Saturday, September 20, 2008

Hurricane Ike Lessons Learned

We thought we were prepared for Ike. We found out we were not prepared at all. Here is what we learned.

  1. Just because you make it through one hurricane without losing power, this does not mean you will make it through another one. We never lost power during Hurricane Rita, but we went 6 days without power for Hurricane Ike.
  2. Be prepared to lose water. We are on Day 8 of no water. Well, we got water Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. But then it went away again. Fly By Night Water, aka HMW Utilities, has 1 roving generator.
  3. Put every bucket you have in the house ready to put out to catch rain as soon as the worst of the winds are over.
  4. Make sure your grill works before the hurricane hits. I got propane but didn't check to see if the grill worked. Fortunately I managed to score one at Lowe's on Monday.
  5. Get containers and fill them with water and put them in the freezer. Big blocks of ice last longer. Also put bottles of water throughout the freezer. We actually saved food this way! One of the few smart things I did.
  6. Have a battery operated radio and TV.
  7. Have a big lantern for each bedroom, living room and kitchen/dining room. Have a small lantern for each bathroom. Each person should have their own individual flashlight for moving room to room and outside. 1 big flashlight for going outside. Leaving the laterns in place makes it easier to remember where they are.
  8. Have a battery powered fan or two. We did not have this but we are purchasing two off the net.
  9. Have bottled water for washing your face and brushing your teeth as well as water for drinking. I am picky about my bottled water for drinking, so buy the cheapest water for washing face and giving cats water.
  10. Have a charger for the car that can charge multiple things at once. We have a charger that you can plug in a regular plug which is great for laptops. Then we have one that has 2 charger outlets and 2 usb outlets. We can recharge the dvd player, Bill's cell phone, my iPhone and the iPod all at once.
  11. Have plenty of DVDs to watch.
  12. Fill your car with gas. They were not kidding on that one.
  13. Have a window unit air conditioner and a small generator to run the fridge and the window unit. And to recharge all portable devices. Plus have a place for the generator that is not inside a garage or house. Our neighbors put theirs in the bed of the pickup that they parked away from the house.
  14. Put your drinks in a cooler. We lucked out with Bill's office having ice. So he went to work every day with a cooler.
  15. Have batteries charged for your cameras and put the cameras in a baggie.
  16. Have plenty of hummingbird food made up. We also feed the birds suet that I make with peanut butter, lard, flour and corn meal. So make sure any food is prepared.
  17. Have kitty litter for 2 weeks. Amd cat food for 2 weeks.
  18. Have a way to leave your windows open and lock them so no one can get in.
  19. Get more batteries than you think you can use in a lifetime. Most batteries have a 10 year life span. Use the oldest ones first.
  20. Wash all of your clothes the day before the storm hits, and put clean sheets on the bed.
  21. Paper plates and paper cups are a must. We missed this one. The dishwasher stacks up and you can't rinse anything without water. We did have plastic forks, spoons and knives.

That is all I can think of for now.


There is a BOIL WATER sign in our neighborhood. We had water Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. Fly By Night Water, aka, HMW Utilities, has 1 roving generator. Of course we got it again yesterday during the day while we were at work. So that did not help us at all. We are about to raid our neighbors pool for water to flush with. The cats get bottled water to drink.
So I added the WHAT WATER???? sign to the BOIL WATER sign.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Shout out to Owen Conflenti

Owen Conflenti the Channel 2 Morning/Midday News Anchor is my hero.

We live in the county. We live in Stagecoach, Texas which is very rural. Everyone and their brother has decided to burn all of their trees and leaves that came down during Hurricane Ike. We had all of our windows open since we have no power (or water for that matter). The smoke is so thick you can not see to the end of the street. Plus with my asthma, I thought Bill was going to have to take me to the Emergency Room.

Bill complained to the Fire Department and they said there was not anything they could do. Bill then contacted Channel 13 and never heard anything.

So I contacted KTRH (the radio station), Channels 2, 11 and 13. Owen was the only one to respond!

Last night they had a banner running on the bottom of the screen during the news not to burn. Then Stephen Dean had a wonderful segment on the health hazards of people burning in Montgomery County.

