29 September 2008
With no power, there was no TV, radio, internet. Missed keeping up with the travails of my favorite bloggers and keeping up with the news, but we read a lot and played board games. Spent a lot of time outdoors and went to bed early. At least the weather was unseasonably cooler (for this area) and we could open our windows at night. Was great to keep the house cooler, but the constant droning of generators in the neighborhood made it sound like a construction site. I was hoping to hold out until we had power, but a friend spotted our lack of lights and offered up their generator for our refrigerator and some lights (they had power back on after only 4 days).
And that brings me to today's point. While we were not really hurting for food and supplies, we did go through ice like, well, ice. Saturday, my neighbor told me the city was handing out ice & water up at city hall and I headed up for a bag or two. Very great bunch of volunteers handing out several bags of ice, cases of water, and MREs (Meals, ReEady to Eat). Was not really looking for the food, but they were so anxious to help out and would not take no for an answer. So I wound up with a couple of meals to try consume. Now, just to give you some background intel, in one of my former lives, I was an officer in the US Army stationed in West Germany in the early 80's. Spend quite a few months in the field and ate more than my fair share of c-rations (some of which were pretty ugly), so the prospect of eating MREs did not really scare me off and I wanted to taste what uncle Sam had created for the military. So, my bride and I sat down to a candle lit dinner over a pair of MREs. She took the BBQ pork ribs and I settled on the grilled chicken dinner. Give my expectations with c-rats, I was pleasantly surprise over the quality and taste of the meals. They were actually quite edible (better than your average fast food venue) and showed some imagination.
To heat the meals is an interesting experiment. You have a heating bag that you open and then add about 2 tbs of water to a heating element/pack. You then slide in the entree and seal up the bag and let it warm up for 2 minutes. BTW - when the bag cautions you about being hot, take it as gospel. Being a pessimist, I expressed some disbelief on how this little bit of water in a bag would heat up the meal and promptly scalded the hell out of my fingers. The meal had plenty of food to satisfy most appetites and we were not having to gag it down. Of course, most troops are highly innovative and will find ways to supplement the meals and even get creative with the menus. You'd be surprised on what you can concoct in the field given the right motivation.
All in all, MREs weren't too bad. Wish I had them when I was a tanker.
24 September 2008
Lots of folk were helping each other out in the area. Neighbors sharing ice/water. Helping clear debris from yard streets. Sharing your washer/dryer with neighbors with no power. Storing food for those without power/refrigerator. In spite of all of the destruction, there were many examples of people stepping up to help in times of trouble. Gives hope to a otherwise bleak situation.
23 September 2008
We're alive & holding on. Lots of downed tree limbs, but no damage to the hacienda.
Last time we had the lights on (without help from a generator) was Friday 09/12 just before Ike hit. Lights came on last might around 11:30 pm. We were just about to give it up yesterday and settle in for the long haul. No power and no promise of when it would come back on (down fuse on line, Centerpoint would not estimate when that would get repaired). Needless to say, we were a bit frustrated. Had borrowed generator from neighbor and was running fans/lights but was planning on going out today to get a window a/c. Glad to have power back on. Not sure which is nicer, a/c or having my morning coffee again. Even though we are lucky to have power and blessed with minimal damage, there is still ~750,000 people out there this morning still in the dark. And that does not include some of the people who have lost their houses or have had serious damage. My thoughts/heart/prayers go out to them.
Has been mass pandemonium down here. Most of Houston and the surrounding area have been without power (utility company said over 2.1 million) since the storm hit shore. No ice, no gas, long lines. Some stores are just now opening up. One of the blessings has been the weather has been unseasonably cooler (mid 50's at night) for Houston in September. Been actually nice to sleep with open window, although some windows on my house have not been opened for 6 years. Interesting to sleep at night to drone of generators running in the neighborhood. Tried to eat most of the contents of our freezer but wound up having to toss a lot of the meat after it was in the ice chest too long.
Will post some intersting tales in a day or so as we come back on line. One nice observations, it is in times of trouble that true friends & neighbors came together in the crisis and learned to share what they have.
12 September 2008
11 September 2008
Most of of the coastal region has evacuated north to Austin or Dallas. My office is located next to the NASA Space Center and we closed up shop at noon today in advance of the storm. At 14 feet elevation, it won't take much of a storm surge to flood the area. My domicle is located across town outside of any of the coastal flood region, like most of west Houston, and we are not planning to evacuate the area. Planning to hunker down here and ride out the wind/rain. We've laid on plenty of food/water/beer/wine/bullets to survive the next few days.
Not my first rodeo here. We stayed put for Rita in 2005 and plan to do the same this time.
Hope all of my friends out there in south Texas remain safe & dry!
While we go about our daily lives and prepare for the challenges ahead, take time to stop and remember the events of 7 years back and those who lost their lives. My thoughts and prayers go out for their families in this time. My prayers are also with the men & women in the military putting their lives on the line for me and my family. I've been in those boots as well and know just how much of a sacrifice one makes to serve.