18 September 2008

Houston, We've Got Power! ! or How The Noise of My Neighbor's Generator Almost Drove Me Mad!

 image

 

After five days and nights without power, that big, electrical man in the sky bestowed the greatest gift on us tonight!  Yes, we have power!  I can finally get out of my car and join the human race of the living.  My heart goes out to all those still off the grid, my sweet sister Melanie especially!   We are lucky, very lucky to have gone just five days without power - I know a lot of other people are going to be out of luck for weeks.  And, not to rub it in, but - double the fun - even Comcast came right on!  So we have cable, Internet, and lights tonight.  Of course, our teenaged daughter has left to go to a slumber party where they have NO power, which makes absolutely zero sense to her Dad and me, but whatever, we're happy tonight!  I promise, this will be the last word about Hurricane Ike that I write, but here's how it all went down:

 

Ike 003

Our driveway, the morning after.

What we are grateful for:   We are all alive and safe, after hunkering down together this past week.  The three of us stayed downstairs and even slept there together the entire time.  We made a pallet for Elisabeth to sleep on.   The first night, we were worried about our tree crashing through the roof into her room - so she put on her eye shades and slept blissfully on the floor, for about 15 hours all through the storm.  A few times she woke up and told Ben and me to be quiet!  The storm started getting really bad around 11 pm Friday night and once that happened, the noise of objects hitting the windows was pretty scary.  Ben and I stayed up most of the night, but I finally passed out around 5 am, missing the more horrific winds.   The death toll is remarkably low for the amount of damage, storm surge, and wind.  We are amazed and grateful that so many people are safe and survived Ike.

 

Ike 025

 

Elisabeth's bed for the past week.  Flashlight and eye shade are on her blue blanket.  The fan is waiting for her.

 

More Things We are Grateful For:   Our oak tree made it!!!  In fact, she proved stronger and more grounded than most of the other trees around her.  I'm so proud of her!  She only lost a few little branches and one slightly bigger branch.  But that's it.  She was pretty busy that night, swaying in the wind, bending to and fro, but she stayed her ground.  Mr. Hurricane Man announced he even noticed some green acorns on her - all good signs she may be healing, he declared.   Other trees were not so lucky.   West University planted Chinese Tallow trees all over the city when it was first developed because the trees are so fast growing.  But, as we now know,  any fast growing tree is also a short lived tree and decades later, all the tallows are on their last limb, so to speak.  Both my neighbors have tallow trees and they were all very damaged.  Huge limbs fell in our yard from their "trash" trees, as West University's Forester has declared the tallows.   And most interesting  is to see these large tallow tree limbs  - totally hollow inside!    West University was out early on Saturday morning, clearing the streets of downed trees.  Again, the benefits of living in a small town inside a larger metropolis.  Yeah West University!    Our little enclave wasn't hit nearly as hard as other areas of West U, though.  Just a mile east, three and four story tall trees were uprooted in massive numbers.  We used to be known as the City of Trees, but I'm not sure that still applies after the hit all these decades-old trees took.

 

 

Ike 017

 My neighbor's prized banana tree, clinging for dear life flung over on our fence.  The rest of this fence fell over.

 

Damage:   Besides all the downed limbs from the tallow trees, my neighbor's catalpa tree ended up on my roof!  That was a huge surprise the next morning.   But there it was - a tree that probably reaches up 3 stories high -  hanging off our roof by a branch caught on our gutter.   I drove down the street to find a tree man that lives nearby.  With the promise of "big bucks" - he rushed over and by Sunday, the tree was down and cut up in logs on our curb.  Amazing!    Mr. Hurricane Man was left to come up with the promised "big bucks."  We only had two leaks inside - one from the front window and another from the ceiling.  Mr. Hurricane Man went up in the attic during the height of the storm to figure out why it was leaking.   He proudly announced it was rain coming in from a roof turbine.  Of course, he also believed the storm was breaking up and wasn't going to be all that bad.  

 

 

Ike 015

 My neighbor's huge catalpa tree ended up on our roof.   A branch stuck in the gutter was the only thing that kept it from crashing through.

