Friday, September 19, 2008

Our Ike Story

We spent Friday preparing for Ike. Ryan made sure the generator was operational and filled our gas cans. He also managed to fit both vehicles in the garage (I was quite impressed). I did several loads of laundry just in case we were without power for a few days and then counted and recounted our bottles of water and non-perishable food products.

About 2 pm, a gentle breeze rolled in. By 6 pm, the winds began to pick up. We let the kids play outside for a while to get out all the energy they'd accumulated from the frenzy of the day:




We bathed them and put them to bed at their normal times and began to brace ourselves for what was about to come. I frantically cleared out the floor of our master bedroom closet and built a little palette for us "just in case." Ryan laughed at me and said we were so stereotypical: he worried about the house (provider) and I worried about the kids (nurturer).

The power went out about 8:45. We closed our blinds quite tightly in hopes that they would stop flying glass and sat down in the front room to watch the storm come in (stupid, I know, but the wind was coming from the other direction). Our trees began to sway and thrash about. When one of the shrubs began to hit the window, I decided that I'd had enough and went to bed.

We'd given Sydney a flashlight (which made her feel really grown up) and she had placed it under her pillow so that she could come get us if she got scared. She called for us about midnight when the wind really began to howl. Ryan grabbed Liam, I grabbed Evan and all five of us crammed into our closet (the only windowless place in our house). Sydney clutched her pink bear and flashlight. Liam looked scared. Evan awoke just enough to realize that he hadn't eaten in three hours.

Thankfully, the kids all went to sleep. I slept fitfully as I listened to the wind. Each gust made me cringe. Debris continuously hit the windows and roof and I imagined the shingles being peeled away in sheets. I listened for the sound of shattering glass, but thankfully I never heard it. All I heard was wind, Sydney's snores, Liam's Maggie Simpson-esque pacifier sucking and Evan's sweet little breaths.

Ryan couldn't take the claustrophobic conditions and climbed back into bed leaving me with the kids (which was fine with me). Liam, who hasn't gotten the hang of sleeping in one spot yet, had scooted down and had his feet resting on my back. Sydney's feet were two inches from the back of my head. Evan was nestled at my front so that I could feed him easily. I cried in silence so that I wouldn't wake the kids. I prayed for the safety of my babies. I prayed that our house would not sustain too much damage. On a lighter note, I also prayed that the overwhelming smell of feet and shoes (since we were on the floor of our closet where our shoe collections had been just hours before) didn't cause me to pass out. I wished that I had sprayed some Febreze in there before building our palette.

It was the longest night of my life. I think I slept a total of about three hours.

The kids woke up a little bit before seven and we tentatively made our way through the dark house to the kitchen. The wind was still quite violent so we hesitated to open the blinds too much, but we did peek to see that our trees were still standing and the fence was still up. Ryan checked each room looking for water but found none.

We were able to venture back outside about 2 pm, so for us, Ike was a 24 hour storm, with the twelve hour mark being the worst. We had several large limbs down and enough yard debris to fill nine huge garbage bags. Several neighbors lost their wooden fences and we saw a couple of uprooted trees down the street.

(Our front yard)

(Sydney and Liam on our walk down the street)

The shingles we found in our yard turned out to be ours so Ryan spent a couple of hours reattaching them to the roof. Overall, we were lucky and we know it. We're definitely a lot luckier than the little bird we found next to our front door. Poor thing looked like it had been thrown from its nest in our front yard's tree. It didn't have a chance.

Many people did not fare as well as we did. Ryan's coworker who lives just a few blocks away had his roof collapse and then the second floor collapsed onto the first. My in-laws had a tree fall on their chimney. My parents' house is fine, but they will most likely be without power for another week or two. My sister is without power as well. Like I said, we are very lucky.

Sydney was out of school all week while we waited for power to be restored to the schools. As of right now, only 6 of the districts 30 schools have power so who knows when she'll get to go back.

Anyway, that's our story. If you've watched the news at all in the last week then I'm sure you've heard a hundred more, but each one is unique. I'm just glad that our story had a happier ending than most.

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