Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Impact of Ike

look at all that debris....about every other driveway looks like this!
yard of the month... a neighbor with a sense of humor
coleman and his buddy...
casey doing what he loves...
and not the best, but the only campfire shot of cody enjoying a s'more and listening to one of the grownups stories...

If I were the type to think ahead, you would have seen a few posts on my blog leading up to Hurricane Ike informing you that the storm was projected to hit our area. Perhaps you'd have seen some before pics of some towering trees around our home. But alas, I am who I am and I was doing good to get a little stash of water and batteries for the fam. So what you guys get will be an update on our lives after the storm, uh, three weeks after the storm. Cut me some slack when I say that we were very busy leading up to the storm getting back into the swing of fall. We were adjusting to going to bed early for school, making it to practice every night of the week for baseball or football, playing in games Saturday and Sunday, and beginning ladies Bible study leadership for me. Not to mention, Chris and Fellowship of the Woodlands were planning and making preparations to open a Northwest campus of the church. And as for after the storm, we were among those without power from September 13 until September 26. Yes, 13 days with no power! So there is my excuse for being absent from the blogging world. On to my report of the Impact of Ike....



We had the Friday before the storm off of school not knowing exactly when the dangerous winds would pick up. The day was gorgeous as they always say, the calm before the storm. The kids had a wonderful day outside riding bikes, scooters, and playing various games, just being kids. The parents hauled in lawn furniture, fountains, grills, yard art and the like, stuffing our garages full and enjoyed hours of watching our kids have fun while visiting with one another and lending each other hand as we prepared our area for the coming storm. We went to bed "as usual", but kept and eye on news reports and out the windows. We lost power a little after 1 am, and I was awakened by that strange silence that falls on the house when everything shuts off. The wind was what we heard at that point. It was unlike anything I have ever experienced in my lifetime, hearing that storm pass through and watching the trees behind our house bend with the winds. WOW. The heavy rain continued well into the next day, but when we went out to access the damage, we were so thankful. No trees on our house. Only two of our immediate neighbors had huge trees on their homes. A secondary storm blew through the next night bringing lots more rain, but by Monday morning the neighbors all got up and came out with work gloves on. The men had a few chainsaws and wheelbarrows and went house to house taking care of the larger trees and hauling them to the curbs where like a machine, they stacked the debris neatly to await it's eventual pick up. It was an amazing effort and really a cool thing to see guys who usually just get a chance to wave to one another on the way to and from work from their cars join together and really get to know one another.



Once the work was finished, which did take quite a while, no one went back into our homes. The weather was simply beautiful. We counted that a huge blessing knowing that it could have been so much hotter. The kids continued to play. The adults dragged their patio furniture out in the street to sit and visit. The grills were on the front lawns, all the meat from our freezers being prepared and shared. A few streets over there was even a RV parked on the side of someones home. Not sights one usually sees here in these prestigious parts. We literally learned a new way of life. No technology, no busy schedules, just pulling together and enjoying our families and each other. At night we stayed out way past dark, lighting a fire in a fire pit and roasting marshmallows for s'mores. We put glow bracelets on the kids ankles so we could see them in the darkness and they continued to run around and play. What a wonderful world. There's nothing like knowing you dodged a major bullet to make you thankful too. Realizing how bad things could have been was part of what fueled our thankful hearts. After power was returned to many of the other parts of our area, some folks began to sour a bit. But not our little street. The party continued and we all admitted we would be kind of sad to see power restored signaling and end to our fun.



We all did laundry in our bathtubs and hung things all over the patios and dining rooms to dry. We did dishes in our sinks and played board games in the early morning before going outside for the day. I think I was born in the wrong generation. The simple life is for me!



Honestly, the next week got a little more complicated with school starting back up and sports practices. And the heat and humidity rising with the arrival of an insane amount of mosquitoes. But again, who could complain when we knew there were still people whose homes had been demolished and who had lost loved ones. And we had water. Even hot water. Some had generators. (we did...and once the heat came back, we ran it at night and installed a window unit into our bedroom where the whole family slept in the cool) A whole new definition for the phrase, "count your blessings".



Now, the Friday when the power came back on, the kids were admittedly chanting in the streets! However, we had already planned a hot-dog cookout for that night and one mom actually made her son a birthday cake in a dutch oven with coals. Very pioneer-ish. It was awesome! So on the night power was restored we all spent it outside where we had been all along with our fire pit and our friends. We will never forget the lessons learned. We have new, closer relationships with neighbors. Our family plays more games together. Our TV is not on nearly as much. I have not revisited the blogosphere until a week later. And the neighbors still sit outside together, minus the patio furniture and grills. Life has gone on now, with school and work and practice and Bible study and meetings and church and whatever. But we will never forget the Impact of Ike on our lives. Big sigh!




3 comments:

Lorren said...

What a neat post, Steph! So glad everything is okay and you didn't have much damage. Thanks for the update!

Exum Family said...

I must say that I'm glad to see you back, but what an wonderful experience you had. I know there were plenty of hard parts and definitely painful losses for many, but I also see a lot of wonderful things that came as a result of Ike. Isn't it amazing how simple and wonderful life can be without technology. As great as it has made many things, it's also put a lot more pressure on us...at least that is what I think. Reading your blog reminded me of a lot of things that usually weigh on my heart, but it just confirmed them and made them sink in a little more. Thank you for that! I'm glad you have power. A washing machine sure does make things easier! :)

Amy said...

I really love the simple life too! I LOVED not having much of a schedule and just playing all day with the family and friends.