 

What We Did This Past Week:   We didn't have electricity after Saturday morning around 3 am.    Truthfully, I think Mr. Hurricane Man was a little perturbed that he didn't need to use all his gadgets during the actual storm, but thank God for him!  Without all his hurricane supplies, this week would have been pretty unbearable.      Saturday morning, the mayor of West University sent out a mass phone call  saying that we could expect three days at least without juice.  Houston said 18 days.  Yikes!  We knew we were in for a long wait.  It was five days in all for us, but electricity is like childbirth.  Once the lights come back on, the darkness is quickly a faded memory.     I never would have thought I could go this long without power, but the days and nights blended together and somehow, we made it.  It is very enlightening, and truthfully, a little frightening,  to realize how utterly dependant we all are on electricity and how vulnerable we are without it.  It was the littlest things, the least important ones that tripped us up.   Case in point - while I bragged I was going to be drinking home brewed coffee instead of Starbucks, I totally forgot I would need the power to brew it.  Instead of worrying about fancy coffee beans, I should have bought instant coffee, which I could have heated up on our gas stove.  Stupid!    The good news is I had tea bags and made hot tea and I ended up stealing my sister Melanie's instant coffee as she didn't have the gas stove to boil water.  It was always the mundane aspects of life we take so for granted that made the lack of electricity hit home:  the time of day.   I never knew what time it was because the cable boxes were out and so was the oven timer!  

 

More stupidity:  I bragged that I charged up all my old laptop batteries to use for the computer, but didn't take into account that the router and modem run on electricity!  Thankfully, I did have the ATT card that runs off a cell phone number,  otherwise, I would have been totally in the dark.   On top of no modem,  the charged batteries didn't even fit my current laptop, so all those charged batteries were for naught.    I was lucky to have a electrical plug that runs off the car battery bought last year for a car trip.  That way,  I could actually plug things in it:   I could  charge my cell phone and I could plug in my laptop for just a short period of time.  As long as the battery in the car lasted, I was slightly sane.  The car proved to be the most invaluable gadget, surprisingly.    Besides being a major power source, I have satellite radio so I could actually  listen to CNN Television and Fox News in my car and keep abreast of all the latest political news.

 

Ike 010

This crepe myrtle branch landed on Elisabeth's car.

 

Minor Aggravations:  While we were happy for our neighbor who had an old, outdated generator, left over from the days his passed wife was on oxygen, he ran it 24/7 and the power of it alone shook houses halfway down the street, disturbed the quiet, and truthfully, it was just downright rude!   Our houses are on top of each other here in West University, and he was the only one in the vicinity running a generator, so I imagine everyone else was just as aggravated with the noise as we were.  Imagine a leaf blower going day and night which is about the equivalent.  Mr. Hurricane Man and I discussed early on getting a generator, and wondered if we did, would we run it 24/7, being that we aren't in the country and our neighbors are so close to us?   Hard to say.  By the fourth day, I was literally begging for one so I could use my computer, but he refused to add to the noise that our neighbor's generator generated. Thankfully, a cool front blew through bringing an early fall, so being without AC was no longer a  major issue.  Although the lack of AC on a typically hot Houston day would have driven him to get the generator, I'm convinced. 

 

Another aggravation was the absent neighbors who evacuated.  We weren't under a mandatory evacuation and people who left did so only because they didn't want to be without air conditioning and television, which I can totally understand.   But while the entire neighborhood was outside cleaning up our yards, getting limbs and trees off the sidewalks, roofs, and streets, the missing homeowners' yards remained a total mess, an eyesore, and frankly, a safety hazard.   By Sunday, our street was one tidy yard after another except for the absentee's mess.   The evacuees also missed out on a great time.  Each street became a block party with everyone outside cleaning up and having BBQs on their driveways.   We met more neighbors this week than we have in 15 years of living here!    Bonded in our misery, the atmosphere was festive, fueled by lots and lots of beer and wine!   

 

Ike 022

Our front yard curb, Wednesday afternoon.  The catalpa tree is here, all cut up.  Too bad we don't have a wood burning fireplace.

 

Lessons Learned or How to Prepare for a Week Without Electricity:  The most important things we had, besides a big jar of peanut butter and a loaf of bread, were (thanks to Mr. Hurricane Man) an endless supply of batteries of all different sizes.  The stores were closed for days and when they did open, they were out of batteries, so having a big supply was a major advantage.  I will never again tease him for buying batteries.  Other useful items were all his gadgets -  the battery powered fans and TVs and radios.  Without the little TV and the old fashioned radio we would have been unaware of what went on in Galveston and on Boliver.    They were our lifelines in the early hours.  The battery operated lanterns were a bust - they burned up so many batteries that they were pretty worthless and weren't even that bright.  What WAS a lifesaver were these candles I had.  Ronnie Jubula who works in the Decorative Center is manufacturing this one candle, scented "Linen" which he burns in his showroom as advertisement.  The smell is light, not heavy, but utterly divine.  About a month ago, I bought 15 of them to keep on hand.  They aren't expensive, but boy - do they last!  Candles lit on Friday were still going strong today on Wednesday!   They also gave off an enormous amount of light.   Since they were in glass jars, we felt safe placing the candles around the house in strategic points.  Thanks, Ronnie, your candles were the greatest!  As a substitute, I suspect Yankee Candles would be just as effective as Ronnie's candles.  It would be a great idea to keep a stash on these candles on hand for emergencies.    The gas stove and water heater:   never did I imagine when we put a gas line in our house all those years ago what a fantastic idea that was!   We could take hot showers!   But more important was that we could use the stove - we could boil water for tea or soup.   We ate lots of Ramen noodles which were nutritious and filling.   I actually made a fabulous spaghetti dinner for us one night, only to forget there was no garbage disposal, so we lived with noodles in our drain for a quite a while.  Lovely.    Another live saver was the aforementioned ATT wireless card.  At around $50 a month, it's a complete luxury to have two internet connections:  a cable modem and the ATT card that fits in the laptop.  But, the card is useful for trips and places where there isn't wi/fi.    Without a modem, the card saved me this week.  I would recommend one to everyone.   If you can't afford both - I would drop the cable modem and just use the card.  While it is reported to not be as fast on the downloads, I really don't notice a slower speed.  The other essential gadget was the electric plug that fits in the car lighter.   It powered up the laptop and the cell phone which really helped me feel connected to the world.

 

 

Ike 027

Ronnie Jubula's candles which lit our house up and kept it smelling great!

 

Getting Power Restored:   While we tried not to complain and to keep a stiff upper lip, it did get trying to be so long in the dark.  I read a lot - finally made it through the biography of Nancy Lancaster which I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend if you like English Country House decor.  We talked to each other a lot, Ben and I, which is something we don't do as much with televisions blaring all the time.  We talked about how lucky we were to have made it out safe and sound from the worst storm either of us had ever witnessed.   But, it would always come back to the electrical power.   Life wouldn't be normal until then.    While out driving, it was hard to turn back into our neighborhood since half of the streets had had their power on the entire time.   At night, it was all lit up and blazingly bright, until you got closer to our pitch black street.  Talk about coveting thy neighbor!  A major activity during the day was looking for the CenterPoint Energy trucks.   If I saw one in the vicinity of our house, I would chase it down and beg them to come to Albans Street!  Seeing seven trucks sitting in a parking lot one day for over two hours was especially depressing.  Each dawn would bring a renewed hope and every dusk brought  total dejection with the realization it was going to be another dark night.  Today, though, things turned around about 2:00 pm.  The man in the energy truck told me all the streets would be lit except for ours because of a downed pole!   I could have murdered him and would have probably gotten off with justifiable homicide.   About an hour later, though, he changed his tune and happily announced that the entire neighborhood, including our street, was going to get the power by tonight.   There's no sweeter noise than an air conditioner coming to life unexpectedly.   Our moods changed immediately and I ran outside where all the neighbors were in the street screaming, clapping, and laughing.    As the trucks were pulling away tonight, I was waving and yelling to them - thank you, thank you, thank you !!!!!

 

 

Ike 024

The coffee table, Mr. Hurricane Man's headquarters.  He was supposed to put all his "stuff" away tonight, but I let it pass, we're just too happy. 

 

What We are Truly Thankful For:   All in all, we were so lucky.  No flooding, no major damage, and just a few uncomfortable nights.  I can't imagine what is happening all around us - in the lower areas by the coast and in Galveston, in Boliver and as far east as Louisiana.  Bridge City was said to be - gone.   Boliver is no longer a peninsula but an island and there was even a lost, pet tiger roaming around there this week, along with all the alligators.   Listening to local radio, it has been one horror story after another of houses flooded out or burned.   But, amazingly, there wasn't an overwhelming loss of life like with Katrina.  We are very, very lucky.  We are also thankful for the small things, that Elisabeth's boyfriend came in from college so that she visit with him in his house with electrical power.  Being without internet or instant messaging is just too much for today's teenagers to bear.   For the kids, the lucky ones, they've had a blast, unaware of the misery that other's are suffering.  For them, a week without school is a cause of celebration.  Oh, to be young and naive again!

 

Mostly, though,  we are so thankful for all of our family and our friends, both old ones and the new - those met through a little ole design blog.   All your prayers were heard and answered.   I can not tell you how much we appreciated your prayers and well wishes and how much they meant to us.     The power of the Internet is amazing - just knowing all of you were out there thinking about us and praying for us, was so overwhelming and reassuring.   I only hope that one day I can repay each of you all in some kind way.   Thank you, again, from all of us, Ben, Elisabeth and myself.

 

Finally, What's Next for Cote de Texas?   I'm working on a few new things, including a new installment of the Top Ten Designer list.   Hopefully by next week, I'll be up and running again and we can get back to discussing slipcovers and seagrass, draperies and skirted tables, chandeliers and shells, cluttered vs. spare, and all those other good design topics.

