Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Obladi oblada, life goes on...

**Wait, even Heather K! She got power today along with Rita. Not Shana though, and it was muggy there! I hung out with her today and offered my house, but no taker. Stoplights are getting better every day too. Progress, not perfection.

Not for Heather K though. Still no lights, but blessed with a mighty good generator so it isn't total hell. Just 90% hell. Shana still has no lights and no generator, so they mostly go out to her parents all the way in Rosenberg except for Jeff who must work in the city and therefore lives in his powerless house. Traffic is at a record horribleness since you get off the freeway and the lights just blink. And people just aren't great at the four way stop system, I'll tell you that right now. Word is we can expect all lights to be fixed by Nov. Wow, just wow.

A lot of people magically got the lights yesterday though, and our evacuees moved out. Too bad too, we liked having them there. Nick and Ben were mighty good houseguests, minus the time when Ben came home drunk out of his mind (thank you, absinthe from Amsterdam) and while in the house at 3 am felt he had to turn on the house alarm. The house alarm that has motion detectors, of course, and as soon as the countdown was over the alarm went off. At 3 am we aren't listening for our cell phones, so the police did arrive. Hey, you get three false alarms a year without a fine, so one down. We didn't realize any of this until I saw the message from Brinks and the story unraveled. Pretty funny. Otherwise, the boys were incredibly grateful and gracious (I mean, they even got us a thank you card and gift! Boys did that!) and we liked having them down the street. Plus they all got to start planning the frat house that will be the back building and we are all stoked about the black light posters and strobe lights that will contain.


But if the boys' presence did anything, it reminded us that there is an absolutely amazing house just down the street that we could be potentially living in. That totally lit the fire under us to get some work done... Ike of course caused many days in the yard dragging out limbs as Paul kept cutting and cutting... but last weekend, Paul and Jason hooked up the washer and dryer for the evacuees after getting them from storage and we moved some more furniture in. The new gate was welded in for the driveway (just need to finish the fence next to it) and Paul picked up the metal for the back fence yesterday (and it is an awesome shade of green, and their other metal fence totally survived Ike with flying colors). The boys installed the kitchen sink and the stovetop and it looks like a real kitchen. We even bought the rest of the tile to do the kitchen backsplash and last night we grouted the bathroom floor. So close, people. If we weren't leaving this weekend for Vegas, there's a fantastic chance we'd be done.





And by the way, pretty sure those people who moved into the vacant house for like 2 days were just squatters. It wasn't like the key under the mat was a big secret and Paul saw the one man there weeks ago checking it out. But they were there a couple days in large, loud numbers and then never to be seen again. They were ghetto to the max though, so if they were just squatting, it was prolly good for us all that it was temporary. And now, a gratuitous cute shot of Dylan...


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Updates continue

We'll start with some humor -- Jason bought this magnet for his office while we were in Austin and it is hilariousity. I would like it blown up poster sized and hung in my home

2008-09-13 Ike (39)

So we headed home Monday afternoon and braved the traffic. Wasn't the best drive home ever, but it wasn't the mass hysteria I was ready for either. As we made the drive down 290 towards Houston, we looked around for the devestation that days of news viewing had prepped us for. The first hint was the billboards -- at some point they began to hang in tatters. Signs were busted out and as we drove on we started to see windows blown out in buildings, siding missing and entire walls blown off (sorry, titty bar at 34th). As we exited, we realized stop lights were no longer a part of this society, though the open McD's (well, at least the drive thru is open) was a beacon of hope. We arrived home to see our neighborhood like this:

2008-09-13 Ike (50)

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2008-09-13 Ike (48)

2008-09-13 Ike (47)

That last one, if you can't tell, is where a tree crushed Karen's behind neighbor's iron gates. Bummer. I had never seen uprooted trees before and they are a sight. The grass pulls right up with them in sheets. It's insane. Course, it is nicer in the end than all the stumps we'll end up with. But this is a lucky neighborhood. Karen's BFF had her house hit with three trees and it just demolished the whole thing. We also went over to our house to check out the sunroom damage some more and see which tree did the deed (it was the pine I thought). We took 3 in of rain in there too and lemme just say the cleanup there was gross. Not to mention our kitchen toekicks were there so if they don't dry nicely, I may be...back at Ikea. Grrr. These took three months to get in, if you are keeping track

2008-09-13 Ike (55)

Must've been a scary storm, glad I wasn't here. But I was in Austin and it wasn't a bad gig. We had a blast hanging out with Andi and Chad over and over and eating our way through town. Jason and I made a commitment early on that we would not eat at a single chain restaurant while we were there (the Chik-fil-a we waited at while our room was getting ready didn't count). We did awesomely and hit up Baha Bob's, Opal Divine's, Pluckers, Backyard, Kerbey Lane, Zocalo's, Magnolia Cafe and even scored a home cooked meal out of Andrea. Not bad for refugees!

