Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Phoenix From The Ashes and Other Cliché Metaphors

A nasty stump of a rose bush I was going to dig up produced this bud after Ike. Lee has been calling it the "Ike Rose." Guess we're keeping it now that it has a name. Ain't nature grand?

Here are a couple before and after Ike pictures of our yard. Lots of labor ahead, but not as much damage as other folks.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I Don't Like Ike.

Even though we spent part of the day buying water and filling up gas tanks, Thursday felt like a little unearned vacation. The weather was calm and we sat around the house watching TV and surfing the internet.

The pictures and forecasts on the news were dire, and Grandma called to extend an invitation to Ft. Worth. I remembered all the horrid tales of the Rita evacuation. Many of my friends spent 9+ hours in the car trying to get out of the city. No thank you. We were going to ride it out. The pre-hurricane sky was an ominous orange. Around midnight the winds became fierce. The power went out around 1:00 am and the winds continued to thrash for 5 more hours.

The day after the storm was unbearably hot indoors for everyone, so the entire neighborhood took to the street to survey the damage or they sat out on their porches. We saw downed trees and power lines and a "tossed salad" of leaves and debris everywhere. The people in the faux chateau townhome across the street had an array of reclining lounge chairs set up in their garage. We met new neighbors and told "how I survived the storm" stories. Saturday night my family played poker and "Oh Hell" for hours. We had to shut our windows at dusk to prevent a mosquito infestation, so no one slept very well in the humid still air.

All the neighborhood markets were closed due to lack of power. My pregnant neighbor looked uncomfortable, hot and overwhelmed. I was saddened by the hundreds of dead birds on the sidewalk in front of Kroger's supermarket. Room temperature food, non-potable water running from the tap, bickering stir-crazy boys, and lack of information made Sunday an unpleasant day.

Rex discovers he has to return to work immediately. I'm convinced that the University of Houston is run by Satan. The rest of us are told to take the rest of the week off. We spend three hours walking to and waiting in line at Whole Foods (the only open store) to buy overpriced but welcomed provisions. In the afternoon, we drive to Alvin to discover our house is safe, but our yard, trees, and fences are completed trashed. Please note the photo of the huge toppled pecan that had the courtesy to fall away from our house.

Boys and I drive to Ft. Worth to hang with Grandparents in air conditioned splendor. Hot meals, ice cubes, and Dish Network abound.

We're back in Houston. The power is on although our house smells faintly of fish and mildew. I'm cleaning and enjoying internet access. There is food in the refrigerator, scented candles are burning, but it remains difficult to relax. The city is crippled and I am overcome with sorrow for our neighbors to the south. I can't believe how wimpy I've become. I need to remember that most of the planet lives without the comforts I enjoy every day.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Very busy.

1. Wake up.
2. Find respectable clothes.
3. Make sure Julian eats breakfast.
4. Drive to school.
5. Prepare supplies for 6 classes.
6. Teach 130 students.
7. Do paperwork and answer e-mails.
8. Teach Julian to drive.
9. Go to the supermarket.
10. Cook dinner.
11. Watch some of the conventions while eating.
12. Wash dishes.
13. Prepare Art History lecture.
14. Surf web.
15. Read two paragraphs of The New Yorker.
16. Sleep and repeat.