September 17, 2008

Hurricane Ike Hits Close to (Old) Home | printable version

Before moving to Massachusetts for a year, and ending up in Maine, we lived in Shoreacres, Texas. While we lived there, our house flooded once during a tropical storm. We only had a few inches of water in the house but the damage was extensive - new floors, new sheetrock, new insulation, new paint...the works! Sadly, during Hurricane Ike, the water from Galveston Bay was over the slab of 100% of the homes there. Officials estimate 39% were heavily flooded and almost 10% were completely destroyed. The city has done a great job of keeping residents informed HERE.

We still have lots of family in Texas. My mom and step-dad own a ranch there. Mom was able to get text messages out during the storm. She was obviously frightened. Trees were falling everywhere, the power was out, the rain was pounding, they were sandbagging the back door, and they needed to check on their horses in the barn. They were also housing five horses for a neighbor during the deluge. The hurricane was still a Category 2 when it hit Conroe, Texas, which is 80 miles north of Galveston.

That old (brand-new) generator is one we bought when we first moved to Maine so we'd be prepared if they ever have another ice storm, like the one in 1998. We never have needed to crank it up. Heck, we never even took it out of the box. It sat in the garage for years. When Hurricane Rita was barreling toward Texas a couple of years ago, Mom and Pop couldn't find a generator for sale anywhere. Everybody was sold out. We shipped our generator to them via UPS Next Day Air. The generator was about $350 when we bought it. UPS Next Day Air was about another $350. It was turning into one expensive generator! But, Mom and Pop were desperate and we were worried about them. We learned the next day that all shipments into the Houston area were stopped and the generator then sat in a warehouse somewhere in another state for several days. Luckily, Mom and Pop didn't lose power during Hurricane Rita. But, we figured they'd need that generator someday and...obviously, that day has arrived!

Today, Mom and Pop still have no electricity (and probably won't for another week or two) and no water because their water pump runs on electricity and the generator we sent them doesn't provide the correct amp-age or something like that (we're getting way past my area of knowledge here). Anyway, the generator is very heavy and the neighbor boy has to come over every three days to help them load it into the trailer so they can take it to the barn to run the freezer for a few hours. The rest of the time, they have it at the house, keeping the refrigerator running, a TV for news, a fan, and, since Mom is still texting, I bet she's using it to charge their cell phones as well.

They had to turn the horses loose in the pasture because they can't get water pumped to the barn. The horses are drinking out of three troughs and their pond...which was previously very low, but is now completely full.

The generator is using about five gallons of gas daily. They were running low on gas on Monday and drove into town. There was gas at Sam's and Kroger, but the lines were extensive. The local hardware store was rationing five-gallon gas cans - two per family. They woke up early yesterday morning to drive into town to try to get gas. Pop sat in line for gas while Mom ran into Kroger. Most of the food shelves were bare but she did manage to get some fresh bread for the neighbors. Now, you don't need to worry about Mom and Pop running out of food. Mom's a culinary pack rat. When she sees something she likes on sale, she'll buy several cans/boxes of it. They have plenty of food. However, many Texans do not.

Mom texted again on Tuesday morning saying they found an open donut shop. Pop went in for donuts while Mom sat outside to guard the gas. Yes, they're afraid somebody's going to steal their pressure gasoline. Her last text message to me said, "Washed my face with hot water at Kroger. So nice!"

I still haven't talked to my brother, who's a Pastor. Did I tell you that? My little brother's a Pastor now! We're all proud...but none more so than Mom. Anyway, he and his wife are helping others in their neighborhood. His wife works for an insurance company. Mom said they had to set up tents outside their office to handle the claims. I talked to my dad as well. He's in North Dakota visiting family, and won't head home again until they have electricity in his city.

Our prayers are with everybody who needs help in Texas. You can donate money HERE.

This week's Maxism:

While watching coverage of Hurricane Ike on TV on Saturday morning, Max said, "Mom! Somebody got hit in the eye during the storm!"

(Think about it...)

Hugs to all!

Angela

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