September 30, 2008

September 23, 2008

652 Messages

I had 652 messages on my e-mail account in the 253 hours our power was off.

Some of them were spam, but most were legitimate.

Doreen hasn't even booted her computer up yet.

I will be posting a "What I wish we would have done" entry soon. Mostly so that the next time a hurricane comes by, we will remember the lessons learned.

We got juice!

at 5:00 PM.

I am at the airport picking up Doreen from Pittsburgh.

ten and a half days was enough.

Ree is still powerless.

September 22, 2008

Tallest building in Houston

Off the Kuff: Chase Tower after Ike

Pittsburgh and Falling Water

Doreen and I had been planning a trip to Pittsburgh for quite a while. Doreen had an Urban Parks Conference there, and my sister and brother in law live there. So it was nice that I was able to go up for the weekend and it was especially nice because we didn’t have any power.

From Pittsburgh and Falling Water

Doreen has always been a fan of Frank Lloyd Wright (me, less so) and Falling Water is his masterpiece that is within driving distance of Pittsburgh.

So Frank and Mel agreed to go with us to visit the house.

From Pittsburgh and Falling Water

The place was finished in 1939 at the cost of $8,000. And it is truly spectacular.

From Pittsburgh and Falling Water

It was built as the summer retreat for the Kaufmanns, a rich department store family from Pittsburgh. They owned about 1,800 acres, and jr (sic) their son had started working with Frank. Wright came to the site and acgreed to do the work.

From Pittsburgh and Falling Water

I won’t go into the whole history, you can get that elsewhere. But the details and the setting of the place are well worth seeing. If you ever get a chance to visit, you should not pass it up.

From Pittsburgh and Falling Water

Some water leaks right into the house:

From Pittsburgh and Falling Water

The place has about 8,000 square feet inside and out. It was a cottage, not a mansion:

From Pittsburgh and Falling Water

Window detail:

From Pittsburgh and Falling Water

From Pittsburgh and Falling Water

Nice view of the cantilevered porch:

From Pittsburgh and Falling Water

Here we all are:

From Pittsburgh and Falling Water

After Falling Water, we drove to Ohiopyle, a fast spot in the Youghiogheny River. It is also very beautiful.

From Pittsburgh and Falling Water

From Pittsburgh and Falling Water

From Pittsburgh and Falling Water

I walked across this bridge!

From Pittsburgh and Falling Water

It was scary:

From Pittsburgh and Falling Water

From Pittsburgh and Falling Water

From Pittsburgh and Falling Water

Then we went back to Pittsburgh.

It was a very nice visit.

Post Ike

The day after Ike it rained another 4” in Houston. I am not sure if these were feeder bands, or if it was the blessed cool front that came in after the storm. The storm sewers plugged up again, and there was plenty of water in the streets, but it never threatened our house. This is the day we rode our bikes down to Hermann Park to see the effects of the hurricane.

Here are some before pictures of newly planted trees:

From Ike Friday Afternoon

From Ike Friday Afternoon

Here are after pictures:

From Ike Photos unfiltered

From Ike Photos unfiltered

There were plenty of trees down in the park, and on the way to the park:

From Ike Photos unfiltered

From Ike Photos unfiltered

From Ike Photos unfiltered

From Ike Photos unfiltered

That night we went back over to our next door neighbors and drank more wine by candlelight.

This candlelight dining is getting old.


We still don’t have power, and it has been ten days since Ike rolled into Houston. I was going to wait until I could write this at home, but I will try and get it done on my lunch hour.

On Thursday, 11 September, we shut down the office at noon. I told everyone to go home and get ready for Hurricane Ike. One Friday, we stayed home and battened down the hatches. All loose items in the yard were put into the garage. Our Venetian Lamps were removed and bubble wrapped. We froze as much water as we could fit into the freezer, and we filled every water bottle we had and put the rest into the refrigerator. We got our landline, non-portable telephone out of the attic. Standard hurricane preparation.

From Before Ike

From Before Ike

From Before Ike

On Friday night we went next door after dinner and drank some wine with our neighbors. I wish we would have drank more. We hurried home about 9:00 PM, and did our final load of dishes from supper. We did not want to have dirty dishes in the sink when the hurricane hit.

From Ike Friday Afternoon

From Ike Friday Afternoon

From Ike Friday Afternoon

We joined Jared for a nice lunch and the Lucky Burger, and then went on down to visit Ree and Quinn as they were making their own hurricane preparations.

From Ike Friday Afternoon

The lights flickered for the first time about 9:30 PM. They came back on almost immediately, but we knew that it was going to be a long night. We got into bed about 10:30, just as the lights went out for what we thought was the duration. Ike’s eye was still 7 hours away from landfall.

I fell asleep and slept well until about 2:00 AM. The wind was blowing relentlessly from the north at that time. It sounded as if semi-trailers were driving up and down our street without stop. The wind was son strong that the rain sounded like hail hitting the windows. And there were flashes of light that we could see in the dark. About one flash every 2 to 3 minutes. I thought it was lightning at first, and started counting down to see how far away the strikes were hitting. I never heard thunder. Then one of the light flashed occurred nearby. A low THUMP flowed closely. This was not lightning. This was transformers exploding. This was a very, very bad thing.

Doreen woke up about 3:30 or so because of the noise. Shortly thereafter, say about 4:00 AM, we got our power back on! It lasted about 15 minutes. THEN it was out for the duration.

