Friday, September 26, 2008

Hurricane IKE, Sept. 13, 1008

We have had an eventful two weeks. We knew Hurricane IKE was on it's way and we had time for some last minute preparations. I went to Sam's and stocked up on granola bars, chips, cookies and such. Also filled our 5 gallon water bottles that I usually store empty. I have our water barrels filled always. Filled the freezer with ice bags and gallons of water to freeze. We cleared out one side of the gargae that usually has bikes and such so we could get both cars in gargae. Moved all my plants undercover, not an easy feat as I must have 20 or so in containers. Took the umbrella's down around pool and stored furniture. Craig took the satellite dish down. Filled the cars and gas containers with gas. We checked the generator and made sure it would start. We moved Tyler's mattress into our room at his request. Then he also wanted me to sleep right by him. Then the waiting started. The first thing before any rain was the power went out. That surprised us. The storm really didn't get started until the middle of the night. Craig was up a few times to check on things. I finally thought Tyler was asleep so got back into my bed and then next thing I knew a little body was at my feet. So finally I told him to get in my place by Craig and I slept on his mattress. In the morning it was still so dark and we had a hard time seeing exactly what had happened. It began to rain again and Craig needed to unclog the drain in the back porch area.
As soon as it was light, he went out to the street and cleared the debris from our storm drain and it didn't take long for our street to drain of flooded water. Many neighbors came out and all pitched in the clear debris and cut limbs as needed.
Saturday to Wednesday, Craig, Tyler and Shad were out everyday helping as neighbors and church crews to clear debris and cut down limbs and such.
We had a couple of inches of rain on Saturday morning and then no more rain. But it was hot and humid. We slept in the backroom and ran the window AC for two nights. Then the humidity dropped and we had some pleasant days to work on clean-up. We moved back into the house for sleeping at night and just kept fans blowing on us at night. With our generator we were able to run the refrigerator, freezer, lamp, two or three fans and the TV. This was so nice to be able to get the news each day.
On Tuesday, I was asked to provide 15 lunches to send with Craig for the day. Our neighbor Helen Viola was cooking up a storm as she had to cook most of her freezer food or lose it. She had just brought over a 2nd beef brisket so I chopped it up and made sandwiches and added chips and cookies for lunch. (Good thing I bought those extra cookies and chips before the storm) The next day the whole crew came over and Helen just kept on cooking, we served chicken, beef and barley soup, meatloaf, beef chunks and gravy, mashed potatoes ( potato pearls are the best),
delicious rolls ( homemade by Lynn Hunter)and served 30-40 people that day.
Craig was back to his regular job on Thursday and Friday. Tyler started school this past Tuesday. Our church building still does not have power, the first Sunday was a work Sunday and any that could helped with clean-up. The 2nd Sunday we were provided a generator that ran two big fans, a portable microphone and a light and we had a wonderful sacrament meeting.
Power work crews were in our neighborhood all day Wednesday and by 8:30 pm we had our power back on. Hurray! We slept comfortably cool for the first time in 12 days. The next morning I was so anxious to get everything back to Normal, started a load of wash. Began putting camp stove away and extension cords and such. AT 8:15 am the power went out. I found the power crew guy and asked him how long , he said probably most of the day as they were still working on the lines in our neighborhood. Off to Amber's for the afternoon to finish up my laundry.
The power came back on by 6:30 pm and they said it should be for good. I'm still not putting the generator away just yet.
Having the generator was the best preparation we did as we didn't have to lose the food in the refrigerator or freezer. I was also able to give ice to neighbors and I just kept making it to share. This time around we did not lose water. There were a few days where we had to boil our water but we always had water for clean up and showers. The pool was also great as when it was hot we could work hard and then jump in the pool to clean up. Craig got all the leaves out and I shocked it every 3 days or so and water stayed pretty clear and clean.
I used our propane camp stove , just put it right in the kitchen and we used it everyday. A few years ago we replaced our windows and had screens on every window which was really a life saver with no AC as we could open up all windows and not let mosquitos in.
Jamie and I were talking and realizing that no matter where you live you need to prepare for the type of disaters that might come your way. What we did right:
Generator, non-perishable food, water, gas cans filled, plenty of extension cords,
propane for barbecue and camp stove, put coolers and generator in back room and house. Cleaned the gutters of leaf debris. Froze 2 gallons of milk, these lasted until stores once again were open. Cooked up chicken and roast the day before this got us through several meals before I had to cook again.

What we will do for next time:
1) Make sure we have access to third garage, after power went out we only had access through the attic and this is where we stored all gas, extension cords, etc.
2) I bought a better fan as this was needed with no AC, after the storm
3) Buy a few more propane gas containers, had to borrow from a neighbor for cook stove. Walmart by us was all sold out.
4)Buy a few new toys, play dough for kids.
5) Buy more bread to put in freezer.
Overall, if we had not had time to get anything last minute at the store we still would have had what we needed as we had been preparing for a long time and following our leaders counsels to prepare as a family.
We were without power for 12 days, there are still many in our area who do not have power. We feel so blessed as we did not have any major destruction and our home is in tact. Because of our preparation we did not have to seek out ice, water or food as so many had to, with all the long lines and heat. We were also able to help each other and our neighbors and they in turn helped us when we needed it.
Several of our close friends got power after a few days and had us over for dinner. That was a real treat. Blakes had us over on Friday, And Talbots had us over on Sunday. Then the Maxwells had us over on Monday. That was so nice not to have to worry about a meal on those days and enjoy eating in a cool place.
We did laundry at a few places and then Amber's power came on and we were able then to go there and keep up with this.
Kroger's grocery is still running on generators, they have restocked most everything now and I was able to get milk and bluebell icecream today. ( the essentials, ha!)
It was so nice to have Shad and Amy, Hailey, Zach, and Chloe so close so we could help each other out. I'm sure they are glad to be back at home and get back to a schedule. If the pictures for slide show are too small just double click on picture and it will bring up a large view that you scroll through on your own.