Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I dislike Ike!

Finally, we are back on the internet and I can post about my first hurricane. Well, technically it is my first. Back in the 80s I prepared for a hurricane in McAllen, I think it was Gilbert, but it passed us by and all we had was a little wind and rain.

Actually, turns out hurricanes are just nothing like tornadoes. ("Duh," I can hear you saying.) But hear me out...I lived in tornado prone West Texas, saw many twisters, lived through two or three majors, and that explains my behavior getting ready for Ike.

You never have much time to prepare for a tornado. Once you know one is about, you hop in the tub and cover yourself with whatever you can find to keep flying glass from shredding you. A mattress is preferable, but often you simply don't have time to run to the bedroom end of the house! However, with a hurricane, you know it's coming way in advance. That gives you time to fill up your tanks with gas, buy bottled water, fill up the tub so you can flush the potty if water goes, amass your can goods and peanut butter and crackers, gather batteries and battery-op devices, get all your car chargers, and either board or tape up your windows. We opted for tape since we were so far inland, and really it was unnecessary since we have old-timey aluminum framed windows with lots of panes.

You actually can know, in this day and age, very near when and where the hurricane will hit. You can get alerts on your cell telling you its position, strength and path. Yes, it's kind of loud, the wind howls, but it's no train bearing down like the sound of a tornado. You can actually look out the window without fear of being slammed with a cow or sucked into oblivion. You can even venture out during the eye, if you've a mind to, as long as you get back in when the wind picks up. If you're inland, your biggest danger is from trees. The biggest pain in your backside is the loss of power! And the loss of power creates a subset of epidemics...getting behind on your board communications, missing out on e-mail bargains, having to use a PHONEBOOK! (archaic) And you seriously cannot get comprehensive or targeted news unless you are willing to spend hours listening to the radio or tv broadcasts.

Best things to have in a hurricane:
  • Blackberry!
  • Battery-op tv, although by next Feb. we will have to find one that is digital.
  • Wet ones...curbing bacteria and cooling the body in one swipe.
  • Relatives who love you in Austin!!!

    Here are the few photos I took of our damage, which was minimal:

    We surveyed the damage, then I told Cary, "I know how to get you out of here...we could have breakfast at La Fuentes in the morning" and boom, we were on the road! And sure enough, we had the world's finest migas the next day. After breakfast, Penny and I went shopping and I got to visit the world famous Hill Country Weavers! I indulged myself in some thread therapy. I kept trying to get a pity discount by mentioning that I was a refugee, but no go. Still, I got some stellar sock yarns and a few bargains, from which I have been knitting Ashley a "hurricane sweater." Should have it finished soon, so I'll post a pic and particulars upon completion.

    Fortunately for me, this is *my* hurricane experience. Our neighbors in the coastal areas have suffered devastating losses. At this point it's hard to know how to best help them, especially since we are not allowed into those areas. With winter on the way, I think there will be many people who need blankets and that will most likely be my priority in the coming months, as it is something I can do while still caring for my family. My relief work in the past has left me a bit jaded--the Red Cross is a bureaucratic behemoth, half of the donations I put together for the truckloads I sent to Ft. Hood were rejected (and these were Girl Scout cookies, cases and cases of them!), just a couple of examples. It has humbled me to see how little one person can do. However, Project Linus continues to provide comfort and warmth for cold people, so until I find out otherwise, I will continue this little bit that I can do.
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