We have a little hand-crank radio we received as a premium for am NPR donation. It gave us as much information as we needed, but not really as much as we wanted. It told us when the eye made landfall – about 5:00 AM if I recall correctly, and that the winds would not start dying down about noon. The winds were so overwhelming it was very depressing to hear such a prediction.

I had been walking around the house to make sure that none of the windows were broken and nothing was leaking. Everything went well until the winds switched to the west. We have a weak spot in our sun room where we have had rain blow in before. This started leaking like a faucet. Luckily, Doreen spotted the leak before it got too bad, and we were able to get bowls under the worst leaks. Almost all of our wets facing windows leaked a little, and it became a routine to check and wipe the windows as we walked by. Finally, when the wind turned southerly, we started getting water into our big windows in our living room. I have to jury-rig a method to grab that water, but there was still a lot of wiping and pouring to keep the floors dry.

Then, in the early afternoon, everything started to calm. There was water standing in the streets because all the storm sewers were plugged with tree litter. The entire neighborhood looked like a rainforest. There were green leaves everywhere. There were branches, large and small, down everywhere you looked.

In our yard, our small orchard tree was pushed over. We think it is rescuable. One of our banana trees was knocked completely over, and another was bent. Our garage was pushed out of kilter so that one of the people doors is almost impossible to open, and the garage door is also very difficult to lift. That will have to be fixed. But other than that, and the minor leaks in the house, we are OK.

From Ike Photos unfiltered

From Ike Photos unfiltered

From Ike Photos unfiltered

From Ike Photos unfiltered

From Ike Photos unfiltered

From Ike Photos unfiltered

September 17, 2008

Weather Underground Personal Weather Station

Weather Station History : Weather Underground

It looks like the station itself survived Ike, but the wind gauge did not.

Look at the Barometric Pressure!

No power until Monday

according to this PDF map put out by Centerpoint, we will be waiting for some time.

Our house is roughly where the U in Houston sits. Ree's house is just to the West of that North/South freeway intersecting the Loop (the smaller circle of freeways that surround the word Houston)

So sad to be us!

September 16, 2008

Back at the office.

I am back at the office, still no power at the house. That is a real drag.

I will write more about the experience once I get power at home. I generally work while at work.

I dumped a bunch of photos here, but they are unfiltered and unlabeled. I will get around to that later, too.

Hurricanes are not fun.

(link fixed)

September 14, 2008


one of the last things we saw before the storm was a ruby throated hummungbird feeding at our firecracker plant. we worried about how it would survive the storm.

one of the first things we saw after the storm was a ruby throated hummingbird feeding at our firecraker plant.

still no power in The Montrose

Some of the people from my office are getting power back. we have not, and the last i heard my sister Ree has not either. Some nearby friends have power, we will probably go there to recharge our batteries. Literally.

This is not much fun.

September 13, 2008

first day with ike

still no power, but they have power about 5 blocks away. this phone's battery is almost dead. i have one more battery.

we rode our bikes to Hermann Park. Lots and lots of trees down.

no new word from Ree or The Vegan, but Rice has power.

winds, rain stopping

things are calming down. we walked the neighborhood and took a bunch of photos (will post later)

no power, it is about to get hot. Ree is fine, The Vegan is fine. neither have power, but he has no water, either

no power

wind relentless. rain steady. phone works. we are ok for now, but i think the very worst is over.

September 12, 2008

power off and on

every ten minutes. it is starting to get bad

Ike Watch - power out

We just lost power - twice, but it came on twice.

I am guessing it will go out soon for the duration.

winds are sustained here about Beaufort 6 scale - maybe 30 MPH

Wish us luck.

The Best Ike Information

Following is a link to the Houston Chronicle science correspondent, Eric Berger. He has the best information about the hurricane in town:


Lots of Photos

Make sure you check out this picassa album. We have pictures of Ree, Quinn, and The Vegan, too.

We just shared a glass of wine with our neighbors (it is dark now) and are about to eat dinner.

Wish us luck!

Another Ike Blogger

Houston Strategies: Liveblogging Hurricane Ike

We live in The Montrose, which isn't too far from where this fellow is.

Ike, a little movie of our Lacebark Elm

Ike Watch: Video and Radar

Ike watch, Satellite

Ike watch, radar

Ike watch, 2008.12.08 9:00 AM

We got up this morning at our usual 5:30, and walked Blaze for what I anticipate to be our last dry walk for a while.

After breakfast, we removed everything from our porches and yard. The worst part is taking down our glass lamps and taping up the plus.

The storm has not turned, he is coming straight on in.

So I roasted some more coffee, and baked some more bread.

We are as ready as we'll ever be, if we will ever be ready

September 11, 2008

Ike Watch 10:00 PM

It looks like Ike is taking a small, but potentially significant turn to the northeast. If we can just get on the clean side of the storm, I will feel much better.

More in the morning.

Ike Watch @ Monica Pope's Place

T'afia, Monica Pope's great restaurant down the street, was having a hurrican sell off party. She is worried about losing power, so she wanted all her neighbors to come by and celebrate.

We had some great "flat chicken" with mashed potatoes, and Doreen ordered some Mac-n-cheese, and we left with a goodie basket.

For now, Ike is kind. We hope he shifts just a few (20?) miles north and east, so we don't end up on the dirty side of the storm.

Keep hoping!