90 comments:

  1. So glad you are back. I have been checking everyday to hear any news. Hope all is well and you are getting back to a normal life. I have to go and read your post now . I just wanted to welcome you back as soon as I saw you were back in the blog world. xo, MB

    ReplyDelete
  2. So glad you are back and doing well. Also thrilled your lovely old tree made it! Times like these make us remeber to be thankful for the small things around us - and of course our family and friends. Welcome back - thrilled all is well! We missed you!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am happy you are ok, so your beloved tree.
    It was a tough situation and you seem
    to grab a good things of that anyway, chatting more, meeting neighbours, reading that book, well you have survived Ike in the most stylish way possible.
    Big hug from Buenos Aires

    ReplyDelete
  4. Whoo hoo!!!! So happy to hear you got your electricity back on!!!! Don't you want to just run out and hug every electrical man you see!?!?!? Thanks and blessings to all of them!!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ahhh. The land of the living again.

    It does kind of re-frame everything, doesn't it? I remember the commaraderie of the neighborhood.

    Welcome back!!

    And acorns??? A good sign indeed!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Welcome back Joni! Thank you for writing your Ike experience.

    Good news about your Oak! I wondered how it had fared, during the storm.

    Looking forward to the next Top Ten installment.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Welcome back Joni! You've been missed :)
    It's very good news to hear the damage isn't so bad. Three cheers for your OAK!

    I can't wait for next weeks posts!

    Anna :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. I cannot even imagine what you have been through - the longest I have ever been without power in France is two or three hours! Bravo Joni, I love a girl with a courageous spirit.

    Welcome back xv

    ReplyDelete
  9. So glad to have you back Joni!
    Thanks for filling us in...I'm glad everything is on it's way back to being normal. Can't wait for the Top 10 Designers post!

    Layla
    The Lettered Cottage

    ReplyDelete
  10. Yeah! You're back Joni! and safe and sound! Thank you for sharing your experience. I am so glad your family is safe also! Can't wait for the designers post, that is gonna be a treat!

    ReplyDelete
  11. We've missed you and been checking the site every day wondering and worrying. Glad things worked out pretty well for your family and neighborhood.

    Now I know why I have a gas stove! I am going to make a printout for my husband of all your suggestions. We are more likely to lose power during ice and snow storms and then you have to worry about both you and your water pipes freezing.

    Glad you're back!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Great lessons learned. During one of the hurricanes here, my parents lost power for a week. Everything in their house was electric. Right after that, they had gas lines run to their house, so they'd never be without my father's cuppa tea in the morning, or hot showers!

    SOOOO glad you came through the storm stronger than ever!
    xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  13. So glad that your family made it through safely and that you're now back to blogging! Congrats on the BH&G article!!!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Relieved to hear you and your family made it through safely, Joni! I am off to buy the BH&G magazine at lunchtime!

    ReplyDelete
  15. YAY! You're back! Whooo hooo! And just in time too! My guest bedroom is coming right along, but I'm in a major design rut. I need inspiration, and education! ;)
    Artie
    P.S., I'm so glad you and your family made it out ok!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Happy days are here again......it's been high and dry in the decorating blog world without you. Best news to find you all safe and well. Ginny (they're starting up the skirted table again....fun)

    ReplyDelete
  17. So glad you guys made it through okay and that you finally have power again!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Happy to have you back and so glad that you and your family are safe and sound.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hippee, you're back!!!!!
    So glad all is well, we sure missed you. Isn't it amazing all that we take for granted? Can't wait to get on with the decor posts.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Joni - thanks for the glimpse of what it was like. We missed you and worried about you, of course. I always think it's amusing that the things I try to make happen so the boys will remember will surely be lost, but five days following a hurricane in a house with no power will generate, "Remember the time..." for years to come.

    ReplyDelete
  21. The combination of Nancy Lancaster,Noodles, and Clogged Drains had to be quite something, surreal in fact. Thank heavens you came away unscathed by the storm. Just saw the piece in Better Homes and Gardens. We're all very proud of our Joni!!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Whewwww...so glad you're safe and sound, I kept checking, but somehow knew you would be okay. Thanks for passing on all the great tips.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Joni - So glad you all are safe and back to "normal". I have thought of and worried about you all and a few other Houston friends for days - what an incredible experience. Only you, though, could write such a great post on surviving a hurricane! Your depiction of Mr. Hurricane Man was my favorite, of course, having known him. And that coffee table shot.... that is a battle I fight every day! Great to know you all are doing well. Now, on to your next favorite designer!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Joni, glad to hear you're ok and thanks for all your helpful tips. (We might have need of them at any time here in Florida.) It's good to have you back!

