Tuesday, September 30, 2008

More tales from the hurricane

So, as you may recall, the cats and I were ready to "hunker down" for the storm at home, while Mike, as a member of the ride-out team was ready to spend the night at MD Anderson. I came down with a terrible cold on the Wednesday prior to the storm, and after watching 3 episodes of Big Love (during which we had a couple of momentary power outages), I made a pot of coffee for the next morning and took a healthy dose of Nyquil and went to sleep. I woke up around 2 a.m. to the sound of the power going off (lots of beeps followed by silence from the A/C and ceiling fans). When I got up at about 6 a.m. it was still raining hard with a fair amount of wind. In retrospect, I am really disappointed that I slept through it. Looking at all the havoc it wreaked I wish I could have experienced this once in a lifetime occurrence. I discovered that in addition to having no power (I was really glad I had made that coffee the night before) our phone was out as well. After it stopped raining I took these pictures. This is another view of the 30+ foot tall maple tree that was on the house.
What was so impressive is that it was actually uprooted. You can see here how it disrupted the pavers in our patio.
And this is what the front yard looked like. The pole for the basketball hoop just snapped off at the base.
In talking with the neighbors later I learned that they had phone service, so when I was at work the following Monday, I got online and reported our problem. I received an email from AT&T saying that there was an outage in our area (duh!) and that it would be repaired by September 29. On the 24th I decided to check on status of the repair and learned that my "trouble report had been closed." Needless, to say, I was a little upset! It was bad enough that I had been without electricity for 11 days at that point, but for AT&T to close my trouble report without even attempting to fix the problem almost put me over the edge. I immediately filed another report, and someone was out to fix the problem (a tree limb on the line, among other things) on Saturday morning. I was relieved that when the electricity came back on, my DSL would be working too. Almost 16 days without electricity is not something I would wish on anyone, but fortunately the weather wasn't too hot. I'd like to say I got a lot of stitching done, but the light wasn't the best, and it was too warm to knit. I'm just happy that I only had to make one trip to the laundromat!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Go Brewers!

The last time the Milwaukee Brewers were in the playoffs was 1982, when they made it all the way to the World Series. This is a picture of Kate and me on our way to Game 4...she slept through the 7th inning while the Brewers scored six runs! Let's hope the Brew Crew makes it all the way again!


Where to begin?

Let me start off by saying that yes, finally, after almost 16 days without electricity, it's back!!! We spent last night at the Hotel Zaza. We had been invited to a black tie dinner there and when I heard that we probably wouldn't have power, I booked us a room. I refused to get all dressed up in the dark with no A/C, and figured that after after two weeks with no power we deserved a night in a nice hotel. We went to the party and had a lovely evening. We stopped at Katz's for breakfast before heading home around noon. We were a few blocks from home when I noticed that someone had their sprinkler system on, but tried not to get my hopes up (our neighbors across the street had power back on Friday evening). After we turned on to our block, I noticed a neighbor had their garage door open and the overhead garage light was on. As we pulled into our driveway, I thought, "Dare I hope?" and pressed the garage door opener. Mike says I let out a whoop when the door opened. I spent an hour or so in a state of shock, turning things on, resetting clocks, etc. Since then, I have done two loads of laundry, updated our checking account in Quicken, talked on the newly charged up cordless phone and ejected the DVD I was watching on the night of the storm (Big Love: Season 1: Disc 3). Lots more about the hurricane experience that I will share with you all now that I have electricity and phone (that's another story), but for now, I just want to thank you all again for your concern during this trying time and also to please keep those who have lost so much more in your thoughts and prayers.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


After 12 days with no phone or electricity (the latest estimate for power is Sunday), I must remind myself that things could be a whole lot worse. When my patience starts to wear thin, I remind myself of all that I have to be thankful for in the midst of all this...

• We came through the storm with no bodily harm and only minor damage to our house.
• My refrigerator hasn't been this clean since it was new.
• Ditto the freezer.
• Our electric bill will be really low this month.
• Ditto the phone bill.
• We never lost water or gas.
• It could be a LOT hotter outside.
• I got my iPhone when I did.
• When I went into the garden to survey the damage I found this...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Top Ten Reasons Hurricane Season Is Like Christmas

Number 10:
Decorating the house (with plywood).
Number 9:
Dragging out boxes that haven't been used since last season.
Number 8:
Last minute shopping in crowded stores.
Number 7:
Regular TV shows pre-empted for 'Specials'.
Number 6:
Family coming to stay with you.
Number 5:
Family and friends from out of state calling you.
Number 4:
Buying food you don't normally buy . . . and in large quantities.
Number 2:
Days off from work.
Number 2:
And the Number 1 reason Hurricane Season is like Christmas:
At some point you're probably going to have a tree in your house!

