ninanevermore: (Default)
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I live in a small town, which makes the small world we all live in even smaller for me.

One of the houses in town, just a few blocks away from my son's daycare, had a large oak tree in the front yard that was damaged by hurricane Ike last September. They hired a woodcarver to make a sculpture out of what was left of the damaged tree, and the local weekly had a write up about the project.

"Have you seen this thing?" Jeff asked me, showing me the paper.

"Nuh-uh. Where is it?"

"On Baker, right across from the nursing home. People are always stopping to watch him work, taking pictures and kind of tying up traffic. It looks like its going to be a mountain lion or something."

I looked at the article. "It's going to be two mountain lions," I said.

A few days later I drove by and saw the work in progress:

Cougars in Progress


Michelangelo with a Chainsaw )
ninanevermore: (Ferris Wheel)
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I stopped by to talk with The Carney, a.k.a. the Angel of Death, the other night, to see what was up with him. I've been neglecting everyone and everything in my life of late, with the possible exception of my job. For something that gives me so little money or personal satisfaction, I sure do spend a lot of time doing it. The backlog that started in August when I took my trip to California, then got bigger at the start of September when I took a couple of days vacation, grew exponentially when hurricane Ike forced me to stay at home for a week. I am officially drowning in paperwork.

Turns out, The Carney knows a thing or two about backlogs. His own makes mine look like nothing.

You should all be dead by now. )
ninanevermore: (Default)
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Aside from the fact that I am home on a Wednesday (my company is supposed to open up again Tomorrow, unless we get another update saying otherwise), things are pretty normal around my house. The power and water are back (though we have to boil the water before we can drink it), and around the house things seem pretty much the same as always. That is, unless I step outside and look at the piles of lumber stacked neatly along the front walkway from the tree that fell on the house, and the pine tree still lying prone in the front lawn that we haven't got around to moving yet.

There is plastic on a lot of the rooftops around me, and smashed cars still in sit some of the driveways. Still, with the pictures of Galveston Island on the front page of my morning paper give me the perspective to see that these things are just minor inconveniences.

Correction )
ninanevermore: (Default)
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So we got a little damage in the storm; it's no big deal in the large scheme of things, I guess. The generator helps with the power, but I'm a little irate that the water is still out. Jeff and I drove into to town to see what was opened (one grocery store running on auxiliary power, but we decided there was nothing we needed bad enough to stand in the 2 hour checkout line), and noticed a sign from our utility district saying to boil our water.

"Give me something to boil, and I'd be happy to do it," I said.

I haven't had a shower since Friday morning. You would be surprised at how well deodorant works when you keep putting it on for several days straight. At this point, by the time I do get to take a shower, I will need a putty knife to scrape off the layers of deodorant from beneath my arms. To avoid injury at a time when emergency services in my area are strained, I will use a plastic and not a metal putty knife.

Yesterday I took a drive though my little subdivision of about 200 households, to see how the neighbors faired. Some were better off than me, and some were worse. One house also had its front door blocked off by a tree, just like mine is.

Wow, it looks like a hurricane blew threw here! )
ninanevermore: (Default)
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Just as I worried would happen, I slept through the storm. I hate it when exciting things happen in the wee morning, when my rather rigid circadian rhythm dictates that I be unconscious. So I slept through the tree being uprooted in my front yard and missing the room that I slept in by inches, and I missed the tree that split in half and landed on the roof, leaving 4 holes that are making damp spots on the ceiling where I sit typing right now.

We lost power early, a good 5 hours before landfall, on when the pre-hurricane winds caused falling tree limbs to knock down the power lines. Our generator is giving us power to run the refrigerator, a few rooms, and the computer, so we aren't roughing it completely. The eye moved east and missed us by a few miles, so we didn't get the worst of the storm like we feared. (I'll post some photos later.)

My almost 4-year-old son looked out the front door and asked, "How we going to get out?" because of the downed tree and all the fallen branches. I told him maybe Daddy could move some of the stuff.

"We need to buy a crane," my son said, "We could use that to move the trees."

"Good idea," I said, "Jeff, put a crane on the shopping list."

Rather than wait for he roads (and our credit) to clear so we can buy a crane, he's on the roof with a chainsaw right now, trying to remove enough of the tree to cover up the holes with a tarp.

We're safe and sound, just a bit soggy and (if the generator goes out) in the dark.



