We have survived Hurricane Ike. I’m thankful that no one was hurt and that we suffered minimal property damaged. Many Texans were not so lucky.
I wrote an earlier post about our hurricane preparations. Things were fairly calm then. As the day progressed, the situation quickly deteriorated. My house was full of people – my family of five, my sister-in-law and her nine-year old son, my parents and my two-year old niece. They all arrived by 5PM. The storm had already caused flooding around the coastal regions of Texas and the worst was yet to come.
Figuring would lose power soon, I frantically completed some last minute tasks. I cooked dinner for a couple of nights, made several bags of Microwave popcorn for snacking, and washed the dishes. I made a last minute sweep of the yard to make sure that there was nothing lying around that could become a projectile. Finally, I filled the sink with fresh water for washing and flushing. I was going to fill our master bathtub as well, but my wife, K, reminded me that it would be dangerous for our one-year old.
Meanwhile, My sister-in-law stuffed bags of ice into coolers and K prepared sleeping areas for the guests. With a few sheets, pillows, and an air mattress, she was able to create comfortable accommodations for everyone.
With all preparations complete, we hunkered down to await the storm’s arrival.
We lost power around 11 p.m. while the winds steadily increased their intensity. By the time we went to bed, we were experiencing 35-40 mph winds and the storm was still about two hours from making landfall.
It was around 2 a.m. when Ike really started to pound our house. I was sound asleep. Fortunately, for you, the storm kept K up most of the night so I will let her give you an account of what the next five hours were like:
With the power out, the house was eerily dark. Outside the high-pitched gusts (85-95 mph) were relentless, causing tree shadows to dance frantically on the walls. The windows shook in their frames. By 4 a.m., I was holding my breath and praying that our house would hold together. “Even the winds and the rains obey him,” was my mantra. It was then that I heard something thrashing against our bedroom window. Was it a tree? Our newly assembled play system? The rain made it impossible to discern what the culprit was so my imagination ran wild. I even awakened Mocha Dad with my fears. He muttered something about “if God is awake, I don’t need to be,” and went back to sleep. After creeping upstairs to reassure myself that the kids were okay, I managed to get a little sleep before daybreak. I must admit I have never been happier to be awakened by our one-year-old or to discover that the thrashing culprit was nothing more than a few displaced solar screens.
K was not the only one who had a sleepless night. My sister-in-law spent the night comforting her son and two of my children in addition to coping with her own fears. My mother, who is usually a sound sleeper, was kept awake by one of our trees slapping against her window. My step father sat awake in our game room as the storm grew serious. When the screens started crashing against the house, he thought someone was trying to break in so he ran downstairs to confront the intruder. When he discovered it was only a loose screen, he braved the storm to retrieve it.
K finally woke me up around 7 a.m. to have me look at something in the kitchen. I walked in to see the screen by the sink. “I don’t understand what happened here,” K said. I don’t know what she thought had happened, but I gave her a pass because I knew that she was sleep-deprived. “It’s okay, honey,” I said. “Dad must have brought it in.” I could see the relief on her face.
I got dressed and went outside to survey the storm’s damage. It was still raining and windy. Several of our solar blinds and roof shingles had blown around our yard and across the neighborhood. My neighbor was gracious enough to offer some tarps to cover the roof. I accepted his generosity and proceeded to repair the roof. I quickly changed my mind when I realized how high and steep my roof was. Instead, I placed buckets in the attic to catch the water and called a roof contractor.
Unlike the majority of Houstonians, our power was restored early in the day. We were so thankful because we were not looking forward to spending several days with ten people and no air conditioning.
Around noon, things had finally calmed down and our household was glad to see Hurricane Ike take a hike.