    -Lana

    ReplyDelete
  25. Soooooo glad you're back and intact!Next hurricane season you can blog on how to hunker safely and in Style! Congrats on the BHG article. It was fun to "know" someone I saw in the magazine. Thanks for your blog, and the Ike story. You are simply amazing.

    ReplyDelete
  26. those of us that don't know you really at all, but follow your blog on a "many times a day" basis, and have cared so much for your family and your safety, that we've prayed and had our families pray, ............. have been thinking of you often.........so much really, that our husbands, who don't even blog, have asked of your welfare............. are grateful!

    ReplyDelete
  27. I'm so thankful to hear you're doing well. I've been through remnants of hurricanes before where my husband had to go out with his chain saw and cut a tree as it slowly fell toward our house. Scary stuff! It all sort of reminds you how little we are and how BIG God is. Can't wait to start learning from you again.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Scheesh, what a ride! I am so glad you all are safe and plugged in once more. I do so know what you mean about generators. So many times, I have been on a job site trying to talk to a client, and one of those horrid things will switch on and I jump four feet in the air. Way too loud for civilized society!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Glad to hear you made it ok though all this, as a fellow harris county member and coffee drinker what got me through this was my melitta single cup coffee brewer. It makes a good cup of strong hot coffee and all you need is boiling water and a paper filter. Good to have you back!

    ReplyDelete
  30. YIPEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!! I am so happy for you and yours!

    What in the world did our forefathers do without electricity??

    GREAT to have you back, Joni!

    Happy DAY!
    MIMILEE<><

    ReplyDelete
  31. What a great post. I especially loved the stories about hurricane man, and his headquarters made me laugh out loud. It was a relief that the storm was not any worse. May God bless you and your sweet family.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Hey! It's great to see you back on the net and I'm so glad your power is back on. Hope the rest of your clean up will go smoothly and life gets back to normal. Has power been restored at Starbucks and Wendy's? I sure hope so!!

    ReplyDelete
  33. Okay Joni, you know how you felt waiting for the power to come back on? That's how I felt waiting for YOU to come back. Well, maybe not exactly...maybe I'm being a little dramatic. But it was CLOSE to the same feeling, I'm sure.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Thank the stars and heavens that you are back! And that your family, home and gardens and area made it through the storm relatively unscathed -- unlike the areas around Galveston. So very sad to see those photos and read about the despair of the folks there-and-about! Thanks for your wonderful stories and your recommendations for storm supplies -- always handy no matter where you may live! Welcome back!

    Jan at Rosemary Cottage

    ReplyDelete
  35. so great reading your post...smiling about Joni and her neighbors with wine,beer, and rakes after the hurricane... such a sweet spirit you are!

    ReplyDelete
  36. Me again -- just read the story in the October issue of BHG -- well done! But certainly NOT long enough to truly see and enjoy your marvellous home -- once again -- I will be a pest about the needed creation and publication of a Cote de Texas decor book. Its time for SUCH a great book! It would be an Pre-Publication Order best seller on Amazon! Surely a good book agent out there in the cyberspace must realize its potential!

    Jan at Rosemary Cottage

    ReplyDelete
  37. Whoooo Hooooo!!!!!
    This is the best hurricane diary I have ever read, and believe me I have read alot of them, some of them with Pulitzers LOL
    Joni, I love ya, and I am so happy that the power is on, you guys are okay, and I also thank for your good advice about Mr. Hurricane supplies, and the gracious way you all handled this ordeal, and the light hearted way you reported it.

    ReplyDelete
  38. So glad you're back & that your family came out unharmed! Very happy to hear that your beloved oak tree made it through and that its roots are strong and healthy:) Been checking daily to see how you were.....

    I highly recommend getting a french coffee press - Starbucks even sells them! The coffee tastes thicker and richer - similar to greek coffee. Its worth having on hand for little emergency's (like if you accidently break the carafe to your coffee maker). Anyway, Welcome back!

    - Inspired Living:)

    ReplyDelete
  39. So glad to see you made it through Ike safe and sound. How did that beautiful Galveston home you showed us a while back fair? I kept thinking about it while listening to the news.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Woooo Whooo!!! I'm so glad you are back, although I'm sure you are happier!

    Very happy to hear you all made it through and with not much damage, how amazing!!

    Welcome Back!!

    ReplyDelete
  41. Like everyone else, I am glad you're back! Thanks for the rundown on things, and I am glad you found a way to get your coffee fix during the week.