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ninanevermore: (Default)
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Now that Corpus Christie is in the clear, and Hurricane Ike is currently projected to travel right over my house, I would like to point out to him that the good people of Port Arthur and Beaumont, Texas are very experienced at living through hurricanes, where as the people around me are not.

You see, Ike, I have some issues with you making a direct hit on Galveston Island: I have never visited Moody Gardens, and I really want to. If you wash away that amusement spot, as well as The Strand (where the locals hold Texas' Mardi Gras celebration and the Dickens on The Strand festival at Christmas), I will be very put out indeed. I'm fond of the island, even though the gulf waves are more murky rather than blue* and the whole place tends to smell a little like dead fish. I've got good memories of Galveston, and I'd like to add some more good memories of it in the coming years

As for this thing about your eye passing right over my house 100 miles inland, I'm not pleased about that one bit. You are projected to be a Category 3 storm by the time you make landfall as I try to sleep tonight, and there is a good chance your winds will still be hurricane force when they reach me. My husband says there is no need to board up the windows, but I sure would be happier if we did. As far as we know, the airport is still making him come in tonight, which means I will be weathering the storm alone with an almost 4 year old child.

Seriously, Ike, consider Beaumont. Please?



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*The muddy color of the sea water in Galveston is not the result of pollution, like many people suppose, but silt from Mississippi River further up the coast. The waters get clear again as you move toward South Texas. The water in Galveston is polluted from ships that sail into the Port of Houston dumping their ick into it, but that pollution takes the form of the occasional tar ball on the beach. Don't touch a tar ball if you see one, wondering "Gee, what is that round black thing in the sand?" If you do, you will never get that stuff off of you. I learned this the hard way, on a day when the story of Brer Fox, Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby took on a whole new meaning for me.
ninanevermore: (Default)
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One of the managers on my floor, Gerry, called us all in this morning. Such meetings have a way of making me nervous, since the last one I went to a year and a half ago resulted in everyone in the room getting laid off. Fortunately, that didn't happen today. This meeting wasn't about packing up our desks and going home, it was about staying home later this week should the need arise.

Only so much a weather witch can do. )
ninanevermore: (Default)
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Today on my drive into work, I was thinking, "There's a hurricane heading this way? Really? Since when?"

I hear hurricanes a-blowing, I know the end is coming soon… )
ninanevermore: (Default)
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Today on my drive into work, I was thinking about the hurricane that blew into south Texas yesterday. Houston is too far north of it to get any damage, but the outer bands of the storm did bring some rain that gave my lawn got a much needed drink and made my drive in a little soggy. As far as hurricanes go, it wasn't much of one, unless you were one of those living in its path (any hurricane is major when you get a direct hit). But it blew in on my mother's 75th birthday and it made landfall bearing her pet name for me, Dolly, so bittersweet memories rode in on the storm and washed over me.

A Dolly To Play With )
ninanevermore: (Default)
Today on the drive into work, I was thinking about hurricanes and how big is too big.

A good-sized category 5 with sustained winds of 155 miles per hour is plenty big and has the potential to kill lots and lots of people. I hold the opinion that any storm with sustained winds of 175 miles per hour, like Wilma has grown to, is just showing off. It seems like just yesterday that she was just a little Tropical Storm. Come to think of it, that was just yesterday. My, they do grow up fast.

I will admit that I am impressed. I am more impressed that it is heading to Florida, where a dear friend of mine lives, and not towards me. I feel bad for my friend. I hope she packs up and high tails it out of there. I would feel worse for myself if I were in the storm's path.

Meanwhile, I can only assume that poor Ray Nagin has sat down with a bottle of Scotch, keeping his eyes on the NOAA website for updates and praying that she does not change course. I'm sure he's feeling kind of like God is picking on him these last couple of months. Really, Ray, it's not personal. Ask the people of Pakistan or Thailand. It's just been an extraordinary year for spectacular natural distastes. Death, destruction and mayhem are just facts of life. They're never personal.

I suspect that doesn't make Ray feel any better.

I don't think I like the idea of naming the next storm Alpha. I don't think it's too late to add the names Xavier, Yvette and Zed to this years list, to stay consistent.

When I pasted by the Ferris Wheel, I noticed the Angel of Death was drinking a cup of coffee and using it to wash down a handful of Ephedrine capsules (don't know where he bought them, I thought they were banned). He had an entire carton of cigarettes sitting next to him, instead of the usual single pack in his front pocket.

