September 20, 2008

This is Definitely More Eisenhower than Turner.

Out of all this hurricane mess and complaining and bitchy, smelly people and just sadness, anger, and all sorts of negativity, there is good. Which is so important to remember. It is so easy to dwell on the bad things about this hurricane. It is so easy to do. It is harder to appreciate the good. Which is so true about life in general.

The other night, sitting around the radio for the evening Fireside Chat, the radio station changed it up. As things have improved, they have stopped taking calls of problems and complaints, but were asking what people were doing to pass the time without electricity.

The answers were heartwarming. People explained how they were telling their children and grandchildren stories, our history, about the World Wars, about 9/11, about how they met, about growing up.

They were playing Uno together. As a family. They were teaching their children Mother May I, Red Light Green Light, Simon Says. Kids were playing outside.

Couples that used to sit, not talking, vegging out to the television in the evenings, are rekindling their romance. Remembering what brought them together. Talking at length for the first time in a very long time.

One gentleman discussed how his family is spending the hurricane. He was reconnecting with his wife and daughter. Playing games, talking, getting to know them again. He was brought to tears as he explained how he was afraid for the lights to come back on. In fact, his family had decided to have "Hurricane Thursdays" where they flip the breaker and spend a night without power, to recreate the closeness they have just discovered.

I too would like to have power out days (Not any time soon as I really want power on days first). I would like days to appreciate the slowness, the stillness, the thoughts within. To appreciate why I am with Not Craig, why I am so madly in love with the man.

I want to remember to slow down. Consider the basics - Family, Friendship, Work, Daily Living, Spirituality. I don't want to take these things for granted when the power returns and I return to being addicted to the internet, Not Craig to his computer or Fox News. Not talking.

I don't want to take for granted these days without power and what I have learned.

I typically keep myself very busy. There is always something for me to do, to clean, to take care of.

Constant motion.

With the power off, I have slowed. I don't have the ability to do certain things I would typically do and I don't really have the desire to do those things that I could do. Instead, I sit in thought, I do simple things, read, play Yahtzee, listen to the radio, pet the cats.

Today, I have absolutely nothing to do. Hours stretch before me while I wonder how to fill them. While it is relaxing, refreshing, it is also stressful to my Type A personality. How do I do Nothing?

Shouldn't I be doing something?

Of course, I should be doing something. I should be appreciating what I have, enjoying my time with my loved ones, spending time in my favorite activities.

One more lesson from Ike.

September 19, 2008

The Ike Effect

I was planning on writing a positive, upbeat, uplifting post about the awesomeness shutting the power off for days on end can produce in a relationship. How close you can become with your loved ones. I even have a full page of notes about it, written over lantern light last night.

But the never ending question of “Do you have power yet?” has resulted in some type of jealousy syndrome. Let’s call it the Ike Effect. Part of it is that needling feeling of hopefulness when you return home after a wonderfully cool day at work where they have all the modern conveniences of life like coffee, internet and air conditioning. That hopeful glee with which you flip that light switch. That insulting lack of response which dashes all hopes of spending the evening watching mindless TV while eating ice cream kept in your perfectly frozen freezer. That life where you take electricity for granted.

Which is fine, I am ok with it. I am in the same boat as countless other Houstonians. The true Ike Effect takes over each morning, the question that has replaced how about them _insert random sports team here_?, when everyone you pass asks “Do you have power yet?” Then that asshole admits that yea, he got power last night. To which you picture strangling him, hiding his body in his swimming pool that is covered in leaves and miscellaneous storm debris so that his body won’t be found for a long, long time and you will be able to enjoy that comforting A/C while you surf the innernets on his couch.

The number of people I know that have power is increasing exponentially all while that damned tree remains firmly on top of my suspected power line. I hate that tree with every bit of my being.

There is only 1 person I know that has a similar problem. Her power box was pulled off her house by a tree limb. She will have to wait for the power company to reattach it to her house. It is probably really wrong on all levels that I am hopeful that at least one other person in my small circle of friends and acquaintances will get their power on sometime after me. I want everyone to get it back, I just don't want to be the last person!

I promise to write about the wonderfulness that being powerless can bring to your life. Probably the day after I get power. (I also promise to stop writing all hurricane all the time posts. Also probably right after I get power.)

September 17, 2008

Hurricane Fatigue?

We are continuing on in the land of gas lines and the unbathed. More and more electricity is getting reconnected. Or so I have been told. 2 of my coworkers have power now, which, if I can still do math, means about 5% of the city of Houston has power. Some peeps, those with wells, or apartments with weird water constructions that I don’t understand, don’t have water because the power is out.

I can handle no electricity. I am perfectly fine at home without power….I have a job to go to that has power and electricity and TV dinners and supposedly open restaurants within walking distance (I am a bit excited about lunch, ya’ll. A hot lunch. Wee!) At home, I finish Sudoku puzzles, and swat mosquitos and go eat dinner elsewhere. Or pick my toes. There are lots of things to do without electricity.

We have candles and lanterns for light in the evening.

We constructed a fancy ass screen out of a mosquito net for our open windows.

Get this – The Academy store did not have power. When Not Craig went on a mission of mosquito control, he had to be escorted around the dark store by an employee wearing a headlamp and then walked to the registers, the only portion of the store with power, supplied by a generator.

