As Galveston, Texas, continues to recover from a nasty, natural disaster, I’ve taken the time to reflect on the days following the landfall of Hurricane Ike ……… While Sugar Land had a TON of rain and wind delivered via Ike, it could have been a lot worse – and we all know it. Lessons were learned by all – check your homeowners insurance BEFORE a major hurricane takes aim at you. Some learned that batteries ARE important. Some learned that living without air conditioning and a hair straightener is NOT the end of the world, and that if neighbors stick together, “survival” can be kind of fun.
OK – so it was a bit stressful deciding whether to stay or to go. We weren’t thinking about us, we were thinking about the kids. The youngest was terrified not knowing what was going on with this hurricane-thing and slept in a Storm Trooper costume the entire time.. The middle child was in a boot and on crutches due to a dislocated bone in her foot. And the oldest was fascinated with the weather side of things (and the flashlights, weather-radios, and “bathing” in the pool).
The night before the night before the storm, there was a magical night at Sasu Sushi with AMAZING food and friends, then a hurricane party at a friends house complete with pool-volleyball. Then a mass exodus back to the house to finish taping, boarding, and prepping for the storm. The night before landfall was a calmer dinner of Louisiana gumbo and wine in preparation of what was about to happen. We stayed through the first power outage, but the second outage got everyone’s attention and the party broke up. Hugs and kisses, and back to the casa.
When the winds began, the phones starting ringing. Some of us were up in the middle of the night comparing where our kids were sleeping (in my closet sleeping like babies), were our husbands sleeping through it all (yes he was), and where were the dogs/cats/lizards/frogs (away from windows). When the winds and rain died, a neighbor knocked on the door EARLY in the morn to get us to help with a tree on a different neighbor’s house. How cool is that? Multiple guys got out with chain saws and the truck to pull the tree off the house so it wouldn’t get worse. We walked the neighborhood and entered the houses of those that left checking on things.
Obviously we had no electricity due to the hurricane. Most of our subdivision did not have power, and some didn’t get it for weeks post-Ike. A few smart neighbors had small generators that they graciously offered to charge cell phones for us. Once we all had naps, semi-recovered from the night before and found our rain coats, we all hit the streets with flashlights and food. Did I mention THE FOOD?
With big games of flashlight tag(all ages) going on and neighbors sitting around a fire pit for light, our neighborhood came to life. Neighbors that we had never met before (after 2.5 yrs in the house) ventured out into the darkness. No one was worried about their hair as neighbors drove around, missing downed trees and swapping tales of the storm. Back to the food……We ate like kings for MORE than just one night. We all joke about gaining wait during the hurricane because of how good we ate. We are quite a talented bunch on gas and charcoal grills. Our freezer was full of redfish, duck and pheasant, ice cream and steaks. Other neighbors had wild game, plenty of diet coke, and beer that was getting warm……and in Texas, you don’t let Blue Bell ice cream go to waste. So out came the Dixie cups and straws and slushy Blue Bell was poured into the kids’ cups.
For those that suffered damage, I am so sorry because I know what kind of nightmare insurance companies can be (especially with all the roof damage). For those that left town, you missed a HUGE party. For those that we had the pleasure of hanging with, WAHOOOOO – what a blast!
Will I stay for another hurricane……….hmmmm………….still pondering that one.