Oh, crap.
ninanevermore: (Ferris Wheel)
Driving into work this morning, I passed the Ferris Wheel and noticed that the Carney seems to have snapped into the busy pace of this year. I wanted to ask him what's up with this past year - tsunamis, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, bombs, and so on. I wanted to ask why these things happen in clusters. Every time these things do happen in clusters, a certain segment of the population gets all excited and starts talking about the end times and the Book of Revelations. They get all hopeful about the Rapture, which would mean that they would be absolved from paying off all of the debt they've accrued, not to mention that months phone and cable bills.

He caught me watching him over his shoulder and must have seen the question in my face, because he smiled and shrugged, as if to say that he doesn't run the carnival, he just works the Ferris Wheel and lets people off of it when The Boss says to. He took his Dorel out of his mouth to take a sip from the tall boy he had sitting on the rail to the fence around the Ferris Wheel.

At that moment, a cheerful announcer came on my radio to let me know that Tropical Storm Wilma is predicted to enter the Gulf of Mexico, and all predictions were that she would develop into a hurricane.
Having missed 2 days of work last month because 2.8 million people in my metropolis decided to get and their cars and spend 2 days parked on every major freeway leading out of the region, I am not amused.

I looked back at the Carney, and I swear that he did a spit take, he was laughing so hard.

Thank God the light changed so that I could drive off, and didn't have to watch him anymore.
ninanevermore: (Ferris Wheel)
I drove by the Carney this morning on the way too work. All of the work he's had these past few weeks must have really gotten to him, because he was rolling on the ground laughing like crazy. Maybe this whole hurricane thing was a giant psych that he arranged to take the pressure off.

If I never thought that the Grim Reaper was a jerk before, I do now. Oh, sure, a handful of traffic fatalities and 8 dead in Beaumont (a town, as I've stated, that I never liked anyway), but that's all in a day's work for him. Getting to watch a mass Exodus of 3 million people who think he's out to get them - priceless.
ninanevermore: (Default)
Ok, that was the most disappointing natural disaster EVER.

I need to apologize to Port Arthur and Beaumont, though.

I do a lot of wishing. I wish I could win the lotto whenever I play. I wish the radio would stop playing certain songs. I wish stupid television shows will get canceled. I wish certain candidates will not win elections. I wish certain people will drop dead.

This is generally a harmless activity that I engage in. I never win the lotto. The song gets put in hourly rotation. The stupid television programs become runaway hits watched by everyone but me. George W. Bush has been my Governor and my President, with no end in sight until 2008. All of my former bosses (not to mention George W. Bush) are walking around alive and healthy. Generally speaking, I usually get the opposite of what I wish for.

So when I wished last week that Hurricane Rita would veer away from Houston and hit Beaumont because I never did like that town, I had no idea that I made that wish within a window where my wishes would be granted. If I had known that, I would have wished that Rita downgrade to a Tropical Storm in the Gulf and come in where ever she wanted to, and then I would have wished for the lotto jackpot. I would have wished for George W. Bush to follow Brownie's example, admit he is not qualified for his job and resign. I would have wished for a cure for cancer and an end to poverty and hate.

But no. I made a snide wish for devastation to turn away from me and hit another town -- and it happened. Rats. Really, Beaumont, I meant nothing by it. I didn't expect this.

To be safe, I just won't make wishes anymore.

Well, maybe the one about the lotto is safe.
ninanevermore: (Default)
Driving into work this morning I was not afraid.

That is no longer the case.

I am terrified.

The traffic leaving Houston is amazing. If it takes me more than 2 hours to get home tonight, I will not be back in the office tomorrow.

This is the big one.
ninanevermore: (Default)
Today, as I drove into work, I was faced with a moral dilemma.

Is it wrong to pray that Hurricane Rita heads for Beaumont? I've never liked Beaumont very much, and I wouldn't miss it if it blew away.

But, of course, the best place she could hit is New Orleans since the place is already empty.

Still, God has a wicked sense of humor. With so much of New Orleans seeking shelter in Houston, I can see the damned thing making landfall here.

It's one of those jokes that will only seem funny years from now. Well to me, at least. To God, the joke is probably already pretty funny right now.
ninanevermore: (Default)
Today on the drive in, I noticed that all of the bus stops were empty. It appears the patrons have dried up and blown away, like leaves.

I find myself praying for a hurricane. A big, wet, juicy hurricane. Well, two of them, one in the Gulf and one in a glass. Both would help cool things down.

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