We have tacked up mosquito nets over our open windows, we have plenty of poptarts left, we are doing well. Thriving.

We listen to the radio in the evenings a la Fireside Chats. (Which given the economic news recently, quite reminiscent of the actual Fireside Chats!) It is kinda irritating listening to the callers though. Many, many people are taking this all in stride, calling in to thank the workers who are trying to restore power, those serving ice, water and MRE’s at the “Points of Distribution” or POD’s, thanking the Mayor and his sidekicks in keeping the public well-informed. Others…..well…. the hurricane left some complainers behind.

Callers complaining that they don’t have power. Hmm? 1.5 million households don’t have power. Ya think calling a radio station or your power company or your mama will get your power turned back on ahead of those 1,499,999 other households. Callers complaining that a POD ran out of ice and how are we gonna survive another day without ice or complaining that they can’t wait in a gas line for an hour or complaining that the curfew is martial law or complaining that the city didn’t respond quickly enough. And on and on and on.

It is really sad.

It is really sad that when people have lost their homes, every single belonging they have, their place of employment, pets and photos, and children’s toys and so many things that they cherished, that people are complaining about having to drink room temp water.

It sucks. Yea, it does. I wish I had power to my coffee maker and could take a hot shower in a room that was well lit.

I wish that my friend didn’t lose her house, too.

She doesn’t have a house. So shut up that you are missing out on So You Think You Can Dance. Because I am about to shove a mosquito net down your throat.

September 15, 2008

Eisenhower or Turner? He Made A Mess!

We returned from our evacuation getaway yesterday. It was a bit surreal as we got closer and closer to Houston. We passed up Centerville, which is the halfway point between Houston and Dallas. We zoomed right past it without stopping, not really thinking that the problems would be so far north. As we passed, we noticed that a bunch of cars were backed up on the exit ramp going north. We continued on to Madisonville where we stopped in order to top off our tank, knowing that Houston was a wreck of no power and no fuel. Madisonville, a full hour and a half north of Houston had no power and no fuel. As we continued into Huntsville, more and more trees were downed, more billboards had been knocked over.

As we approached Huntsville, stop and go traffic began. We started getting itchy. Worried that this stop and go business would continue all the way into Houston. While we were perfectly fine on gas if traffic moved at normal speeds, we were not going to be able to go 10 mph and make it. We pulled out Tom Tom and tried to find some out of the way gas stations within the center of Huntsville. Unfortunately, there was no power anywhere we drove. The 2 gas stations that we did see with fuel, had a major police presence as they attempted to maintain order for the 50+ cars attempting to fuel up. The police were only allowing a car into the gas station as another left. The backup from the gas station is what caused the stop and go traffic on the freeway. Once we passed Huntsville, without filling up, we really didn’t have any problems with traffic. We turned off the AC and started to trail a semi, in order to draft off of him in an attempt to save all the fuel we could.

We made it into Houston, not too far behind the standard time of 4 ½ hours. The damage that began in Huntsville continued all along the freeways into Houston. Trees, signs, light poles, everything just torn up. Once in Houston proper, we saw some feeder roads that were flooded out. Very few gas stations were open, very very very few places had power. Those gas stations that were open, had ridiculously long lines and a heavy police presence.

Our house is not damaged, none of the houses within the very short distance we have traveled are damaged, just lots and lots of dead trees and downed power lines. We don't have power, but um, yeah...who does...

1.5 million are without power currently, down from 2.1 million. Gas lines are insane and have police out in force. The stores that are able to open do not have much on the shelves as they cannot restock.

I am quite proud of my city. I continue my love affair with Bill White. I continue to despise Sheila Jackson Lee. Ed Emmett seems to be a cool cat although I cannot understand why judges are constantly helping out with disasters. Is that really their expertise?

Houston is recovering. People are helping their neighbors, we are doing ok here. Say a prayer for those that were stupid enough to stay in their homes in Galveston, Crystal Beach, Surfside, etc. They did not heed the warnings. Did not listen and I hope they survived.

I think though that overall we are doing pretty well. I love this town.

September 12, 2008

Too Sleepy To Title This Bad Boy.

I was up at the ungodly hour of 4 a couple weeks back. It is much easier when you are headed to a sandy beach than when you are working on outrunning a hurricane the size of Texas.

We are heading to Dallas to wait out Ike. We live next to downtown Houston, in an old house, next to a freeway that collects water.

I have parents begging me to bring the grandcats for a visit, so I guess I say, Ike, I surrender. You Bastard.

Don't take out the trees next to my house. I like electricity. It powers my Roomba. K. Thx.

September 8, 2008

Perhaps the Paring

This Morning.

Not Craig: Oh my God! Turn around. Let me see your butt.

Fianna: What? NO!!!

Not Craig: Serious. What the hell is that?

Fianna: thinking - if he is about to point out a zit or cellulite on my ass...I am going to grab a knife.

Not Craig: That is so gross!

Fianna: Inching towards knife drawer.

Not Craig: That is jacked up.

Fianna: Hmmm ... Butcher knife or steak knife?

The deck in Jamaica is slippery. Be careful.

Although with views like this, who really cares about that baseball size bruise on your ass cheek?

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