    ReplyDelete
  42. SO glad you are safe, your Tree survived, as did the rest of you, and to have you back to blogging!
    Safe and Sound, that's the blessing, for sure.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Virginia here. Survivor of Ike also. Joni-thank you for expressing my thoughts exactly...on what to be thankful for. We are still out of power (live about 30 miles n. of Joni). Visiting friends now. Oh, the luxuries of life: A/C, fresh fruit!!!, Fox news, toilets flush. Our house will need a lot of TLC; but oh, well. I love projects right! Something else wonderful to have is a Toddy coffee. You can heat up your water on the gas stove, and pour a "shot" of delish coffee! It was my saving grace. Thanks to so many of you for your advice, prayers and good wishes.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Thanks for the update from the front lines. I am glad your family is doing well. We will keep our fingers crossed for everyone still without power.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Woohoo! I'm so glad to hear you have power again :o) I'm sorry to see all the beautiful greenery and branches you lost though. I guess that is nature's way of keeping things pruned?!?!!? *sigh* Glad to have ya back girlie :o)
    ~Des

    ReplyDelete
  46. Glad to have you back Ms. Joni! And glad everyone is safe and sound. What an experience! Looking forward to that next installment!

    xx
    Katie

    ReplyDelete
  47. So glad you got through it all and that you have power once again. Sad to see all the trees down and that prized banana tree on the fence!

    We were out of power for a couple of nights this week and it's amazing how slooooowly time creeps along when you have no Internet, no TV, or other distractions. I haven't read that much in years!

    Thanks for the update. I know we were all thinking about you and hoping for the best!! -Julia

    ReplyDelete
  48. I have enjoyed reading your blog for several months now, but never posted a comment until now. I am glad that you and your family weathered the storm fairly well. Kept hoping that all was well when the posts stopped coming! Anyway, I enjoy reading your blog; it has changed the way I look at design.

    Celeste

    ReplyDelete
  49. Glad you made it thru the storm all safe & fine! My niece is in Houston & without power with two children under 3 yrs. old. I offered for her to come here but she doesn't want to leave her hubby or grandmother who just had surgery. I was without power for 9 days with an ice storm in the
    1990's so know the aggravation you went thru. The electrical company called themselves the "Dream Team" - LOL! Hope life gets back to normal fast for you & your family. Bonnie

    ReplyDelete
  50. I am so glad you made it safely through the storm, and the tree didn't fall! I'll bet I checked 20 times to see if you had posted any more about your experience, I loved your story about Mr. Hurricane Man. It cracked me up! LOL! You are an amazing writer! Connie

    ReplyDelete
  51. Hi Joni,

    Thanks for sharing your story with us. Glad you are all o.k. When I got to the part of your story where all of your neighbors were in the street laughing and clapping that the power was back on it was like I had just watched a movie and it was the climatic part of the movie that makes you cry! Tears came to my eyes! Glad to have you back!

    ReplyDelete
  52. Thanks everyone - especially the ANONYMYOUS ones that I can't email to thank personally - I love all the emails - they are all so great!!! Thank you!

    TEACATS: you crack me up! I wish!!!! haha

    Thanks again to everyone and esp. the Anons. Register and get a name so I can eamil you!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  53. Being gone from Houston a whole week today, I appreciate a "bird's eye view" of what is going on. We were without power only a few hours so friends of ours from Bunker Hill moved into our place while we were up in the DFW area. Worked out well for all!

    We drive home next week and I'm bracing myself for what I'll find in my beloved home city. Thanks again for letting us know what it's been like and your "personal journey" with the storm.

    ReplyDelete
  54. A Menopausal West Houston fan here saying I'm so jealous of your battery powered fan! We had 4 days of no power and I would have killed for a battery fan in the "hunker bunker".
    Glad all is well and would like to request a post on beautiful bedding
    (other than all white).
    ps. try the coffee singles, they're like tea bags but have coffee in them.

    ReplyDelete
  55. So glad to see this post. I, like so many others, have checked your blog every day for news of your family's well-being. Isn't it amazing how reading someone's blog every day can make you feel as if they are your friend, and how we can feel concerned about the well-being of someone we've never met but read their words each day? You and your family have been in my prayers. Welcome back. Laurie

    ReplyDelete
  56. Well, Joni, You WERE missed! Every day I'd come in and click the link, and it would start loading and pause, and then the freeway picture would load and I'd cuss. I wanted news!!

    As one who experienced Hurricane Celia in Corpus in 1970 as a child, we were MISERABLE for two weeks without power. We were in a very modern home designed for Air Conditioning. I will NEVER be in another one, I can tell you that.

    This line:
    There's no sweeter noise than an air conditioner coming to life unexpectedly...
    I so heartily agree. All of us in Texas DO.

    So Glad the Webbs are doing well. Starbucks filed for reorganization while you were out of commission. The government had to bail it out!

