Monday, September 15, 2008

Riding the storm out: 3 Stories

Story #1: Justin
Justin in recovery, Day 6I had asked everyone to be praying for Justin, who had heart surgery a week ago today. He and his parents rode out Hurricane Ike in the hospital and probably fared better there than most anyone else. The hospital never lost power and Justin is progressing remarkably well. In fact, the question is starting to become what to do if he is ready to go home but has no electricity at home. He has most of the lines and monitors removed and has started smiling again!

Story #2: The Euphrony's or A (kid) hurricane within a (big) hurricane
The last time I updated I talked about our preparation for Ike and how someone was offering to give Ike away on Craigslist. As Friday night went along we got the kids in bed, Lil'E in our bed downstairs and Lil'er E in his room upstairs. Then Mrs. E and I watched Monk and we went to bed. Around 1 a.m. (shortly before the eye was hitting land) we brought Lil'er E downstairs - he never went back to sleep. And, with him awake, Lil'E woke up. So, as Mrs. E and I tried to sleep on the couch and recliner, the kids ran circles around the living room; all the while outside the wind whistled and howled and trees creaked and popped. In other words, they had a blast of the night! Finally, around 5 a.m., they fell asleep in our arms. The electricity had gone out shortly before 3 a.m. Saturday morning, so most of the fun was in the dark lit only by LED lights.
View from the front walkway

branch in our driveway
Come "daybreak" the eye was over us. We could look outside for a bit and see some of the damage before the wind and rain picked back up. Finally, around noon, things were calming enough to go outside and begin some cleanup in the rain. One of our sweetgum trees in the front yard had snapped 20 feet off the ground and fallen on our neighbor's car (sorry!). First priority was getting it sliced up enough to allow them to cover up the hole in the windshield and to move the car so they could get a generator running out of the rain. After this we waited until the rain died down a bit more and began cleanup in earnest. I had another sweetgum drop a large branch over our driveway, and pine branches and pinecones everywhere - but no damage to the house (whew!). Our neighbors across the back fence had a pine snap and fall on their house, but only damaged the covered patio. Down the street a large tree fell and crushed a garage. Any trees with shallow, small root systems were pulled completely out of the ground. Power was out almost everywhere, with random spots around town having electricity. One of those was an intersection about a mile from our house - frustrating! As the day progressed we ate what we had, drank the water I had laid aside (there was a boil notice for all water around town) and made it through until evening. At least we could flush without problems! By 8 p.m. it was dark and the kids were in bed. Mrs. E was in bed, too, and I stayed up to read for a little while. We were hot, but we slept okay.
snapped tree on neighbor's car
Sunday was a new day, with some new damage. We had more rain overnight and branches and trees that were loosened by Ike came free and came down. The kids had faired well on Saturday - Sunday they were just plain cranky. With no cold drinks, they wouldn't drink anything. No more milk. The foods in the fridge were gone and the stuff in the freezer were going. No ice. Oh, and did I mention cranky kids? Once the novelty of it all wore off they decided they had had enough! Lil'er E walked up to the TV every 10 minutes and tried to turn it on; persistance was not rewarded this time. I finished cleaning up the yard around 4:00 p.m., had the fridge and freezer cleaned out by 5:00. Before six o'clock we were on the road to Dallas to stay with family until either the power came back on or we had to return for work/school. Lil'E's school is out until at least Thursday, and my work until at least Wednesday. At last check, the electric company that services us was still showing 98% of their customers without power - some 380,000 households. We didn't need to be there, and we could get away. Let someone else have the ice they're shipping in, they need it more than we do.
debris pile #1

debris pile #2

Story #3: Mrs. E's grandmother
If there's a bad time for something to happen, it probably will. Last week, before the hurricane, Mrs. E's grandmother (in Port Arthur) had a stroke; it was a full day before anyone found her. She's been in the hospital recovering, and was not able to be evacuated before Ike hit. The hospital did not lose power, but Mrs. E's mom got a call this morning that her condition had deteriorated and she was put on life support. So not ten hours after we got to her house she was headed out to be with her mother in what could be her final days. Please pray for my mother-in-law (going into the blackout) and for her mother and family.

This has been a long post but I hope you read all of it. I wanted to update on several fronts and figured I'd mash it all into one. I'll keep everyone informed on the further adventures of the Euphrony's over the next few days.

