OK... Just wanted to post some more thoughts on Ike before I forget. I know I haven't even gotten out the rest of my pictures from it, but just wanted to add one or two things... so it will be a bit out of order.
This weekend I got to see a couple of friends and catch-up on what it has been like for them over the last week or so. I started by trying to see a movie with one friend at one of the theaters that was open near Willowbrook Mall. We parked and took our time walking to the entrance only to see that it was sold out... Every movie for the rest of the night. And it was a huge theater and only about 7pm. But what else is there to do for the 900,000 homes still left in Houston without power? At least they could go and watch a movie in the air conditioning... So we just had dinner at a place that had just re-opened. For an example of how businesses are going - the McDonalds on our corner is still closed - even though they have had back power for almost a week.
Then I hopped on the toll road to go see another friend who had just returned from Louisiana. I guess there was one plus - the toll roads are all free right now - so I saved about $9 bucks. She was there because her mother passed away during, and because of, Hurricane Gustav. And now she was returning to her father, who was at her house, because his roof was ripped off during Hurricane Ike. She and I were with a group of our friends that night who work in hospitals all over the city in different capacities. They were all on lock down because they were considered 'essential' personnel. This basically means that you live at the hospital until they let you go. You sleep in a patient room. They bring your food in. You shower there and wear scrubs and if you have down time you watch movies or play poker with jelly beans through the night for fun and relaxation. :) It was basically their first time off in a week. On the way home I was once again on the tollway and at one point glanced to my right and saw the thing that really amazed me more then anything the last week... As far as the eye could see were utility trucks all parked in perfect lines with there 'booms' all raised. A very weird and unbelievable sight. Anyone who has been complaining about how long it is taking for the electricity to come back online just has to see that. They are working as fast as they can from all over the state and country. They are going as fast as they physically can!
The next morning my friend and her little boy came over and she was telling me how her sisters house is doing. She lives on Clear Lake near Galveston. Her whole bottom floor was wiped out. It was flooded by 4pm the day before Ike even hit. That is how early the storm surge came before the actual hurricane arrived. They don't even know what happened to their furniture and big screen tv. Some fish family has one nice set up somewhere. One of her neighbors couches is resting nicely in the remaining family room of one of her OTHER neighbors houses. There is a boat parked neatly in a room of one of her neighbors houses. And with all the debris that floated everywhere, the biggest problem is all the dead fish all over the bottom floor of her house and all over the neighborhood. They want to stay on the top floor while remodeling but don't know if they will be able to because the smell of the dead fish is so bad. And there are so many of them the area doesn't even know what to do. Piles of them under the docks, in the houses and on the streets. Does the city clean them? The neighborhood? Themselves? And what do they do with them?
The people that are living along one of our big bayous, Buffalo Bayou, are so upset about the smell there as well. But their smell has to do with the raw sewage that is pouring over into the bayou. The smell is overbearing to the neighborhoods along Allen Parkway and Memorial Drive. The city says that there is nothing that they can do but wait for it to flush out. I guess - basically to the Gulf of Mexico.
If you live in Houston you get used to the trucks that have a really loud hum that drive around in the middle of the night and spray for mosquitoes. If you see them they will have blinking lights and will be in a mist of bug spray. They have been working overtime because the mosquito problem is out of control. I never get bit and my kids have been lucky too. But since Ike there are mosquitoes everywhere! Even in the house. Demi is getting bit so bad that I went to the store and bought bug spray and anti-sting spray to put on her.
Last night I picked up my cousin and her husband from the airport. They had escaped to Utah after Ike because they were going to be without power for so long. I don't blame them! There house still does not have power. Neither does Robert's sisters. Brittanie said that when flying in over Houston, it was so weird because the city was like patchwork with perfectly defined areas that were still without power.
On a positive note. Last night I had to run and get milk. It was the first time that I have been able to buy more then one gallon at a time. There was no limit on how much you could buy. And the store had some produce and ground beef - which the stores have not had until the last couple of days. And the kids go back to school the day after tomorrow. So that is great! Although we now have the stomach flu in our house and Parker has been teary-eyed and worrying about going back, and begs me all day to not make him, and it is still 2 days away. It breaks my heart!