2008-09-13 Ike (34)

2008-09-13 Ike (6)

2008-09-13 Ike (7)

2008-09-13 Ike (4)

2008-09-13 Ike (3)

To pull ourselves away from the devastation online and on TV, we played a board game, Trivial Pursuit Pop Culture which we rocked at, visited the Capital and enjoyed the pretty Austin landscape and the odd people and places. Our favorite shop? Monkey see, Monkey do which had an amazing amount of cute monkey stuff and other funny things. I so want to be a sock monkey collector, but I am too cheap.

2008-09-13 Ike (23)

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Anyways, there's our update. Today was just cutting and cleaning at both houses, and the job is certainly not done. As we drive around and see so many windows busted out, trees down, lights still out, lines for gas and so on, it reminds us that it will be awhile til normality returns. In the meantime, we'll enjoy our only two open restaurants -- Luby's and a Jack in the Box -- and count our blessings.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

No likey the Ikey

Just thought I'd drop in an leave a hurricane update. Will update as I know more.

** Sunday morning, 11:30 am CT**
Power has returned on our street. Karen is going out to San Antonio to be with her brother who was transferred from Victoria Hospital to San Antonio in anticipation of Ike and Paul will hold down the fort. Sounds like we are sending Nick over to crash at our house since he has no lights, so enjoy Nick! Our plans are still up in the air, we actually aren't quite clear to leave if Jason's work needs him afterall. His office is down to one generator and technically if it went out and the power is off, he would still be needed here

** Sunday morning, 10:25 am CT**
If you know Heather's friend Shelley and her daughter Kurstee, you know that they are a huge part of Heather's life. They live in one of the worst affected areas further south on a bit of land with animals and appear to have lost everything. I do not know if everything includes the actual animals. My thoughts are with them this morning


Good luck, ladies! We're thinking of you

And this morning Paul sent me pics of my sunroom and house. Looks like I let my imagination get the best of me, as I started to think all the doors and windows must've busted out and become unsalvageable. Really, it's a bent up roof (that *may* have some holes now)and frankly it may stay that way for awhile. No one's allowed to judge if they come over, Ike did it not me. Here are the pics:

IKE 120

IKE 117

** as of 9:45 pm CT**
Friends of Brandi -- she and her family are good and safe. They lost electricity but have a generator they are using. She and I will be continuing to text, but they are used to this from other storms and should function better than most =)

More word on my house. Lost my sunroom (which I never even got to enjoy except for doing renovation work in) and the tree also hit the master bath but Paul doesn't think the master bath is hurt too badly. I am trying to remember that I am a heckuva lot better off right now than people in Houston now because I have a/c and internet and yummo food all of which is unavailable in H-Town. Still though, I am feeling sadness and homesickness just because we have no idea when we get to go home and when life can return to normal. I miss my normal life, my friends, playdates, but it will all be back soon enough.

** as of 10:25 am CT**
Paul went over to our house and reported that our sunroom is the only place there was any damage. The pic above shows the trees that were remaining before we left (it was absolute jungle when we bought it and the boys have been cutting and cutting trees down every heavy trash, so forgive the mess we already had) Basically that pine in front of the sunroom fell on it. Since the house was spared, I can't be too sad and I will assume we'll fix that one without an insurance claim. I was hoping that back building would get hit, lol, it needs a good demolition as it is and it would have been nice to be on Allstate's dime as opposed to my own.

** as of 8:45 am CT**
Somehow, my mom and Jim have electricity. Miracle of miracles, 4.5 mil people without and they have theirs even with reports that all above ground electricity is out. So if that holds and we do have to go back soon, we can crash there. Karen and Paul have confirmed there are many down trees and one went through a neighbor's window. It is not safe for them to go check ours out, but there's a good chance of something similar for us. The good news is that the guys have been trimming down tons and tons of trees over the last months, but it is a pretty wooded lot so no telling what still ended up down. My dad is fine, but no electricity.

** as of 7:20 am CT**

My little family was sent to Austin by Jason's work so that if their computer systems were compromised, they could be rebuilt here. We are crashing at a hotel near Andi and Chad, so really it is quite pleasant for us (and paid for by them!) I am watching the tv and internet and desperately seeking a real pic of what the city is like after all the drama news and a long dark night. 90% of all power customers are without energy, and I am assuming that our house is included on that though there is no confirmation from Karen and Paul yet. It will prolly be the biggest hurdle to trying to get home since it would suck once we got there and non functioning traffic lights would make it really hard to get through any affected areas. I'm sure Paul will walk over and assess our damage once everything has passed.

Heather K and I have been in contact. Her family is fine and I know she was anxious about being in her "bat cave" with the windows boarded up. She lost power early on, which is no real shocker since a light summer shower will do that to them, but they have a generator they can turn to and the tubs are filled with water. Sadly I received a text this morning that the family trampoline did not make it. Rest in peace, treasured trampoline. They ran out during the eye to try and recover the pieces. No word if Cam's "Happy Birthday" sign was still attached to it as it was at Meg's party (sorry, H, I could not resist the thought!) Will update as I know more

Rita was staying at her home too and I am expecting a fairly similar story from her, minus the trampoline. Will update as I know more.


