) was under 3.5 feet of water. Luckily no homes were damaged, but no cars came in or out for 48 hours (besides the jacked up trucks). It was amusing to stand on the corner though and watch cars try to get through.

As I mentioned, it me the eye opening thing for me during all of this was all of the things you don't see on TV.

  • People will stand in line for 3 to 4 hours just to get a little gas in their car or generator. The shortage of gas and our dependency on it was absolutely crazy. Lines of cars wrapped around blocks waiting for gas, and once you got to the front you didn't even know if they would have any. 1 out of 10 gas stations were closed. Many of them still are, a week after the storm.
  • The amount of damage is unfathomable. The sheer power of wind left us awestruck. Trees that spent decades growing were broken in half like twigs. At my operation in Galveston we found a Comercial Ice Cooler (the ones in front of gas stations). No one knows where it came from, but it traveled for miles.
  • When people get worried, they buy a lot of toilet paper. I don't get it. Bricks and Bricks of TP
  • The goodness of people. Monday Morning we woke up to a brand new generator, extension cords and 10 gallons of gas from my work, Savage Services. They purchased 50 new generators in Kansas and had them trucked down to the coast for their employees. It didn't matter if you are a driver, a secretary, a paper pusher like me, you had a generator at your disposal. Also, while we trapped I had another co-worker coming back from Corpus Christi bring my family milk, bread, treats for the girls, Popeye's Chicken and COKE. Yum! They are heaven sent. They had no reason to do that, besides that they are good people. Thanks Russ and Liona.
  • I'll admit that we were somewhat sheltered from the storm, mostly because we don't have trees in our neighborhood. So without TV and without a first hand witness we had a hard time seeing what happened to our city. But, we didn't have to drive more than 50 feet outside of our subdivision to see and understand how other people are effected, and the sheer destruction of such a storm.
  • Next time a storm is rolling in, I'll give you call. I really think you should all experience it. The good and the bad.

These are the clouds 4 hours before the storm hit. You can see the circulation of the clouds. It helps you understand how tight the storm really is and how it sucks the moisture around it. The sun was shining hours before the storm.
More of the flooding.
This was the morning we woke up to the flood. This is our street. On the corner you can see the water. Our house is in the middle so you can see why we didn't know it was flooding. This clown was out side SWEEPING the water away from his house. It was pretty funny, I had to snap a pic. The lady in the muu-muu makes the picture a classic.
This is the edge of the flood, so it's deep, but it only gets deeper. I've never seen anything like it. I know there has been worse floods (i.e. Noah) but it was the worst I had seen.
The second thing I hate are fire ants. I was mowing the lawn yesterday and ran over an ant pile. I made note of it so I could take care of it. Molly was begging to come out with me so I let her while I was cleaning up. She stopped and said, "Daddy, look at these ants by the tree." I fraked out because I knew what she was standing in. Then her screams came! For those of you in Utah you have never seen anything like these ants. They just attack and swarm and sting. They are very little, but they call them fire ants because their stings feel like fire. This was the saddest thing ever. These pictures are what they look like today, it happened yesterday. I felt like the worst dad EVER. I HATE FIRE ANTS.

Life is almost back to normal. I went back to work for the first time today, so that it is almost the last piece. Our office took a bit of a hit, so we actually are working out of a satellite office until it all gets back together. Anyway, thanks to all those that called or wrote to check on us. Thanks for the prayers and the thoughts. Don't forget about all the people of Texas and Galveston. Although we made out OK, there were a lot of people who were not so lucky.

We'll post pictures of the girls soon