    Welcome home!

    ReplyDelete
  57. Joni--I am a friend of Just a Plane Ride Away. I think that we must be neighbors here in the 'hood! Glad that you got your power back. We got ours on Sunday night. After looking over your blog page, I think that we could be good friends, too. Hope to see you in the 'hood! Mimsy

    ReplyDelete
  58. Thanks for stopping by. I would love to see how you decorate for Fall. By the way, very nice article in BH&G.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Joni- loved seeing your blog after almost a week! Still no power in Houston so I let my very helpful and patient 13 year old pick our evacuation retreat. We arrived this afternoon in Lakeway (great updated decor by the way) after a 24 hour car mishap (clogged exhaust pipe from hurricane???) in Bastrop, Texas. Can't wait to write about our "Deliverance" episode and buckled floors...! Now we need sleep, exercise- (hurricanes and waist lines together not good) and a little internet!!! have to say I've had more fun with my hero kids than I can ever remember!!!

    ReplyDelete
  60. Joni, a fabulous, thorough post on your experience! I loved hearing how everyone pulled together to get the neighborhood cleaned up.

    PS I didn't even know battery-powered fans existed. Way to go Mr. Hurricane Man!!

    ReplyDelete
  61. Joni,
    So glad to hear that you all rode out the storm with relatively little damage, and to see you back online and full of spunk, as usual. :) Hooray!
    xoxo,
    Mary

    ReplyDelete
  62. Great to read you again and to read you are safe !
    Can't wait to read about draperies , decoration ....

    ReplyDelete
  63. Great to see you have power! This little ole Floridian sympathizes and understands your plight.

    My sister in law gave my husband some sort of hand crank radio which I think works either with the crank or on batteries. We keep those lanterns on hand, too, but generally burn candles (in glass containers).

    I so understand about the car! We've found that to be a lifesaver, too. Thinking aloud here, but it would probably make a lot of sense to buy a new car battery in case the other went down from use in a storm. I'm making a mental note of that.

    I'm glad y'all had a coolfront of sorts go through there because 100 degree heat and humidity is the worst thing on earth without a.c.

    During the three that hit us, one after another, I developed a hurricane checklist that included everything from plastic painters' buckets (the big ones) with lids, lots of garbage bags, paper products and disposable cutlery, two by fours, nails, and visquene in case the roof sprung a leak, large garden shovel, hand held saws, battery operated screw driver (I also have a hand drill), those night sticks that glow in the dark, bug spray (Deep Woods Off), and my favorite... steel-toed work boots to stomp snakes! I can actually wear those boots in the garden. ;-) Since we have two houses on water, I begged my husband for one of those John boats. He was like what??? Where??? I said, under the DR table. It did not happen.

    From your post, it appears that your husband and I would be fast friends! I put the supplies inside the painters buckets, and I think they have managed to live there happily ever since.

    So glad you're okay and didn't sustain serious damage to your home. Glad to have you back in Blogland!

    Cheers,

    Sheila

    ReplyDelete
  64. We have experienced long power outages in the winter due to ice breaking trees and power lines and in the heat of summer which was awful. I now use this chinese barrel chest my husband bought as candle and flashlight central. It's right by the fireplace. I never want to go searching the house in the dark looking for candles again. That said, the house looked lovely in candlelight.

    ReplyDelete
  65. I stayed up all night watthing IKE make landfall (safely from my home in Fredericksburg). I went to bed only once I saw the eye go over my childhood home (great maps from CNN) and Anderson Cooper signed off.

    I worried about two houses you've feature recently - the fab beach house on (gasp) Bolivar Point and more recently the lovely Galveston home. Please do an update post once you hear about either. (I have a feeling I will be heart broken about the Bolivar house).

    Glad you did not have much damage...

    ReplyDelete
  66. So glad that you survived in good shape!

    ReplyDelete
  67. Longtime lurker here. So glad that you and your family survived the storm in good shape. And congratulations on the BH&G story -when I saw it, I thought, "I know that woman!" Or, at least, I feel like I do.
    - A reader in Virginia

    ReplyDelete
  68. I am so thankful to see you back!! Our thoughts and prayers have been with y'all, and you did give us some info we had not been able to find. No-one in the state has reported on Bridge City - except you! Thank you!
    J

    ReplyDelete
  69. yeah! glad your back! Several of our neighbors have generators....we're all on several acre lots and even at these distances the noise is very annoying and yet I would love one when the power is out!