Shout out to Stephen Dean for a wonderful segment.

Also trees were lost during the storm. Those trees produced oxygen and that has been lost. Now people are running generators that produce carbon monoxide. On top of that they are burning which is also depleting the oxygen.

Now on to fight the water company. HMW Utilities is the WORST. Our water went out the day BEFORE Ike. Then came back on for a few hours till the electricity went out at 3:42 am and the water went back out too. I called the morons, oops, employees of HMW, who informed me that we would not get water until we got electricity. The water came back on Tuesday night. We were so excited. We got to take showers. The previous shower was in the rain on Sunday. Wednesday morning we were good still. Then Wednesday afternoon came and the water went. I should say I have been showering at work, but Bill doesn't have that luxury.

Now to add insult to injury, we have a BOIL WATER sign in the neighborhood. I want to know how I am supposed to accomplish this. Boil my Ozarka bottled water????? No way!

Owen asked to keep him informed on the water situation too!

BIG SHOUT OUT!! We love Channel 2, Owen Conflenti, Stephen Dean and the rest of the crew! What great reporting they have done!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Day 5 Ike Aftermath

Here are a few pictures from our neighborhood. The truck went across raging water behind our house.

We have WATER! That is so exciting. You take for granted the things your have.

The first two days were miserable. Raining, hot, windy (can you say hurricane?), miserable. We got out the day of the storm and cleared the 3 big tree branches from the driveway. Actually one is a pine tree that snapped in half and is hanging over the driveway. So I got my loppers (Fiskars is the best brand) and cut enough of it off so we can get out. The day it falls, we'll be late for work.

The water actually went out the day before Ike and came back on for a couple of hours, then out again. The power is still not on. But the weather is nice.

We do find ourselves turning on the light switches even though we know there is no power. It's habit!! I bought a new grill at Lowe's so I was able to have hot tea and a toasted bagel. I had purchased propane but didn't check to see if the grill worked. Ooops! The old one didn't.

We left Sunday, drove to Austin, did a load of towels, took showers and came back to the rug rats. Monday the weather turned nice and it was much better!! We put buckets out in the rain to catch water so that is what we used to flush toilets and wash our hands. We had bottled water for our faces.

We have battery backups for the DVD player and when the laptop would die, Bill would go to the car for a while to charge it. Our phone worked for 2 days and our cell phones worked for 2 days. Finally my iPhone is now sporatic and my Verizon (work) phone is working perfectly. I understand in town people are having problems with Verizon.
My coworkers and I were emailing back and forth after the storm for updates on everyone. Technology is so nice. I was also able to email family and friends.
My office has brought in supplies for people to take home. We also have showers here, which makes me very happy.

Bill got all the bird feeders back up immediately and we have been swarmed with birds.
Power is getting within blocks of the house, we have high hopes!! I will post another blog on hurricane preparedness.
Bill's family was not as lucky as us. His sister Diana had a tree come down and do structural damage as well as wiping out the gas line. His nephew Jeffrey house flooded.
Everyone is safe and we are all well!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Yikes Ike

We have all the lawn furniture in the garage, enough groceries to last a month, and all the cats have their water wings blown up, ready to put them on. Yes, Ike is headed straight for us. We live 70 miles inland but it could still be a cat 2 when it gets here. We are staying, we have a well built house and it's much easier to stay than it is to cart 15 cats somewhere, like anyone would take them.

Poor Bill has to work till noon tomorrow. He left early today and it took him 2 3/4 hours to get home. During Rita it took him 7 hours. With no traffic it takes him 45 minutes, with traffic it's an hour and a half.

We only have to bring the plants in tomorrow.

I do have a brand new propane tank to make my tea on Saturday morning on the gas grill is we lose power. Have to be prepared for every situation. All the laundry is done, so we'll have clean tshirts to wear if we have no power. I will charge the dvd player, laptop, cell phones, iPods, nintendo ds tomorrow so Bill won't get too bored if the power goes out.

We did have the water to go out today and the weather was beautiful. I was concerned because I smelled like a water buffalo after hauling all the lawn furniture in. Fortunately it is now fixed and I had a shower.

More to come after Ike hits!!