Sunday, September 21, 2008

Weathering The Storm

By now I'm sure you all know that Hurricane Ike hit the Houston area very hard. Forgive me for not updating sooner, but after 9 days, our electricity just came back on! Here's how it all played out:

We squeezed in a little birthday party for Michelle at lunch-time on Friday, the 12th and the brave souls who came skid-daddled out to head home and hunker-down by early afternoon. By evening, the wind was picking up and darkness descending. We filled two bathtubs full of water, filled my big spaghetti pots with water, gassed up the cars, scavenged the grocery stores for more ice & canned goods, got the flashlights powered up, tucked the kids safely NOT in their beds, and went to sleep. I woke at 3 a.m. The power was already gone and the rain and wind were fierce outside. There was no more sleep after that. When daylight came and we could finally see outside, it was quite a sight. I've never seen such violent rain and the wind would come in powerful gusts. Our pool already looked like a swamp. We worried as two inches of rain was already sitting on our back patio and the pool continued to fill. Mike and I braved the storm at one point to go out with rakes and clear our three deck drains of debris so some of the rain could filter out. Amazingly we kept our phone land line all day as the storm ravaged. Friends and family were calling and we were filling them in that we were all okay so far. At one point we seriously thought the pool was going to over -flow. We moved furniture and rugs away from the back door and watched. When it was right at the brim, the internal overfill valve finally caught up with the rain and started to drain. Whew!! That was a close one!

By late afternoon, the storm finally left our area and neighbors cautiously crept out to survey the damage. We fared very well. Only one of our skinny palm trees behind the pool rocks fell over. Mike's been able to upright it since. We had alot of debris in the yard and pool, but luckily no damage to the cars or house. Here's how it looked after the storm:

Our other palm tree is supposed to be in front of the play house. It fell to the right.

Here is our swamp.... I mean pool! It usually is NOT green and that dark stuff on the bottom are tree branches.
Not too much clean up needed here.

Our neighbor across the street was the only one with damage to the front yard.

About 300 yards from our house is our bayou. It did it's job well and kept us from getting flooded. Here is a picture of how it usually looks:

And how it looked the day of the storm: (you can see some of our neighbors lost their fences on the left side)

The next day we walked up to our neighborhood center and pool/park. What a mess! I couldn't believe how much damage there was 3 blocks from our home:

Kyle had the job of "fishing" all the junk out of the pool, while Reid bagged it all up.

So, we survived 9 days without electricity. On day 7, a friend lent us their generator and air conditioner wall unit. It came just in time as the cold front we'd been fortunate to have at the beginning of the week ended and the humidity returned. The first 48 hours after the storm we had no phone lines including cell. That was a bit daunting knowing we had no way to contact anyone. During the power outage, we got the chance to talk alot with our neighbors since people were much more likely to be outside and Andrew & Kaitlyn made some new friends. Our evenings were spent either reading by flashlight or playing family board games. We ate delicious dinners of Chef -Boy- Ardee & canned chili over rice. I really missed having cereal with milk for breakfast! In many ways our time reminded me of camping and if you're not sure how that makes me feel, please reference my post titled "goodbye to family camping"! When our electricity came back on at 5 p.m. today, people were yelling up & down the street and honking horns. It's a good day!!!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Not Olympic Gymnastics

Michelle has worked hard for over 3 years as a competitve gymnast. This summer, she waited until the midnight hour to attain all her skills to move up to Level 6. But, the good news is, she made it and enjoyed her second meet this weekend. She won 2nd. Place All-Around and was happy with all her results. Level 6 is fun because the girls start to do no-hand tumbling on the floor and their first release move in their dismount on the bars. Here's a little sample of her floor rountine. Sorry it is so far away, there is no zoom in my movie-mode. When you hear the music start, you'll begin to see her better. Enjoy: