Thursday, September 11, 2008


Houston is preparing for Hurricane Ike.

The coastal areas are under a mandatory evacuation order, so several hundred thousand people are on the roads, already on their way inland. I canceled my afternoon of clients today, even though the weather is really fine right now. It's clear, calm, sunny, warm, and humid. But the traffic is already terrible, and bound to get worse.

Chris is out to get a few last minute things, including looking for some emergency lanterns. I went to the grocery store this morning at 7:30, and was able to pick up everything we'll need for several days. I also made a deposit at the bank, went by my State Farm agent's office to pay the bill, and--what was I thinking-- stopped in at Sam's Club at about 10:30. Pandemonium. Lines, every line, stretching clear to the back of the store. People loading up with water, toilet paper, and all kinds of snacks that don't require cooking. We were looking for lights, and perhaps a first aid kit. We bailed out.

I'm in the process of cleaning off the patio, before Ike does it. We bought some zip ties at Home Depot, and so will secure the BBQ pit and our wrought iron patio furniture that way: tie them all together, and then secure them to a pillar outside. Chris used zip ties in a 90 mph windstorm at Burning Man one year, and he has confidence they will work. I'm bringing the plants inside, and looking at the other crap we keep out there. Some of it will go to the dumpster.

We're not in danger of storm surge or flooding in our apartment complex, although with any good rain, our street floods. The surrounding streets do, too, as well as the underpasses for the freeways near us, so we will be cut off for awhile. They say, "Run from the water, hide from the wind." We'll be hunkering down here, to shelter in place.

Our fabulous upstairs neighbors, Elaine and Richard, are also staying, partly because we are. However, as I step out onto the patio, I notice something odd: it is so quiet! Usually, birds are chirping, squirrels are chattering and being squirrelly, the insects buzz. There's not a peep out there. Elaine's humming birds were feeding constantly yesterday and have cleared out today. The members of the animal kingdom know something is coming, and they'd be better off elsewhere.

We are well-stocked with cat food as well, and the cats are already in at 1:30 p.m. They want attention. Perhaps they know something's up, too. They will not enjoy the thunderstorms, and Yoda will hide under the bed or in the closet for as long as it takes.

Yes, we're staying. There's a good probability that we will be without electricity for awhile. Both Chris and I spend LOTS of time on the internet, and TV is our usual evening entertainment. We may have to break out a deck of cards, read, write, watch the storm for real (not on the TV), and rest. Seems like a glimpse back to the pre-technology age, but I'm pretty confident that we'll be able to amuse ourselves. The beer is chilling, and we're going to cook and use the fridge for as long as we can.

So, we ride out another "storm of life." Get ready as best you can, hope for the best, and ride it out.

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