Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hurricane Ike

Wow, what an experience! Our Hurricane Ike weekend began Thursday afternoon when the kids got home from school. School and work on Friday had been cancelled. We spent the afternoon cleaning up everything outside that would blow away. Once that was done, we finished our preparations inside. Friday morning came and was beautiful, but it quickly got cloudy and the wind picked up a little. By lunch time, we were wondering when we'd start to see some action.

We passed the time watching the news, which showed the HUGE waves breaking along the seawall in Galveston and flooding was beginning in Kemah. We were amazed at how much water was already coming on land and the storm wasn't even here yet!

The kids were very excited and a little anxious for what was about to happen, but we tried to go about things as usual. The kids played most the afternoon. Aimee and I made some last minute muffins, trying to use up some of the 18 eggs I'd gotten at the beginning of the week. We made 4 differnt kinds. I lined up the boxes in a row with the bowls an Aimee went down the line mixing them up. After dinner, we pulled out the icecream to finish off before it melted. The kids were excited to get extra big helpings!

Just as we were finishing our icecream, the lights went out, like someone had flipped the switch! It was 8:16pm. Once that happened, the kids settled down. I guess they realized that something was really going to happen.

Since there was nothing else to do, we went outside to watch the sky. As the first cloud bands rolled in, the sun was setting, and they had a pink tint. While we were outside, Thomas had on Aimee's jacket and out of the blue, he showed me his hand which was hiding in the sleeve. He told me it was a "HERMIT CRAB!" We thought that was pretty clever of him! I guess cathing the hermit crabs at the beach last month made quite an impression on him!
Thomas' hand is the hermit crab hiding in the sleeve shell! What a funny kid!

Once the sun went down, it was very dark and there was an orange tint to the sky. We took the kids inside and made them some beds in our music room and in the study. Soon they were all asleep, except Bethany! She couldn't get comfortable so she stayed up and documented the storm.

Edd eventually went to bed, but I ended up staying up with Bethany. Edd got up a while later and we watched the trees bend in the wind through our big family room windows. The wind was getting pretty strong! Every now and then the sky would light up a little, almost like lightning. Edd said it was from the electrical transformers exploding. Edd went back to bed, this time by the Aimee in the study.

Bethany curled up in the guest bathroom with the radio and her storm journal. She was listening to the reports of the storm while she documented what was happening to us. I had laid down on the floor by Thomas to try and get some sleep, but never got much!

Something started beeping off and on. At first it wasn't very often so I tried to ignore it and hoped it would stop on it's own becaus I was tired and wanted to go to sleep. Instead, it started beeping more frequently. It started to get really annoying so I found the step ladder and went upstairs. I thought it was the security alarm beeping.

A couple of weeks before, the alarm had gotten messed up. I was having our AC unit fixed and the workman was working with the circuit breaker. The power went off a couple of times while he was working, which caused the alarm to start beeping like ever five seconds. I couldn't get it to stop beeping! I ended up having some else come later that day to fix the alarm!!!

So in my sleepy state of mind, I thought it was the same sort of beep and unhooked the battery to the alarm system. Thinking I'd solved the problem, I put the step ladder back and laid back down, hoping to get some sleep finally! Unfortunatly, the beep was heard again! This time, Edd got up and took care of the problem. It ended up being the smoke detector in the girls' bedroom that was beeping. So he took the battery out of it. Finally we had some silence...well at least the there was no beeping! It wasn't very silent because the hurricane was raging outside!!!

Just as I was about to drift off to sleep, Bethany announced, "Uh Momma, uh Dad, we have a problem!" So we both sprang up to see what the problem was. Sure enough, we had a problem!!! The ceiling was leaking! Edd and I went into the attic to find the source of the leak. We found that there was water getting in from the roof vent, but there wasn't enough water for a big leak like we had! After hunting around some more, we found the source~the cap for the furnace exhaust pipe was leaking!!! Along with all the other exhaust caps for the other furnace and water heaters. We were able to keep the leaks under control for the rest of the storm with buckets and towels. Of course all this excitement got the whole family up! But the kids went back to sleep, which was a good thing since it was only 4:45!!!

Bella, our kitty cat, was curious about what was going on too! She ended up running outside a couple of times! We tried to keep her in for the storm, but she had other plans. She ended up being outside for quite a while during first half of the storm while it was pretty bad. She came in finally when the eye was passing over us.

I had noticed that the wind had died down and there wasn't much rain so Bethany turned on the radio and they said the eye was passing over the Intercontinental airport, which is close to our house. That was about the time that Bella finally came in. I ended up going back into my room with Thomas, who was having a hard time going back to sleep after the leak excitement. We both ended up crashing. I think I slept from around 6ish to 7:30.

Once it got light outside, we were amazed at how much the tree were being blown and all of the little pieces of leaves stuck to everything! The wind had shifted from hitting the back of the house to hitting the front of the house. Every now and then a big gust would hit and make the bottom metal weatherstrip of the front door BUZZ really loudly!

When things calmed down a bit, we let the kids go outside and see and I went out and took a few pictures and video. So I'll add the video clip from that. The storm didn't pass until almost lunchtime.

After the storm, we were anxious to find out what had happened everywhere else. Edd drove over into the next neighborhood to check on his brother, Dan. He came back and told us that there were quite a few big trees down here and there, but our neighborhood had minimal tree damage.

Sunday we drove around and took a look at neighborhoods in our area. It was amazing to see all the big trees down. Some streets got hit hard and others were ok. Our friends, the Littles, lost a big tree in their front yard. Luckily it fell toward the street, but it knocked down the street light. Edd cooked us some yummy food on the grill and with the camp stove.

Monday we decided that it was time to head to Austin. Edd cleaned up the yard and I emptied the refrigerator. We were on the road by 5. As we left, we were amazed at the HUGE lines for gas everywhere. There were lines at gas stations from Houston to Chappel Hill & Brenham--half way to Austin! We were really sad to see all the pictures of the devestation. The beach house we stayed at last month is gone! The Kemah Boardwalk, were we went at the beginning of the summer is was hit really hard too.

Crystal Beach before the storm ... Crystal Beach after the storm.

We've done a few things while we've been in Austin. Tuesday we went to Zilker Park, in Austin. There were a bunch of other evacuees there too! Some were even from Kingwood--they had Kingwood High t-shirts on! We rode the Zilker Zepher, which is a little train that goes through the park. It was fun to be at the park again. I used to take Bethany there all the time when we lived here, back when she was Thomas' age.

Thomas axiously awaiting the train to get going!!!

Thursday we ventured down to San Marcos and went to the Aquarena. They have boats that have a glass window in the bottom so you can see. We rode the boats on a tour of the San Marcos Spring that is there. It was really neat! It was amazing how clear the water was! You could see all the way to the bottom of the deepest part, which was about 35 feet deep! It is one of the oldest parts of Texas. They had an archeologist find mammoth bones and artifacts from all the different time periods with humans.

We will probably stay here in Austin until the weekend, unless we get electricity before then. Edd is able to work from here, which is one of the main reason why we came. Yesterday there wasn't much work and we took the kids to Zilker Park. There were a ton of people there and quite a few of them were from Houston and Kignwood!!! Today, Edd was pretty busy with work phone calls. The power is still out. There are reports that it will be on soon, by Friday and Monday in different parts of Kingwood.

What an adventure!

1 comment:

Cindy said...

My oh my!! What an adventure!! It sounds like you are experts at this though. I'm glad that you are ok, and that your house is too!