Hurricane Ike

In the wee hours of the morning on September 13, Hurricane Ike, a 500-mile-wide-cyclone pounded Houston and its costal communities, coming ashore near Galveston Island pushing a storm surge not seen in decades.

2.2 million Houston residents evacuated their homes on Ike’s approach. Many of these homes are no longer habitable.

When the sun came up in my neighborhood, the carnage was unbelievable.

Thousands of trees were down, many on top of homes. Roofs were blown off, fences flattened, and signs everywhere stripped of their faces or laying on the ground.

In flood prone areas, water was three feet deep destroying furniture, carpets, drywall and everything else on the ground floor of the home.

I was one of the lucky ones and experienced very little damage.

Millions of people in the greater Houston area were without electricity, some for as long as three weeks.

It wasn’t just Houston and Texas that lost power. About two million homes and businesses in Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, and even Ohio, and Pennsylvania also lost power.

We all take electricity for granted. Without electricity gasoline stations can’t pump gas, telephones don’t work,

retail stores are closed, food spoils, and ice turns to water.

Without television, radio, and internet service, one feels completely cut off and isolated from the outside world.

For those of you that have never been without electricity for an extended period of time, here are some of the lessons learned.

1. It takes about four days before you no longer reach to turn the light on when you enter a room.

2. Reading by candlelight is a myth.

3. A generator is useless without gas.

4. Batteries don’t last as long as rated.

5. Board games are overrated.

6. Warm beer doesn’t taste very good.

7. Only old fashioned can openers work.

8. Cell phones are almost useless.

9. Neighbors are at their best amid the worst.

10. When a city has no lights, the stars and night sky are beautiful.

Electricity is like love; you don’t know what you’re missing until its no longer there…

John A. Miller

October 13, 2008

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