    ReplyDelete
  70. yes, i wish i had managed to write everything down after FOUR hurricanes in one season in Florida. your tale brings it all back...your comparison of the memory of no electricity and childbirth is right on target!

    by the 2nd hurricane, i was making ice in ziploc bags and tupperware(ice was at a premium), bought an inverter to draw power from my car battery(heard about that solution on the radio, but no one else did!)and an "itty bitty light" for reading, tealights in empty pasta jars placed on the tile floor inside a glass-doored shower gave a nice glow. i boiled water the night before the storm was expected and filled thermoses...used for coffee etc. used my hotpot, linked to my car battery, to boil eggs that were kept cool with my ziploc ice. toasted bread on a spatter screen over tealights. heated water with solar in tubs in my yard to wash my hair...i could handle a cold shower, but not on my head! between storms i washed tons of laundry, especially sheets because they were stinky after a couple of hot nights in boarded up rooms. i lost count of the number of days without power...what would americans from 200 years ago think of our reliance on all these conveniences?

    ReplyDelete
  71. Hi Joni, I guess we've all missed you and have been thinking of you. You're our link to IKE and we've seen what you and everyone has been through. I know you still have a long way to go but getting some creature comforts back is bound to help :)
    Oh and I LOVE that picture at the top of the post, it's shocking!

    ReplyDelete
  72. Hi Joni,
    I'm so glad you have power. It's amazing how dependent we are on it. My family like yours stayed home for Gustov and Ike. Gustov came right through our area and we got the bad side of Ike along with the high water too. But omg nothing like the pictures I've been seeing of Galveston and the surrounding areas.

    I, like others who love your blog was relieved you were finally able to let us know you made it through it all ok.

    Relieved,

    Debbie

    ReplyDelete
  73. I have never written before though I have wanted to very often to thank you for your wonderful blog and all of the beautiful images and delightful text you share with your devoted readers. You can't possibly know how much pleasure you give to people like me who love design and your aesthetic in particular. I look back on your house tour blogs and your movie set blogs and your guest room redo blog many times over because they are so well done that once is definitely not enough.
    You have given so much joy to this reader and I am thrilled to hear that you and your family are all right after the hurricane. You are terrific!!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  74. Good to see your designer survivor skills kick into action in the midst of all this disaster- nature is so powerful and I am so glad you and your family are well.
    Best to you as you pick up the pieces and re-assemble life. Thrilled you are your family are fine.

    ReplyDelete
  75. Soooooooooo GOOD to SEE your voice! Welcome back!
    That banana tree is beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
  76. Delighted you are all okay Joni, and that your sense of humour is intact! xo Terri

    ReplyDelete
  77. Oh Miss Joni you were so missed and I am so thankful that you weathered the storm. When I lived on the island of Crete for a year I would say that I had electricity 4 out of the 7 days of the week. They are not advanced in the electricity dept. and all power goes first to supporting the hotels, restaurants,etc. I was proud of how efficient I became and I am sure that you are too.

    ReplyDelete
  78. We were on a vacation in Maine, and believe it or not, I was thinking of you. Your blog has connected me to Houston. I kept you in my thoughts and prayers, and hopefully, in some small way it worked. Thanks for your blog. It really helped to understand just what happens in the aftermath of a hurricane.

    Also, I just enjoy your blog so much... meant to tell you that many months ago. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  79. Again, I'm so glad you are safe. And on a bright note, i've seen some bits if of the BH & G story. Huge congrats Joni!! It looks lovely.

    ReplyDelete
  80. Joni~ I am so glad the Ike siege is over and past for you guys and that you are safe and cool now! Thanks for the illustrated narrative - very interesting. Have a great "powered" weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  81. Glad you are OK, Joni! On a really positive note, if you told us about the BHG story, I totally missed it. Imagine my delight & surprise when I opened up my new issue and there YOU were. I told my hubby, this is one of my blog buddies.

    What a great story they did on you & how exciting to be featured. Big congrats! I so love your style.

    ReplyDelete
  82. Yay! Joni, so happy to hear that you and yours are OK. And kudos to Hurricane Man, way to go, dude!

    XXOO

    ReplyDelete
  83. Glad to hear you & your family are safe & sound...and with power!

    ReplyDelete
  84. I'm so glad you guys made it through well! Sounds like despite it being a scary time you guys had some really great bonding time.
    Could you update me on the BHG everyone is talking about (yes, I believe I've had my head in the sand).
    Can't wait for your next posts!

    ReplyDelete
  85. Thank you for the update! You are truly fortunate to be in West U. It sounds like they are so much more on the ball about things. So glad that you were so prepared and now are slowly getting things back into some semblance of normal.

    My Houston friends report that school is still iffy for next week. Will Elizabeth be back in school? How are they going to make up all those days?

    ReplyDelete
  86. So glad that you are alright and getting back to normal. Amen!

    ReplyDelete