Thanks to my friend Noni for this. Just trying to maintain my sense of humor on our 11th day without phone or electricity :-)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Thank you...

...to everyone for your concern and kind comments. We are still without phone or electricity. Mike left yesterday to go to Boston for the ASTRO meeting. I was originally supposed to go with him, but thought better of leaving the house with no power and this tree on our roof.

He left me his laptop so I am enjoying the A/C and WiFi at Barnes and Noble, and feeling better that some nice men from New York and North Carolina came and cut down the tree this morning. Our backyard looks a lot different than it did here. I am hoping to replace the maple tree with a large Meyer lemon. We'll see what the insurance covers.

I have been going to sleep and waking up early. It has been unseasonably cool, but that is coming to an end. Fortunately it has been cooling off at night, so I can open the windows and cool down the house. Then I close it up in the morning and it stays tolerable downstairs. Upstairs is another story. Thank goodness for our downstairs guest room. I have been doing a bit of knitting and a little stitching, although the lack of good light is not very conducive to that. The cats are fine. They don't mind the heat, don't miss the internet or the sewing machine and they can see in the dark!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

One week down...

...still no phone or electricity. They say maybe on Tuesday...

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Blogging from my iPhone

Survived the storm with minimal damage, aside from an uprooted 30' maple tree that is lying on the roof of the house. No phone or electricity, but thank goodness for my iPhone! Mike is still at the hospital...hopefully he will come home tomorrow. Will post pictures when the power comes back on.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Sunny for now...

No question, it's coming...

And we are right smack in the middle of the path. (See that little inlet in the center of "red zone?" That's Galveston Bay, 50 miles SE of us).

But for now, the sun is still shining.

And the sky is still blue, although there are clouds forming and a breeze is picking up.

We spent last evening moving everything into the garage that could possibly become a projectile in 100+ mph winds...potted plants, lawn furniture, barbecue grills. Mike is on the ride-out team at MD Anderson, so he has gone to spend the next 36 hours or so at the hospital. The cats and I are ready to "hunker down," whatever that means. I wonder where hummingbirds go during a hurricane?


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Only in Texas...

...can you go to your neighborhood grocery store and find this many choices in the barbecue sauce aisle!


Sorry for the poor quality photo...I took it with my iPhone while I was trying to decide which one of these to buy. I finally decided on this one:

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Who says cats don't do tricks?

Purrkins is an expert at "playing dead."


Thursday, September 4, 2008

We're back...

We were in Milwaukee last weekend for the wedding of the son of some friends. It was the first time Mike and I had been back together since moving away six years ago. I must admit that I had a twinge of homesickness, especially when we drove past our old house. It looks pretty much the same from the street (minus the snow), although the new owners have painted the front door a brick red. And the Mary Engelbreit mailbox was an exclusion when we sold the house, so it is safe here in Texas.
Also visiting Milwaukee were 70,000 Harley-Davidson owners celebrating the company's 105th anniversary.
Here are just a few of them, heading east on Wisconsin Avenue toward the Milwaukee Art Museum.
On Thursday we ate dinner at Three Brothers, a great old Serbian restaurant.

Not fancy, but lots of character and great food.

I had the Serbian salad

and the sarma, my favorite.

On Friday we wanted to go out for a fish fry and decided to head away from the bikers, so we went to the Golden Mast out on Okauchee Lake. I promised Mike I would stop taking pictures of our food, but I did snap this one of him in front of the lake.

The wedding was Saturday night. It turns out that we knew several people there, including Kate's third grade teacher, whose daughter is good friends with the bride's sister.

On Sunday we drove up to Minneapolis to visit the kids and flew back home yesterday. When we were checking our luggage the woman at the desk asked us if we had been at the convention. I said "No, visiting our children. And if we had been at a convention, it would have been the one in Denver!"