While I'm at it, I'll ask a question: What is the longest you've sat in your house without power?

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Anonymous said...

Wow... glad for the update, been praying for your family! I am sorry to hear about all the damage, and issues to deal with, and especially the Grandma going through this now... I'm sorry about that too.

*When I was a kid we had a huge snow storm and we were snowed in and without power for about 4 days. I was a "camp fire" girl and had been selling chocolate. We ended up eating quite a few boxes of that! From a kids point of view, I had a great time!

Wayward Son said...

Glad you guys are okay...I have some friends east of you in Kirbyville who had to deal with Rita in the piney woods; one of them ended up spearheading a major relief effort there. So I've been watching with some interest and apprehension.

I think our record without power was three days...a huge spring thunderstorm knocked out power to about half of Tulsa a few years ago. It wasn't too hot yet, so we stuck it out. But last winter we had a really bad ice storm and most of the city was without power for nearly a week. We never lost power that time, so we became a haven for those who did--9 people staying in our house at one point.

Chaotic Hammer said...

Glad you made it through safely. You're all in our prayers, especially Mrs. E's family.

All my friends and family there fared well. In fact, our friends in Katy only lost power for about an hour. It's amazing what a difference a few miles can make with a storm like that.

Looking back, I can't remember being in any power outages that lasted for more than a day or two. The longest outage was probably a couple days after Hurricane Alicia in 1983.

texasinafrica said...

Very glad to hear that you are all safe! And I'm sorry about Mrs. E's grandmother; of course you will be in my prayers.

The longest I've been without power? No idea, but when I had an apartment in Congo, it was usually only on for a couple of hours a day. You had to have your food on the stove, ready to go. Other problem was that water was dependent on electricity, so you also had to be ready to shower, wash dishes, and wash clothes when the chance came. The generator wasn't enough to provide sufficient water to do all that.

I will say that when I first arrived in Goma, there was no water for 3 weeks. That was the most disgusting thing I've ever experienced.

Cristy said...

Glad to know you're all safe and able to get away. Praying for Mrs. E's grandmother and family.

The longest we've been without power was 5 days, but we kind of cheated. Our neighbor was loaned a generator to which she let us run an extenion cord for our fridge and TV. My parents across town DID have electricity though, so we were able to go there and shower, and able to go to work where there was also power. So we weren't really sitting in the house...

Cristy said...

*extenSion cord

erin said...

So glad to know you guys weathered the storm okay (pun intended).

I think the longest I've been in a place without power is for 2 days, during an ice storm in 1994. Our power came back after those 2 days, but I remember some people being without it for a few weeks.

Susanne said...

Glad you guys are okay, but I'm sorry about Mrs. E's grandma. I lost both of my grandmothers last year, and it's so hard. They could be 150 years old and it wouldn't seem like it was time for them to die. Grandparents are so very special. Your family is in my prayers.

I think the longest I've been without power was 24 hours, which was with Ike. That means that I've lived a pretty cushy life, I guess. It's amazing what we get used to, isn't it? My kids didn't like the warm drinks either (neither did I!). I would still rather be without power and have running water, though, than the other way around. Those showers were really nice when it got so hot in the house!

euphrony said...

Thanks for your prayers, everyone. Mrs. E's grandmother is doing a little better, but still in bad shape. They had moved here from the Port Arthur hospital to the Beaumont hospital and, in the process, both managed to give her a dose of blood pressure meds - double dosing her. She still has a ways to go, though.

It's easy to go without power when you choose to do so (i.e. camping), but to sit in your own house is very depressing.

Susanne, glad to hear you are doing okay.

Jeff, I was up in Tulsa just after that ice storm. Actually, as I recall, there was one that hit, then I was there a week later (just after power came back on), and then a day or two after I left another hit and killed power to a lot of people. At least we're not freezing in Houston. The weather has actually turned rather mild since the hurricane.

Kat @ Inspired To Action said...

Thanks for the update Euphrony. I'm glad to hear you all made it through well enough. I'll be praying for Mrs. E's grandmother and that your lives will get back in order soon.

annie said...

Hope things have continued to improve on all fronts... I think about 3 days is the longest I've been snowed in. Yes, California does get the white stuff! God bless.

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