Monday, February 23, 2009

Hurricane Hell followup 9/19/08

After being cooped up for almost a week, I decided Wednesday to hit the streets and see what this city looked like. All over it was pretty much the same. Lots of trees still down and lots of areas still without power.

I started out on the light rail line where there was no power, so no place to charge my Q Card, the rechargeable bus pass. Lucky the light rail was free, but none of the ride stores, at least as far as I could tell, were open. Since downtown still had power, I was able to recharge the card at one of the rail platforms.

Waiting for the bus west to the Galleria, I was able to see that Travis was still blocked off Wednesday. All of the windows blown out at the JP Morgan ChaseTower were now boarded up, as were most of the other windows that blew out downtown, as the bus moved forward through the city.

Traffic signals were still out in some places downtown, but Midtown was without power from about St. Joseph's al the way south to Elgin. So that was Wednesday, and I spent the day out. First to lunch, and then the Galleria.

After being couped up this whole time, it was nice to see civilization again, but there were still signs thinngs weren't quite back to normal. There were people all throughout Galleria II that were on their laptops or charging their cell phones.

On my way home I ran into some friends and that really made my day. It was great to reconnect with people, some that I hadn't seen in two or three weeks. We hung out at a local watering hole and hung out there until the owner ran us off 'round curfew time. Yep, Houston's still under a midnight to 6am curfew through Monday.

So Thursdfay I decided to head west to Memorial City Mall and see how it looked there. Still more of the same along Long Point and Hempstead, along the bus route I chose to take. Spotty is the best word to describe our current power situation. One side of the street will have lights, while the other won't.

One improvement I saw in Westmoreland here is a lot of the trees had been cut up and piled on the side of the streets. Out at Memorial City Mall, it was the same scene as the Galleria. Lots of people using their wi-fi and charing their electronics. I can understand what that's like wanting to reconnect with the world at large and let our friends and family in other places know that we're alive and that this storm didn't get us down.

The streets were busiere today with people either heading back home from evacutating, or just coming home from work. Westchase along Gessner and Westheimer all the way east to about Dunvale was spotty at best as far as electrical service goes.

I got the brilliant idea that Wal-Mart, being this mega giant retailer, would have fucking groceries like cold foodstuffs. Nope. Deli, produce, meat, frozen - empty. Nothing left on the shelves but some drinks and a hand full of gourds. I freaked the fuck out honestly. This was not what I was expecting from Wal-Mart for crying out loud.

Yeah I can understand 99 Cents Only, Kroger, and Randall's here in Montrose since they all just got their power back. 99 Cents Only and Randall's were spotty at best in their selection of perishables.

My friend from high school called me as I stood here agape at the sight of the empty coolers. He lives in League City, and he did a recon mission for me down there. His Wal-Mart had some cold foodstuffs, and he came and got me.

Every where he went traffic was hell. Between the lights out in places on Westheimer, and the traffic on the freeways, what's normally a thirty - or forty-minute drive took closer to an hour. Finaly, he arrived and shuttled me down to League City.

All along 45 South the Gulf Freeway, Ike's calling card was every where. From darkened parking lots to broken signs and fallen awnings, the devastation was evident. The League City Wal-Mart was spotty at best, but they had the essentals I wanted like lunch meat and cheese and milk, things I realized I take for granted.

I have to say that I really appreciate my friend braving all that traffic to get me the hell out of here so I could get groceries. And I appreciate all my friends who've checked in on me, or have thought about me in the wake of this storm. I also give a shout out to those who showed their concernts for not just me, but my family too.

So, the lights are back on here in Westmoreland, but other areas of the Montrose still remain in the dark. Hopefully the power will be back on by the time the curfew's lifted Monday. I know a lot of the bars and clubs have been posting bulleteins that they'l be open this weekend, and they'll even open early to accommodate the city-wide curfew. Hope to see some of you out this weekend. I miss y'all, and I miss hangin' out with y'all. Be well.

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