Stay safe, everyone

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Hurricane Season and trying to move on

First of all, let me share with you the joys of hurricane season and staring at this sign all the frickin time:

2008-09-00 Random Random Ike

Yup, all season long we get to reminded that at a moment's notice that we have to drop everything and go into hiding. I tried to ask my mom if it has always been like this where everytime a breeze blows in the gulf we gather bottled water and take three days off work and she swears we have, but I call BS. I think it's all been since Katrina which isn't even based in reality since that was the result of a levee breech, not just a basic hurricane. I remember Tropical Storm Allison effing our world up, but if we stopped everytime a Tropical Storm came by... oh wait, that's why we were all off back on Karen's birthday. Thanks, Eduord! We should know by 3 tomorrow if Jason's work is sending us to Austin, but based on the latest tracker we're screwed. Totally screwed. Make sure to look at ever pic of the new house, there are like hundreds of trees on our nice wooded lot ready to land on the house or put out a nice expensive new window.

Some happier things... I discovered the other day that despite my weekly trips to Ikea for the last like five years, I had never discovered the special front row parking they have for me. I usually park over by pick up, but by the entrance there are these two special spots that both happen to work for moi:

2008-09-00 Random Ikea Family

2008-09-00 Random Ikea Hybrid

I love how hippie dippy they pretend to be with shizz like that and making you pay to use plastic bags, but considering all the boxes I've had to destroy of theirs since every little piece of my kitchen came in its own little box, all their catalogs that have floated around my house since they wouldn't put it online, and the general disposable nature of their furniture - well, I have to call BS on their green conscience story.

And now the most wonderful work of the week -- the beginnings of the fence and gate in the front to separate us from the neighbors who piggy backed onto our driveway as well as protect us from would be robbers and rapists who would sit and wait for me as I unpack groceries. I know, paranoia, but I've loved having all that here at MIL's and I like this whole fortress thing we've got going on. We scored that gate off Craig's List (I was soooo scared it wasn't going to work out, it seems like we got a way decent deal on a 3-5 year old Italian wrought iron gate) and so last weekend the boys worked on the driveway. Initially there was going to be this two foot wide trench until the boys realized how much it sucked to cut concrete. Suddenly, it was just a couple large holes for posts. Tee hee, but it works. Paul's worked this week on the fence and it looks awesome. He still will do some decorative work on top, another small fence by the house and then the black wrought iron gate will tie it all together.

3008-09-10 Brookwoods Driveway (1)

3008-09-10 Brookwoods Driveway (14)

3008-09-10 Brookwoods Driveway (13)

I am finally to the point where I think I am ready to live by myself (sniff) so I have been working on doing my small part to get things ready to go, cleaning and unpacking and such. Too bad we'll be evacuating this weekend, this was totally going to be somewhat of a work weekend...and my birthday weekend. All birthday celebrations planned are now postponed - bummer. Was looking forward to my yellow cake with choc icing from my mom, sniff...

Friday, September 05, 2008

Playing catch up...

Yeah, nothing much has been happening while everything has been. Dylan started school, we have had commitments and not enough hasn't been happening at the house while great progress has been made. So first, the house goings on...

The amazing 14 foot high fence that will prevent us from having to acknowledge the apartments behind us - the posts are in:

2008-08-25 Brookwoods Fence 1

Tile on the floor of the hall bath:

2008-08-26 Brookwoods Hall Bath 1

Put all the shelves in the cabinets:

2008-08-26 Brookwoods Kitchen Shelves

*Trying* to plan kitchen backsplash (and that still isn't it):

2008-08-26 Brookwoods Kitchen Tile 2

Adventures in caulking:

2008-08-26 Brookwoods Grout

The most fabulous news comes from the land of Craig's List this week -- we are scoring a 12 ft gate for the driveway tomorrow morning (fingers crossed, don't let me jinx this!) Remember that driveway pic a couple posts ago? The fence will extend from the end of the carport parallel with the house to where the house ends and then this gate will be between the fence and the house, keeping the bad guys out. The deal is pretty good in comparison to retail, so yeah, hope it all goes well in the morning

And now life in general...Dylan started school, no good pics because he and Kolby were being punks. But he did come home to see Granny washing the dogs outside and so that's how he wanted to be washed...he's watched a movie of it over and over:

2008-09-02 Puppy Dylan Bath (3)

2008-09-02 Puppy Dylan Bath (16)

And I never get cute pics of me and Dyl together, but Jason took a couple silly ones last weekend at the Kellers:



I'll be back on here later this weekend with some driveway progress hopefully - we're cutting driveway tomorrow maybe! Happy weekend!