Life after Hurricane Ike

Well Hurricane Ike came roughly two weeks ago from today. At first, I thought it was just going to pass by with some thunderstorms, but it didn’t turn out that way. For a Category 2 storm, Ike sure pushed up some super strong winds. It was around 1AM when the power went out, as I was reading my Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows book. It took just almost 2 weeks for the power to come back on.

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I was darn angry at this outcome. A lot of the people around and in Jersey Village got their power less than a week after Ike hit, especially the northwest area of Houston. But for some strange reason, my section of the neighborhood wasn’t receiving its fair share of power. Later, we found out from CenterPoint that my section had a blown transformer, and it’d take time to fix it. I was astounded! I knew that subdivision was trouble from Day 1. I couldn’t believe my parents wanted to live there, just because of the house. The area is awful, and for such a relatively new subdivision, we had a blown transformer affecting us for 2 weeks.

I was ticked when a few houses down the street had it since the Friday after Ike hit, and we got ours exactly a week after them. Just wants me to shake my head at this. During the whole time, I had to deal with difficulties like:

  • Not being able to do homework that had to be done (I could do it during daylight, but too hard to concentrate with the heat and anxiety)
  • Father couldn’t go to work – His place was shutdown for the whole week, until power was restored. My parents make just enough to live by, but we worry. Especially in the economic crisis the country’s in. It was also unfortunate he had eye surgery the next week, when the company was issuing overtime (which they don’t do too often).
  • Being disconnected from my desktop – Couldn’t type papers, or connect with my online and local friends, who live oh-so far away
  • Hot nights – Well actually, the first and second were hot, but the rest of the week was pretty cool, thankfully. But it was getting kind of tiring.
  • Lack of good food – Ugh, my parents wanted to go to this church where you could line up with your cars to get some styrafoam meals, a bag of ice, and a case of water bottles. They did this during lunch and dinner. The first dinner meal was good, white chicken, corn, and something just as good that I forgot. I didn’t want to go to the line in the first place, because I felt that we weren’t so needy or devastated, but my parents really wanted the free handouts. I told them not to go again, but they did, and every meal got worse and nasty tasting. Ugh. At least one meal had an ok sandwich and a bag of chips. He brought like 7 cases each time after the first, for a family of 5. ARGH! I just wanted regular homecooked food, which I was sure we could handle, since stores were opening up. Also, NO REFRIGERATION = Lack of milk, dairy, meats, and other things that we usually had stocked. We got a cooler later that week to stuff the ice in, but it melted usually a day or two later.
  • Boredom – NOTHING fun to do during the long wait for power. I don’t have any friends nearby, and my dad didn’t feel like wasting gas. Just waiting and waiting for the stupid power to be restored.

I know I should consider myself fortunate that I didn’t have the fence damage that a lot of my friends had (though they had power!), or the complete devastation and damage along Galveston and the coastal communities. But I was still appalled how long it took to get power, in comparison to the rest of the people in my area. I was extremely ticked off by that, and think CenterPoint better give us a big discount for the next months.

I did gain some experience and things I thought I’d never discover like:

  • Having TV on a portable all-in-one emergency device – This device rocks. My dad bought it from Brookstone and it includes a torch light, analog black & white TV screen, radio, compass, and maybe other doohickeys I had no idea about. The only channels that worked was the ABC and CBS affiliates in Houston, and PBS. Not too much to watch, except aftermath news, and maybe a few primetime stuff.
  • Discovering new radio stations – Radio was my main form of entertainment, next to the Houston Chronicle. I discovered some new stations I didn’t hear of before, and it was a little soothing having some music playing. News too! My main stations are FM KHMX 96.5 and 104.3 KRBE
  • Living without power – Like I said before, I learned how to accept it, and I’ll write a simple survival guide for dealing with hurricanes in the general Houston area.
  • Being jealous of those with power restored – The Houston Chronicle played some stories of where some people are anxious for power, and a bit jealous that some people, even next door neighbors had power for quite a while. Same here. We were just the unfortunates. The “have-nots”
  • Finishing up the last Harry Potter book – I read the Deathly Hallows book, and it was pretty good! I liked it. Wonderful way to tie up the loose ends with a quest. I didn’t however, like the very ending. Where it goes on about several years later and a brief epilogue. The book could have done without a future look at the characters.

I missed school for 7 days. The Friday before the hurricane hit on Sept. 13, 2008, the 5-day week after, and Monday (9/22). We might have to make up those days, and the way the school calendar is separated into 6 6-week periods (3 in fall semester, 3 in spring semester) is a bit befuddled. Turns out we’re having finals after winter break.

On the day, the power came back, I had the unfortunate ordeal of losing my digital camera and Zune player. I was reaching for my camera during 5th period, to snap a shot of my buddy in his Robin costume (Senior dress-up day) bending over on the ground working, but I couldn’t find it nor my Zune. I was really hoping it was at home, but have had no luck finding it there either. I’m thinking someone either took it during lunch (where I drop my backpack and book behind a folded up table in the small hallway towards the auditorium) or during 5th period (where I left my backpack in the classroom, went to grab a calculator and didn’t zip it up, but returned not so long after). Makes me sad there’s thieves around.

What’s really dumb is that night, the power came back. I had hurricane photos to upload, and a Zune that needed a major software upgrade. What’s kinda ironic, is that the new software update had a screen lock, where you could make a code, so that anyone who stumbles upon it, can’t open it without my permission. A good anti-theft measure (though they could hack…, maybe). ARGH. I’m angry that CenterPoint’s cruddy job at utilizing its 14,000 employees from all over the country, led me to being so frustrated and naive to let my stuff get stolen. I’ll try investigating the matter tomorrow.

The only damage to my house I could think of, was just a slanted tree in the front yard. My old house was ok too, and I mowed the lawn with my dad the Wednesday after Ike.

Well I’ll try to update more now that I’m back on line. Hopefully, I can recover my camera and Zune to upload some of the damage in the area.

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