Greetings from Ikeland! I've gotten so many great emails today with well wishes from you all, that I thought I would do an update on "Life Spent Waiting For A Major Hurricane." I hope to be able to answer all of your emails, but until then - here's the story of Cote de Texas under siege. I must say that I have the sweetest readers in blogland. I'm going to design an award and pass it out to each of you: Bestest, Most Sweetest Readers!!! Seriously, a person can get really spoiled from all the love. Thank you, all of you, for your wonderful, caring, emails. They are very much appreciated.
Evacuations and Hurricane Ike: There was a mandatory evacuation called for Galveston and outlying parts of Houston that border the Ship Channel. We don't live in those areas and so, we aren't under a mandatory evacuation. Because of that, Ben, Elisabeth and I decided to stay put in our house in Houston. The last big hurricane that passed through Houston was Rita. It came just days after Katrina so everyone here was terrified and just about the entire town (except us, of course!) decided to evacuate Rita. There was a traffic jam the likes of which have never been seen before. The death toll of evacuees on the road was over 100. The death toll from the storm was in the single digits. Statistically, you were better off staying put and "hunkering down" than leaving. This time around with Ike, there hasn't been that massive evacuation from Houston, and it seems like the majority of people have stayed, including my entire family.
Preparing for Ike: How did we prepare for the storm? I have a hurricane fascinated husband, so we already had a lot hurricane preparedness items in the house. Every time he sees a sale on batteries, he picks up more, so batteries and numerous flashlights we have. We also have small, battery powered fans to help cool the house when the electricity goes out. We have weather radios and battery powered flood lights for inside. We even have a battery powered television - this purchase brought much personal happiness to Mr. Hurricane Man. I took out all my old laptops, of which I have a few, and charged up the batteries so that I'll be able to use my computer for a while at least after the electricity goes out (hopefully it won't be off for days - or else I'm checking into a hotel with a generator). We have lots of candles, unfortunately they are the scented, expensive kind, but that's alright - at least the house will smell good.
The eye of Ike - kind of looks like the head of a baby duck here.
What To Eat During A Hurricane: Yesterday Mr. Hurricane Man announced he wanted to go the grocery store and look around for more batteries and other hurricane gadgets and get the last minute food items we would need. Stupidly, I agreed to let him go. He came back home, all excited about the food he bought that's going to sustain us after the refrigerator is off: sliced turkey, assorted cold cuts, and cheese!!!!! He was so proud, poor thing. When I asked him about canned goods like tuna and salmon, he had a blank look on face and wanted to know why would we need that? hmm. Don't worry though, I went to Wendy's and bought a few days worth of Caesar salads. Plus our stove is gas, so we'll be able to eat noodles and soup and macaroni and cheese, lots of nice, fattening foods. I'll probably come out of this hurricane with a 10 pound weight gain.
Galveston, around 12pm this afternoon. The waves are crashing up over the seawall which is 13' tall. Imagine what will happen when the eye hits and the surge is over 20 feet.
News Updates, Always Updates During the Long Wait: The storm is now just reaching Galveston. It's 3:30, Friday afternoon. The island city is going to flood, there is no doubt about that. The water is now over the 13' seawall. Ike is a Category 2 and is expected to be Cat 3 when it lands. The Galveston Mayor just announced that 40 percent (2o,ooo souls) of the people who live there did NOT evacuate and are still on the island. The city is going to be completely underwater and these people will be forced up into their attics by tonight. Wow. That 40% figure shocks me and everyone else too. The police chief from Galveston just announced that the last emergency calls they will take today are at 9:00 p.m. Then they will be "hunkering down" at the San Luis Resort Hotel and everyone is on their own then. "Hunker Down" is code word in a hurricane for being scared to death inside your home while the storm rages outside. The chief also said a house just burned to the ground on the West End because they couldn't reach it to put it out. Things are getting bad in Galveston. They have opened a Shelter Of Last Resort for people who get too scared to Hunker Down and change their mind at the last minute. At this point, I'm really glad that Houston is 50 miles away from the Galveston and the Gulf of Mexico.
Humor in the Face of a Hurricane: My best friend just instant messaged me with this - her last will and testament:
GOD FORBID - I WANT TO BE BURIED AS CLOSE TO MY MOM AND GRANDPARENTS AS POSSIBLE- I THINK STAN WOULD CHIP IN FOR IT AND WHEN IM GONE - - ALSO- THANKS FOR ALWAYS BEING THERE FOR ME AND SO MUCH AND I LUV YOU AND ELISABETH AND BEN!! SO LONG TO GEORGIE AND SAMMY (my dogs) AND RALPH AND BETTY RAE AND CATHY (my parents and sister) = GOD BLESS!!!! OK == SO LONG--FAREWELL-- YOUR BEST FRIEND----LISA----
(I'm just relieved that apparently Stan and Marcia are being asked to pay for her funeral - not me!)
Major Worries and Fears In a Hurricane: It's the windows everyone is worried about. Tornados and high winds accompany hurricanes and with that comes broken windows. My parents are in a high rise and they've been instructed to go to their bathroom in case their windows start breaking. Us too. The only room in our house without a window is the powder room. We'll go there if our windows start popping. At least there's new wallpaper in there. Very pretty wallpaper, Colefax and Fowler Chinese Toile in brown and cream: so I'll be happy.
My Powder Room with the Colefax and Fowler Chinese Toile Wallpaper - Refuge in the Storm.
Our biggest concern though, is that our huge oak tree will crash through the house as the tree is "in stress" and is weak. That's our main worry. Now, my personal main worry is coffee. Starbucks closed last night for good until God knows when. I made a pot using premium coffee beans, but it's just not the same. I even have a little apparatus that whips hot milk into foam. Just not the same. I've decided its the flavored coffee beans that are so terrible. Why didn't I get just plain Folgers? Pray for Starbucks, people.
Hunkering Down and Other Boring Things: At this moment in my house, we're all hunkered down. Elisabeth is upstairs on the computer. I'm still on the patio with my laptop. It's not raining at all, just a little windy. My neighbors are even BBQ-ing steaks on the grill outside. Smells soooo good. Mr. Hurricane Man is, of course, laying on the couch, monitoring the news, with a migraine. He got one this morning - his eyes weren't focusing and he lost his peripheral vision - so he knew the migraine was coming and managed to take his medicine correctly - before the migraine becomes painful, and it seems to have helped him a bit. I'm hungry from smelling the steaks and can't decide if I should eat the famous turkey and cheese or just make a peanut butter sandwich. I'm saving the salad for tonight. SO exciting! The storm will hit at 9:00 tonight. Mr. Hurricane Man just announced he thinks it's not going to be that bad. He's "watching it" on the news - "keeping an eye on it" - and thinks he can see something in the radar pictures that the professional weathermen do not see. He thinks that the storm is breaking up. Help me, please. It's going to be a very, long weekend.
The eye of the storm is still hours away and look how flooded it already is near the Cote de Texas, or in English, the Texas Coast.